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An Apple a Day: The Myths, Misconceptions, and Truths about the Foods We Eatby Joe Schwarcz
Synopses & Reviews
Eat salmon. It’s full of good omega-3 fats. Don’t eat salmon. It’s full of PCBs and mercury. Eat more veggies. They’re full of good antioxidants. Don’t eat more veggies. The pesticides will give you cancer. Forget your dinner jacket and put on your lab coat: you have to be a nutritional scientist these days before you sit down to eat–which is why we need Dr. Joe Schwarcz, the expert in connecting chemistry to everyday life. In An Apple a Day, he’s taken his thorough knowledge of food chemistry, applied it to today’s top food fears, trends, and questions, and leavened it with his trademark lighthearted approach. The result is both an entertaining revelation of the miracles of science happening in our bodies every time we bite into a morsel of food, and a telling exploration of the myths, claims, and misconceptions surrounding our obsession with diets, nutrition, and weight. Looking first at how food affects our health, Dr. Joe examines what’s in tomatoes, soy, and broccoli that can keep us healthy and how the hundreds of compounds in a single food react when they hit our bodies. Then he investigates how we manipulate our food supply, delving into the science of food additives and what benefits we might realize from adding bacteria to certain foods. He clears up the confusion about contaminants, examining everything from pesticide residues, remnants of antibiotics, the dreaded trans fats, and chemicals that may leach from cookware. And he takes a studied look at the science of calories and weighs in on popular diets.
About the Author
Joe Schwarcz is director of McGill University’s Office for Science and Society in Montreal. He teaches courses on nutrition and the applications of chemistry to everyday life. His informative and entertaining public lectures range from nutritional controversies to the chemistry of love. Schwarcz has received numerous awards, including the Royal Society of Canada’s McNeil Award, and is the only non-American to win the American Chemical Society’s prestigious Grady-Stack Award. He is the author of six books, including Let Them Eat Flax. He was also the chief consultant for the blockbuster titles Foods That Harm, Foods That Heal and The Healing Power of Vitamins, Minerals, and Herbs. A regular guest on Canadian television, and the host of weekly radio shows in Toronto and Montreal, Schwarcz also writes a weekly column
for The Gazette in Montreal, where he lives. Visit him at www.joeschwarcz.ca.
Table of Contents
Introduction — Part 1: Naturally Occurring Substances In Our Food Supply — Apple a day — Tomatoes and lycopene — Cranberries and procyanidins — Grapefruit and furanocoumarins — Blueberries, anthocyanins, and pterostilbene — Citrus fruits and super flavonoids — Acai berries and antioxidant potential — Fish and omega-3 fats — Flax, omega-3 fats, and lignans — Canola and alpha-linolenic acid — Olive oil and oleic acid — Soy protein and soy isoflavones — Whole grains and insoluble fiber — Oats and soluble fiber — Beans and inositol pentakisphosphate — Cabbage and indoles — Broccoli and sulforaphane — Spinach, corn, squash, and lutein — Curry and curcumin — Chocolate and flavanols — Coffee beans and caffeine — Grapes and resveratrol — Wheat and gluten — Cinnamon and methylhydroxychalcone — Vegetables and salicylic acid — Carrots and carotenoids — Vitamins from A to K — Spinach and the B vitamins — Oils, nuts, whole grains, and vitamin E — Cod liver oil and vitamin D — Milk and calcium — Part 2: Manipulating Our Food Supply — Fortifying with iron — Flavoring with salt — Enhancing taste with monosodium glutamate — Sweetening with sugar and high-fructose corn syrup — Cutting calories with "non-nutritional" natural sweeteners — Cutting calories with "non-nutritional" artificial sweeteners — Improving taste with artificial flavors — Preventing botulism with nitrites — Preserving with sulphites and propionates — Preserving with viruses — Preserving with radiation — Coloring with food dyes — Improving health with bacteria — Boosting immunity with glutathione — Adding fluoride to water — Supplementing with vitamins — Manipulating genes in our food — Farming organically — Part 3: Contaminants In Our Food Supply — Pesticide concerns — Acrylamide in fried and baked foods — Antibiotic residues — Hormones in meat — PCBs in fish — Trans fats — Benzene in beverages — Trans-4- hydroxynonenal in fried foods — Substances leaching from plastics — Bisphenol A issue — Dioxins — Part 4: Tough To Swallow — Miracle of gogi juice? — Kosher food hype — Questionable health properties of DHEA — Alkaline nonsense — Losing weight with green tea? — Myth of "detox" — Whom to believe? — Conclusion: Is there a solution to the confusion? — Index.
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