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Don’t believe everything you read

Don’t believe everything you read
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By now you’re probably familiar with antibiotics in your meat, pesticides on your produce, and the E. coli contaminating your lettuce. But even supposedly healthy foods can pack some surprises. We rounded up some food facts you won’t find on any nutrition label, and the results may forever change what, how, and where you eat.

Find out the New Year’s resolutions nutritionists will be making for 2020. 

Frozen fruit can be healthier than fresh

Frozen fruit can be healthier than fresh
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Fresh is best – most of the time. Research shows that frozen fruits are generally equal in nutrition to – and can even offer more benefits than – their fresh counterparts, says Amy Gorin, MS, RDN. One study published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry found that freezing fruit helped retain nutrients such as vitamin E and minerals such as calcium and iron. Frozen fruit makes nutritious food available to us all year long.

Learn which foods you should never eat raw. 

Some bottled dressings use the same ingredients as sunscreen

Some bottled dressings use the same ingredients as sunscreen
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Titanium dioxide is a key ingredient in sunscreen and paint, and the one responsible for their white colour. But it’s also found in many brands of store-bought salad dressings, as well as coffee creamers and icing, says Brigitte Zeitlin, RD. Fortunately, if you want to avoid it, cutting your consumption isn’t difficult. If you’re not up for reading labels on the bottled stuff, DIY salad dressing can be as simple as splashing a little olive oil and lemon juice on your greens, and you can use regular milk or cream in your coffee.

Don’t miss the 49 foods experts won’t touch – and you shouldn’t either. 

Not all wine is vegan

Not all wine is vegan
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File this under the category of inconvenient food facts: Who would ever guess that your vino might not be vegan-friendly? It’s true, says Ginger Hultin, RD, a spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. “In order to make wine clear, fining agents are used – commonly casein (a milk protein), albumin (egg white), gelatin (animal protein) and isinglass (fish bladder protein).” Although there is generally no residue from these products left in wine after processing, anyone who opposes using animal proteins in their food should seek out wine specifically labelled “vegan.”

Here are 14 more things you think are dairy-free, but aren’t. 

You’ve probably never had real wasabi

You’ve probably never had real wasabi
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Anyone who’s ever had a California roll is familiar with that little green ball of sinus-clearing spiciness. But it’s probably not authentic wasabi, which comes from the roots of the wasabi plant and is naturally green in colour, says Gorin. Most of what we eat is actually horseradish mixed with a few other ingredients, such as oil, water, and either natural or artificial colouring. Both horseradish and true wasabi come from the same Brassica family of plants that also includes broccoli and cabbage, but wasabi is difficult to grow outside of Japan, which is why you’ll only find it in a few rare places such as high-end restaurants – a considerable cost. Wasabi has a more complex flavour than horseradish, with some floral notes and some sweetness.

Why fizzy drinks won’t catch on fire

Why fizzy drinks won’t catch on fire
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Need another reason to put down the soft drink and pick up the H20? One of the more unpleasant food facts ought to motivate you: A common ingredient in fizzy drinks is brominated vegetable oil (BVO), which has been banned as a food additive in Europe. The reason? Excessive intake of bromine, one of the main chemicals in BVO, is thought to lead to memory loss and nerve damage, says Zeitlin. It’s also commonly used in flame-retardant materials.

Learn 12 things that happen to your body after you stop drinking fizzy drinks. 

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Pizza hides the salt

Pizza hides the salt

The majority of salt in the Western diet doesn’t come from a shaker. It comes from processed foods like soups and sauces and one other culprit that tends to fly under the radar: pizza. One slice can have upwards of 600 milligrams, says Hultin – that’s nearly half the sodium you need in a day.

Discover 15 things that happen to your body after you cut back on salt. 

A poor diet may affect your brain

A poor diet may affect your brain
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An Australian study published in 2015 in BMC Medicine found that people in their 60s who ate a lot of processed junk food had a smaller hippocampus – part of the brain crucial to learning and memory – than those who ate mostly fresh, whole foods. And in 2019, research published in the American Heart Association’s journal Stroke revealed a link between diet drinks and heart disease, stroke and death from all causes. Specifically, women who drank two or more diet drinks a day had a 29 percent higher chance of heart disease, a 31 percent higher chance of stroke, and 16 percent increased risk of dying earlier than women who drank the stuff less than once a week. This builds on earlier research tying diet soft drinks to Alzheimer’s disease: People who drank one or more artificially sweetened drinks per day were nearly three times more likely to develop dementia than those who drank less than one a week. Keep in mind that these types of studies can show an association between two factors but don’t prove that one caused the other.

On the plus side, here are 14 ‘bad’ foods you can now stop demonising.

Almond milk isn’t as healthy as you think

Almond milk isn’t as healthy as you think
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“I’m always baffled by people who want to avoid processed food yet drink almond milk,” says Angela Lemond, RDN and spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. “Commercial almond milk is four to five almonds, water, added vitamins, and additives to make it look like milk. It’s very man-made.” She recommends that people snack on whole almonds and drink regular cow’s milk to maximise their nutrients in the most natural way possible.

Learn which ‘healthy foods’ really aren’t. 

Your nails and jelly beans have something in common

Your nails and jelly beans have something in common
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You know that shiny, long-lasting shellac manicure you’re obsessed with? That same substance is used to give jelly beans, candy corn and other glazed lollies their shine, says Zeitlin. And that’s not even all. Shellac is actually a secretion from an insect. For a better way to satisfy your sweet tooth, join team dark chocolate – it has antioxidants and comes from the cacao plant, not a bug.

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Please be advised that due to the current lockdown in the Philippines, we hope to have the April print issue available by the middle of July, and the May, June and July issues available by the end of July, but this is dependent on when local lockdown restrictions are lifted. We sincerely apologise for this inconvenience. Thank you and stay safe!
– The Reader’s Digest team