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The Empowering Neurologist – David Perlmutter, MD and Larry Olmsted

One of the central tenets of my work focuses on the importance of eating good food.  When we talk about what constitutes good food choices, please realize that this goes well beyond simply the type of food, but also encompasses quality.

My guest on the program today is Larry Olmsted. He’s the author of the new book Real Food, Fake Food. The reason I asked him to appear on the program today is that his new book is extremely revealing in terms of just how deep and pervasive food fraud is in America.

For instance, he reveals that most of the olive oil sold in America is actually fake. He also reveals a study showing that 100% of sushi restaurants in New York City that were screened were serving fish that was not the type advertised. He goes on to describe the fraud that is pervasive in cheese and meat products here in America.

Fortunately, he gives us some good tips in terms of what we can do to protect ourselves in terms of our food selection process.

Larry is a food writer for USA Today as well as Forbes.com, and is very well-informed on the subject of his book, as you will now see.

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  • TechnoTriticale

    I haven’t read the book yet, but many of the fakes discussed in the video are primarily economic frauds. Olive oil adulteration, however, is a non-trivial health hazard. I see that consumerlab.com is going to start testing EVOO, since the FDA doesn’t seem interested in doing their job.

    The problem is so not much about rancid/non-food oil contamination. The main problem is omega 6 linoleic acid. When olive oil is diluted with other plant oils, it’s usually a grain or seed oil high in LA (possibly even rapeseed, which is also high in the even nastier erucic acid).

    Standard diets are way too high in n6, and too low in n3 DHA&EPA. Raising n3 doesn’t fix this. We get entirely too much inflammatory, obesogenic LA. It doesn’t help that consensus diet doctrine thinks the grain and seed-based “vegetable” oils high in n6 are “healthy”.

    If anyone has never investigated what’s in their EVOO, it’s probably mostly linoleic acid, with some coloring and flavorants. My household hasn’t bought any imported OO for years, because it’s impossible to have any real confidence in what the product contains.

    Olive oil as an ingredient in processed foods is almost certainly not really OO. Ditto for restaurant dishes claiming to use OO as an ingredient.

    Running a close second to EVOO fraud is fish fraud. Anyone trying to hit a DHA+EPA intake target by eating more fish is probably failing. Farmed fish (usually sold as “wild caught”) is both high in n6LA due to the feed, and low in n3s.

  • joanna

    I will read this book as I am very wary of what foods I buy and never buy shop sauces or ready meals. I also never buy organic – and for only one reason – I simply do not trust that it will be organic. It is simply so easy for anyone on any farmers market to make these claims & all of it is woefully under policed. I do buy what I hope is fresh fruit & veg, eggs, meat & milk. Fish I buy mainly tinned as it is outrageously expensive here in the U.K. & I never order it in a restaurant as almost always you get served half a fillet instead of the whole fish. In a pub though, I am happy to order fish & chips occasionally, as a treat, as it will always be a great large piece of fish freshly cooked & delicious whatever type of fish it actually is. Joanna

    • David Perlmutter

      It’s an enlightening read on the subject. I’m sure it will help clear up some important issues for you.

      • edwin davenport

        Greetings, Dr. Perlmutter- I eat a lot of tinned sardines and tuna in olive oil, preferably extra virgin. Can you recommend a brand that is actually using extra virgin olive oil?
        Thanks for you book, Grain Brain!

  • Luisa Ruga

    I’ m writing from Italy, thank you for the precious information you’re giving us about food and health care. Grazie dottore! Keep on theaching us to enjoy life and take care of it, Luisa

    • David Perlmutter

      Best of health Luisa!

  • Rochelle

    Great subject. Thank you.

  • Bill Gasiamis

    Great interview. Thank you. I wonder DR if you have done any work on the impacts of VOC’s Volatile Organic Compounds found in paints and how they affect the immune system. I was a painter for 10 years and have developed hypothyroidism and I have a neurological condition cause by three bleeds. How do I remove these toxins from my body?

  • JohnInTheOC

    I have spoken with literal dozens of doctors I know about why they believe the US is a veri dismal 37th in longevity yet we spend more than all the rest of the 196 UN nations.How can this be They all blame “life style” however being a bit familiar with blue zones I find this lacking. Your opinions?

  • Geoff Dreyer

    Olmsted’s book is very enlightening, but I believe it is too narrowly focused. Fake Food permeates our entire food chain and one has to look carefully at the ingredients for any food, not just the ones that Olmsted cites. As an example, suppose I am making a recipe that calls for sour cream as an ingredient. I can buy Daisy Sour Cream made from one ingredient: “cultured cream,” or I can buy Kroger Sour Cream made from: “cultured cream, skim milk, whey, modified corn starch, cultured dextrose, gelatin, sodium phosphate, guar gum, carrageenan, sodium citrate, calcium sulfate and locust bean gum.” Both products are labeled Sour Cream, but by reading the ingredients can I tell that only Daisy is Real. Kroger is fake. This process does not work for wine because, as Olmsted points out, winemakers are not required to disclose the grapes that go into a particular wine. And the problem goes deeper than that. The FDA has an approved list of 76 additives that can be used in winemaking, and none of those additives need to be disclosed. So, even if it is disclosed that a Cabernet is made from 100% Cabernet grapes, that tells me nothing about what else is in the wine–there could be Mega Purple or Ultra Red, GMO yeasts, ammonium sulfates, sulfur dioxide, copper sulfate, fumaric acid, added sugar, etc. In the absence of ingredient disclosures, I avoid American wines and drink primarily Italian or French wines–especially those that have been organically dry farmed and lab tested to be sugar free, additive free, low in sulfites, and mycotoxin/mold free. In other words “Real Wine” and not factory produced, highly processed “Fake Wine.”

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