Monthly Archives: March 2011

Another Across The Pond Comparison -Nutri-Grain Bars

Here’s another example of artificial food dyes being used in foods in America but not in the United Kingdom. Kellogg’s Nutri-Grain bars…check out the comparisons in the video!

Here’s the American version and here’s the United Kingdom’s version.

We like that in the United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand they tell you the amount in percentages of real ingredients like strawberry.

Good thing the F.D.A. is starting to think about warning Americans about artificial colors.

F.D.A. Thinking About Warnings for Artificial Food Colors

We have been showing you all week, in videos and blogs, how some first world countries have strict policies against artificial food dyes such as Red 40, Yellow 5, Red 3, Blue 2 and Blue 1. These colors are banned in the United Kingdom because they cause hyperactivity in children. And now, it seems like we aren’t the only ones taking notice of this, here is an article from today’s New York Time’s “F.D.A. Panel to Consider Warnings for Artificial Food Colorings

WASHINGTON — After staunchly defending the safety of artificial food colorings, the federal government is for the first time publicly reassessing whether foods like Jell-O, Lucky Charms cereal and Minute Maid Lemonade should carry warnings that the bright artificial colorings in them worsen behavior problems like hyperactivity in some children.

The Food and Drug Administration concluded long ago that there was no definitive link between the colorings and behavior or health problems, and the agency is unlikely to change its mind any time soon. But on Wednesday and Thursday, the F.D.A. will ask a panel of experts to review the evidence and advise on possible policy changes, which could include warning labels on food.

Froot Loops are packed with artificial colors.

Froot Loops are packed with artificial colors.

The hearings signal that the growing list of studies suggesting a link between artificial colorings and behavioral changes in children has at least gotten regulators’ attention — and, for consumer advocates, that in itself is a victory.

In a concluding report, staff scientists from the F.D.A. wrote that while typical children might be unaffected by the dyes, those with behavioral disorders might have their conditions “exacerbated by exposure to a number of substances in food, including, but not limited to, synthetic color additives.”

Renee Shutters, a mother of two from Jamestown, N.Y., said in a telephone interview on Tuesday that two years ago, her son Trenton, then 5, was having serious behavioral problems at school until she eliminated artificial food colorings from his diet. “I know for sure I found the root cause of this one because you can turn it on and off like a switch,” Ms. Shutters said.

But Dr. Lawrence Diller, a behavioral pediatrician in Walnut Creek, Calif., said evidence that diet plays a significant role in most childhood behavioral disorders was minimal to nonexistent. “These are urban legends that won’t die,” Dr. Diller said.

There is no debate about the safety of natural food colorings, and manufacturers have long defended the safety of artificial ones as well. In a statement, the Grocery Manufacturers Association said, “All of the major safety bodies globally have reviewed the available science and have determined that there is no demonstrable link between artificial food colors and hyperactivity among children.”

In a 2008 petition filed with federal food regulators, the Center for Science in the Public Interest, a consumer advocacy group, argued that some parents of susceptible children do not know that their children are at risk and so “the appropriate public health approach is to remove those dangerous and unnecessary substances from the food supply.”

The federal government has been cracking down on artificial food dyes for more than a century in part because some early ones were not only toxic but were also sometimes used to mask filth or rot. In 1950, many children became ill after eating Halloween candy containing Orange No. 1 dye, and the F.D.A. banned it after more rigorous testing suggested that it was toxic. In 1976, the agency banned Red No. 2 because it was suspected to be carcinogenic. It was then replaced by Red No. 40.

Many of the artificial colorings used today were approved by the F.D.A. in 1931, including Blue No. 1, Yellow No. 5 and Red No. 3. Artificial dyes were developed — just as aspirin was — from coal tar, but are now made from petroleum products.

In the 1970s, Dr. Benjamin Feingold, a pediatric allergist from California, had success treating the symptoms of hyperactivity in some children by prescribing a diet that, among other things, eliminated artificial colorings. And some studies, including one published in The Lancet medical journal in 2007, have found that artificial colorings might lead to behavioral changes even in typical children.

