An Apple A Day

An Apple A Day

The Myths, Misconceptions, and Truths About the Foods We Eat

Book - 2009
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Publisher: New York : Other Press, c2009.
ISBN: 9781590513118
Call Number: 363.8 SCHWARCZ
Characteristics: ix, 354 p. ; 24 cm
Subjects: Food additives.


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ksoles May 19, 2011

Oddly enough for an arts major, one of my favourite classes at McGill was a chemistry elective: The World of Chemistry - Food. The course focused on food science and included lectures on artificial sweeteners, chocolate, cholesterol and much more. I found it fascinating, especially since the three co-professors seemed so engaged in the material and so eager to pass on their knowledge. One such prof, Dr. Joe Schwarcz, recently gave a lecture at UVic, which Jean and I attended and thoroughly enjoyed. An Apple A Day is Dr. Schwarcz's most recent book; it aims to dispel nutrition myths, to offset fear-mongering (think BPAs, GMOs etc), and to generally preach "informed common sense."

"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." This is the kind of contradictory information that bombards consumers/newspaper readers everyday. And it demonstrates why we need Joe Schwarcz! First describing how food affects human health, his book examines the compounds in tomatoes, soy, broccoli etc. that, though not panaceas, can help maintain health. Then Dr. Schwarcz investigates how corporations manipulate our food supply, delving into the science of food additives and exploring how we might benefit from adding bacteria to certain foods. He sheds light on contaminants, examining everything from pesticide residues to remnants of antibiotics to trans fats to toxins that may leach into food from cookware. Finally, he takes a studied look at calorie consumption and debunks the "science" behind popular diets.

This is an amazing book for anyone concerned about nutrition who feels overwhelmed by conflicting media reports and manipulated by advertising. Dr. Schwarcz presents sound evidence and facts in a scientific (but not too scientific), lighthearted manner, reminding us that "science can never guarantee safety, it can only demonstrate harm." Check out his office's website too:

Amandatoryrant May 03, 2011

I expected some overarching narrative to tie the information together but it is a series of 2 -3 page essays. A resource to debunk myths and answer questions if you don't care to read scientific studies, but not a book to "read".


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