Another reason to avoid artificial sweeteners — they may actually RAISE blood sugar

artificial-sweetenersSeems sort of counterintuitive, doesn’t it? The sweeteners that have been developed to help people control their weight and avoid diabetes that are featured in diet soda, yogurt and other foods can raise the blood sugar level instead of reducing it, according to new experiments in mice and people.

The provocative finding—made possible through a new avenue of research—is likely to stoke the simmering controversy over whether artificial sweeteners help or hinder people’s ability to lose weight and lower their risk of diabetes.

The research shows that zero-calorie sweeteners such as saccharin, sucralose and aspartame can alter the population of bacteria in the gut and trigger unwanted changes such as higher blood glucose levels—a risk factor for diabetes.

“The scope of our discovery is cause for a public reassessment of the massive and unsupervised use of artificial sweeteners,” said Eran Elinav, a physician and immunologist at Israel’s Weizmann Institute of Science and lead author of the study, which appeared Wednesday in the journal Nature.

Though many people consume artificial sweeteners instead of sugar to control their weight, the scientific evidence that they work is mixed. Some studies have indicated that the sweeteners can help lead to weight loss, while others suggest they contribute to weight gain.

One reason is that it isn’t clear whether people who consume artificial sweeteners are overweight because of what they eat—or whether overweight people are the ones who typically gravitate to such products.

Based on existing evidence, guidelines jointly published in 2012 by the American Heart Association and the American Diabetes Association noted that artificial sweeteners “when used judiciously…could facilitate reductions in added sugar,” and thus influence weight loss.

The new Nature study marks a significant advance because it brings together two separate areas of research—the role of sweeteners in raising blood sugar levels, and the complex workings of the vast colonies of bacteria that inhabit the gut. Individuals can have differing bacterial colonies in their gut, meaning people respond differently to what they consume.

In one experiment, the researchers found that mice whose diets included saccharin, sucralose or aspartame had significantly higher blood-glucose levels than mice whose diet included sugar, or no sugar at all.

They next wanted to test whether the fake sweeteners caused that metabolic change by altering the balance of microbes in the animals’ gut.
They transplanted bacteria from artificial-sweetener-fed mice or sugar-fed mice into other mice that were bred to have no gut bacteria of their own and that had never consumed a sweetener product. They found that the bacterial transfer from the sweetener-fed mice raised the blood sugar levels in the transplant recipients—suggesting that the gut microbes had triggered the higher sugar levels in mice fed fake sweeteners.

Was the same link true for people? Dr. Elinav and his colleagues examined the relationship between long-term consumption of artificial sweeteners and various metabolic measurements in some 380 nondiabetic people.

They found that the bacteria in the gut of those who regularly ate fake sweeteners were notably different from those who didn’t. In addition, there was a correlation between the sweetener consumption and a susceptibility to glucose intolerance, which is a disturbance in the blood glucose level.

Correlation, however, doesn’t necessarily mean causation. In the next experiment, seven volunteers who normally didn’t consume fake sugar were asked to consume products high in the sweeteners. After four days, four of them had significantly higher blood-sugar levels as well as altered populations of bacteria in their gut—an outcome similar to what was seen in mice.

“This susceptibility to sweeteners [can now] be predicted ahead of time by profiling the microbes in the people,” said Eran Segal, a co-author of the study and computational biologist at the Weizmann Institute.
The results need to be corroborated through a study with many more participants.

In a statement, the Calorie Control Council, a trade group that represents makers of artificial sweeteners and other food products, said the Nature study suffered from several limitations. It said the results from the mouse experiments may not apply to humans, while the human experiments had a small sample size. It said further research was needed.

FoodFacts.com has never had anything good to say about artificial sweeteners. Reports of negative health effects have far outweighed the marketed benefits. Research like this points straight to the idea that artificial sweeteners are not only unnecessary, but actually harmful — harmful enough that Dr. Elinav, the study’s lead author, stopped using them completely once he saw the results. That should certainly tell us something.

http://online.wsj.com/articles/research-shows-zero-calorie-sweeteners-can-raise-blood-sugar-1410973201
http://www.webmd.com/diet/news/20140917/artificial-sweeteners-blood-sugar?page=2

Introducing Oreo’s newest flavor: Pumpkin Spice Oreos

sgfwpemysfg3byqk9ijwMaybe the fall flavor craze has really gone too far now. We’re sorry but we really can’t imagine Oreo lovers hoping for a Pumpkin Spice flavored Oreo. It just doesn’t seem incredibly appealing. But it’s also possible that FoodFacts.com has been overwhelmed with everything pumpkin related this season.