The consumer science group asked the government to ban the dyes, or at least require manufacturers to include prominent warnings that “artificial colorings in this food cause hyperactivity and behavioral problems in some children.”

Citizen petitions are routinely dismissed by the F.D.A. without much comment. Not this time. Still, the agency is not asking the experts to consider a ban during their two-day meeting, and agency scientists in lengthy analyses expressed skepticism about the scientific merits of the Lancet study and others suggesting any definitive link between dyes and behavioral issues. Importantly, the research offers almost no clue about the relative risks of individual dyes, making specific regulatory actions against, say, Green No. 3 or Yellow No. 6 almost impossible.

The F.D.A. scientists suggested that problems associated with artificial coloring might be akin to a peanut allergy, or “a unique intolerance to these substances and not to any inherent neurotoxic properties” of the dyes themselves. As it does for peanuts and other foods that can cause reactions, the F.D.A. already requires manufacturers to disclose on food labels the presence of artificial colorings.

A spokeswoman for General Mills refused to comment. Valerie Moens, a spokeswoman for Kraft Foods Inc., wrote in an e-mail that all of the food colors the company used were approved and clearly labeled, but that the company was expanding its “portfolio to include products without added colors,” like Kool-Aid Invisible, Capri Sun juices and Kraft Macaroni and Cheese Organic White Cheddar.

The panel will almost certainly ask that more research on the subject be conducted, but such calls are routinely ignored. Research on pediatric behaviors can be difficult and expensive to conduct since it often involves regular and subjective assessments of children by parents and teachers who should be kept in the dark about the specifics of the test. And since the patents on the dyes expired long ago, manufacturers have little incentive to finance such research themselves.

Popular foods that have artificial dyes include Cheetos snacks, Froot Loops cereal, Pop-Tarts and Hostess Twinkies, according to an extensive listing in the consumer advocacy group’s petition. Some grocery chains, including Whole Foods Market and Trader Joe’s, refuse to sell foods with artificial coloring.

Don’t know if you’re eating GMO’s?

franken-tomato

If you think that genetically modified organisms (GMOs) don’t affect you, then consider this. Up to 90% of all major US grown crops are grown with genetically engineered seed, and can be used in human and animal foods without any safety testing or labeling to let us know what’s been used.

This includes GM corn (maize), soybeans, canola (a North American cultivar of oilseed rape), sugar beet and cotton, which have made their way into approximately 80% of current US grocery store items. Don’t know if you’re eating GMOs? If you’re not buying organically produced foods or growing your own vegetables and raising your own animals for food, you’re probably eating genetically modified ingredients in most of the foods you’re consuming today.

In Europe last week, officials ruled that the European Union’s constituent countries could not independently ban genetically modified crops. Paolo Mengozzi, legal adviser to the European Court of Justice, ruled that only the EU itself could institute such bans. France and five other EU countries have put a blanket ban on GMOs, citing safety concerns. “The French authorities could not suspend the cultivation of genetically modified maize (MON 810) on national territory without having first asked the European Commission to adopt emergency measures citing a risk to health and the environment,” said Mengozzi.

Last month, for the first time, European judges allowed GMOs in small amounts as contaminants in other crops – such as imported alfalfa (aka ‘lucerne’).

Monsanto’s MON 810 seed has been authorized for sale and cultivation in the EU’s 27 member states since 1998. The license for MON 810 is up for renewal this year, with pressure coming from both sides. The US has been putting pressure on the EU to accept the planting of GM crops from US-based companies. France, Luxembourg, Germany, Austria, Hungary, Bulgaria and Greece have all blocked GMOs.

MON 810 corn and the Amflora potato, developed by BASF, are the only GMO seeds approved for farming in the EU. Dozens of GMOs can, however, be imported. The US has been lobbying hard to get all GMO restrictions removed in Europe, considering it an issue of unfair trade (with GMOs making up 95% of US corn and soybean production, it limits what the US can export).

