What Is a Kosher Diet and Does It Have Health Benefits?

Kosher food may be a staple in Jewish diets, but they are not the only ones eating these products. According to the Orthodox Union, a kosher certification body, more than 12 million people in the United States choose kosher foods when shopping at the grocery store. It’s a huge industry — these products sell over $12 billion annually.

These numbers are staggering when you consider that fewer than five million American adults self-identify as Jewish, according to a report from Brandeis University (PDF). And even fewer are observant and kosher.

What is happening? “Some consumers perceive products as cleaner or healthier,” says Mindy Haar, PhD, RD, chair of interdisciplinary health sciences at the New York Institute of Technology in Old Westbury, New York.

But are they? Find out here what it means to be kosher, how to identify which products are kosher, and whether eating that way has health benefits.

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