When it comes to popular notions about food and health, Jane E. Brody wants you to know that a lot of the information disseminated doesn’t tell the whole story. She shares some interesting points to consider from Joe Schwarcz, director of the Office for Science and Society at McGill University in Montreal.

  • Cured meats. Don’t think your meats are completely nitrite free just because they are uncured. Schwarcz indicates that “organic processed meats labeled ‘uncured’ may be preserved with highly concentrated, nitrate-rich celery juice treated with a bacterial culture that produces nitrites.”
  • Meat glue. Despite what it sounds like, there’s no need to fear meat glue, often used in avant-garde cooking—it is a type of enzyme that “breaks down like any protein into its component amino acids in our digestive tracts.”
  • Trans fat. There are good and bad trans fats. Good trans fat can be beneficial to your immune systems, and they can help to reduce high blood pressure and inflammation.
  • Organic. Before you buy into the health claims of organic and natural food, it wouldn’t hurt to question its production, nutritional value, and whether it was genetically modified.
  • Farmed salmon. The salmon you’re eating is likely farmed, and while potential pollutants can be a concern, the naturally occurring dye used to color farmed salmon should not be. It is “antioxidant found naturally in algae, and it is carried up the food chain to give wild salmon its color, too.”
  • Nuts. A regular intake of nut and nut butters might be beneficial for your waistline: “Research has shown that people who regularly eat nuts and nut butters in normal amounts weigh less, on average, than nut avoiders.”

[via The New York Times]