Thought for Food Blog

Five Claims about Coconut Oil Debunked

Posted by Shira Rossiter

03-Nov-2017 15:50:39

This post was originally published on The Conversation, and was written by Rosemary Stanton, a Nutritionist and Visiting Fellow from the School of Medicinal Sciences at the University of New South Wales.


Coconuts have been a valued food in tropical areas for thousands of years, traditionally enjoyed as coconut water from the centre of the coconut, coconut flesh, or coconut “milk” (made by steeping the flesh in hot water).

Solid white coconut oil (I’ll use this popular term, although technically it’s a fat not an oil) is now the darling of celebrities and bloggers, paleo enthusiasts and sellers of so-called superfoods. Claims for its supposed medical value reverberate around the internet, but how well do they stand up to scientific scrutiny?


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Topics: saturated fat, fatty acids, cardiovascular health, health, healthy eating, cholesterol, obesity, bacteria, nutrition, bone health, dieting, fibre, food research, superfoods, toxins, metabolism, diabetes

Heavy Metals in the Food Chain: Could They Be Harming Your Health?

Posted by Naomi McGrath

14-Nov-2014 15:59:00

Heavy metals are natural components of the earth’s crust; however, certain activities of mankind, such as mining and smelting, have led to them becoming concentrated in the environment, in some areas reaching potentially harmful levels. Other sources such as vehicle emissions, industrial waste and fertilizers also contribute to the accumulation of heavy metals in the soil, atmosphere and surface water.

Heavy metals can be severely detrimental to the human body, having toxic and carcinogenic effects and causing the oxidative deterioration of biological macromolecules. The various metals have been implicated in the development of many diseases, including Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes and several forms of cancer.

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Topics: rice, fish, copper, cancer, arsenic, cereals, seafood, diabetes, pregnancy, toxins, contaminants, water, cognitive function, central nervous system, omega-3, regulations and guidance, vegetables, agriculture

NASA, Space, and Food Safety

Posted by Dave Howard

29-Aug-2013 09:52:00

In his January 1961 farewell address to the nation, President Dwight D. Eisenhower worried about the tradition of ‘the solitary inventor, tinkering in his shop [being] overshadowed by task forces of scientists in laboratories and testing fields.’

NASA has certainly employed large teams of scientists and engineers to manage its complex missions; however the agency has also encouraged originality and the spark of genius that comes from passionate, individual inventors.

Both methods have resulted in remarkable technical innovations that have served to advance progress in aeronautics research, space science, space exploration and… food safety.

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Topics: food safety, pathogens, toxins, contaminants

Brain Food

Posted by Dave Howard

14-Mar-2013 10:47:00

One of the major challenges associated with an ageing global population is the increasing incidence of age-associated cognitive decline, which has significant implications for an individual's ability to lead a productive and fulfilling life.

In stark economic terms the cost of ageing reflects decreased productivity and engagement with the workforce. The maintenance of brain health underpinning undamaged cognition is a key factor to maintaining a positive, engaged, and productive lifestyle.

In light of this, the role of diet, including supplementation with nutritional and even pharmacological interventions capable of positively affecting the neurocognitive changes that occur with age constitute vital areas of research.


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Topics: fish, cancer, nutrition, fruit, oily fish, magnesium, cardiovascular health, toxins, amino acids, neuroscience, nuts, legumes

Food-Borne Botulism

Posted by Dave Howard

31-Aug-2012 11:07:00

Botulism is a rare, but potentially fatal infection caused by neurotoxins (classified A through F) produced by the anaerobic, spore-forming bacterial species Clostridium botulinum. This bacterial species is found in soil, dust, and agricultural products, such as honey, corn (maize), and beans.

The infection is predominantly caused by type A toxin (type F is most toxic, type B is least toxic), though there is also a type G toxin which is produced by a newly classified species of Clostridium – C. argentinense.

Botulinum toxin is the deadliest naturally occurring poison in the world – 500g is sufficient to kill every human being on the planet.

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Topics: food safety, bacteria, pathogens, toxins, contaminants

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