Scientific testing has not been done on what effects GMOs may have on humans. What has been shown is that GMO foods contain excessive amounts of certain toxins, the effects of which have not been determined. Genetically modified foods also negatively impact the environment by creating more toxins and potentially leading to the creation of mutated soil bacteria, which may lead to more harm regarding the future of food production.

The US Department of Agriculture statistics show that the majority of animal products produced in the US today that are raised on confined feed lots (aka ‘CAFOs’ – confined animal feeding operations), are fed with genetically modified feed, and are injected with genetically engineered hormones and vaccines.

Genetically modified foods are grown so that crops can withstand repeated, heavy application of weedkillers – and still survive and be turned into food. GMO crops were first introduced in the 1990s, and pesticide use has only increased – it hasn’t eliminated weeds or the need to reduce weeds. Instead, weeds have become stronger and our food has become more toxic.

US consumers are years behind in demanding the reversal of the use of GMOs. How safe do you feel knowing your government does not give you the right to choose which foods you will buy based on how they were grown?

Lack of truth in labeling takes away the consumer’s choice to eat or refuse foods grown with genetically modified ingredients – there is no requirement by the US government to label GMO foods.

Americans have the right to know what is in their food, and food labeling is the most basic of requirements for consumers to be able to make a real choice. Ask your federal, state, and local politicians to commit to truthful labeling and your right to know as a consumer by supporting mandatory GMO labels on all foods.

http://www.ukprogressive.co.uk

Kellogg’s Pop Tarts in the USA vs. Kellogg’s Pop Tarts in the UK

Can you spot the differences??

We can! Amazing how the same company can make the same product in two different countries but one country, in this case the United Kingdom, requires stricter food standards so the product is much healthier than the product in the country without the strict food rules, in this case the United States of America.

Here is the United Kingdom Strawberry Pop Tart and here is the United States Strawberry Pop Tart.

Notice the differences in the food coloring. The American version allows for Yellow 6, Red 40 and Blue 1 but those controversial colors are banned in the United Kingdom so they use natural dyes. Yellow 6, Red 40 and Blue 1 are apart of a group of dyes that are known to cause ADHD, ADD and behavioral problems, check out your labels, you’ll be surprised how many products have those colors.

Froot Loops Healthier in Australia & New Zealand

Some American food manufactures make healthier versions of their products in other countries because those countries have stricter food policies. An example of this is Kellogg’s Froot Loops, here is the American version’s nutrition information and here is the Australian & New Zealand version’s nutrition information.

Watch here as we point out the differences:

It’s really amazing to us that the U.S.A. can allow these processed and sugar laden foods with controversial ingredients but it appears that other westernized countries eat a healthier version of the product. And we wonder how our childhood obesity rates are out of control?

Cereal may help ward off hypertension

cereal

Starting each day with a bowl of cereal — especially a whole-grain variety — could trim up to 20% off your risk of developing high blood pressure, according to preliminary research presented Tuesday at an American Heart Association meeting in Atlanta.

High blood pressure, or hypertension, can be caused or worsened by a range of factors, including obesity, lack of exercise, too much sodium, and stress. Although cereal alone won’t keep blood pressure in check, eating it regularly may be an easy and practical way to prevent hypertension, the researchers say.

“Cereal is something that people can easily get into their diet and that they enjoy,” says lead researcher Jinesh Kochar, M.D., a geriatric specialist at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, in Boston. “And it costs a lot less than the drugs you’d have to take if you had hypertension.”

Cereals made from whole grains appear to protect against hypertension slightly more than those made from refined grains (which have had their fiber- and nutrient-rich parts removed), the study found.

Julie Miller Jones, Ph.D., a professor of nutrition at the College of St. Catherine, in Minneapolis, says that cereal may be a better source of whole grain than bread and other foods because of how it tends to be served. “Usually with cereal you don’t add a source of saturated fat, while you might add something like sausage to bread,” says Jones, who points out that the study did not control for saturated-fat intake. Jones was not involved in the new research.

