Reading List: 12 Dangerous Supplements, Gulf Seafood Safety and Wine-Fed Cows

by in Food News, August 6, 2010

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In this week’s nutrition news: Healthy foods that can be deadly, Gulf seafood deemed safe to eat and study finds dorm food bad for the waistline.

Healthy Foods That Are Dangerous
I have taught food safety for many years and one topic that shocks many students is the fact that certain foods can be deadly—even healthy foods. Some of these dangerous foods include apricot seeds, “green” potatoes, uncooked red kidney beans and rhubarb leaves. Many of my students were shocked to learn that red kidney beans are toxic—but it’s only when they’re raw. My colleague Kyle Shadix, RD (who I taught with for many years) explains how you can eat these foods safely.

Is Gulf Seafood Safe?
A few weeks after the massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, the FDA deemed seafood safe to eat. But local residents aren’t bringing home the fish just yet. Seems inspectors have been using “smell tests” to determine if the seafood is safe—meaning, sniffing for chemical odors. The FDA claims these smell tests turned up barely detectible levels of toxic substances. But many are demanding that more thorough testing be done before declaring it safe.

TELL US: Would you eat seafood from the Gulf of Mexico?

Dorms with Cafeterias Are Worse For Waistline
We’ve all heard of the start-of-college “Freshman 15,” but a new study found that an in-house dining hall hurts waistlines even more.  Sure, you can eat breakfast in your PJs, but the Journal of Adolescent Health study found that females with in-dorm cafes weighed almost 2 pounds more and exercise 1.43 times fewer than those who had to walk further for food.  Men ate 1.5 more meals and almost 3 additional snacks per day when the dining hall was in house. The study concluded that location does matter, even when it comes to health.

Wine-Fed Cows
The things folks will do for some good red meat!  I’ve heard of kobe beef where cows are massaged, but on this farm in Kelowna, Canada the cows are given wine regularly. They’re called Sezmu meats (after the Egyptian God of wine), where the wine is given to help relax the cow. These bovines spend 90 percent of their final days sipping on wine — about a liter a day. These cows are free-range, medication-free, hormone-free and purchased locally—and if they’re given wine to help them relax, I’m all for it.

Dangerous Supplement Ingredients
Many of my clients and friends are popping supplements. Hopefully, they’ll read this Consumer Report before taking that next pill. The report found 12 common supplement ingredients (including those that claim to enhance bedroom performance, increase athletic abilities or slim down waistlines) can actually harm your heart, kidneys or liver. Some of the ingredients mentioned include bitter orange, coltsfoot, country mallow, kava and lobelia. Although warnings have been put out for some of the listed ingredients, Consumer Reports argued that the FDA has not used its authority to ban them.

Toby Amidor, MS, RD, CDN, is a registered dietitian and consultant who specializes in food safety and culinary nutrition. See Toby’s full bio »

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Comments (6)

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