An apple a day: the myths, misconceptions, and truths about by Joseph Schwarcz

By Joseph Schwarcz

Devour salmon. It’s jam-packed with sturdy omega-3 fat. Don’t devour salmon. It’s jam-packed with PCBs and mercury. devour extra greens. They’re filled with solid antioxidants. Don’t consume extra vegetables. The insecticides provides you with melanoma. disregard your dinner jacket and wear your lab coat: try to be a dietary scientist nowadays ahead of you sit to eat—which is why we want Dr. Joe Schwarcz, the professional in connecting chemistry to way of life. In An Apple an afternoon, he’s taken his thorough wisdom of foodstuff chemistry, utilized it to today’s most sensible nutrients fears, traits, and questions, and leavened it along with his trademark lighthearted strategy. the result's either an enjoyable revelation of the miracles of technological know-how occurring in bodies whenever we chunk right into a morsel of meals, and a telling exploration of the myths, claims, and misconceptions surrounding our obsession with diets, food, and weight.Looking first at how meals impacts our health and wellbeing, Dr. Joe examines what’s in tomatoes, soy, and broccoli that may maintain us fit and the way the masses of compounds in one nutrients react after they hit bodies. Then he investigates how we control our nutrients offer, delving into the technological know-how of meals ingredients and what merits we would detect from including micro organism to convinced meals. He clears up the confusion approximately contaminants, studying every thing from pesticide residues, remnants of antibiotics, the scary trans fat, and chemical compounds that can leach from cookware. And he's taking a studied examine the technological know-how of energy and weighs in on renowned diets.

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One way or another, they come from the food we eat. It seems obvious then that the composition of our diet can affect our molecular makeup, and consequently our health. But the relationship between diet and health is not a simple one. Food is chemically very complex. An apple, for example, is composed of over 300 different compounds. A single meal can flood the body with thousands of compounds, many of which have never been isolated or identified. While nutrition is obviously an important determinant of health, it is folly to think that one can introduce something as complicated as food into something as complex as the human body and make easy predictions about the outcome.

There is no doubt that antioxidants from fruits and vegetables are an important part of our diet, but the relevance of a single food or drink having more or less of these compounds is questionable. What matters is our total antioxidant intake. On a weight basis, acai berries may have a higher concentration of antioxidants than apples, but it is certainly easier to load up on apples. However, there is another important issue. The antioxidant potential of a food is determined by a laboratory measurement.

And there is even some hope for cancer prevention. In the lab, tangeretin inhibits the growth of human mammary cancer cells, just like the widely used drug tamoxifen. In live animals, though, not only did the compound not offer protection, it neutralized tamoxifen’s inhibitory effect. It seems then that women on tamoxifen therapy should not attempt to lower their cholesterol with citrus-peel products. For others, the flavonoids found in citrus products hold potential, although the adjective “super” to describe them appears to be somewhat premature.

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