In addition, the nuts, raisins, or fruit often added to cereal contain fiber and potassium, both of which can help lower blood pressure. Milk’s effects on blood pressure can’t be discounted either, Jones says. “It may be more about the way you put the breakfast together than anything magical about breakfast cereal.”

7 breakfasts under 300 calories
Kochar and his colleagues analyzed data on more than 13,000 men who were part of the long-running Physicians’ Health Study, which is funded by the National Institutes of Health. All the participants had normal blood pressure and averaged 52 years old at the start of the study. Over the next 17 years, more than half developed hypertension.

Compared with men who never ate cereal, those who averaged one serving per week had a 7% lower risk of hypertension. Those who consumed cereal more frequently had even greater reductions in risk: Two to six weekly servings were associated with an 11% lower risk, and one or more servings per day were associated with a 19% lower risk. (To pinpoint the effect of the cereal, the researchers took several other risk factors for hypertension into account, including age, smoking history, fruit and vegetable consumption, and physical activity.)

Although the food questionnaires used in the study did not ask about specific brands of cereals, popular brand-name cereals made from refined grains include varieties of Corn Flakes, Special K, and Rice Krispies, while examples of whole-grain cereals include Cheerios, shredded wheat, and bran.

10 heart-healthy rules to live by

More research will be needed to determine whether cereal is associated with a lower risk of hypertension in women, too, Kochar says. Although previous studies have shown that women derive heart benefits from whole grain, the findings can’t be immediately generalized beyond men.

Roughly 1 in 3 adults in the U.S. has hypertension, which is a major risk factor for heart attacks, strokes, and kidney problems. The AHA estimates that hypertension costs the country an estimated $90 billion in health-care and other costs each year.

Kochar presented his findings at the AHA’s annual conference on nutrition, physical activity, and metabolism. Unlike the studies published in medical journals, the research presented at the meeting has not been thoroughly vetted by other experts.

Information provided by: health.com

McDonald’s Salads-More Fat than a Big Mac??

McDonald’s and plenty of other fast food chains are all jumping on the “healthy” food bandwagon. But don’t let the marketing schemes fool you. Take McDonald’s for example,(they are the most widely known with some of the best marketing) we showed you how their Perfect Oatmeal wasn’t so perfect and now let’s take a look at how their salads aren’t any better.

McDonald’s isn’t the only fast food restaurant creating salad disasters. Burger King’s Chicken Caesar Salad has more fat and calories than a BK Double Hamburger. Wendy’s Taco Supreme Salad is very high in saturated fat, cholesterol and sodium.

5 Healthy Snacks that will give you energy

almonds-794733

Some snacks enhance energy levels, while others leave us feeling depleted. The key to choosing a satisfying snack that will give you energy to burn is understanding how certain foods fuel energy.

Not all calories are equal. High-calorie processed foods can certainly provide a quick boost, but the result is fleeting and inevitably followed by a low period when blood sugar plummets. Energy-efficient snacks, on the other hand, balance high-quality calories with the nutrients needed to convert calories into enduring energy.

If that’s not enough to appeal to your appetite, consider this: Increased energy naturally improves your mood. Try these five energy-enhancing snacks for a happy high.

1. Almonds
Almonds are packed with a potent combination of energy-enriching nutrients, including manganese, vitamin E, magnesium, tryptophan, copper, vitamin B2 (riboflavin), and phosphorus. Magnesium has been called a miracle mineral because of its multifunctional capabilities: In addition to being an essential part of more than 300 biological processes, magnesium aids in the production of energy, supports the immune system, improves sleep patterns, relaxes muscles, relieves stress and anxiety, and boosts mood.

