No doubt that health is on the minds of many as we begin a new year. And as our foods become increasingly engineered, the movement toward organic production is gaining in popularity. To inform the public about contemporary health concerns, Joe Schwarz, one of Canada’s foremost authorities on nutrition, has written several books on food science. One exaggerated concern, says Schwarz, is people’s fear of nitrates, used to preserve processed meats and found to cause cancer in extremely high doses. More dangerous than nitrates, however, are high concentrations of fat and salt. Best to steer clear all together, says Schwarz.
What’s the Big Idea?
A popular health trend of late has been the elimination of trans fats, which refers to the arrangement of hydrogen and carbon atoms in fatty acid, and is found in processed foods that can damage heart tissue. Not all trans fats are bad, however. “The most widely consumed ‘good’ trans fat is conjugated linoleic acid, which research has shown can help weight-conscious people lose fat and gain muscle. Various studies have suggested that C.L.A., now widely sold as a supplement, also can enhance immune function and reduce atherosclerosis, high blood pressure and inflammation.”