As Americans, we’re afforded access to healthy cuisines and the privilege of shaping our personal diets. But when it comes to the food on our plates, we might not know as much as we think we do.
Many of our eating habits are based on outdated facts and outright myths, and FOX Business’ John Stossel is de-bunking some of the most prevalent. On the upcoming edition of "Stossel" airing this Thursday at 9 p.m. ET on the FOX Business Network, he interviews top industry professionals to get the inside scoop on everything from "pink slime" to zebra meat.
Here’s a preview of what he found:
MYTH: “Pink slime” in beef is disgusting!TRUTH: What some media outlets call “pink slime” is perfectly safe.
Why? “Because it’s just meat,” says Stossel. “It's made from the meat that clings to the bones — the parts that the meat cutters missed.” In addition, it's treated with ammonia (as meat often is), he adds, so that pathogens are killed.
Still not convinced? Stossel reports that ammonia treatment is safe, USDA-approved, and is used in ketchup and mustard even more than in beef. Also, there are no reported cases of these lean beef trimmings causing food poisoning.
MYTH: The government knows what foods are healthy, and we should listen to them when they tell us what to eat.TRUTH: The government’s food pyramid was based on bad, outdated science.
The recommendations that led to the government's "food pyramid" were based "primarily on research from a single Harvard nutritionist," says Stossel. They "called for more carbohydrates and less fat."
Michelle Obama replaced the outdated food pyramid with, "My Plate," which Stossel calls an improvement, but says its recommendations are nothing more than a reasonable guess made with the best available knowledge. "Just don’t treat it as absolute truth," he cautions.
MYTH: Government rules and regulations keep us safe from food poisoning.TRUTH: Competition keeps us safer than government ever could. Companies work hard to protect their reputations.
“Fear of getting a bad reputation makes food producers even more careful than government requires them to be,” Stossel explains. “Ask Jack in the Box. They lost millions after a food poisoning scandal.”
Even though he admits that none of us can be kept safe all the time, Stossel says he would “trust the market more than the government any day of the week.”
MYTH: People need government to “nudge” us into eating better.TRUTH: Food bans violate freedom. Stossel confronts a politician who pushed for bans on trans fats, salt, soda, and other things.
“Every time a food or a drink is forcibly banned, that violates my freedom to eat or drink what I want,” Stossel says. “Freedom to eat what we want ought to be as important as freedom to speak, pray, and own a gun.”
And, according to Stossel, politicians that may have good intentions are to blame.Many politicians believe it’s their job to “lead” us,” he explains. “When they hear about an ‘obesity epidemic’ they arrogantly assume that by banning 'bad' foods, they can make us healthier.”
MYTH: Eating exotic animals such as horse, antelope and zebra is gross.TRUTH: Many exotic foods taste great and are healthy.
"It all tastes good to me," says Stossel — and that includes exotic animals. But not everyone agrees. Several people in his audience refused to taste samples of zebra and antelope.
"Conventional wisdom holds that eating exotic animals is gross," he says, but "Why is eating a horse any different than eating a cow? Or a chicken? I sure don’t know, but politicians in Illinois and California banned it."