Q: Is turkey bacon healthier than pork bacon?  Françoise-Marie – Leon, France

AB: I love this question Françoise-Marie! It is funny that people automatically assume that this is a healthier choice.  The fact is turkey bacon can contain just as much fat and sodium as its traditional counterparts.  It is also interesting that the low-fat options often have even higher sodium content.  Turkey is also likely to contain just as many nitrates, which is another health concern for many.  As always, reading the nutrition label on the package is the most important factor.  When it comes to bacon, I like to choose organic, at the very least, and pasture-raised when possible.

Q:  I’ve recently heard about the effects of BPA – what are the main sources?  Cortnee – Honolulu, Hawaii

AB:  Cortnee, BPA is a chemical which is used as a lining in virtually all canned goods.  BPA serves as a barrier between the food and the metal of the can, keeping the can from eroding.  The problem is that BPA can leach into the foods and then into our bodies.  Once in the body it has the ability to interfere with hormonal and reproductive health.  BPA is also found in plastics such as baby bottles, condiment bottles and water bottles, another reason to switch to glass.

Q:  I love my daily dose of espresso, but I worry about caffeine intake.  Should I switch to tea or regular coffee?  Winston – Hong Kong

AB:  In terms of caffeine, Winston, it is interesting to note that a daily consumption should not exceed around 500 mg/day or the equivalent of three to four cups of regular coffee.  Espresso actually comes in much lower with 70mg of caffeine for a one-ounce shot.  Other sources of caffeine are Coca-Cola (35 mg/12-ounce can), black tea (50mg/eight ounces), Mountain Dew (54mg/12 ounces).  So enjoy your espresso knowing that it actually contains less caffeine than some other beverages.  The only reason to cut back on your consumption is if your caffeine fix makes you jittery or exacerbates anxiety or stress.

Q: Is it true that vinegar aids weight loss?  Alessio – Trento, Italy

AB: Vinegar has been revered as a weight-loss aid for years, Alessio. There is, in fact, some truth to this folklore!  The chemical compound known as acetic acid, which gives vinegar its characteristic bite, is responsible for its weight-loss action.  Acetic acid appears to speed up metabolism as well as influence genes that cause the body to store less fat around the waist.  While this may not translate into huge weight loss – it certainly doesn’t hurt.

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