In order to shed some light on a variety of nutrition facts, the following list details a few food "need to know" tips that just might surprise you!
1. Go al dente - Cooking your pasta al dente lowers the glycemic index by slowing the rate at which it is absorbed into the bloodstream. Simply cook your pasta for 3-4 minutes so it still has a "chewy" texture. Avoid cooking your noodles until they are soft, mushy and swollen. . As a general rule, a diet with lower glycemic index foods tends to be associated with a healthy and normal body weight.
2. “Light tuna” has less mercury than "white tuna" – White tuna is made from the albacore species while light tuna is typically made from skipjack tuna. When comparing mercury levels, the FDA reports that white tuna can have as much as three times higher levels of mercury than white tuna. The reason for this is that albacore tuna is a larger and older fish vs. types used for light tuna, and has accumulated more mercury over its longer lifespan.
3. Peanuts are not nuts – Contrary to what the name implies, peanuts are actually not true nuts. In fact, peanuts are a member of a family of legumes related to peas, lentils, chickpeas and other beans.
Page 1 of 3 - Learn about trans fats on page 2!
4. Trans fat–free foods may still contain trans fats – Trans fat–free foods refers to foods that contain less than 0.5 grams of trans fats per serving. Keep an eye on serving size if a food label does list trans fat free on its packaging. If you consume more than one serving, your trans fats levels can add up fairly quickly.
5. Chocolate may lower blood pressure – Yes, chocolate lovers, we can all rejoice in this news. A recent study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association showed that eating half an ounce of dark chocolate per day was associated with lower blood pressure without weight gain or other adverse effects. The positive effects were not found on white or milk chocolate.
6. White tea has higher amounts of antioxidants than green tea – Black, green and white tea are all made from the same plant (the Camellia sinensis plant), although they have undergone different processing. White tea does not have the same "grassy" taste as green tea, and contains more of a light, sweet flavor. In terms of health, white tea has been shown to contain even greater antioxidant capacity than green tea, and studies have shown white tea to have a potent antibacterial and antiviral effect
7. White meat and dark meat are fairly even in fat and calories – Meat is darker if it contains a higher level of myoglobin – a compound that transports oxygen to a muscle. Thus, chicken and turkey legs tend to be darker than a breast of meat. While many people select white meat over dark meat because of its lower caloric content, the US Department of Agriculture states an ounce of boneless, skinless turkey breast contains about 46 calories and 1 gram of fat, compared with roughly 50 calories and 2 grams of fat for an ounce of boneless, skinless thigh. Dark meat also has more iron, zinc, riboflavin, thiamine and vitamins B6 and B12. In a nutshell, both are good options.
Page 2 of 3 - Find out which foods contain high amounts of herbicide and pesticide on page 3
8. Certain fruits and vegetables contain more herbicide and pesticide residue in comparison to other – According to the Environmental Working Group, the following are the top 12 most contaminated fruits and vegetables
• Bell peppers
• Imported grapes
• Red raspberries
The 12 least contaminated fruits and veggies are:
• Corn (sweet)
• Peas (sweet)
Don’t be intimidated by the sheer volume of nutritional information you are constantly bombarded with. Simply learning a few key facts about nutrition can go a long way when it comes to your overall health and wellness.
Page 3 of 3
Dr. Joey Shulman DC, RNCP, is the founder of Shulman Weight Loss Clinic and the author of Healthy Sin Foods (Penguin, 2009). For more information, please visit drjoey.com.