Monthly Archives: June 2011

Food Coloring and ADHD

The relationship between food coloring and ADHD has been a hot topic for many years. It’s believed that synthetic preservatives within these coloring agents aggravate symptoms of attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder. Older clinical trials that show no relationship between the two have been deemed inconclusive due to inadequate methods of measuring behaviors. However, parental reports have been known to be more accurate of measuring a child’s behavior. Here’s an article that was recently posted at University of Maryland on Food Coloring and ADHD. Let us know what YOU think!

Food Coloring and ADHD: No Known Link, but Wider Safety Issues Remain, Researcher Says

When University of Maryland psychologist Andrea Chronis-Tuscano testified before a U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) hearing last March, it changed her mind about possible risks of artificial food coloring for children, and drove her to look more closely at the products in her own pantry that she feeds her kids.

Chronis-Tuscano walked in to the meeting certain that NO convincing scientific evidence supports the idea that food coloring additives cause Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder, or ADHD — nor that strict diets eliminating dyes effectively treat the condition.

While the testimony from other experts did NOT shake that assessment, it did raise concerns for her about the lack of research on the overall safety of food dyes for children.

“The testimony I heard presents significant questions for me — issues that have not been adequately studied by scientists,” says Chronis-Tuscano, a mother of young children, an associate professor of psychology and director of the University of Maryland ADHD Program.

“Beginning in the womb, developing brains are particularly sensitive to toxins,” Chrois-Tuscano explains. “It’s important to get better information about how much of these substances American children consume, and whether these levels are dangerous.
“Given the lack of hard evidence, I am not convinced that food coloring additives are dangerous, but I am also not convinced that they are not. It is certainly possible that some small subset of children have a unique sensitivity to these substances.
“The issue shouldn’t end here. We need better answers about the effects of these additives on our nation’s children,” she concludes.

The debate over a possible link between food additives and a range of childhood behavioral issues, such as ADHD, has persisted for decades, spurred on by parents’ desire to find a remedy that does not involve powerful medications.
“This debate has itself been colored by weak science and strong emotional beliefs,” Chronis-Tuscano says.

“My concern as a clinician is that the belief held by many parents that diets eliminating all food additives can cure ADHD often delays or prevents them from getting treatments for their children that are backed by strong scientific evidence — behavior therapy, stimulant medication, or their combination. The earlier such treatment begins the better. Going down the wrong path wastes resources and, most critically, precious time in the life of a child.”

(University of Maryland- June 14th 2011)

Artificial Sweeteners

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Artificial Sweeteners

A major topic among Foodfacts.com readers and foodies alike are the amounts of artificial sweeteners in processed foods, and their possibly damaging properties. Diet sodas, juices, breakfast foods, and thousands of other products contain aspartame, sucralose, saccharin, neotame, or acesulfame potassium. These five artificial sweeteners have been tested and approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration as food additives.

However, heavy debates continue over some of these sweeteners as to whether or not they are truly safe. Despite their assistance in rising obesity numbers, increased cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and tooth decay; markets are still pushing these low-calorie additives to make huge profits. Below is a brief history of some of these controversial sugar substitutions. What do you think of these sweeteners??

Saccharin also known as “Sweet n’ Low”
Saccharin was unintentionally discovered in 1879 by Johns Hopkins University Scientists trying to concoct a miracle drug. What these scientists found was that this non-nutritive coal-tar derivative was approximately 300 times sweeter than that of sugar. Just a few short years later saccharin was being widely used as a food additive in most processed and canned foods.

In 1907, under the Pure Food and Drug Act, a top food safety agent for the USDA investigated saccharin as a possibly illegal substitution of a valuable ingredient. President at the time, Theodore Roosevelt, opposed this idea and stated, “Anybody who says saccharin is injurious to health is an idiot.” A few short days later, this top food safety agent opposing saccharin was released from his position with the USDA.

In 1970, saccharin was presented with a warning label after studies found that this non-nutritive sweetener was causing tumor-growth in bladders of rodents. However, these labels were lifted from saccharin in the early 2000s after scientists frantically justified that rodents may have different pH, calcium, and protein levels in their urine which may lead to bladder cancer with or without saccharin. In late 2010, the Environmental Protection Agency removed saccharin from their long list of hazardous substances, deeming it a safe product.

