Does an Apple a Day Still Keep the Doctor Away?

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Answered by: Jeffrey Steven, An Expert in the Diet and Health Category
Even if you're not a daytime television devotee, you may have heard and felt the shockwaves around the media world earlier in the month. A popular daytime show, "The Dr. Oz Show," conducted and cited from their report that several brands of apple juice found on our grocery store shelves contain unsafe amounts of arsenic. The report cited that imported apples and apple concentrate comes from countries where pesticide use has no oversight and is not regulated for human health.



And, the report said, many of these commonly used pesticides could and do contain cancer-causing arsenic. This, Dr. Oz says, would explain the high levels of arsenic found in U.S. apple juice, which uses those imported apples and apple concentrate for juice.

Dr. Oz fervently sounded the alarm which raised concerns for parents around the country, caused controversy within the food and health industries, and incited media frenzy. Overnight, the deliciously popular and historically revered apple was mired in controversy.



How could this happen to our beloved apples and apple juice? What is our government doing about it? Is it true? Should there be reason for concern for the high arsenic levels found in apple juice?

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration spokeswoman Stephanie Yao said this about the issue. "There is currently no evidence to suggest a public health risk." The FDA stated that the study performed by "The Dr. Oz Show" did not differentiate between organic and inorganic arsenic, which would seem to render that very report questionable, if not sensationally irresponsible.

In addition, an FDA report states that organic arsenic is by their measure "harmless." They state it is inorganic arsenic that can be toxic to humans. In fact, they say, the benign organic arsenic is found everywhere: water, soil, air, and is therefore highly likely to be found in food.

However, Dr. Oz made his rounds on the morning and daytime talk shows. He stood by his own show's report. He said that the apple concentrate used in U.S. apple juice can come from seven countries, including China; the largest producer of arsenic. In his defense, Dr. Oz cited other studies which indicated higher than acceptable FDA levels of inorganic arsenic in the apple juice on our shelves. He has extended invitations to the FDA and juice companies to appear on his show. So far, there have been no takers.

It is quite a shame that apples have gone through a public relations scandal. However, consider it just that; nothing more than a tabloid scandal. In reality, it can be argued that nothing offers the health benefits as do apples. Studies have shown that eating apples on a daily basis lowered the risk of stroke by fifty percent. In fact, years of studies have indicated that an apple a day reduces the risk for heart attacks, allergies, Alzheimer's Disease, Parkinson's Disease, inflammation, lung and prostate cancers, lowers LDL cholesterol levels, and helps muscle growth.

When we get down to the core of the issue, it may be said that an apple a day still keeps the doctor away--maybe.

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