Thursday, September 04, 2008

Food Information Abounds

It is amazing to me just the sheer volume of articles and information there is out there on food, eating, health, dining etc. Major newspapers have incredible food sections that push out articles daily on what to eat, from whether or not we really need more protein, to answering if grass-fed beef is actually superior to grain-fed. The idea that there is still a national ignorance regarding fast food and if it really makes you fat is incredible to me. Now, I will preface this with the fact that I have a desk job, which means I am online all the time. And a small part of said job is really keeping up with what is going on in the food world. (I work for, check it out if you haven't). But I cannot imagine that people do not know what it takes to keep themselves healthy. That said, I read and hear the most amazing things that people believe.

Recently a friend told me that she stopped eating cooked spinach because someone told her that toxins are released during the cooking process. Um?! Ok, so I did some research and found this:
Spinach is one of the vegetables which may accumulate appreciable amounts of nitrate from the soil during the growing season. Nitrate is not harmful for our health. If raw spinach is cut and left for a long period of time or if cooked spinach is stored, nitrate is converted into toxic nitrite by bacterial activity. While the concentration of nitrite in re-heated spinach does not pose any problem for adults, babies and toddlers are much more sensitive to nitrite. Therefore, small children should not be fed cooked spinach that has been stored and reheated. Sterilized spinach filled in small glass jars as baby food should be used up directly after opening the jar.
Basically during WWII people, especially in the military, were reusing cooked spinach over and over again, thus creating the nitrates which people deemed as dangerous. But why would someone take tat information and not do the necessary research to see that it is not something to worry about? I have no idea.

Americans seem to be scared of more and more foods these days, carbohydrates, fats, wheat, gluten, etc. But unless you happen to suffer from Celiac disease and cannot eat gluten, there is no reason to be frightened. I am much more scared about the 45 ingredients in a Snackwell's reduced fat cookie than I am about the butter that I will add to my homemade cookies.

So why are Americans still in the dark about good nutrition? And are we or are we simply too stuck in our ways to put energy into making good choices?

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