WE ALL WANT to make
the right choices when it
comes to nutrition, but
there is a great deal of contradictory information. O ne day
something is good for us. The next day it’s
Dr. Joe Schwarcz, media personality,
McGill University professor and Costco member, wants to help people cut through the
complicated, often conflicting information.
His book An Apple a Day: The Myths,
Misconceptions and Outright Exaggerations
About Diet, Nutrition and the Foods We Eat
(HarperCollins Canada, 2007), available at
select Costco locations, combines a thorough
knowledge of food chemistry with a light-hearted style to separate sense from nons ense
and reveal the best approaches to a good diet.
When confronted with the clutter of
information and misinformation, Schwarcz
says, you need to ask yourself, “Is what is
being said based on peer-reviewed scientific
literature? Is the author affiliated with a
reputable institution? Does the author stand
to gain financially by promoting the sales of
some special product?”
For instance, says Schwarcz, the theory
behind detox diets—the periodic purging of
toxins from the body—is an example of an
over-hyped myth, and can actually result in
On the other hand, Schwarcz says, the following is incontrovertible diet evidence up on
which you can rely:
• Eat lots of fruits, berries and vegetables,
at least seven servings a day. Wash them well
and don’t fret about whether they have been
organically or conventionally grown. Look for
variety—the more colours, the better.
• Eat fish a couple of times a week, st
aying mindful of the fact that women of child-bearing age and young children need to limit
intake of species such as swordfish and tuna
that are known to be high in mercury.
• Minimize processed foods, particularly
those that are high in salt and hydrogenated fat.
• Low-fat dairy products are a great source
of calcium and should be included in the diet.
• Green tea is a great beverage, but there
is no problem with coffee.
• Nuts are excellent snacks.
• Use canola or olive oil, but avoid frequent frying or barbecuing.
• Dark chocolate is a better dessert than
• One alcoholic beverage a day is fine.
• Balance overall calorie intake with
energy expenditure (exercise).
—T. Foster Jones
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