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Author Topic: Nutritional fact or fiction? Dietitians weigh in on probiotics, the microwave...  (Read 345 times)
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« on: June 17, 2013, 05:04:29 AM »

SEA SALT IS HEALTHIER THAN TABLE SALT

Fiction: Ignore the marketing hype about the nutritional superiority of sea salt. According to the Mayo Clinic, it has the same basic nutritional value and contains the same sodium level by weight as table salt. Because table salt is more heavily processed, it generally contains fewer minerals; on the other hand, it usually has added iodine, essential to healthy thyroid function. The two kinds of salt may differ in taste and texture, but Health Canada sets the upper limit for all sodium intake by adults ages 14 to 50 years at 2,300 milligrams a day to reduce the risk of high blood pressure and other ailments.

OYSTERS ARE AN APHRODISIAC

Fact: Sort of. In 2005, a team of American and Italian scientists found that the amino acids in certain shellfish, including oysters, can boost the level of sex hormones in humans. As well, oysters contain dopamine, which stimulates the brain's arousal centre, and perhaps, sexual readiness.

BROWN SUGAR IS MORE NUTRITIOUS THAN WHITE

Fiction: "Sugar is sugar, especially when it comes to diabetes," says dietitian Cindy Sass. "There's no real difference and you should just reduce your intake as much as possible." Maple syrup or honey might be marginally more nutritious, she says, but they still turn to glucose in the body, leading to potential weight gain and other results. One side benefit: Sass says eating locally produced honey may help reduce allergies to local pollens.

MICROWAVE COOKING DESTROYS NUTRIENTS

Fact: Well, at least in the case of vitamin B12, says dietitian Erin Enros. That vitamin is important for bodily functions, like red blood cell production. Since B12 comes from animal products, she suggests not microwaving meat. "It's really important for seniors. They absorb less B12 because our stomachs don't secrete as much acid to break down food as we get older." She says when microwaving vegetables, use minimal water to prevent nutrients from leaching out. Same goes for stovetop cooking.

ORGANIC FOOD IS MORE NUTRITIOUS THAN NON-ORGANIC

Fact and fiction: Everything from soil quality and amount of light to the types of seed used and animal breeds can affect nutritional values, according to Dietitians of Canada. The organization says that because these factors aren't controlled in most research studies, comparisons between organic and nonorganic foods aren't possible. An analysis of existing studies published last year in the Annals of Internal Medicine found no consistent difference in vitamin, protein and other content between organic and conventionally produced foods. Phosphorus and omega-3 fatty acids were higher in organic foods, according to some of the studies. Pesticide residue was lower on organic produce, but still within acceptable safety limits on conventional fruits and vegetables.

LETTING FOOD SIT AFTER MICROWAVING IS IMPORTANT FOR SAFETY

Fact: But it's not just because you can burn your mouth. Food that sits for a few minutes after microwaving cooks more thoroughly, with colder areas absorbing heat from hotter parts of the food, according to the State of Louisiana's Department of Health and Hospitals. "That extra minute or two could mean the difference between a delicious meal and food poisoning," says the department.

THE THREE-SECOND RULE IS SAFE


Fact: If you pick up the right food, that is. Manchester Metropolitan University tested various foods to see if they were safe to eat if picked up quickly after being dropped on the floor. Processed foods like ham or jam sandwiches fared well because bacteria don't survive easily on salty or sugary surfaces. Cookies were also relatively safe because their low moisture content prevents absorption of bacteria. Pasta and dried fruit, however, contained klebsiella, a bacteria which can cause pneumonia, urinary tract infections and other nasty illnesses.

MULTI-GRAIN AND WHOLE-GRAIN FOODS ARE EQUALLY NUTRITIOUS

Fiction: Multi-grain foods sound wholesome, but they've often had the bran and germ stripped out of the grain to give longer shelf life, better taste or appearance. Those ingredients are important sources of fibre, vitamin E and antioxidants. What's more, multi-grain products typically contain endosperm, a source of starch and calories.

PROBIOTICS ARE ESSENTIAL FOR GOOD HEALTH

Fiction: Probiotics, which can be added to foods like yogurt and cheese, are bacteria that aid digestion. They may reduce symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome, some types of inflammatory bowel disease and diarrhea from antibiotics. However, a healthy diet without probiotics can also produce a healthy digestive system according to EatRight Ontario, a Dietitians of Ontario organization. If you do want to consume probiotics, the organization recommends looking for lactobacillus and bifidobacterium in the ingredients.

http://www.ottawacitizen.com/health/diet-fitness/Nutritional+fact+fiction+Dietitians+weigh+probiotics/8488337/story.html
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