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Widely known in Canada from his Montreal Gazette column, and work with the Discovery Channel, Schwarcz (Let Them Eat Flax) is an entertaining guide through the tangle of conflicting research studies, advertising claims, special interest groups, age-old myths and popular opinion that make diet a cloudy subject. In short chapters he aims his microscope at such highly touted foods as tomatoes, acai berries, curry and soy; additives like nitrites, artificial sweeteners, vitamins and fluoride; contaminants including pesticides, hormones, trans fats and dioxins; and what, for him, are suspect fads. Schwarcz contends that while there are no "magical" foods, a diet of mostly vegetables, fruits, whole grains and low-fat dairy products and moderation are key to good health. To help readers make informed choices, he ably cuts through many controversies and will likely stir up a few (he challenges those who condemn milk consumption, espouse detoxification and promote kosher foods, for example). Schwarcz makes learning fun by peppering his text with fascinating facts (coffee contains naturally occurring carcinogens, and apples have formaldehyde). More importantly, he leaves readers with a rational framework for evaluating the complex nature of foods and how they affect health. (Jan.)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.