Many of our Foodfacts.com members have watched and enjoyed “Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution” by now. The series has wrapped (but you can catch it online). Meanwhile, the dynamic and charismatic Jamie is busy on the Net sharing his fun and healthy eating tips and recipes. Continue reading
Many of our Foodfacts.com members already know that fiber is an important component of a healthy diet. The official recommendation from the American Heart Association is that both children and adults take in 14 grams of fiber for every 1,000 calories consumed. However, studies show that most kids don’t get enough fiber. Continue reading
Foodfacts.com observes that most food we eat may contain ingredients derived from genetically modified organisms (GMOs). Everything from baby formula and food to our dairy and even our meat.
The most common applications of genetic modification and their derivatives are:
o Corn – Present in high fructose corn syrup and glucose/fructose
o Sugar Beets
o Rice – not currently available for human consumption, but trace amounts of one GM long grain variety (LLRICE601) may have entered the food supply in both the USA and Europe.
o Cotton – These seeds are pressed to make cottonseed oil, which is a common ingredient in vegetable oil and margarine.
o Dairy – Cows injected with GE hormone (rBGH/rBST). Probably feed on GM grains and hay. For over 10 years, rBGH (recombinant bovine growth hormone), also known as rBST (recombinant bovine somatotropin), has been a staple in the dairy products consumed by Americans. Since these products are not labeled as containing rBGH / rBST, most consumers have no idea that a growth hormone intended to induce dairy cows to be more productive is in much of their milk, cheese, and yoghurt.In cows treated with rBGH, significant health problems often develop, including a 50 percent increase in the risk of lameness (leg and hoof problems), over a 25 percent increase in the frequency of udder infections (mastitis), and serious animal reproductive problems, i.e., infertility, cystic ovaries, fetal loss and birth defects.
Because rBGH use results in more cases of mastitis, dairy farmers tend to use more antibiotics to combat the infections, the residues of which also may end up in milk and dairy products. These residues can cause allergic reactions in sensitive individuals and contribute to the growth of antibiotic resistant bacteria, further undermining the efficacy of some antibiotics in fighting human infections.
Fish, fowl, or livestock has not been GM approved. Yet, there are plenty of non-organic foods that are produced from animals raised on GM feed such as grains. Look for wild, rather than farmed fish, to avoid fish raised on GM feed, and 100% grass-fed animals.
Milk or soy protein is the basis of most infant formulas. The secret ingredients in these products are often soy or milk from cows injected with rbGH. Many brands also add GMO-derived corn syrup, corn syrup solids, or soy lecithin.
Few fresh fruits and vegetables for sale in the US are genetically modified. Small amounts of zucchini, yellow crookneck squash and sweet corn may be GM.
Recognize fruit and vegetable label numbers:
o 4-digit number, the food is conventionally produced.
o 5-digit number beginning with an 8, it is GM. However, do not trust that genetically engineered food will have a PLU code identifying it as such, PLU labelling is optional.
o 5-digit number beginning with a 9, is organic.
Many frozen foods are highly processed. Read their labels and stay away from the above mentioned at-risk ingredients, unless they are marked organic or non-GM.
Whenever possible, choose preserves, jams, and jellies with cane sugar, not corn syrup. Most juices are made from GMO-free fruit. The only commercialized GM fruit is papaya from Hawaii. Unfortunately, corn-based sweeteners, e.g. high fructose corn syrup in juices and many sodas is cause for concern.
The sweetener aspartame is derived from GM microorganisms and is found in over 6,000 products, including soft drinks, gum, candy, desserts, yogurt, tabletop sweeteners, and some pharmaceuticals such as vitamins and sugar-free cough drops.
Shop locally. Although more than half of all GM foods are produced in the US, most of it comes from large, industrial farms. By shopping at farmers’ markets, signing up for a subscription from a local Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) farm, or patronizing a local co-op, you may be able to avoid GM products and possibly save money at the same time.
More and more small farms are offering grains and meat directly to customers, in addition to vegetables, fruit and herbs. Shopping locally may also give you the opportunity to speak to the farmer and find out how he or she feels about GMOs and whether or not they use them in their own operation.
Buy whole foods. Favor foods that you can cook and prepare yourself, rather than foods that are processed or prepared (e.g. anything that comes in a box or a bag, including fast food).
If you have the land, time, and resources, grow your own food. As long as you make sure you’re not buying GM seeds, and aren’t near any GM plants which could cross-pollinate, you’ll know for sure that the food which comes from your garden is not genetically modified.
From Theodora Filis. Theodora is an Environmental Consultant who has worked with multinational corporations throughout Europe, The American Farm School, IFOAM, The Soil Association, United Nations, The Bishopic of Cyprus and St. Francis of Assisi Parish, Assisi, Italy. Implementation of new policies and procedures dealing organic farming methods and certification. College Instructor, and co-author of “Living and Working in Greece”.
Almost half of tested samples of commercial high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) contained mercury, which was also found in nearly a third of 55 popular brand-name food and beverage products where HFCS is the first- or second-highest labeled ingredient, according to two new U.S. studies. Continue reading
It’s no surprise to the Food Facts Blog that the world’s most popular beverage – coffee – has an interesting and intriguing history. There is a treasure trove of information about this amazing drink that helps to explain why it is so popular. Some of these facts may ring a bell; some of them may be things you have never heard of before. All of them, though, are sure to provide some interesting tidbits and nuggets of information about coffee and how it came to be the world’s favorite drink. Continue reading
CNN has an interesting report this morning about concerns the US military has about the obesity epidemic. It is affecting military recruitment.
Foodfacts.com is aware that most of us have heard a lot about obesity being the number one health concern in the US today. But a national security issue? Apparently so.
Watch this interesting two minute video. Definitely food for thought (if you will excuse the pun):
Nutrition and health-conscious consumers are in for some good news. The widely acclaimed Food Facts Health Score is now available on products.
How It Works
More comprehensive than Weight Watchers, the groundbreaking Food Facts Health Score system rates over 75,000 food products based on complete nutrition and ingredient value. FFHS is an innovative scoring system that evaluates foods based on multiple dimensions of nutrition and assigns those foods a numeric rating between 0 and 100 (zero being least nutritious and 100 being best). This system goes above and beyond current food rating programs, including the Weight Watchers Point System, by offering a more complete assessment of food nutrition and ingredients value across brands. The Food Facts Health Score helps users gauge not just calories and fiber, but product ingredients and vitamins that are essential building blocks for healthier food. FoodFacts.com is the only one in the world to do this.
FoodFacts.com offers no medical advice or opinions on any food products or ingredients. Their goal is to be the most credible and comprehensive source of food ingredients, nutritional values, chemical substances and additives in the world. Foodfacts.com empowers people who are concerned about the food they eat with choices and more awareness.
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Foodfacts.com noticed a very interesting article referencing research by Brett Blumenthal, who is an advocate for whole, unprocessed foods. However, many of us inevitably turn to packaged or processed foods when we are short on time. Maybe we grab a frozen dinner or pizza for a quick dinner for our family. Maybe we grab a quick nutrition bar to satiate our hunger until we can sit down for a real meal. Or maybe, we just don’t like to cook. Whether we like it or not, packaged and processed food has become a huge part of our food industry and, as a result, a part of many of our diets. Continue reading