Aspartame also known as “NutraSweet/Equal”
Coincidentally, aspartame was also unintentionally discovered in 1965 when scientist, James Schlatter, was trying to discover a preventative ulcer drug. As Schlatter was mixing amino acids, asparatic acid and phenylalanine, he decided to taste the product. After realizing its immediate sweetness, he realized he may have struck gold with this accidental product. This was the day that aspartame was first discovered as the next low-calorie artificial sweetener.

Aspartame underwent several trials and tests before a pharmaceutical company, GD Searle & Co decided to manufacture the product. After the popularity of saccharin was slowly on the downfall due to lab results showing bladder cancer in rats, Schlatter and GD Searle decided to petition for FDA’s approval of aspartame, hoping to release their product into the sugar-crazed market.

The scientist and GD Searle included lab results within their petition, proving safety and validity of their product. Around 1974, the FDA approved aspartame as a food additive, but only for certain foods. However, after further speculation, the FDA later found deficiencies in GD Searle’s operations and practices, requiring aspartame to undergo more vigorous testing and clinical trials, before once again receiving approval.

For years now aspartame has gone through various clinical trials and lab testing to validate its safety for human consumption. A study was done by Olney in 1996 regarding the safety of aspartame. This study suggested that the introduction of aspartame into the United States consumer market in 1975, to 1992, was associated with an increased number of subjects diagnosed with brain tumors. This caused a major damper for manufacturers as people now feared what would occur if they continued to eat and drink products loaded with this sweetener. What was once deemed a “miracle sugar” quickly became a “cancer sugar.”

In 2006, the National Cancer Institute conducted a study with approximately half a million people to determine the mentioned link between cancer and aspartame. The study compared subjects that consumed beverages with aspartame, with subjects that did not. Results showed that increased levels of consumption of this sweetener had no positive association with any lymphomas, leukemia, or brain cancers in men and women. Aspartame is still approved by the FDA, and since 1996, is now allowed to be used in all foods.

Sucralose also known as “Splenda”
Sucralose was created in 1976 by a major British-based agribusiness, Tate & Lyle. One of their tests involved a chlorinated sugar compound. Scientist, Shashikant Phadnis, decided after creating the product to taste it, and discovered it was exceptionally sweet. It was immediately patent in 1976 by Tate & Lyle.

Sucralose (or Splenda) was first approved to be used as a food additive in Canada in 1991. Soon after, Australia, New Zealand, the United States, and the European Union followed. As of 2008, Splenda has been approved in over 80 countries. This product is deemed safe by a number of organizations including the FDA, Joint Food & Agriculture Organization, and Center for Science in the Public Interest. According to the Canadian Diabetes Association, the amount of sucralose that may be consumed over a person’s lifetime without any adverse effects is 9mg/kg/day.

The Food and Drug Administration has reviewed hundreds of clinical trials involving both animals and humans that show no harmful long-term results of the consumption of sucralose. However, adverse events reported by consumers include enlarged liver & kidneys, thymus shrinkage, nausea, vomiting, headache, and weight loss.

What are your thoughts on these sweeteners?

Worst Energy Drink

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Rockstar Energy Drink (1 can, 16 fl oz)
280 calories
0 g fat
62 g sugars

Sugar Equivalent: 6 Krispy Kreme Original Glazed Doughnuts

Foodfacts.com is looking into the unhealthiest drinks in America. None of the energy provided by these full-sugar drinks could ever justify the caloric load, but Rockstar’s take is especially frightening. One can provides nearly as much sugar as half a box of Nilla Wafers. In fact, it has 60 more calories than the same amount of Red Bull and 80 more than a can of Monster. If you’re going to guzzle, better choose one of the low-cal options. We like Monster; it offers all the caffeine and B vitamins with just enough sugar to cut through the funky extracts.

Information provided by menshealth.com

Food for Health – 5 Powerful Food Types To Boost Your Health

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Food for Health – 5 Powerful Food Types To Boost Your Health

Foodfacts.com is teaming up with our friends over at foodforyourhealing.com to give you 5 Powerful Food Types to boost your health! In the effort to maintain a healthy lifestyle, eating food for health is one of the most important nutrition choices. Choosing the right food for health involves both knowing what to look for when you are grocery shopping, as well as what your body needs. There are five important food types that should be taking into consideration. Let’s look at what these types of foods are and the benefits they offer your body.

