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April 24, 2015 - 12:20pm

Listen up. I have a secret to share, one that I rarely admit. I really like hot dogs. So when I first discovered uncured hot dogs (also labeled “no nitrates or nitrites added”), I immediately bought them.

Nitrates and nitrites are key in hot dogs and other cured meats like ham and bacon: they prevent spoilage and block the growth of the bacterium that causes botulism (a foodborne illness). They’re types of salts, with nitrates naturally found in many vegetables and converted to nitrites in your body—or in the lab. But I also knew the preservatives are believed to be associated with a higher risk of colorectal cancer.

So these uncured dogs were the healthier choice, right? Turns out most uncured meats still have nitrates/nitrites in them—they just come from a natural source like celery powder. They’re labeled “uncured” and “no nitrates or...

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February 25, 2015 - 12:29pm

Every five years, the USDA releases the Dietary Guidelines for Americans (aka what we all should be eating).

In advance of the official release, an advisory committee publishes its suggestions for what should become the Dietary Guidelines. That report came out last week.

Although some vociferous voices have criticized the guidelines, well-respected, highly credentialed nutrition experts have also applauded them (see here, here and here).

I’...

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February 18, 2015 - 4:36pm

The concern started in 2012 when Consumer Reports published its first report on arsenic in rice. Since then, it’s been making us think twice about too much risotto and sushi rolls.

Arsenic is a natural element in water and soil. (It also comes from environmental contaminants.) And while many foods we eat contain some arsenic (from apple juice and beer to chicken), the concentration of arsenic tends to be higher in rice because rice absorbs it more readily than other plants do.

“Arsenic is held tight in soil by iron oxide, but in flooded paddy soil [where rice is grown] these iron oxides dissolve, releasing arsenic into the water, making it more available to plants,” says Brian Jackson, Ph.D., associate research professor at Dartmouth College.

Long-term exposure to high levels of arsenic is associated with skin, bladder and lung...

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February 18, 2015 - 9:12am

Granola’s health halo can be well deserved; after all, it’s made with whole oats, nuts and dried fruit and most brands have 3 grams of fiber per ¼-cup serving. But they can be high in sugar and calories. Here’s how to pick the healthiest and tastiest.

Sugar Smarts: Almost all granolas have some sugar—it’s one reason they’re so yummy. Look for one with no more than 6 grams per ¼ cup.

Don't Miss: DIY Homemade Granola Ideas

Check the Calories: Granolas pack around 100-130 calories in a small 1/4-cup serving. That’s about twice what you’ll find in many cereals. So keep serving size in mind and try just a bit of granola on top of yogurt or ricotta with lots of fruit....

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February 17, 2015 - 9:45am

I’ve had countless friends ask me if they should “go Paleo” and while I don’t recommend the diet as a whole (read more about the pros and cons here), there are certainly some healthy principles that we all can borrow from the popular plan.

The Paleo Diet is based on eating like our ancestors ate, back when they were still hunting and gathering. It eliminates foods that weren’t around back then, which makes sense since we’ve certainly taken some steps in the wrong direction in the past many thousand years when it comes to the foods we eat. (I’m looking at you, neon-orange cheese powder and doughnut cheeseburgers.)

With that in mind, here are 5 Paleo Diet principles worth following to help you eat better in our modern world.

Cut...

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