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Shelf Patrol

Those packages of washed salad greens are awfully attractive to us busy people. You may have read or heard news that laboratory tests on some pre-washed greens found high levels of bacteria present. According to food safety experts, the results were misinterpreted by the media. Although the bacteria count was high, they were not harmful microorganisms. To be extra safe, always wash your salad greens, especially bulk lettuce that is sold out in the open. If you just don t have the time, look for packaged greens from large manufacturers such as Dole, Ready-Pac, and Fresh Express, with the words "washed" and/or "ready to eat". They use a state-of-the-art cleansing process that kills bacteria better than you could at home.

Don t waste your money on those produce washes that are cropping up in the produce section. Researchers at the Southwest Research Institute in San Antonio, Texas, found that washing fruits and vegetables in a solution of water and ordinary dishwashing detergent (1 teaspoon per gallon of water) for 5 to 10 seconds and rinsing them with lukewarm water, eliminated or substantially reduced pesticide residues. For lettuce, remove the outer leaves because that is where the most residues are found. Remember to wash citrus fruits, especially if you are going to use the grated rind in a recipe.

It appears that Americans aren t gobbling up those calorie-free snack foods made with the fake fat, olestra, trade name Olean. Proctor and Gamble spent $300 million to develop and have olestra approved by the FDA (accompanied by the warning that the product could cause diarrhea, cramps and also leach fat-soluble vitamins and carotenoids out of the body). Now P&G and Frito-Lay are spending millions on advertising. The companies blitzed the test market cities with newspaper and TV ads - over $5 million in Columbus, Ohio, alone. They ve hired dietitians, scientists, and two former HHS (Health and Human Services) secretaries - Louis Sullivan and Otis Bowen - as consultants to assure consumers that olestra is safe. They ve paid for a fact sheet on olestra put out by the American Dietetic Association. They ve handed out thousands of free cans of Fat-Free Pringles. Products currently being made with Olean: Frito-Lay s WOW brand of Lay s, Ruffles, and Doritos; P&G s Fat Free Pringles; and Nabisco s Wheat Thins and Ritz crackers. Read labels - the FDA requires products made with Olean to display a prominent notice and logo.

The next time your family asks for mashed potatoes - don t bother to peel the potatoes. A potato eaten with the skin provides almost five grams of fiber. A potato eaten without the skin provides only two grams of fiber. For variety, add some dill to mashed red potatoes; rosemary and/or roasted garlic to russet potatoes.

Fats should be 30% or less of your overall calorie intake. Striving to eat unsaturated fats is a wise health move. A good place to start is making your own salad dressing. Polyunsaturates lower total blood cholesterol levels - both LDL and HDL. Monounsaturates lower LDL levels, but leave the beneficial HDL intact. Here is a table of fats listed from best to worse:

Kind of Fat %
Saturated
%
Polyunsaturated
%
Monounsaturated
Canola Oil 6 32 62
Safflower 10 77 13
Corn Oil 13 62 25
Olive Oil 14 9 77
Soybean Oil 15 61 24
Margarine-tub 17 34 24
Peanut Oil 18 33 49
Cottonseed Oil 27 54 19
Chicken Fat 31 22 47
Lard 41 12 47
Beef Fat 52 4 44
Palm Kernal 81 2 11
Coconut Oil 92 2 6


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