1. Anti-anaemic Foods

The first food type is anti-anaemic foods. When eaten regularly these foods will help control or even prevent the onset of anaemia, a condition wherein there is a deficiency of iron, an essential component of haemoglobin in our blood. Haemoglobin is a protein molecule found in red blood cells that carries oxygen. We obtain most of our iron from our diet and therefore need to include these foods in our health meal plan. Some anti-anaemic foods to choose from include pistachios, mustard greens, curry powder, asparagus, green peppers, lentils and liver.

2. Anti-carcinogenic Foods

Anti-carcinogens are substances that can help reduce the risk of contracting cancer. With cancer rates being as high as they are, it’s not difficult to see why eating foods that contain anti-carcinogens is crucial to our overall health and well-being.

As a general rule of thumb when choosing anti-carcinogenic foods, look for those that are low in saturated fats and high in omega-3 fatty acids. A very popular example is salmon. Also look for foods that are high in fiber as these help to prevent colon cancer, as well as prevent hormonal aberrations that promote the development of prostate cancer in men. Plant proteins and foods with a higher calcium content fall into this category as well. In addition to salmon, some examples of anti-carcinogenic foods include mustard greens, garlic, olive oil, carrots, blueberries, and broccoli.

3. Antioxidant Foods

The third group of foods are known as antioxidant foods. Basically what antioxidants do is help to protect and strengthen our immune system. Everyone has heard of “free radicals” in the buzz about the benefits of antioxidants. Free radicals are molecules that are created when oxygen interacts with cells in our bodies, damaging them and resulting in molecules missing an electron. These highly unstable molecules aggressively seek out electrons from nearby tissue cells in the body, damaging their DNA and killing them. This leads to many ailments and health conditions, including atherosclerosis and cancer. Antioxidants help prevent free radicals from attaching to our cells by capturing and neutralizing them.

When trying to eat a diet high in antioxidant foods, you need to eat more fruits and vegetables, as these foods contain antioxidants in the highest quantities. Some foods that are high in antioxidants are blueberries, apricots, broccoli, mustard greens, green peppers, carrots, Brussels sprouts, and sweet potatoes.

4. Diuretic Foods

Foods containing diuretics assist your body with fluid removal. This prevents bloating and water retention in your body, and can also help relieve symptoms of pre-menstrual syndrome in women. Diuretic foods can also accelerate with the removal of toxins from our bodies via our excretory system. However, when eating natural diuretics it is best not to overdo it. If eaten in excess, they can result in the removal of nutrients from the body. Examples of these foods include celery, dandelions, parsley, melon, tea, asparagus, coffee and artichokes.

5. Laxative Foods

Lastly are healthy foods containing laxatives. Laxatives enhance our bodies’ ability to excrete stool and relieve and prevent constipation. Nearly everyone has heard of that old constipation remedy of eating prunes. However prunes are not the only type of natural laxative out there, and it’s important to know some of the other laxative food options in order to keep your bowels functioning efficiently. It may seem unimportant, but proper bowel function plays a major role in preventing a host of intestinal conditions. Some natural food laxatives include apples, bananas, broccoli, turmeric, ginger, cauliflower, tomatoes and avocados.

After going through all five of these critical food groups, it’s pretty easy to see the similarities between them. Eating good food for health therefore includes eating a whole lot more fruits and vegetables, and a whole lot less fatty meats. This is the only body you’re ever going to get, so it’s vital to take proper care of it!

Article provided by FoodForYourHealing.com

What is the Food Additive TBHQ?

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Foodfacts.com wants to help you learn about what controversial food additives are being put into your foods.TBHQ is the acronym used to describe tertiary butylhydroquinone, which is an antioxidant that comes from petroleum and is related to butane. It is often used as a preservative, applied either to the carton of fast food items or sprayed directly onto them, as well as in various other prepackaged food items.

Usage
TBHQ reduces oxidative deterioration in foods it is applied to, delaying the onset of rancidness. It is particularly effective in reducing the deterioration of fats and oils and aids in reducing nutritional loss over time and extending storage life.

Toxicity
As a food additive, the FDA allows TBHQ to make up no more than 0.02 percent of the total oils in a food. Consuming up to a gram of TBHQ can cause variable toxicity, and up to 5 grams can be fatal. For perspective, it would take 312.5 McDonald’s chicken nuggets (if they contain a full 0.02% of TBHQ) to consume a single gram.

Side Effects
Consuming high doses of TBHQ (between 1 and 4 grams, approximately) can lead to a variety of negative symptoms, including nausea, vomiting, tinnitus (ringing in the ears), delirium and collapse. But the sheer amount of food consumption necessary to be afflicted by TBHQ toxicity generally makes these symptoms extremely rare.

