Quinn on Nutrition: Real Food Isn’t Scary


The Indiana RS reader writes:

“Hello Beard,

As a retired home economics teacher, I always enjoy reading your column. I have always peeled the skins of apples because of my concerns about the chemicals used to spray apples. Should I be worried about this or am I being too careful? “

You could be overly cautious and missing out on some health benefits. As I mentioned in a previous column, most of the healthy ingredients in fresh apples, including dietary fiber and antioxidant compounds, are found in or near the skin of an apple.

According to experts who recently attended the Facts, Not Fear Farm Tour in the apple-growing region of the Pacific Northwest, all apples – those grown organically and conventionally – are safe to eat with the peels on. . This is because improved farming methods over the past few decades have dramatically reduced the use of many pesticides.

According to the Alliance for Food and Farming’s pesticide calculator (safefruitsandveggies.com), a woman could eat 850 apples in a day with no effect of pesticide residues on her health, even if the apple had the most pesticide residue ever registered on apples by the United States Department of Agriculture.

Again, just be sure to wash your hands with soap and water and your apples with plain water before biting into this healthy food.

On another topic: I tend to go bonkers for anything pumpkin-related this time of year. So I was intrigued to receive a sample of a plant-based, vegan, and pumpkin version of marshmallows. This product is also non-GMO, certified kosher, no artificial flavors or colors, no corn syrup, no gelatin, and no gluten, and it is free from common allergens: wheat, dairy, eggs, corn, peanuts and tree nuts.

Which made me wonder: what’s in vegan marshmallows? I took a look at the label: tapioca syrup, cane sugar, filtered water, tapioca starch, carrageenan (an extract of seaweed), soy protein, natural flavors and annatto (a food coloring made from the seeds. achiote).

Typical marshmallows are made with four basic ingredients, food scientists say – sugar, corn syrup and gelatin plus a little air. Some manufacturers add natural and artificial flavors and colors as well as tetrasodium pyrophosphate (TSPP), a food additive used in other products such as meat substitutes and toothpaste.

It is gelatin that makes most marshmallows non-vegan, that is, without animal products.

Gelatin is made with the protein collagen, an animal by-product.

Interestingly, there isn’t much of a nutritional difference between vegan and regular marshmallow varieties. They are both mostly sugar (about 6 teaspoons) and contain 100 calories per serving of 18 miniature marshmallows.

What do I think? Marshmallows aren’t exactly a healthy food, but strict vegans who love marshmallows may appreciate this special variety. (They cost twice as much as regular marshmallows.) I think my grandkids would love either type in their hot chocolate.

Barbara Quinn-Intermill is a Registered Dietitian and Certified Diabetes Educator affiliated with the Monterey Peninsula Community Hospital. She is the author of “Quinn-Essential Nutrition” (Westbow Press, 2015). Email him at [email protected] Essentialnutrition.com.

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