We have often heard the phrase, "you are what you eat."
Of course we all believe we know what that means and how it affects our lives.
But the truth is that no one really makes a study of it or actually does the real background data analysis. Most "research" today use values from someone else's data, like USDA nutrition label values found on food products, because real research is expensive. Send out a questionnaire and then make bold scientific statements based on the return answers of participants who, for the most part, can't remember what they did last week let alone 15 years ago. Sad. But not just sad: damaging misinformation affecting the health, and health policies, of every woman, man & child here in the USA.
To verify the nutritional and food labeling information we at Brabant are constantly re-analyzing, re-testing, comparing fruits, vegetables and food products from around the globe.
It is very important to note: Brabant does the actual lab work, the wet and analytical chemistry, our own data analysis, constantly updating our information with new results. And some of the information may surprise you, the consumer.
First of all, there are so many misconceptions and so much misinformation rattling around that it's difficult to know what is really truth and what is conveniently spread in an effort to support someone's own economic gain. Here are some scientific truths:
1. Plants are what they eat too. It doesn't really matter if it's an organic mom and pop operation in the middle of Vermont or some mega-farm in California, if no one is monitoring the NUTRITIONAL levels of the fruits, vegetables and grains produced then you, the consumers, are going to suffer. Brabant has tested for the nutritional values of many produce varieties. We've seen the highest priced "organic -wholesome" produce have little or no beneficial food and nutrient values while the comparison control main-stream Ag program had extremely strong vitamin and mineral nutrient values. But the next season, depending on what was used as a fertilizer, it could just as easily be the reverse!
So many factors impact the health of the plant (and therefore the produce) and it's fertilizer uptake. Not the least is that most fertilizer compounds need to be converted by soil organisms before being "recognized" by the plant as "food." Just because the fertilizer used is "organic" doesn't mean the plant can uptake and utilize those fertilizers better!! Pure advertising nonsense. The produce coming off "wholesome" specialty type grower operations actually can be lower in nutritional value than commercial, main-stream Ag, if no one is monitoring the nutritional levels in the actual product. Take the case where homogenized, full feed commercial granular fertilizers are used in main stream Ag. These types of fertilizers have most major, secondary and minor elements in each granule (or drop if a liquid) as part of the homogenization process and the availability of these nutrients is extremely high. (The chemical and heat process acts as a "pre-digestion" process, releasing certain non-functional elements and making the entire compound, as a whole, more biological convertible.)
The un-noted but interesting part of the "organic" versus main-stream Ag argument is that a lot of commercial main-stream fertilizers are actually made with naturally mined minerals, the difference between the two growing philosophies, organic versus conventional, is really based on a Ford vs. Chevy attitude, neither is better than the other if no one is monitoring the NUTRITIONAL values of the produce.
And your body is the loser in this debate.
Maybe not today, nor tomorrow but sometime down the road your body is not going to like being short-changed by deficient nutrient inputs and something will be amiss.
Remember, the best cure for disease is prevention. Your food is the first line of defense against disease because ... well, " you are what you eat."
Now, I am leaving chemical allergies out of this and just concentrating on nutritional values, partly because the nutritional values often allow our bodies to produce the compounds necessary to deal with chemical allergies and toxicities, (but this argument is also often overlooked in a race for the consumer's dollar.) And I am not suggesting main-stream Ag is better than organic/natural Ag; the only issue is nutritional values and that suffers in both, if not monitored routinely.
2. Fresh foods versus canned and frozen? As a rule of thumb, water soluble nutrients decrease in processed foods and non-soluble nutrients increase. BUT: that depends on the nutritional values of the crop going into the processing (catching a theme here?) vs the nutritional values of the fresh. That's why "enrichment" really started, to put back what got removed during processing. Today, flash freezing really does lock in nutrients better, which is why, in a lot of cases, flash frozen tastes better than canned.
3. Repeat all of the above for meat and fish. Garbage in, garbage out. They are what they eat also. Can they be tested for nutritional values? Of course.
So, how does the average consumer differentiate between one tomato and another? Well, simply put, if one fruit or vegetable tastes better than the next then your body is trying to tell you that it wants the one that tastes better. Your taste is your first indicator of what is good and not good. (Chocolates taste so good because as far as your body is concerned they are a great concentrated source of fats and minerals ready for long term storage, just what you want, eh? I mean the long term storage.) You've probably noticed that children (usually) really hate Brussels sprouts. So did most of us when we were children. Now, for some odd reason, we don't seem to mind them as adults. Because of learned conditioning? (eat ‘em or else.) Hardly. As a child the compounds found in Brussels sprouts are just not as necessary to body metabolism and as we got older they are! Simple as that? Yes, simple as that!
Brabant is also helping by expanding our work with growers and processors in agriculture. By working with growers, producers, processors and consumers we are able to both implement programs with the growers that increase the nutritional values (as well as yields) and help monitor the nutritional values, acting as a guide to helping improve nutritional levels in foodstuff.
2009 saw the start of our NCI listed cancer clinical trials utilizing natural plant compounds and whole foods, from our augmented growing systems, to prevent and help control breast, prostate and uterine cancers. Singularly one of the most important trials in cancer prevention and control as it utilizes natural compounds found in whole foods: you can eat your prevention. Exciting! Those trials build on our research work over the past 2 decades and are part of our commitment to the health of the world and everyone, everything in it.
Be on the lookout for more and more information from Brabant in newspapers, periodicals and other information circles as we expand the work we are currently doing. If you see the "BPG" label on fruit, vegetable or processed foods you can be assured that the grower or processing group is working with us to bring you the best nutritional value possible, bar none. You see, we at Brabant have children and are consumers ourselves, we are what we eat also. As you can plainly see.
Dr. Richard Lasker, Jr.
Director of Research