That said, we are admittedly not thrilled with this idea. And, admittedly, we’ve been underwhelmed by previous Oreo flavor introductions. For instance the Cookie Dough Oreo wasn’t particularly tasty — and it didn’t make much sense to us. Cookie Dough flavored cream stuffed between two cookies. Did anyone else notice a redundancy there?

Here at FoodFacts.com we take our responsibility of informing our community about what’s really in the foods they’re eating very seriously. So if you’re among the millions of consumers who just can’t say no to pumpkin-spice anything and these cookies seem like a great idea to you, we thought you’d be interested in the ingredients used to create this latest fall “innovation.”

Ingredients: Sugar, Unbleached Enriched Flour (Wheat Flour, Niacin, Reduced Iron, Thiamine, Mononitrate (Vitamin B1) Riboflavin (Vitamin B2), Folic Acid, Palm and/or Canola Oil, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Cornstarch, Salt, Baking Soda, Soy Lecithin, Natural and Artificial Flavors, Artificial Color (Yellow 5 Lake, Red 40 Lake, Blue 3 Lake), Paprika Oleoresin (Color)

We’d like to call your attention to the fact that there is absolutely NO PUMPKIN anywhere in that list. Oh wait, they’re PUMPKIN SPICE Oreos, not PUMPKIN Oreos. Technically that would mean that these should taste like nutmeg, cloves, cinnamon and anything else we use to flavor actual pumpkin pie. Funny, we don’t see any of those ingredients on the list either. We do, however, see Natural and Artificial Flavors — which of course is what the folks over at Oreos are using to impart the taste of pumpkin pie spices to the cream inside this cookie. And then, to make it look authentic (because all of those spices carry a rich, deep color), they’ve added a healthy dose of artificial colors.

We’re sorry, this ingredient list doesn’t tempt us with the flavors of the fall season. If we’re building a snowman in the winter, we want to use real snow — not fake snow from a snow machine. The same theory applies to food. The real thing doesn’t contain ingredients that have already been identified as fake, chemical creations. It wouldn’t have been that difficult to use actual spices here.

We’re sticking with the idea that if we’re craving pumpkin — or pumpkin spices, we’re going to actually make something completely out of the box — maybe a pumpkin pie — using the actual ingredients that seem to be inspiring waaaaay too many products this season. Crazy idea we’ve got there. At least we’ll know what we’re eating.

http://www.kotaku.com.au/2014/09/pumpkin-spice-oreos-the-snacktaku-review/

Can you walk off the negative health effects associated with high-fructose corn syrup?

Pouring a glass of colaWe all know the details of the controversies surrounding high-fructose corn syrup. We all remember the “corn sugar” commercials that tried to convince us that “sugar is sugar.” And we know that just about everyone in the FoodFacts.com community remembers the angrily disputed research linking high-fructose corn syrup to obesity, diabetes and even cancer. There have been some attempts by manufacturers to remove it from a variety of products, but for the most part, high-fructose corn syrup is still a far too popular ingredient in far too many common products, including — and most especially soda.

We’re pretty comfortable with the idea that the consumption of high fructose corn syrup puts people at risk for developing a variety of health problems. But the risk drops substantially if those people get up and move around, even if they don’t formally exercise, two new studies found.

The problem with the sweetener is that, unlike sucrose, the formal name for common table sugar, fructose is metabolized primarily in the liver. There, much of the fructose is transformed into fatty acids, some of which remain in the liver, marbling that organ and contributing to nonalcoholic fatty liver disease.

The rest of the fatty acids migrate into the bloodstream, causing metabolic havoc. Past animal and human studies have linked the intake of even moderate amounts of fructose with dangerous gyrations in blood sugar levels, escalating insulin resistance, Type 2 diabetes, added fat around the middle, obesity, poor cholesterol profiles and other metabolic disruptions.

But Amy Bidwell, then a researcher at Syracuse University, noticed that few of these studies had examined interactions between physical activity and fructose. That was a critical omission, she thought, because movement and exercise change how the body utilizes fuels, including fructose.

Dr. Bidwell sought out healthy, college-aged men and women who would agree to drink soda in the pursuit of science. They were easy to find. She gathered 22.

The volunteers showed up at the university’s physiology lab for a series of baseline tests. The researchers assessed how their bodies responded to a fructose-rich meal, recording their blood sugar and insulin levels, and other measures of general and metabolic health, including cholesterol profiles and blood markers of bodily inflammation. The students also completed questionnaires about their normal diets and activity levels and subsequently wore an activity monitor for a week to gauge how much they generally moved.

Then half of the volunteers spent two weeks moving about half as much as they had before. The other 11 volunteers began moving around about twice as much as before, for a daily total of at least 12,000 steps a day, or about six miles.

After a rest period of a week, the groups switched, so that every volunteer had moved a lot and a little.

