Eating processed meats regularly does increase risk for premature death. Watch Robin Miller, MD, explain how a diet with a lot processed and red meat leads to risk of heart disease, diabetes and cancer.
Find out more about this book:Rose Reisman's Secrets for Permanent Weight Loss: With 150 Delicious and Healthy Recipes for Success
Researchers at Stanford University recently released a study that questions the nutritional benefits of buying organic foods. The study found very little nutritional difference between organic and conventional produce and meat.
The researchers performed a type of study called a meta-analysis. They identified 237 different studies that compare organic foods to conventional foods and used statistics to compare the research.
The researchers found that nonorganic produce “has a 30% higher risk for pesticide contamination than organic produce.” One of the identified studies found that children who “switched to an organic diet for five days had significantly lower levels of pesticide residue in their urine.”
With regard to organic meats, the researchers concluded that there was no difference in the potential for bad bacteria contamination. However, because many conventional meats come from animals that were fed antibiotics, some studies did find higher levels of antibiotic-resistant bacteria in conventional meats.
Organic foods tend to contain fewer pesticides than non-organic foods, but that doesn't mean they're always pesticide-free. In this video, pediatrician and Dr. Oz Show guest Alan Greene, MD, explains why.
When it comes to mercury, tuna is pretty close to the middle of the road, actually, with a mercury concentration ranging from 0.12 to 0.69 parts per million, depending on what kind of tuna you eat. And you'll need to eat anywhere from 3.5-12 ounces to get one gram of omega-3 fatty acids, depending on how you take your tuna. Fresh tuna has the most and canned chunk light tuna has the least. But chunk light tuna also has the least mercury.
Think twice about food coloring. One study shows that six artificial dyes may influence the hyperactivity and attention spans of some sensitive kids. Steer clear of Yellow #5, Yellow #6, Red #3, Red #40, Blue #1, Blue #2, Green #3, and Orange B on ingredient labels. We like food that looks like it did when it came from the ground.
Adding growth hormones to beef and milk nudges a consumer's cancer risk upward. Growth hormones have been banned in Europe since 1989, but in the United States, about 60% of cattle get them. These days, you can buy dairy products from cows that received no growth hormones. When it comes to meat, look for cuts labeled "no hormones administered" or "certified organic." By the way, chicken and pork are raised without growth hormones, so don't pay extra for a label saying so!
Careful cooking kills off bacteria in meat, poultry, and fish, but handling the raw stuff raises your risk of coming in contact with antibiotic-resistant bacteria. In one study, half of the beef, chicken, pork, and turkey in supermarkets was infected with strains of the methicillin-resistant superbug Staphylococcus aureus, so choose cuts labeled "no antibiotics added" or pick certified organic foods, such as meats, poultry, and wild fish. It's true that eating clean and buying organic costs more, but you can save money -- and your health -- by pairing smaller portions of clean meat with veggies, beans, and grains. Or, skip the red meat entirely and dine on antibiotic-free fish, skinless chicken, or a meatless alternative. Cutting out meat is great for most people (lower odds for heart disease and cancer), as long as they get essential proteins, vitamins, and some good fats from supplements.
Does the news that every year 16 million pounds of antibiotics are fed to chickens, pigs, cows, and fish that end up on your plate have you worried? If so, you're not alone. Many surveys report that food safety is a big concern for North Americans.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) requested that livestock producers cut back on low-dose antibiotics routinely added to the feed of chickens, pigs, and beef cattle. These antibiotics promote faster growth, but this dangerous practice also promotes the development of antibiotic-resistant superbugs that infect about 1.4 million people each year and kill at least 63,000 in North America.
The FDA's stand is a start, but is it tough enough? We think an outright ban (the kind the European Union's had in place since the 1990s) is a better way to at least partially close the door on antibiotic-resistant bacteria and start eating clean. True, feeding animals antibiotics isn't the only reason for the rise of superbugs (overuse of antibiotics in humans, such as using antibiotics to treat a sinus infection caused by a virus, is part of the problem), but antibiotics fed to livestock are significant troublemakers.
This questionable use of antibiotics in the food chain is one aspect of the food pollution problem. Growth hormones, artificial dyes, and pesticides may be lurking in your food, too. Also, label claims, such as "all natural," don't necessarily rule out the worst offenders.