On Nutrition by Ed Blonz

Herring’s Healthy Fats Won’t Be Rinsed Away

DEAR DR. BLONZ: If I were to take herring that is sold in a wine sauce and rinse it in water to remove the salt, does it lose any of the healthful omega-3 fatty acids? I enjoy eating herring, and want the fats, but prefer not to have the salt. -- M.M., Washington, D.C.

DEAR M.M.: Herring are a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids, and these fats will still be there after a salt-removal swim.

The level of omega-3 fats in herring is impressive: A study in an issue of the Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry reported that the sought-after EPA and DHA omega-3s represent more than 12 percent of the fatty acids in herring. Pacific herring were found to have slightly higher levels than those swimming in the Atlantic, but both types were higher than the level of essential omega-3s in sardines, salmon, tuna and trout. Read more about the different omega-3 fats at tinyurl.com/y9vd9mbo.

DEAR DR. BLONZ: Is it safe to put raw chicken in a slow cooker and cook it on low for eight hours or so? I am very hesitant and afraid it will be full of bad bacteria. -- S.G., San Diego

DEAR S.G.: A properly functioning slow cooker, or Crock-Pot, will cook foods between 170 and 280 degrees, which is sufficient to bake bacteria out of existence. The meat should be fully defrosted before it goes into the cooker. Fill the cooker at least halfway, but no more than two-thirds full. Cut the larger pieces of chicken into small chunks to ensure thorough cooking.

Finally, steam helps the process, so keep the lid in place. If you are going to be around, cook on high for the first hour, then lower the temperature to that called for in the recipe.

DEAR DR. BLONZ: In a recent column, you equated lactose and lactate. This is wrong! Lactose is a disaccharide. Lactate is the ionized form of lactic acid, a three-carbon organic acid. Lactic acid is a fermentation product of sugars, including lactose, and is found in sour milk, yogurt, pickles, saurkraut, etc. It is used as a preservative in many foods. It’s not going to contribute to symptoms of lactose intolerance. -- S.R., via email

DEAR S.R.: You are correct, and thanks for pointing out that error. “Lactates,” used as additives in certain foods, are completely different from lactose, the carbohydrate found in dairy products that can cause problems for lactose-intolerant individuals. Thanks for the careful read.

Send questions to: “On Nutrition,” Ed Blonz, c/o Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO, 64106. Send email inquiries to questions@blonz.com. Due to the volume of mail, personal replies cannot be provided.