Throughout, they also consumed two fructose-rich servings of a lemon-lime soda, designed to provide 75 grams of fructose a day, which is about what an average American typically consumes. The sodas contained about 250 calories each, and the volunteers were asked to reduce their nonfructose calories by the same amount, to avoid weight gain.

After each two-week session, the volunteers returned to the lab for a repeat of the metabolic and health tests.

Their results diverged widely, depending on how much they’d moved. As one of two new studies based on the research, published in May in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, reports, after two weeks of fructose loading and relative inactivity, these young, healthy volunteers displayed a notable shift in their cholesterol and health profiles. There was a significant increase in their blood concentrations of dangerous very-low-density lipoproteins, and a soaring 116-percent increase in markers of bodily inflammation.

The second study, published this month in The European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, focused on blood-sugar responses to fructose and activity, and found equally striking changes among the young people when they didn’t move much. Two weeks of extra fructose left them with clear signs of incipient insulin resistance, which is typically the first step toward Type 2 diabetes.

But in both studies, walking at least 12,000 steps a day effectively wiped out all of the disagreeable changes wrought by the extra fructose. When the young people moved more, their cholesterol and blood sugar levels remained normal, even though they were consuming plenty of fructose every day.

The lesson from these studies is not that we should blithely down huge amounts of fructose and assume that a long walk will undo all harmful effects, said Dr. Bidwell, who is now an assistant professor of exercise science at the State University of New York in Oswego. “I don’t want people to consider these results as a license to eat badly,” she added.

But the data suggests that “if you are going to regularly consume fructose,” she said, “be sure to get up and move around.”

The study did not examine how activity ameliorates some of the worst impacts of fructose, but it’s likely, Dr. Bidwell said, that the “additional muscular contractions” involved in standing and taking 12,000 steps a day produce a cascade of physiological effects that alter how the body uses fructose.

Interestingly, the young people in the study did not increase the lengths of their normal workouts to achieve the requisite step totals, and most did not formally exercise at all, Dr. Bidwell said. They parked their cars further away from stores; took stairs instead of elevators; strolled the campus; and generally “sat less, moved more,” she said. “That’s a formula for good health, in any case,” she added, “but it appears to be key,” if you’re determined to have that soda.

FoodFacts.com still thinks that avoiding high fructose corn syrup AND soda is really what makes the most sense. What is striking here is that keeping our bodies moving can have such a tremendous effect on our health — and how that effect can be achieved with small efforts. Staying active can sometimes appear daunting — getting to a gym and exercising for a certain period of time each day can seem constricting and time consuming for some. But our bodies seem to appreciate increased activity in even the most basic of forms. Regardless of our dietary habits, it’s in our best interest to get moving and stay moving!

http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/09/10/drink-soda-keep-walking/?_php=true&_type=blogs&_r=0

Another new addition to the Dunkin breakfast lineup … the Spicy Smoked Sausage Breakfast Sandwich

1408610202117Dunkin’ Donuts has added yet another option to its already packed breakfast menu … the Spicy Smoked Sausage Breakfast Sandwich. You’ve probably seen the commercials focusing on the spicy andouille sausage that’s the main sandwich feature.

So if you’ve been thinking that you might want to give this one a try, FoodFacts.com thought you might want to take a closer look at the details.

First off we want to tell you that the main feature — the spicy andouille sausage — is actually the only feature in the sandwich. Most sandwiches aren’t quite as straightforward as this one. Which, according to your tastes, may or may not be a good thing. There’s no flavored mayonnaise, no special sauce, no upscale cheese. The Spicy Smoked Sausage Breakfast Sandwich is simply andouille sausage, egg and American cheese on an English muffin. It would make sense that such a simple sandwich should also have a simple ingredient list, right?

Wrong.

Here’s the list:

Andouille Split Smoked Sausage: Meat Ingredients (Pork, Beef), Water, Contains 2% or less of: Salt, Corn Syrup, Natural Spices, Potassium Lactate, Paprika, Natural Flavors, Sugar, Autolyzed Yeast Extract, Sodium Diacetate, Sassafras, Ascorbic Acid, Disodium Inosinate, Disodium Guanylate, Sodium Nitrite; English Muffin: Bleached Enriched Wheat Flour (Wheat Flour, Malted Barley Flour, Niacin, Reduced Iron, Thiamin Mononitrate, Riboflavin, Folic Acid), Water, Wheat Starch, Yeast, Sugarcane Fiber, Contains 2% or less of: High Fructose Corn Syrup, Chicory Root, Degerminated Yellow Corn Flour, Degerminated Yellow Corn Meal, Whole Wheat Durum Flour, Wheat Gluten, Vinegar, Calcium Propionate (Preservative), Salt, Dextrose, Soybean Oil, Calcium Sulfate, Fumaric Acid; Fried Egg: Egg Whites, Water, Egg Yolks, Modified Corn Starch, Natural Sauteed Flavor (Soybean Oil, Medium Chain Triglycerides, Natural Flavor), Salt, Artificial Butter Flavor (Propylene Glycol, Artificial Flavor), Xanthan Gum, Citric Acid, Coarse Ground Black Pepper; Cheese: American Cheese (Milk, Cheese Cultures, Salt, Enzymes), Water, Dry Cream, Milkfat, Sodium Citrate, Salt, Sorbic Acid (Preservative), Annatto and Oleoresin Paprika Color (if colored), Soy Lecithin (non-sticking agent).

