Should you eat this, or that? What should you avoid consuming at all costs, and what food scares are overblown?
Michael Jacobson, a national leader in the movement to ban unsafe additives and to require that labels on foods and beverages be honest, gives us tips on how to navigate our food choices -- for optimum safety and health.
What should the average consumer be most concerned about in her daily diet?
In terms of long-term harm to your body, the three most important concerns are:
We should be minimizing all three. Sugar and salt are not poisons that need to be totally avoided, but we’re consuming far too much of both.
What advice do you have for women who eat out a lot?
Most people have to put aside their dietary scruples when they eat out because it’s so hard to find healthy meals at a regular restaurants. People need to be demanding diners. Almost every restaurant meal is loaded with salt, calories and saturated fat. So you have to make the best of a bad situation. Sometimes you’ll find some healthy dishes like grilled fish or chicken, as well as salads, provided they’re not pre-drenched with high calorie, salty dressings. Tell the servers not to add salt to what you order, ask for whole grain bread and brown rice, and use olive oil instead of butter on your bread. You can pretty much forget about soups because they’re invariably loaded with salt.
What are the more immediate, and avoidable, food safety problems?
#1 would be germs. The main thing when you’re eating out is to make sure that the foods are thoroughly cooked. If the hamburger is rare, there’s a decent chance that bacteria is lurking in the middle of the burger. At home, we need to:
What are the most common food additives that we should all avoid in our daily diets?
Most food additives don’t pose a significant risk, although some of them can cause allergic reactions. If you suffer from hives or asthma, you should figure out if those problems might be caused by foods or additives.
For a list of which food additives are safe and which to avoid, visit CSPI.net
Michael Jacobson is the co-founder and executive director of the Center for Science in the Public Interest. He is a national leader in the movement to ban unsafe additives, require that labels on foods and beverages be honest and non-misleading and improve the safety of the food supply. Michael is also known for popularizing the phrase “junk food.”