Thursday, February 11, 2010

Food Myths

Here are common questions & myths about some foods we eat.

Q: Are baby carrots preserved with bleach?

A: Not exactly … and there's no reason to stop eating them, says Randy Worobo, Ph.D., an associate professor of food microbiology at Cornell University. Baby carrots are rinsed (not preserved) in a chlorine wash, recommended by the FDA, to kill bacteria like salmonella and E. coli, which cause foodborne illness. Most precut produce, including frozen veggies and fruit salad, is washed with this or a similar sanitizer.

Q: Can eating too much sugar cause diabetes?

A: Not in the same smoking-gun way that cigarettes cause cancer, but research shows that sugar may play a part—and it's smart to limit your intake. First and foremost, being overweight does increase your risk of developing type 2 diabetes, and consuming too much sugar can contribute to weight gain.

Still, some emerging research suggests that excess sugar intake can increase diabetes risk regardless of weight. A landmark JAMA study found that women nearly doubled their diabetes risk when they increased the number of sugar-added drinks they consumed from 1 or fewer a week to 1 or more per day over a 4-year period.

Q: Do spicy foods boost metabolism?

A: We wish! Your metabolic rate is determined by your gender, height, present weight/body composition, and age. These factors determine the amount of calories the body will burn to maintain the basic functions of life that occur even when we sleep—the energy used by the heart, brain, lungs, intestines, etc. Eating spicy foods cannot significantly increase metabolic rate and help you burn more calories at rest.

Although your body temperature may temporarily rise and your heart may beat a bit faster after eating "hot" foods, over the long term spices will not make any changes in the rate of metabolism.

Q: Is white flour bleached with dangerous chemicals?

A: No. Some Web sites allege that flour is bleached with alloxan, a compound that caused diabetes in animal research, but experts tell us that's not true. Flour bleaches naturally on its own as yellow compounds called xantophylls react with oxygen in the air; this takes several weeks. To speed the whitening, processors bleach flour—turning it white from its natural straw color—with safe, FDA-regulated chemicals (some of the same ones used to sanitize veggies).

Alloxan may form as a byproduct, but the amount is minuscule (less than 0.03 mg per slice of bread) and harmless, says Julie Jones, Ph.D., professor emeritus of family, consumer, and nutritional sciences at St. Catherine University.

Q: It’s safe to follow the 5-second rule for dropped food, right?

A: It's probably not even safe to follow a 1-second rule: The transfer of bacteria from a contaminated surface to food is almost instantaneous—or, at the very least, quicker than your reflexes. In one study, Clemson University food scientist Paul Dawson, Ph.D., and students contaminated several surfaces (ceramic tile, wood flooring, and carpet) with Salmonella. They then dropped pieces of bologna and slices of bread on the surfaces for as little as 5 seconds and as long as 60 seconds.

After just 5 seconds, both food types had already picked up as many as 1,800 bacteria (more bad bugs adhered to the moisture-rich bologna than the bread); after a full minute, it was up to 10 times that amount.

These facts were taken from articles on .

By the way, I was a bit surprised to hear that pre-cut veggies were rinsed in a chlorine solutions as well as bleached flour.  Then I realized that regular tap water is considered a chlorine rinse also.  Do you know how toxic chlorine is?  VERY!  I am quite glad my fruits, veggies and salads are rinsed in 11.5 Alkaline water (Kangen)...kills all bacteria and removes all chemicals so I can enjoy the real taste of my food.

For more information on Kangen Water go to .

Have a Healthy Day!
Deborah Mumm, The Allergy Queen

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