Bananas have almost gone extinct because of pesky pests. Thanks to biotechnology, the future of bananas isn't bananas.
Freezing is a natural way to keep food safe by preventing microorganisms from growing and by slowing down the enzyme activity that causes food to spoil. Frozen fruits and vegetables can be as healthy as their fresh counterparts.
MSG is created when sodium and glutamate (an amino acid that is found in both plant and animal proteins) are combined. It is naturally occurring in tomatoes, Parmesan cheese, walnuts, sardines, mushrooms, clams, meat and asparagus. MSG is also approved by the FDA to use as a flavoring component in foods to bring out savory, umami flavors.
Bacteria surround us. But there are good bacteria, too! Bacteria found in cultured foods like yogurt are called probiotics and may support gut health.
Beta-carotene is an antioxidant found in many different fruits and vegetables. Try steaming or lightly cooking these veggies to release this antioxidant.
30% of food produced is wasted, impacting our environment. Canned, dried and frozen foods help reduce waste.
Docosahexaenoic acid is the scientific name for an important omega-3 fatty acid, a type of unsaturated fat. Omega-3s support heart health and are found in foods like salmon, sardines, chia and flax seeds, walnuts and canola and soybean oils.
Food labels provide a great deal of important information. However, if there are many ingredients listed on a label, it doesn’t mean that you should automatically avoid it. Sometimes, foods are enriched with macro and micronutrients to improve freshness, quality and nutrition.
Megan Meyer, PhD
Director, Science Communications
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Vegans may have a difficult time getting enough daily protein and other essential vitamins and minerals. Tofu is a plant-based, protein-rich food that is created by soaking, mashing and processing soybeans. It is a good option to help vegans meet their nutrient needs.
Allison Webster, PhD, RD
Associate Director, Nutrition Communications
"Too many of us are frustrated by conflicting information and advice about what to eat or avoid. My mission is to make nutrition science approachable to everyone."
Saccharomyces cerevisiae is a common leavening ingredient used in breads and baked goods. In the dough, Saccharomyces cerevisiae breaks down sugars and produces carbon dioxide gas, which helps the dough to rise and produces a fluffy final product.
Individuals with celiac disease should not consume gluten, a protein found in wheat, rye and barley. Thanks to modern food production technology, nutritious and gluten-free options of many common foods are available for those who need to follow a gluten-free diet.
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Director, Food Technology Communications
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The 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend limiting saturated fat intake to less than 10 percent of total calories and replacing saturated fat with unsaturated fats. Vegetable oils such as canola and olive oil are heart-healthy options that contain unsaturated fats and other micronutrients.
Alyssa Ardolino, RD
Coordinator, Nutrition Communications
"Debunking fad diets is my jam. I’m passionate about improving people’s relationship with food so they can eat satisfying and healthy meals without fear."
Although vitamin E supports metabolism, heart health and immunity, this micronutrient is also commonly used as a preservative to extend the shelf-life of processed foods. When added to foods, vitamin E is listed as alpha-tocopherol.
Fortification of the U.S. food supply began in the early 20th century to combat a variety of nutritional deficiencies and conditions. This type of food processing has prevented many diseases and conditions such as goiter, neural tube defects and rickets.
The world’s population is projected to reach 9 billion by 2050, and the food supply must be able to meet these needs. Through modern farming practices, including GMOs and precision agriculture, the food supply will be better equipped to feed a growing global population.
Xanthan gum is a common ingredient used in sauces, dressings, beverages, yogurt and other foods. It can replace some of the fat in foods, while maintaining a smooth and creamy texture.
Yeasts like Sacchoromyces cerevisiae have been used for millennia as a way to create more airy breads and baked goods. Yeasts are also common in many fermented beverages and foods such as kefir, kombucha and semi-soft ripened cheeses.
Kris Sollid, RD
Senior Director, Nutrition Communications
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Information about the food we eat surrounds us, yet much of it is low on evidence and high on hype. To help counter this misinformation, our team of self-proclaimed “food nerds” is focused on the facts. We cut through the clutter, sharing the science behind the food that lands in our carts, homes and bellies.
It’s no secret that some processed foods are calorie-dense and contain greater amounts of sugar, salt and fats than are recommended. Overconsumption of these foods in our diets can increase our risk of chronic disease including diabetes and obesity.
But science also shows us that modern food production and processing techniques contribute to the availability of safe, affordable, nutrient-dense and healthful foods. So the next time you encounter something about a food that makes you pause, process the science behind it!