Bacon: From Treasured Food to Feared

In 2015 the media announced that certain processed meats such as bacon and hot dogs can increase your chances of being diagnosed with colorectal cancer (Kluger 2015). This chance will increase by eighteen percent by eating six pieces of bacon or one hotdog according to the International Agency Research on Cancer (IARC). The cause is thought to be due to the nitrates that are used as preservatives in processed meats that can transform into carcinogens once entering the human body. However this is no cause to worry since even unprocessed meats can have the same effect, especially if we ingest charred parts of grilled meats.

These claims of increased risk of cancer have minimal effect. Too many other factors such as blood pressure, obesity and diet need to be taken into consideration. According to the article, scientists are disappointed with the few who “waste tax dollars to support a biased agenda of an activist group” (Kluger 2015). Cancer is also a disease that occurs over a lifetime. Placing the blame on a specific potential cause over a lifetime is a difficult correlation to make since number of factors could potentially affect the chances of being diagnosed with cancer.

The knowledge of any potential negative effects that food has on humans seems to always cause public worry. The common fact is that no matter what, everyone dies eventually so why not enjoy life while it lasts? People tend to be ruled by their fears and worries so much that it affects their lives. The simple response to the previous comment would be to suck it up and live life to the fullest in whatever way each individual views it.

 

Kluger, J., Dickstein, L., Oaklander, M., Sifferlin, A., Elliott, P., & Newton-Small, J. (2015). THE WAR ON DELICIOUS. (Cover story). Time, 186(19), 30-36

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High Fructose Corn Syrup aka “The Great Food Demon”

In 2013, high fructose corn syrup was claimed, “to be the greatest demon in the food industry” (listverse.com). These unsupported claims even went so far as to “correlate” high fructose corn syrup with the increasing rise of diabetes and obesity in the US. While high fructose corn syrup is almost twice as sweet as normal sucrose and other sugars, scientific studies have shown that high fructose corn syrup is nothing more than concentrated amounts of fructose and glucose, common sugars found in the average table sugar (skepticalraptor.com).

The only potential negative speculation is that as the human body processes high fructose corn syrup, fructose and galactose are broken down in the liver and glucose emerges as one of the by-products. Glucose is controlled by insulin, which is either defective or nonexistent in diabetics, depending on which type of diabetes one is diagnosed with. Because high fructose corn syrup is much sweeter than typical sugar, the by-product glucose from the broken down high fructose corn syrup could negatively affect diabetics as their blood sugar may spike if they are not monitoring their levels.

 

skepticalraptor.com, (2013)

http://www.skepticalraptor.com/skepticalraptorblog.php/high-fructose-corn-syrup-diabetes-myth-science/

 

listverse.com, (2015)

http://listverse.com/2015/10/02/10-ridiculous-food-scares-that-had-us-completely-fooled/

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Soy: The Gender Affecting Food?

Beginning in about 2009, soy was found to supposedly increase breast cancer due to effect of increasing estrogen levels. This increase of estrogen also was claimed to be found in males who consumed soy, making them more feminine. This scare caused people to believe that eating soy could permanently affect men’s hormones. Male bodybuilders began to worry as they began to consider the negative impacts to their “manly” bodies. Women also became concerned with soy products as the claims of increased breast cancer risk became more prominent.

However it has been found that soy has no effect on male hormones or the risk of breast cancer. In Asia, many countries consume more soy than meats and dairy. This has been a factor in correlating the life expectancy, lower rate of cancer and heart disease when compared to the United States or Europe (pcrm.org). Claims made to misrepresent soy products “have been found to use insignificant statistics, understate research that refutes anti-soy arguments, and relies on animal research studies, which are irrelevant to human health” (pcrm.org). Overall, finding a balance in different types of food is important so that all of the different nutrients the human body needs can be obtained.

 

 

pcrmg.org

http://www.pcrm.org/health/cancer-resources/ask/ask-the-expert-soy

 

 

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Atkins Diet: The Illogical Diet

 

In 2012 and years before, the Atkins diet had become a popular dieting method to lose weight by eliminating carbohydrates from a person’s diet. The thought process was that without carbohydrates for the body to burn, the body would burn fat as a secondary energy source. This form of dieting has been commonly referred to as a paleo diet, which was high in foods that could either be hunted or gathered, similar to the diet of humans about two million years ago (i.e. meats, seafood, eggs, fruits, roots). This diet eliminates complex carbohydrates that the human body needs and doesn’t factor in changes between humans two million years ago and today. “Some factors that this diet doesn’t adapt to are: pollution, stress, exercise, pollution and genetic makeup”(foodsafetynew.com).

However, not only is this diet unsustainable, it is also linked to “increasing risk of cancer, heart disease and high cholesterol and kidney damage” (foodsafetynews.com). This strategy of dieting has also misfired and instead of burning fat as a secondary energy source, more often burns muscle causing muscle loss. The lack of carbohydrates in the paleo diet is also linked to trouble with mood and performing memory related tasks as carbohydrates are also shown to be linked with chemicals in the brain that help you feel good or happy (listverse.com). Overall this method of dieting isn’t only inefficient for healthy weight loss, diets such as Atkins or other low carb diets are proven to be damaging to the human body.

 

foodsafetynews.com,(2012)

http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2012/01/dont-eat-like-a-caveman/#.Vv1UeMe4Z7Y

 

listverse.com, (2015).

http://listverse.com/2015/10/02/10-ridiculous-food-scares-that-had-us-completely-fooled/

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MSG… The Continuous Battle

Since the 1960’s MSG has been something people run from just by hearing the name. MSG is commonly found in Asian cuisine in the United States, infamously Chinese restaurants, starting the “Chinese Restaurant Syndrome” due to cold sweats and dizziness people experienced when eating out at Chinese restaurants. Monosodium glutamate, commonly known as MSG, is directly related to umami a category of taste typically referred to as savory. Umami is the taste receptor that MSG targets and has labeled MSG as a flavor enhancer. Glutamate, which is a chemical in food that often makes food taste savory, naturally occur and are intertwined with other chemicals in the food. MSG however is glutamate without the other chemicals keeping its balance in check making negative symptoms such as cold sweats, dizziness and headaches occur.

However after multiple studies and experiments tested the safety of MSG the FDA stated that, “scientists were unable to consistently correlate the symptoms of MSG, even though studies tested MSG and a placebo, involved people claiming to be sensitive to MSG” (smithsonianmag.com). The FDA also declared that only in large doses and an empty stomach could affect those who are truly sensitive to MSG.

In essence, while MSG has a negative connotation associated with the name, MSG is still a type of glutamate in which humans consume every day. The fear minor, and unpleasant side effects erupted into nationwide argument of impacts of MSG ranging from obesity to brain lesions. The fear of MSG is still present today even though it has been proven to be the direct cause of multiple claims.

 

smithsonianmag.com, (2013).

http://www.smithsonianmag.com/arts-culture/its-the-umami-stupid-why-the-truth-about-msg-is-so-easy-to-swallow-180947626/?no-ist

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