Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Eat Safe

Eat Safe. Bill Statham. Recommended.

I found this book while perusing the new arrivals at the library, and it seems to be quite a good reference. As suggested by In Defense of Food, we should probably only eat foods that have a minimal amount of processing, and we should be able to pronounce and understand all the ingredients. If you've spent much time looking at labels, this can be a daunting task. Certain additives may sound horrible, yet be perfectly safe...and vice versa.

The book lists hundreds of ingredients and gives each a ranking - beneficial ones get two smiley faces, down the scale to two sad faces for dangerous substances. The entire list is also color coded (red, yellow and green) for quick reference. In addition to the rankings, there is a column for function, potential effects, food uses, and other uses.

I would recommend this guidebook for a quick reference, but with some caveats. Food science and medical advice changes over time, so the recommendations may not hold up as research advances. Also, certain substances affect people in different ways, so some "safe" ingredients may be dangerous for a small minority of the population. Overall, however, the book seems well researched and very comprehensive.

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