That’s over 60 ingredients. And almost 20 of them are things we have no interest in consuming. Oh and we don’t care what Dunkin’ tells us — that is NOT a fried egg.

Let’s see if the nutrition facts are any better:

Calories:                           440
Fat:                                   24 grams
Saturated Fat:                   9 grams
Cholesterol:                   110 mg
Sodium:                       1140 mg

In summary, the Spicy Smoked Sausage Breakfast Sandwich doesn’t have much going for it — except maybe that it’s spicy. The ingredients are pretty bad, the nutrition facts aren’t any better and, honestly, it’s not all that interesting.

Better luck next time, Dunkin’.

http://www.dunkindonuts.com/content/dunkindonuts/en/menu/food/sandwiches/breakfastsandwiches/spicy_smoked_sausage_breakfast_sandwich.html

90% of children in the United States are eating too much salt!

?????????????????????????????????????More news about the over consumption of salt here in the United States … and it’s definitely not what we want to hear.

American kids are eating far too much salt, mostly from processed foods sold in stores, putting them at risk for high blood pressure and heart disease later in life, federal health officials said last week.

A report from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that more than 90 percent of American children ages 6 to 18 consume too much sodium daily.

Those children eat an average of about 3,300 mg of sodium daily even before salt is added at the table, according to the CDC study based on national surveys in 2009 and 2010. That exceeds dietary guidelines calling for less than 2,300 mg per day.

The CDC noted that one in six young Americans already has elevated blood pressure – a condition closely linked to high sodium intake and obesity that can lead to heart attack and stroke.

The report found that 43 percent of the sodium came from 10 popular types of foods, including pizza, sandwiches like cheeseburgers, cold cuts and cured meats, pasta with sauce, cheese, salty snacks like potato chips, chicken nuggets and patties, tacos and burritos, bread and soup.

“Most sodium is from processed and restaurant food, not the salt shaker,” CDC Director Tom Frieden said in a statement. “Reducing sodium intake will help our children avoid tragic and expensive health problems.”

Dinner was the largest single source of sodium, accounting for nearly 40 percent of the daily intake, the study found.

The report said 65 percent of the sodium intake came from foods purchased in stores, with most of the sodium already in the products when purchased. Fast food restaurants including pizza places accounted for another 13 percent, the CDC said.

Meals offered at school accounted for 9 percent of total sodium consumption. Teenagers ate more sodium than younger children, according to the study that drew from interviews with more than 2,000 school-aged children.

The study found a need to reduce sodium “across multiple foods, venues and eating occasions,” the CDC researchers said. In particular, processed foods should have less sodium, the researchers said, citing efforts in Britain that reduced total sodium consumption
by 15 percent over seven years.

This new information is so concerning for future generations of Americans. FoodFacts.com wants to emphasize that this report echos the idea that the majority of sodium in our diets does not come from the salt shakers on our kitchen tables. Instead, sodium is coming from the processed foods on our grocery shelves, restaurants and fast food restaurants. Our kids are not strangers to any of those sources. And the list detailed here is pretty eye-opening. While we can’t confine our kids to our kitchens, we can commit to cooking more fresh, healthy foods in our homes and making them readily available to our children. Our kids’ healthy futures depend on it.

http://www.foxnews.com/health/2014/09/09/in-10-us-children-eat-too-much-salt-says-cdc/

High protein diets may help lower blood pressure

SONY DSCTrendy diets. There always seems to be a new one and there always seem to be people who are willing to swear by it. Every once in a while, though, there’s a diet trend that actually proves itself over time. Eventually that diet is much more than a trend, it’s something that people can really rely on to take off excess weight AND help them live a healthier life style.

The high-protein, low carb diet comes to mind in this specific category. Thousands of dieters have attested to the idea that this specific style of eating has not only helped them shed pounds, but has also aided their health and well being. New research regarding high protein diets is revealing that those claims may actually be linked to an important health benefit.