The protein and fiber in almonds stabilizes blood sugar and slows digestion, which helps regulate energy, so you have steady reserves over time. Healthy fats like the kind found in almonds have been found to curb appetite and prevent overeating that can result in weight gain and its accompanying feelings of fatigue. The fat and fiber in almonds also contribute a feeling of satiety that helps prevent mindless snacking. For these reasons, almonds and other nuts are frequently recommended as part of a healthy diet for people looking to lose weight.

Rev it up: Spread almond butter on whole-grain crackers, or combine a handful of raw almonds with unsweetened dried fruit for a satisfying snack full of fiber and protein.

yogurt

2. Yogurt
Yogurt is full of calcium, phosphorus, protein, tryptophan, molybdenum, and zinc. It’s also a great source of vitamins B2 (riboflavin), B5 (pantothenic acid), and B12 (cobalamin). Thanks to its liquid-like state, the nutrients in yogurt are assimilated quickly and easily during digestion, which means you get an immediate boost of energy. Yogurt’s high protein content means that energy also has staying power.

Protein-rich snacks like yogurt can even pump up your probability for ditching the pounds. Since protein takes time to digest, you’ll feel satisfied for longer — which means less snacking and fewer calorie splurges throughout the day.

Yogurt also supplies the brain with tyrosine, an amino acid that boosts blood levels of the neurotransmitters dopamine and norepinephrine, resulting in a mood and mental boost. In a number of studies, tyrosine has also been effective at fighting fatigue.

Rev it up: Control your sugar intake by opting for unsweetened yogurt, and up the energy ante by adding chopped walnuts or ground flaxseed — both will add protein and omega-3 fatty acids for extended energy. Sweeten to taste with a drizzle of raw honey or pure maple syrup.

pineapple

3. Pineapple
Pineapple is one of summer’s most popular fruits simply because it’s so delicious. But if you want more reasons, look no further: A rich source of manganese, vitamin C, vitamin B1 (thiamin), copper, fiber, and vitamin B6, this juicy fruit is a super snack for fueling energy.

Thanks to high levels of naturally occurring sugar (fructose), dietary fiber, and water, fresh pineapple is nature’s equivalent of a kick in the pants. The carbohydrate-rich fructose breaks down quickly for an immediate energy boost, while the fiber slows digestion for long-lasting results. Pineapple’s energy-extending capabilities don’t stop there: Manganese and thiamin are both essential in energy production and help metabolize carbohydrates. And the vitamin B6 in pineapple plays a part in converting tryptophan into serotonin in the brain for a natural mood booster.

In terms of energy, digestion is one of the costliest bodily functions. The good news: Pineapple contains bromelain, which contains a number of enzymes that help improve digestion. In addition, eating fluid-filled foods like pineapple can help prevent dehydration, one of the most common culprits of zapped energy. Water is necessary for every bodily function, including converting calories into energy, and even a slight dip in fluids leads to physical and mental fatigue.

Rev it up: Pair pineapple with protein-rich yogurt or nonfat cottage cheese. The combination of carbs and protein is ideal for stable and enduring energy.

A wheat field with blue sky background

4. Whole wheat snacks
Whole grains — especially whole wheat — are full of essential nutrients that energize both body and brain, including fiber; manganese; magnesium; iron; protein; carbohydrates; and vitamins B1, B2, and B3. Whole wheat is loaded with energizing B vitamins, which fight fatigue, maintain energy levels, stabilize blood sugar, improve sleep patterns, coordinate nerve and muscle activity, and boost mood.

Simple carbs like white bread and sweets provide a quick surge of energy, but the results are temporary. What’s more, the energy comes courtesy of a spike in blood sugar; once that subsides, you’ll feel depleted and fatigued. The complex carbohydrates in whole wheat, however, are absorbed more slowly, which translates into stable blood sugar levels for hours at a time and gradual, lasting energy.

Carbs are also full of tryptophan, the amino acid precursor to the feel-good chemical serotonin produced in the brain. Too much tryptophan can trigger a spike in serotonin that leads to drowsiness, though, so the key is to pick healthy carbohydrates such as whole grain toast, which is full of fiber, to slow digestion and regulate the flow of serotonin. That way, you’ll get a happy mood boost without the drowsiness.

