Sieving through food myths


  • Health
  • Sunday, 16 Feb 2003

By SEE YEE AI

WANT to find out more about common food myths and their real facts? While the Internet is guilty of being a major perpetuator of many food myths, there are sites that offer sound, unbiased scientific information as well. 

Here is a list of sites that have further information on the 10 common food myths listed in the previous story. Most of these sites are based in the United States. Unfortunately, there are not many Malaysian sites that offer detailed information about food safety and health.  

One quick pointer: credible websites usually don’t have anything to sell nor quick fixes or miracle cures to offer. Also, contrary to what you may have read, government sites are still among the most credible.  

Finally, eating healthy doesn’t involve expensive supplements or demonising any single food product. 

1. The American Dietetic Association’s website, www.eatright.org, is a good place to start arming yourself with facts on food and health. The site contains lots of fact sheets on topics like fats and oils, diets, food safety, health frauds, etc.  

2. The US Food and Drug Administration’s Centre for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition site, http://vm.cfsan.fda.gov. From food bugs to biotechnology, the CFSAN site offers resources on food and nutrition issues to satisfy the most safety-obsessed foodie. 

3. The US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention’s food-borne illnesses site, http://www.cdc.gov/health/foodill.htm has an encyclopaedic listing of food-borne illnesses and how you can avoid them. 

4. The Nutrition Society of Malaysia’s website, www.nutriweb.org.my is one of the few local websites that offers impartial advice on food and nutrition. The website contains an excellent food database that gives you the approximate nutritional composition of common Malaysian foods. For example, I found out that a plate of fried kway teow has about 321 calories and 15.5g of fat! 

5. The information on the issue of pesticides and organic farming came from the British Food Standards Agency website, http://www.foodstandards.gov.uk/, which also contains a wealth of information on foods. 

6. Its US counterpart, www.foodsafety.gov, offers advice on how to reduce or eliminate food borne illnesses and warnings on the consumption of various types of raw and uncooked foods. 

7. The American Cancer Society’s website, www.cancer.org, gives you the facts on the link between diet and cancer, how to prevent cancer and treatment options. 

8. To verify dubious health claims, check out www.quackwatch.org, a website dedicated to combating health-related frauds, myths, fads and fallacies. The site has various sections, among them nutrition, multi-level marketing, chiropractic and other health-related issues.

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