Friday, April 29, 2016

Challenging Some Preconceptions About Cooking and Eating

People who don’t understand science and make decisions on feelings, first impressions or advice from others often get it wrong.  Here is some information on cooking and eating that may seem surprising.

I’ve heard in conversations people condemn the use of microwave ovens for the preparation of any food.  “I just can’t bring myself to nuke it,” they say.  “It just can’t be as healthy, and I know it doesn’t taste the same.”  Then they go on and on about how careful they are and how they want only the best for their family.  Everyone just sits around the table and nods.  Among some, this is an in-vogue subject.

Now we hear from the scientists.  According to the health.harvard website: “The cooking method that best retains nutrients is one that cooks quickly, heats food for the shortest amount of time, and uses as little liquid as possible. Microwaving meets those criteria. Using the microwave with a small amount of water essentially steams food from the inside out. That keeps more vitamins and minerals than almost any other cooking method.”  The truth is the exact opposite of what these people profess to believe.  The food may taste different, but that’s not because it is less healthy.

Some of these same people are violently opposed to genetically modified food products (GMOs).  I have written about this before (most recently in February and originally in January 2013), noting how the science on GMOs is clear and how political opposition to GMOs only leads to unnecessary suffering in the world.  In the words of Patrick Moore, who has a PhD in Ecology, became one of the first members of Greenpeace and is former president of the Greenpeace Foundation:  “I believe that the campaign of fear now waged against genetic modification is based largely on fantasy and a complete lack of respect for science and logic.”  (From “Environmentalism for the 21st Century” p. 9)

The scientists are firm on the safety of GMOs and now this interview with a Purdue professor of Agricultural Science expands upon the issue.  “All of the scientific evidence, so far is that it’s not a problem.”  But what would happen if GMOs were banned?  “We’d have higher food costs around the world. We’d have more poverty. We’d have more pesticide use, and more harmful pesticides. And we’d have higher greenhouse gas emission so more contribution to global warming.”

What puzzles me is that the same ones who use a majority of scientists to support their convictions about man-made climate change will take exactly the opposite stance on GMOs.  Unfortunately, in a democracy protests and public opinion carry more weight than science.  People who don’t understand science and make decisions on feelings, first impressions or advice from others often feel the need to influence policy, driving decisions that have the potential to inconvenience or even harm the rest of us.

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