Adults who consume a high-protein diet may be at a lower risk for developing high blood pressure (HBP). The study, published in theAmerican Journal of Hypertension, by researchers from Boston University School of Medicine (BUSM), found participants consuming the highest amount of protein (an average of 100 g protein/day) had a 40 percent lower risk of having high blood pressure compared to the lowest intake level.

One of three U.S. adults has hypertension and 78.6 million are clinically obese, a risk factor for the development of hypertension. Because of the strain that it puts on blood vessel walls, HBP is one of the most common risk factors of stroke and an accelerator of multiple forms of heart disease, especially when paired with excess body weight.

The researchers analyzed protein intakes of healthy participants from the Framingham Offspring Study and followed them for development of high blood pressure over an 11-year period. They found that adults who consumed more protein, whether from animal or plant sources, had statistically significantly lower systolic blood pressure and diastolic blood pressure levels after four years of follow-up. In general, these beneficial effects were evident for both overweight (BMI ≥25 kg/m2) and normal weight (BMI <25 kg/m2) individuals. They also found that consuming more dietary protein also was associated with lower long-term risks for HBP. When the diet also was characterized by higher intakes of fiber, higher protein intakes led to 40-60 percent reductions in risk of HBP.

“These results provide no evidence to suggest that individuals concerned about the development of HBP should avoid dietary protein. Rather, protein intake may play a role in the long-term prevention of HBP,” explained corresponding author Lynn Moore, associate professor of medicine at BUSM. “This growing body of research on the vascular benefits of protein, including this study, suggest we need to revisit optimal protein intake for optimal heart health,” she added.

FoodFacts.com is betting that this new and exciting information won’t come as any surprise to those embracing a high-protein diet. For years they’ve been touting its health benefits with things like increased energy and simple weight control. They’ll be thrilled to learn of tangible health improvements directly related to the high-protein diet. It’s certainly something to consider for our own dietary habits as well!

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/09/140911125920.htm

Baskin-Robbins picks up on the latest Fall trend with new Pumpkin Cheese Cake Ice Cream

mainLogoIt appears we no longer need to see the leaves falling from the trees around us to know that Fall has finally arrived. We just wait to see fast food chains and packaged food and beverage manufacturers introduce their new pumpkin-flavored anything to know that the new season is upon us. Pumpkin coffee, pumpkin lattes, pumpkin tea, pumpkin donuts, pumpkin pudding … there’s pumpkin everywhere!

Baskin-Robbins didn’t miss out on the pumpkin trend this year, introducing Pumpkin Cheese Cake Ice Cream.

We’re slowly discovering that many of the pumpkin options being offered don’t include any actual pumpkin, containing instead natural and/or artificial flavors. So FoodFacts.com had to investigate Baskin-Robbins latest fall addition.

We found out that in fact Pumpkin Cheese Cake Ice Cream DOES, in fact, include pumpkin in its ingredient list! But don’t get too excited — there’s more news ahead, and it isn’t all good.

Let’s start with the nutrition facts for a 4 ounce serving:

Calories:                          260
Fat:                                    12 grams
Saturated Fat:                    7 grams
Sugar:                               27 grams

Baskin-Robbins refers to a single 4 ounce scoop as a large serving. We’re not in agreement with their serving size assessment. 4 ounces of ice cream is the basic single serving size detailed on most packaged ice creams — and it’s not what most people are consuming as a serving. So we need to keep that in mind. We also need to keep in mind that the 4 ounce serving detailed on the Baskin-Robbins website contains almost 7 teaspoons of sugar, most of which (as indicated by the ingredient list) is added sugar. Please don’t misunderstand, we know it’s ice cream, but this one does appear to be somewhat over-sweetened. In addition, the ingredient list is really unpleasant, at best. Take a look:

Cream, Nonfat Milk, Cinnamon Cream Cheese Flavored Ribbon [Sugar, Cream Cheese (Pasteurized Milk and Cream, Cheese Culture, Salt, Carob Bean or Xanthan or Guar Gum), Invert Sugar, Water, Corn Starch, Spice, Caramel Color, Titanium Dioxide (Color), Natural Flavors, Annatto (Color)], Pumpkin Pie Base [Solid Pack Pumpkin, Brown Sugar (Sugar, Cane Molasses Syrup), Corn Syrup, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Water, Spices, Orange Juice Concentrate, Propylene Glycol, Cellulose Gum, Salt, Potassium Sorbate (Preservative), Citric Acid, Yellow 6], Sugar, Ginger Snaps [Unbleached Enriched Flour (Wheat Flour, Niacin, Reduced Iron, Thiamin Mononitrate, Riboflavin, Folic Acid), Sugar, Molasses, Soybean Oil, Leavening (Baking Soda, Calcium Phosphate), Ginger, Salt, Soy Lecithin (Emulsifier), Sulphur Dioxide], Corn Syrup, Cheesecake Base [Corn Syrup, Water, Cheese Blend (Nonfat Milk, Cellulose Gum, Lactic Acid, Cultures), Buttermilk, Natural Flavor, Lactic Acid, Potassium Sorbate (Preservative)], Whey Powder, Stabilizer/Emulsifier Blend (Cellulose Gum, Mono and Diglycerides, Guar Gum, Carrageenan, Polysorbate 80), Red 40, Yellow 6, Yellow 5, Blue 1.

