Nutrition Myths and Mistakes

New York Times aging and wellness columnist Jane Brody recently wrote about some nutrition myths and mistakes. She points out that some health concerns are exaggerated — which is not to say concern is unnecessary, only that our concern may be misdirected.

Cured meats, for example, are often reviled for their nitrites, which bind with amines to form nitrosamines. Nitrosamines, in turn, have been shown to cause cell mutations in laboratory studies. However, in avoiding cured meats like bacon, people often turn to uncured or preservative-free versions, which can offer just as much cause for worry. Preservative free meats may not be protected from bacterial contamination and meats labeled “uncured” may simply be preserved with nitrate-rich celery juice treated with a bacterial culture that encourages the formation of nitrites.

Brody also examines among other things trans fats, which have a bad rep, but which can be helpful. As Brody points out, natural trans fats, like those found in dairy and certain meats, can have beneficial effects, including enhancing immune function, and reducing atherosclerosis, high blood pressure, and inflammation. Organic and natural foods might also lead us into assuming health benefits that just aren’t there.

Click here to read the New York Times article.

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