Just the facts. From the experts.
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True? or Not? "When a company funds research, the results are biased."

We oftentimes get questions about the funding source of research cited, or whether the researchers within Universities are "paid for" by private companies. Here, Peggy Lemaux, PhD, from the University of California at Berkeley, weighs in on how university scientists receive funding and what that means for the results. 

True? Or Not? "Large farms are bad for the environment."

Manure from farm animals when used as fertilizer improves soil and increases crop yields. It can become a pollutant if it reaches water supplies.

Farm animal production in the United States has clearly shifted away from many small farms to an increasing number of larger farms. It takes several small farms to equal the manure production of a single large farm. On the large farm, the manure management responsibility lies with only one management system instead of several.

True? Or Not? "We will experience a bacon shortage in 2013."

When the National Pig Association of the United Kingdom sent out a press release warning of a worldwide pork and bacon shortages in an effort to prepare consumers in the UK for higher pork prices, the story spread quickly on social media in the U.S. prompting dramatic media reports of an impending bacon shortage.

True? Or Not? "Elimination of farm subsidies will reduce obesity and associated health problems."

Many advocates argue that US Department of Agriculture (USDA) policies that establish farm prices for crops, provide subsidies to farmers and provide consumers with access to an abundant and affordable food supply are responsible for the increasing number of adults and children facing the challenges of obesity and diabetes. However, Julian M. Alston, with the University of California-Davis Department of Agriculture and Resource Economics, says his research shows that eliminating farm subsidies would do little to change obesity rates, noting that consumers do not necessarily change food purchase patterns based on cost and that advances in technology and efficiencies on the farm have more to do with the low cost of today’s food than USDA policies and programs.

What’s in Chicken Nuggets?

10/30/2013

Researchers in Mississippi recently tested chicken nuggets from two national fast food chains. They took one nugget from each restaurant and examined the ingredients. The result was that about half of the nuggets were muscle with the rest a mix of fat, blood vessels and nerves. Close inspection revealed cells that line the skin or internal organs. The second was 40 percent muscle and the remainder was fat, cartilage and pieces of bone.

Is this unusual? Is it a safety concern? We took these questions and others to Dr. Casey M. Owens at the Center of Excellence for Poultry Science at the University of Arkansas.

Are Fruits and Vegetables Sprayed with Pesticides Less Safe than Organic Produce?

10/28/2013

In all forms, fruits and vegetables are inherently nutritious, no matter whether eaten fresh, canned or frozen. In recent years, a number of marketing tactics have presented organic fruits to be safer, based on the premise that they are grown without pesticides. In truth, both organic and conventional farmers use pesticides on their crops.

True? Or Not? "Meat from grass-fed cattle is safer than meat from cattle that are fed corn."

Experts conclude that there is no greater level of meat safety from cattle fed grass versus those fed corn.

Will Garcinia Cambogia Really Help Me Lose Weight?

10/24/2013

Recently, Best Food Facts received a question regarding whether celebrities are using garcinia cambogia to lose weight. We called Stephen Heymsfield, MD, the George A. Bray, Jr. Endowed Super Chair in Nutrition Professor, Pennington Biomedical Research Center, Louisiana State University System, to find out.

Are High-Carb Foods Fattening?

10/23/2013

With the rise of low- and no-carb diets, the word “carb” has taken on a negative connotation. Just as there is no one-size-fits-all diet there is also no one perfect food. A balanced diet includes a wide variety of foods consumed in moderation. But carbohydrates shouldn’t be considered to be “empty” calories. Carbohydrates can be rich sources of fiber such as those found in vegetables, whole grains, fruits and beans, all of which play a role in decreasing the risk of chronic disease. 

Are There Growth Hormones in Milk?

10/16/2013

Recently, Best Food Facts received a reader comment asking which brands of milk contain growth hormones. To answer this question, we reached out to Dr. Ann Macrina, Research/Teaching Associate at Penn State University. Dr. Macrina previously answered questions about hormones in milk.

Are School Lunch Bags Bacteria Magnets?

10/3/2013

A simple rule of thumb for keeping food safe is to keep hot foods hot and cold foods cold. But what about school lunches in backpacks and lockers? Registered Dietitian and nutrition expert, Carolyn O'Neil, provides clarity on ensuring school lunch bags don't become hot spots for bacteria.

Is Real Cane Sugar Healthier Than Other Sweeteners?

9/30/2013

In the old cowboy Westerns, you could always tell the good guy from the bad guy by his white button-down shirt. Recently, a similar guideline has been applied to many of the foods that we once enjoyed. This time though, the new "bad guy" in town, an alleged less-nutritious option, now wears white: white bread, white pasta and white sugar. In reality, it takes more than a glance at a food’s color to determine whether something is inherently healthier.

Is Tilapia Safe to Eat?

9/24/2013

Recently, Best Food Facts received a reader question asking, "Is tilapia safe to eat? I've heard that it's often farm raised in countries where there are no guidelines, and they are essentially raised in waste and pumped full of antibiotics."

To answer this question and learn more about tilapia, we reached out to Kevin Fitzsimmons, PhD, Professor, Extension Specialist & Research Scientist at the University of Arizona

Are Processed Foods Unhealthy?

9/23/2013

Unless your shopping trip to the grocery store is limited to the far perimeter aisles, there is a good chance your diet contains some form of processed food. So are processed foods bad for you?

Does Real Olive Oil Freeze?

9/5/2013

Have you ever heard that you can freeze olive oil to see if it's real? Recently, we received a reader question asking “Should all olive oil freeze (or harden) in the refrigerator? A comment was made on the Dr. Oz show stating that, if it does not freeze, it has been altered. My extra virgin oil stayed liquid in the refrigerator.”

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