Rev it up: Combining whole grains with protein is a classic energy-extending combination. Try whole-wheat crackers dipped in low-fat cottage cheese, or top whole wheat toast with your favorite sugar-free nut butter.

edamame

5. Edamame
Edamame, or boiled soybeans, are a great pick-me-up because they’re easy to make, easy to transport, and fun to eat right out of the shell. Soybeans are full of nutrients that contribute directly to a boost in energy as well as mood.

A single cup of edamame provides 116 percent of the recommended daily amount of tryptophan, which helps regulate appetite, enhance sleep, and improve mood — three factors that play a significant role in affecting energy levels. In the same serving, you’ll get 57 percent of the recommended amount of protein, 43 percent of your daily omega-3 fatty acids, 41 percent of fiber, and 49 percent of your daily iron — all important contributors to sustained energy.

Soybeans are also super-rich in molybdenum, an essential trace mineral that helps cells function properly, facilitates the use of iron reserves, aids in metabolizing fat and carbohydrates, enhances alertness, improves concentration, and helps balance blood sugar levels. All of these functions are crucially linked to the production and sustainability of energy. Molybdenum also helps prevent anemia, a common culprit of iron-deficiency-related fatigue.

Plus, soybeans are packed with folate, a natural mood booster that’s been shown to increase serotonin levels and improve symptoms of depression.

Rev it up: Combine half a cup of soybeans with equal parts shredded carrots, presoaked sea vegetables such as hijiki or wakame (two types of seaweed), and a tablespoon of rice wine vinegar for a savvy salad loaded with protein, fiber, minerals, and antioxidants. Optional: Top with a sprinkling of black sesame seeds.

Fiber Adds Years to Life!

wholegrains400-300x199

Check out this great blog from our friends over at www.appforhealth.com

I’ve written about fiber a zillion times and, I admit, fiber’s not the sexiest nutrient. Even the terms used to describe it–roughage, nature’s broom and bulk—are utterly unappealing. That aside, eating a fiber-rich diet is one of the best things you can do to look and feel your best and it might even add years to your life.

According to new research reported recently in the Archives of Internal Medicine, a high-fiber diet was found to help prevent death. While this is not the first study to show that eating a diet rich in fiber-filled foods helped subjects’ cheat death, it was one of the biggest human studies of the nature to be published.

Researchers at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) tracked diet and death records of more than 219,000 older adults for a period of nine years. They found that those who had the most fiber (26 grams for women; 29 for men) reduced their risk of death (from all causes) by 22 percent compared to those who had the least fiber (11 grams women; 13 for men).
Death from heart disease was reduced death by up to 59 percent among those eating the most fiber. Similar reductions in risk were also found for cancer (men only), respiratory disease and infections.

Current fiber intake is about 15 grams per day for most US adults, and 95% of us fail to meet daily fiber recommendations of 14 grams/1,000 calories or 28-35 grams per day. The fiber that was found to be most protective in this study was grain-based fiber, which is the easiest to get more of in your diet, because whole grain-based foods can be very fiber-rich compared to many fruits and vegetables.

For more great blogs check out:

www.appforhealth.com

Happy Saint Patrick’s Day!

Erin Go Bragh! It’s Saint Patrick’s Day and as holidays normally go, there are specialty foods for this day! Of course, there is the drinking, Guinness, Bailey’s Irish Coffee and plenty of famous others.

But what food is more iconic on St Patrick’s Day than Irish Soda Bread? Here’s a great recipe or this recipe is great too!

There is also the famed Corn Beef and Cabbage but watch the video and find out what we substitute for that. And learn more creative cooking ideas in the video!

We think the healthiest way to “Go Green” on Saint Patrick’s Day is to use green vegetables and get creative. Shamrock shaped cucumber slices anyone?

Happy Saint Patrick’s Day!!!!