MSG—or monosodium glutamate—is a flavor enhancer used in savory foods, especially Asian foods. It contains sodium, but only a third of the amount that you’d get from the same amount of salt.
MSG also includes glutamic acid (aka glutamate), an amino acid that’s found naturally in foods like tomatoes, mushrooms and soybeans and is the source of our fifth taste—umami.
In fact, we eat about 13 grams of natural glutamate a day on average, compared to only around half a gram from MSG.
Some people say they have an MSG allergy—or that MSG gives them headaches, worsens their asthma, causes chest pain or palpitations, or causes mild mood changes or other symptoms, all of which are collectively referred to as Chinese Restaurant Syndrome (because MSG is commonly found in Asian-style meals).
Contrary to popular belief, decades of research...read full post »
There are all sorts of rumors about canola oil—so let’s sort fact from fiction.
First, you may have heard that canola oil contains high levels of the toxic compound erucic acid. Not true. “The rapeseed plant that canola oil was originally derived from does contain high levels of erucic acid, but it’s been bred out of the canola plant we get our oil from today, so levels are very low and not harmful—the FDA regulates how much is allowed (no more than 2 percent),” says Libby Mills, R.D.N., a spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. In the late 1960s, traditional plant breeding methods—not biotechnology—were used to rid rapeseed of its undesirable qualities and canola was born. Today most of our canola oil is genetically modified, which adds a certain creep factor for some people. Truth is, there’s no hard evidence that genetically...read full post »
Though the low-fat craze has come and gone, many of the beliefs we have about fat are tough to let go of.
Recent research raises new questions about fat and its role in health, particularly when it comes to saturated fat. It’s hard to know what to believe.
It’s true that fat—at 9 calories per gram—has more calories per gram than proteins or carbs (which each have just 4 calories per gram). And trans fats, mostly found in hydrogenated oils, are still considered harmful to our health.
Foods can certainly be healthy without a low-fat label, and it’s OK to embrace that fact. Fat adds flavor to foods and helps keep you full, because it takes a long time to digest. Many fats are good for you, like the heart-healthy monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats found in nuts, seeds, olives and avocados. Plus, sometimes the good kind of fat that...read full post »
Picking healthy spreads and cooking oils at the grocery store can be pretty confusing. There are many different choices out there, but which is best to pick?
We put two popular fats head to head to find out which is healthier: this or that? Is it healthier to use butter or coconut oil when it comes to fats?
The Winner: It’s a draw, actually.
They were both considered nutritional bad boys at one time for their high content of saturated fat, but both coconut oil and butter have gotten a bit of an image makeover in the past few years, as Joyce Hendley originally reported for EatingWell.
Saturated fat might not be the dietary villain it has been made out to be, according to recent research. And we’re seeing more “Butter Is Good for You” and “Coconut Oil: Super Health Food” headlines than ever. Our take on...read full post »
Popcorn and pretzels—these are two salty snacks people often reach for if they’re looking for lower-calorie options or just seeking out healthy snack ideas. And with thousands of snacks to choose from, it’s hard to know what snack food is the best pick. We put these two popular snacks head-to-head to find out: this or that? Is it popcorn or pretzels you should reach for in the snacks aisle?
The Winner: Popcorn! Popcorn triumphed over pretzels for a number of reasons, as Joyce Hendley originally reported for EatingWell.
Whole Grain: First, popcorn is 100-percent whole grain. Most Americans don’t get enough whole grains, and they provide a healthy boost of vitamins, minerals, fiber and antioxidants. Most pretzels you’ll find at the store are made with refined...read full post »