Please consider your answers to these nutrition questions. My answers follow.
1) Which raises blood pressure more, spicy food or salty food?
2) Are artificial sweeteners more dangerous than sugar?
3) Is honey healthier than sugar?
4) Will cutting out high-cholesterol foods, like shrimp and egg yolks, lower cholesterol?
5) Is diabetes caused by eating sugar?
6) Do diet sodas rot your teeth?
7) Does soymilk help for hot flashes in menopause?
8) Do dark sodas like colas increase triglycerides (fats) in the blood?
9) To lose weight, does it help to eat whole wheat instead of white bread?
10) Should we be concerned about dihydrogen monoxide contamination in food?
Which raises blood pressure more, spicy food or salty food? Spicy food has no effect on blood pressure. Salt, which has the chemical name “sodium chloride,” and sodium in any form, can raise blood pressure. Monosodium glutamate, or MSG, which is often added to restaurant foods as a taste enhancer, is an example of sodium in a non-salty form. Sodium raises blood pressure because increased sodium in the blood must be diluted by drawing more water into the blood. This increases the amount of fluid in the blood vessels, increasing the blood pressure. No other spices or flavorings have this effect. People with high blood pressure should eat spicy food if they enjoy it, as long as it is low in sodium.
Are artificial sweeteners more dangerous than sugar? There is no scientific evidence to support this common belief. Artificial sweeteners are definitely healthier than sugar for the two-thirds of American adults who are overweight.
Is honey healthier than sugar? Honey is a liquid form of sugar with added pollen and bee secretions. Honey is no better or worse for people than any other form of sugar. The exception to this is that children under one year old can get botulism, a form of paralysis, from bacterial spores found in honey. Children under one year should not have even a taste of honey or food prepared with honey.
Will cutting out high-cholesterol foods, like shrimp and egg yolks, lower my cholesterol? It’s more important to cut back on fried and other high-fat foods. Most cholesterol is made from fat in food, not from the cholesterol we eat.
Is diabetes caused by eating sugar? Not really. Adult-onset diabetes is a genetic (inborn) trait that is caused by loss of sensitivity to insulin. This loss of sensitivity is also called “insulin resistance.” Insulin resistance gets worse as body fat increases. It doesn’t matter what kind of food contributes the calories that cause weight gain: fats, sugars, proteins and organic goat cheese can all cause weight gain if you eat a large enough amount.
Do diet sodas rot your teeth? Carbonation in fizzy beverages can cause some damage to tooth enamel. This effect is the same, whether the soda is diet or sugared. The damage from carbonation is small compared to the tooth decay caused by sugar. Brush your teeth!
Can soymilk stop hot flashes in menopause? Yes, some women find soy helps control hot flashes. Soymilk is also a good source of low-fat protein and calcium, so you can’t go wrong by trying it.
Do dark sodas raise triglycerides (fats) in the blood? No. There is no basis for this myth.
When trying to lose weight, does it help to eat whole wheat instead of white bread? A slice of whole wheat bread has just as many calories as a slice of white bread. There are other good reasons to eat high fiber foods, but do not expect whole wheat bread to help you lose weight.
Should we be concerned about dihydrogen monoxide contamination in food? No. Dihydrogen monoxide is water (H2O.)
Don’t be taken in by fake nutrition or pseudo-science!
- Eva Hersh is a family physician. Send your comments and questions to her by email at email@example.com