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Myths & Truths

Harmful or Harmless: Guar Gum, Locust Bean Gum, and More

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So far in this series on additives, I’ve discussed magnesium stearate, soy lecithin, carrageenan, and xanthan gum. These are the most common food additives found in processed foods, especially in processed “health” foods, and many health conscious shoppers have been unnecessarily concerned about avoiding some of the less harmful substances I covered in this series. In this final installment, I’ll review an assortment of gums that are often found either alongside or replacing xanthan gum and… Read More

Harmful or Harmless: Xanthan Gum

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I hope everyone had a wonderful and delicious Thanksgiving! Today, I’m continuing my series on common food additives. Last time, I discussed the health effects of carrageenan, a food additive that is commonly used as a stabilizer, thickener, or emulsifier. Another additive that shares many of these functions in commercial foods is xanthan gum, which is also popular in gluten-free baked goods for the elasticity it lends to dough. Although it isn’t as heavily discussed… Read More

Harmful or Harmless: Magnesium Stearate

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One of the benefits of ancestral eating is that you avoid potentially harmful food additives like artificial colors, MSG, and artificial sweeteners. But even on a Paleo diet, it can be hard to avoid some fillers, thickeners, and additives. In fact, many common Paleo foods contain more additives than their Neolithic counterparts! For instance, commercial nut milks and coconut milk often contain thickeners like gums or carrageenan, while your run-of-the-mill grocery store whole cow’s milk… Read More

Fukushima Radiation: Is It Still Safe To Eat Fish?

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I’ve received several questions over the past few months about whether my recommendations for fish consumption (one pound of cold-water, fatty fish per week) have changed since the Fukushima disaster. You may have seen reports in the media about the discovery of radioactive isotopes (cesium-134 and cesium-137) in Pacific bluefin tuna that migrated from Japan to California waters. (1) This was covered by more than a thousand newspapers worldwide and several thousand internet, television and… Read More

Does Dairy Cause Osteoporosis?

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I do a lot of myth-busting around here, and it’s usually conventional wisdom that crumbles in the face of scientific evidence. But this time I’m actually siding with conventional wisdom, and busting a myth that’s common in the alternative health community. I addressed this topic in-depth on a recent podcast, but it’s such a common question that I decided to write an article on it for easy reference. The myth in question is the idea… Read More

The Acid-Alkaline Myth: Part 2

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In Part 1 of this series, I talked about why the basic premise of the acid-alkaline theory is flawed, and I showed that the evidence doesn’t support the idea that a net acid-forming diet is harmful to bone health. Now I want to look at the effect of dietary acid load on other health conditions. Can the acidity or alkalinity of your diet affect your risk for muscle loss, cancer, and more?  Muscle Wasting There… Read More