An abundance of confusion has complicated the use of high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) since it was introduced as an industrial sweetener - a substitute for sugar - in the 1960s. Some of the controversy derives from the dramatic increase in the prevalence of obesity in the U.S. (and in the rest of the world). The simultaneous occurrence of these two events is striking and it is tempting to relate one to the other.
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.
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.
Do you indulge in Halloween candy? Take our latest poll!
We received an inquiry from a Best Food Facts reader about “functional fibers” that are being added to foods. There are reports that inulin, a popular food additive, can cause gastrointestinal discomfort if over-ingested.
We spoke with Dr. Joanne Slavin, a professor in the Department of Food Science and Nutrition at the University of Minnesota, to find out more.
Many consumers are nostalgic for the bucolic scenes associated with the small farms of generations past and have embraced farmers markets and other opportunities to buy their food from "local" producers. Consumers might be surprised to find that this approach may not provide the long-term benefits to agriculture or the environment as they believe.
With the increasing number of recalls in the news, many Americans are wondering if their food is safe. There is still a lot of room for improvement but overall, the U.S. food safety system works as well or better than most countries.
Foods produced and processed in the most industrially developed countries such as the United States, Canada, Australia/New Zealand and the European Union (EU) are similar in quality and safety, but food from developing nations varies widely.
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.
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.
For the average American consumer, the term "organic" has a positive connotation and the beneficial properties of organic foods may be misinterpreted or exaggerated. Surveys indicate many proponents of organic food production look beyond the final product to consider factors such as environmental impacts, worker safety, and economic considerations which are not related to organic production standards. U.S. consumers frequently have the choice between purchasing organic and conventional foods and make food purchasing decisions that reflect their values, concerns, and lifestyles.
Because the United States has such a large, affluent population, we spend more on food ($833 billion in 2007) than all other countries except China. But the average American spent only 6 percent of their money on food purchases, which is the lowest in the world.
Dr. Dave Weatherspoon says the following statement is true:
Enhanced food production technology and innovation will be necessary to feed the expanding global population over the next 20 years.
Are your kids hungry when they get home from school? Is it OK to give kids an afternoon snack? Best Food Facts asked nutrition advisor Carolyn O’Neil, MS, RD, about healthy snacks to fill the gap between school lunch and dinner time.
Best Food Facts received a reader question asking, "Does eating soy negatively impact our health?" To answer this question, we reached out to Barbara Klein, PhD, Professor Emerita of Food Science and Human Nutrition, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
Recently, Best Food Facts received a reader question about the Paleo diet - what is it, and is it safe? We asked Best Food Facts nutrition advisor, Carolyn O’Neil, MS, RD, about the diet and if it is safe for otherwise healthy adults.