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Ask Tufts Experts July 2008 Issue

Q: How does tapioca rate nutritionally? Does it fall under the refined food category? I like to use it to make tapioca pudding with Splenda and nonfat Lactaid milk and eat about one cup of the pudding as a dessert twice a day. Should I cut back?

Answer :  People have been eating tapioca at least since the heyday of the Mayans, who first figured out how to process the root of the cassava plant (also called manioc or yuca) to eliminate its naturally occurring cyanide. Technically, yes, tapioca is a refined food in the sense that the packaged tapioca you buy is made from reconstituted, processed root; being a root starch, rather than a grain, however, there’s no such thing as “whole…

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