Well over 50 ingredients. Artificial color. Natural Flavor. Carrageenan, Polysorbate 80. High Fructose Corn Syrup. And that’s just a handful of the controversial ingredients featured in this ice cream. There are so many sugar additions in this list — Sugar, Brown Sugar, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Corn Syrup, Molasses — even someone with a sweet tooth might think this is overkill. Even Ben & Jerry’s Cheesecake Brownie ice cream contains less sugar per serving — and honestly, those sugar additions are actual sugar unlike what we’re finding in this new Baskin-Robbins flavor.

It occurs to us that if we’re craving pumpkin flavor, it makes sense to cook with this beautiful fall vegetable. We can find organic pumpkin puree and prepare an actual cheese cake — one that doesn’t include the ingredients featured here. O.k. – it’s won’t be ice cream. But the weather’s cooling down anyway.

So Baskin-Robbins, while you did manage to include pumpkin in this new pumpkin-flavored offering, we’ll definitely be skipping the Pumpkin Cheese Cake Ice Cream. There are better treats out there to satisfy our fall food cravings!

https://www.baskinrobbins.com/content/baskinrobbins/en/products/icecream/flavors.html?popupurl=/content/baskinrobbins/en/products/icecream/flavors/pumpkin-cheesecake-ice-cream.html

Under the Bun: Wendy’s Smoked Gouda Chicken on Brioche

iStock_000019738970SmallWendy’s newest sandwich offering almost sounds like it shouldn’t be fast food. Smoked Gouda Chicken on Brioche has a rather upscale ring to it, which was probably the intent. But let’s not forget that a fast food menu item with some higher end ingredients is still a fast food menu item.

That’s certainly true here. Plus it appears to be a bit “overloaded.”

FoodFacts.com went under the bun to find a lightly breaded, boneless chicken breast, topped with horseradish Dijon sauce, sliced red onions, spring-mix greens, caramelized onion sauce and smoked Gouda cheese on a toasted brioche bun. Have to wonder if you can still find the chicken with all the “fixins” they’re including here.

Let’s look a little closer, starting with the nutrition facts:

Calories:               600
Fat:                       28 g
Saturated Fat:       8 g
Cholesterol:       100 mg
Sodium:           1550 mg

We feel it’s important to mention that most fast food consumers choose chicken sandwiches because they feel, intuitively, that chicken sandwiches are a healthier choice than burgers. Their intuition would be incorrect here. Dave’s Hot ‘n Juicy quarter pound burger contains 20 less calories, 3 additional grams of fat, the same read on cholesterol and less sodium than the new Smoked Gouda Chicken on Brioche. Might as well have the burger.

The ingredient list for this new sandwich is huge. Take a quick look:

