In early January many people make daring declarations that this is the year they will follow a healthy eating plan and/or will lose weight. Most turn to the bookstore or internet for a diet to help them reach their goal. And there are lots to choose from; as 2017 comes to an end, Google revealed that the most searched for healthy eating plans were ketogenic, low-carb, Paleolithic, military, Atkins, and gluten-free.
When I was in graduate school at Drexel University in Philadelphia, I was taught “if a food doesn’t taste good – no matter how healthy it is – it doesn’t get eaten.” A very memorable student visit to the Monell Chemical Senses Center, right down the street from Drexel, reinforced that concept. Monell is the world’s only independent, non-profit scientific institute dedicated to basic research on taste and smell. It was where the sense of taste, finally made sense to me!
Before modern politics made “fake news” a household word, dietitians have long battled to contradict false headlines. Practically everyone with an internet connection has seen #fakenews nutrition and food stories; those links – often posted on social media by well-meaning friends – claiming that what we eat is filled with risky chemicals and banned in every nation but our own.
MSG has not been spared from incorrect headlines. When searching online, I found monosodium glutamate falsely linked to many health conditions including hormonal imbalances, weight gain, brain damage, obesity, headaches – and more. This is all #fakenewsMSG.
My husband was advised by his doctor to reduce his sodium intake. Both his cardiologist and his dietitian wife warned him that consuming excess sodium can result in fluid buildup, thereby increasing blood volume, which could then make his heart have to work harder.
As the holiday season kicks off, beginning with the celebration of Thanksgiving, millions of Americans join together with family and friends in homes and restaurants all over the country. On “turkey day” we consume epic portions of traditional favorites, seasonal dishes, and flavorful desserts. And we can be thankful not just for our food – but also to know that everything on our table is safe to eat. This is because our country’s government agencies – the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Department of Agriculture (USDA) – determine the safety and protect the quality of what ends up on our plates and in our cups.