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An Apple A Day: The Myths, Misconceptions, and Truths About the Foods We Eat Hardcover – Jan 13 2009


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Product Details

  • Hardcover
  • Publisher: Other Press; 1 edition (Jan. 13 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1590513118
  • ISBN-13: 978-1590513118
  • Product Dimensions: 16 x 3.5 x 23.8 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 590 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #2,759,618 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Eat salmon. It’s full of good omega-3 fats. Don’t eat salmon. It’s full of PCBs and mercury. Eat more veggies. They’re full of good antioxidants. Don’t eat more veggies. The pesticides will give you cancer.

Forget your dinner jacket and put on your lab coat: you have to be a nutritional scientist these days before you sit down to eat—which is why we need Dr. Joe Schwarcz, the expert in connecting chemistry to everyday life. In An Apple a Day, he’s taken his thorough knowledge of food chemistry, applied it to today’s top food fears, trends, and questions, and leavened it with his trademark lighthearted approach. The result is both an entertaining revelation of the miracles of science happening in our bodies every time we bite into a morsel of food, and a telling exploration of the myths, claims, and misconceptions surrounding our obsession with diets, nutrition, and weight.

Looking first at how food affects our health, Dr. Joe examines what’s in tomatoes, soy, and broccoli that can keep us healthy and how the hundreds of compounds in a single food react when they hit our bodies. Then he investigates how we manipulate our food supply, delving into the science of food additives and what benefits we might realize from adding bacteria to certain foods. He clears up the confusion about contaminants, examining everything from pesticide residues, remnants of antibiotics, the dreaded trans fats, and chemicals that may leach from cookware. And he takes a studied look at the science of calories and weighs in on popular diets.

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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Livestrong on June 26 2008
Format: Hardcover
What a wonderfully refreshing change this book is. In an age where foods or supplements are deemed essential for life one day, then toxic the next, or both at the same time, the author Joe Schwarcz explains with clarity and scientific authority just what is really going on. He cuts through the latest 'miracle food' marketing hyperbole, 'astounding' research results, and explains what the substance actually is, how it operates, and the current scientific understanding of its effects on the human system. Perhaps even more importantly, he is not trying to sell you anything, not trying to convert you to some radical 'fad' or lifestyle. All he is doing is cutting through swathes of near-hysterical media bandwagons to promote common sense backed by sound scientific evidence.

In some instances, such popular myths can acutally cause harm. The take-up of pollutants in some oily fish, for example, have been shown to occur in minuscule amounts. But detrimental health effects can occur if consumers cut out such foods since the scientifically established health benefits massively outweigh any risk that such pollutants may pose. Another concern is that all our food today is contaminated with 'chemicals'. As the author states, such statements are meaningless without appropriate context. Take the eponymous apple of the book's title. Apples contain nail polish remover (acetone), rubbing alcohol (isopropanol), and cyanide. Should we be worried about eating apples? Of course not. Context is everything. The amounts of these, and over 300 other chemicals found in apples, are too small to be of any consequence. Whatever effect the fruit has on our health is a reflection of all of these naturally occurring substances.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I use this book as part of a Nutrition course I have on-line at http://SchoolofCT.com. It's compulsory reading. Dr Schwarcz makes the reader think about what they are learning about food. No conclusions are forced upon the reader, just a solid ground of information. I highly recommend picking up a copy, reading and sharing.
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful By D. Davies on Aug. 6 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I've recommended this book to many of my friends. The chapters are all about 4 pages so you can put it down anytime without losing the flow. His writing style is very good: easy to read, factual, with a bit of humour to make it enjoyable. Buy it - you won't regret it.
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Anny Chung on March 5 2009
Format: Hardcover
I really enjoy this book. It is very easy to read, the chapters are short so that you won't loose the flow. I read this while having lunch at work and it's very enjoyable. Highly recommended.
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13 of 27 people found the following review helpful By Warren Green on Aug. 18 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I bought this book based on two 5 star customer reviews, and because at the time, it was 94th in books, here at amazon.ca. I've purchased many books on nutrition from amazon, and this is the only one I sent back.

Coming from a Canadian author, I was hoping to like this book, but after reading the small section entitled "Milk and Calcium", I lost a lot of respect for this man as a "nutrition authority".

I think the author could have produced a better book if he'd written in greater depth, on fewer subjects, the ones he was most knowledgeable on. Dairy products are not one of those subjects, and his bias in their favour is painfully obvious.

He portrays the anti-dairy segment of our society as being primarily animal rights and vegetarian organizations, and claims that independent researchers fall on the side of the dairy industry for milk's health benefits. Don't Drink Your Milk!: New Frightening Medical Facts About the World's Most Overrated Nutrient ( While this book is dated, the number of medical doctors recommending against consuming the milk from cows has continued to grow.)

He acknowledges that, "Milk stands accused of contributing to heart disease, stroke, breast cancer, prostate cancer, ovarian cancer, diabetes, allergies, stomach cramps, diarrhea, autism, mucus production, and, get this, bone fractures!
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