Bun: Enriched Wheat Flour (wheat flour, malted barley flour, niacin, iron, thiamine mononitrate, riboflavin, folic acid), Water, Sugar, Yeast, Buttermilk Powder (whey solids, enzyme-modified butter, maltodextrin, salt, guar gum, annatto and turmeric [color]), Egg Yolks, Butter, Salt, Dough Conditioner (wheat flour, DATEM, contains 2% or less of: silicon dioxide [flow aid], soybean oil, enzymes [wheat], calcium sulfate, salt), Dry Malt, Calcium Propionate, Dough Conditioner (degermed yellow corn flour, turmeric and paprika [color], contains 2% or less of: natural flavor), Egg Wash (eggs, water). CONTAINS: WHEAT, EGG, MILK. Chicken: Chicken Breast, Water, Seasoning (salt, autolyzed yeast extract, sugar, flavor, chicken, maltodextrin, gum arabic, silicon dioxide, lactic acid, sunflower oil, canola oil, dextrose, grill flavor [from canola oil], citric acid), Modified Potato Starch, Sodium Phosphates. Breaded With: Wheat Flour, Water, Salt, Modified Corn Starch, Leavening (sodium acid pyrophosphate, sodium bicarbonate, monocalcium phosphate), Onion Powder, Garlic Powder, Autolyzed Yeast Extract, Natural Flavor, Lactic Acid, Extractives of Turmeric. Cooked in Vegetable Oil (soybean oil, corn oil, cottonseed oil, hydrogenated soybean oil, citric acid [preservative], dimethylpolysiloxane [anti-foaming agent]). Cooked in the same oil as menu items that contain Egg and Fish (where available). CONTAINS: WHEAT. Horseradish Dijon Spread: Soybean Oil, Water, Horseradish, Egg Yolk, Dijon Mustard (water, vinegar, mustard seed, salt, white wine, pectin, citric acid, tartaric acid, sugar, spice), Distilled Vinegar, Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Salt, Sugar, Xanthan Gum, Natural Flavor, Garlic (dehydrated), Onion (dehydrated), Corn Syrup, Molasses, Spice, Caramel Color, Oleoresin Rosemary, Tamarind. CONTAINS: EGG. Carmelized Onion Sauce: Onions, Sugar, Rice Vinegar, Caramelized Sugar, Modified Food Starch, Contains less than 2% of Caramel Color, Natural Smoke Flavor, Natural Extractives of Onion (with glycerine and other natural flavors), Salt, Xanthan Gum. Smoked Gouda Cheese: Pasteurized Milk, Cheese Culture, Salt, Enzymes, Annatto Color, Natural Smoke Flavor. CONTAINS: MILK, Red Onion, Spring Mix Greens: Baby Lettuces (red & green Romaine, red & green oak, red & green leaf, lolla Rosa, tango), Spinach, Mizuna Arugula, Tatsoi, Red Chard, Green Chard.

That’s just too many ingredients for any one sandwich — and about a dozen of them are controversial.

So while the sandwich may sound like an upscale, “fancier” option, let’s not be fooled into thinking it’s actually a healthier option. Less than desirable nutrition facts and ingredients definitely place the new Smoked Gouda Chicken on Brioche on our avoid list. If you can’t contain your curiosity, you should hurry to your nearest Wendy’s, as thankfully, this one is only available for a limited time.

https://www.wendys.com/en-us/nutrition-info

Fresh fruit lovers may be reducing their risk of cardiovascular disease by up to 40%!

200472_10150133383738407_5646118_nIf you eat fresh fruit every day because you enjoy it, you may be doing something really important for your health without knowing it!

Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in the US. Each year, 600,000 people die from heart disease and 130,000 die from stroke. But a new study finds that the risk of developing cardiovascular disease could be reduced by up to 40%, simply by eating fresh fruit every day.

The research team, led by Dr. Huaidong Du from the University of Oxford in the UK, recently presented their findings at the European Society of Cardiology Congress 2014.

The results of their study came from an analysis of 451,681 individuals from five rural and five urban areas of China who were a part of the China Kadoorie Biobank – a study set up to investigate genetic and environmental causes of chronic diseases.

Dr. Du notes that numerous studies have indicated that improvements in diet and lifestyle are critical to reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD). But she points out that the majority of these studies have come from Western countries, with very few from China.

“China has a different pattern of CVD,” explains Dr. Du, “with stroke as the main cause compared to Western countries where ischemic heart disease is more prevalent. Previous studies have combined ischemic and hemorrhagic stroke, probably due to the limited number of stroke cases in their datasets.”

She adds that given the difference in risk factors and physiology between ischemic and hemorrhagic stroke, the team was particularly interested in how fruit consumption influenced the risk of these stroke subtypes.

The more fruit consumed each day, the lower the risk of CVD
Study participants had no history of CVD and were receiving no treatment for high blood pressure at baseline.

At the beginning of the study, the researchers asked the participants how much fresh fruit they ate. Fruit consumption was divided into five categories: never, monthly, 1-3 days a week, 4-6 days a week and daily.

During 7 years of follow-up, 19,300 participants developed heart disease and 19,689 had stroke, of which 14,688 were ischemic and 3,562 were hemorrhagic.

Dr. Du and her team found that participants who ate fruit every day had a 25-40% lower risk of CVD, compared with those who never ate fruit. In detail, those who ate fruit daily had a 15% lower risk of ischemic heart disease, a 25% lower risk of ischemic stroke and a 40% reduced risk of hemorrhagic stroke. Furthermore, the more fruit a person ate, the lower their risk of CVD. The average daily fruit intake was 1.5 portions (approximately 150 g).

In addition, the researchers found that participants who reported eating fruit daily had lower blood pressure at baseline, compared with those who reported never eating fruit. “We also found that the beneficial effect of fruit on the risk of CVD was independent of its impact on baseline blood pressure,” adds Dr. Du.

The team then carried out a separate analysis to see how fruit consumption affected all-cause and cardiovascular mortality in 61,000 patients who had high blood pressure or CVD at study baseline.

Overall, the researchers found that participants who ate fruit daily had a 32% lower risk of all-cause mortality than those who never ate fruit, as well as a 40% lower risk of death from stroke and a 27% lower risk of death from ischemic heart disease.

Commenting on their findings, the team says:
“Our results show the benefit of eating fruit in the healthy general population and in patients with CVD and hypertension. Fruit consumption is an effective way to cut CVD risk and should not only be regarded as ‘might be useful.’

Policies are needed to promote the availability, affordability and acceptability of fresh fruit through educational and regulatory measures.”

It does seem like no one really ever complains about eating fruit. Kids love fresh fruit — apples, bananas, pears, berries, melon — all are sweet and tasty. And for adults, seasonal varieties of fruit keep our diets interesting and flavorful. Remember the old adage, “an apple a day keeps the doctor away?” Worthwhile advice. FoodFacts.com hopes we all take it!

http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/281903.php

New study links energy drinks to caffeine syndrome and heart problems

Heart attackAfter years of hearing about the possible relationship between energy drinks and emergency room visits and even deaths, FoodFacts.com is excited to share this important information. Finally there’s been a study conducted that takes a good look at the effects of energy drinks.

Energy drinks can cause heart problems according to research presented at the European Society of Cardiology Congress 2014 by Professor Milou-Daniel Drici from France.

During the two year study period, 257 cases of adverse effects related to energy drinks were reported, of which 212 provided sufficient information for food and drug safety evaluation. They found that 95 of the reported adverse events had cardiovascular symptoms, 74 psychiatric, and 57 neurological, sometimes overlapping. Cardiac arrests and sudden or unexplained deaths occurred at least in 8 cases, while 46 people had heart rhythm disorders, 13 had angina and 3 had hypertension.

Caffeine syndrome was the most common problem, occurring in 60 people. It is characterized by a fast heart rate (called tachycardia), tremor, anxiety and headache. The study analyzed adverse events reported between 1 January 2009 and 30 November 2012. Some 15 specialists including cardiologists, psychiatrists, neurologists and physiologists contributed to the investigation and results were compared to published data in the scientific literature.

The researchers found that consumption of the 103 energy drinks in France increased by 30% between 2009 and 2011 up to over 30 million liters. The leading brand made up 40% of energy drinks consumed. Two-thirds of drinks were consumed away from home.

Professor Drici said, “So-called ‘energy drinks’ are popular in dance clubs and during physical exercise, with people sometimes consuming a number of drinks one after the other. This situation can lead to a number of adverse conditions including angina, cardiac arrhythmia (irregular heartbeat) and even sudden death.”

Around 96% of these drinks contain caffeine, with a typical 0.25 litre can holding 2 espressos worth of caffeine. Caffeine is one of the most potent agonists of the ryanodine receptors and leads to a massive release of calcium within cardiac cells. This can cause arrhythmias, but also has effects on the heart’s abilities to contract and to use oxygen. In addition, 52% of drinks contain taurine, 33% have glucuronolactone and two-thirds contain vitamins.

“In 2008 energy drinks were granted marketing authorization in France. In 2009 this was accompanied by a national nutritional surveillance scheme which required national health agencies and regional centers to send information on spontaneously reported adverse events to the A.N.S.E.S, the French agency for food safety.”

Rare but severe adverse events were also associated with these drinks, such as sudden or unexplained death, arrhythmia and heart attack (myocardial infarction). Their literature search confirmed that these conditions can be related to consumption of energy drinks.

Drici added,”Patients with cardiac conditions including catecholaminergic arrhythmias, long QT syndrome and angina should be aware of the potential danger of a large intake of caffeine, which is a stimulant that can exacerbate their condition with possibly fatal consequences.

“The general public need to know that so-called ‘energy drinks’ have absolutely no place during or after physical exercise, as compared with other drinks designed for that purpose. When used in long alcoholic cocktails, the caffeine in ‘energy drinks’ enables young people in dance clubs or elsewhere to overcome the unwanted effects of alcohol, leading to an even greater intake of caffeine.

“Patients rarely mention consumption of energy drinks to their doctors unless they are asked. Doctors should warn patients with cardiac conditions about the potential dangers of these drinks and ask young people in particular whether they consume such drinks on a regular basis or through binge drinking.”

Energy drinks are too popular. They’re too popular among teens, young adults and adults. And regardless of whether or not any direct links have been found between the enormous increase of emergency room visits and deaths that have involved energy drink consumption, these drinks are dangerous. This new research certainly reflects that and is just the beginning of what we’re certain will be many new revelations regarding the importance of avoiding energy drinks.

http://www.science20.com/news_articles/caffeine_syndrome_energy_drinks_linked_to_heart_problems-143804