Carcinogenesis
In toxicity studies, long-term, high-dose TBHQ administration in lab animals showed a tendency for them to develop cancerous precursors in the stomach, as well as causing DNA damage. But unlike other antioxidant additives, it did not cause lung lesions in laboratory animals.

TBHQ in Children
There has been some anecdotal evidence that TBHQ can cause anxiety, restlessness, and aggravation of ADHD symptoms, although there have been no clinical studies that show any link between food additives and behavioral disorders in children.

Worst Bottled Coffee!

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Starbucks Vanilla Frappuccino (1 bottle, 13.7 fl oz)
290 calories
4.5 g fat (2.5 g saturated)
45 g sugars

Sugar Equivalent: 32 Nilla Wafers

Foodfacts.com is looking into the unhealthiest drinks in America. With an unreasonable number of calorie landmines peppered across Starbucks’ in-store menu, you’d think the company would want to use its grocery line to restore faith in its ability to provide caffeine without testing the limits of your belt buckle. Guess not. This drink has been on our radar for years, and we still haven’t managed to find a bottled coffee with more sugar. Consider this—along with Starbucks’ miniature Espresso and Cream Doubleshot—your worst option for a morning pickup.

Information provided by Menshealth.com

Get to know the controversial food additive Olestra!

olestra

Foodfacts.com wants to help you learn more about what controversial food additives are being put into your foods. Olestra is a fat substitute used in the cooking and preparation of foods, most commonly those foods normally containing high concentrations of fat. Potato chips were one of the first commercially available products to have it used in their preparation. The benefit is the extreme lowering or complete elimination of a traditionally fatty food’s fat content. Like insoluble fiber found in corn and apples, olestra is not digested or absorbed by the body, and it passes through the human digestive system completely unchanged.
wow-chips
Olestra, also known by the brand name Olean®, was discovered by researchers Fred Mattson and Robert Volpenhein of Proctor & Gamble (P&G) in 1968. The original study, which surrounded fats that could be more easily digested by premature infants, led to P&G contacting the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 1971 to investigate the testing that would be necessary to manufacture and market Olean® as a food additive, specifically as a fat replacement.

In the testing that followed, P&G scientists noted an interesting side effect when olestra was used to replace natural dietary fats. A drop in the level of blood cholesterol resulted when olestra was used. P&G subsequently filed a request with the FDA to market olestra as a drug in the treatment of high cholesterol. However, P&G’s studies failed to produce the 15% decline in cholesterol levels to quality olestra as a treatment.

It wasn’t until 1996 that the FDA finally approved olestra as a food additive. The first product to use Olean® as a substitute for dietary fat was the WOW® brand of potato chips by Frito-Lay®. Following their national launch in 1998, the WOW® chips were initially successful, raking in sales in excess of $400 million US Dollars (USD). However, due largely to reports of certain unpleasant side effects that were subsequently listed on a health warning label on the product as mandated by the FDA, sales dropped sharply.
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The side effects—including loose stools, abdominal cramping, and olestra’s interference with the body’s ability to absorb certain crucial vitamins, namely Vitamins A, D, E, and K—were enough to cut sales in half by 2000 to $200 million USD. Although the intestinal side effects, which became commonly known as “anal leakage” in the media, occurred only as a result of over-consumption, it was enough to tarnish the product’s reputation and diminish consumer appeal. Citing further studies, the FDA decided that the warning label wasn’t warranted and approved its removal despite complaints numbering over 20,000 regarding side effects. It has also been proven since the time of the original studies that Olean® has no impact on the body’s ability to absorb fat-soluble vitamins.

Olestra, under the brand name Olean®, is still used primarily as a fat substitute in the manufacture of certain savory snack foods including Lays® Light Potato Chips, Doritos® Light Snack Chips, Pringles® Light Potato Crisps, Ruffles® Light Potato Chips, and Tostitos® Light Tortilla Chips. The FDA declared Olean® as “Generally Regarded As Safe” (GRAS) in late 2008 for use in the production of prepackaged, ready-to-eat cookies using Olean® BakeLean. BakeLean products are proprietary blends of Olean® and vegetable oils used as a substitute for butter, margarine, and shortening in the manufacture of baked goods, reducing the calories and fat content of the end product by 75%. Olean® is not approved for use or sale in Canada or the European Union.

Article provided by wisegeek.com

Worst Bottled Tea!

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SoBe Green Tea (1 bottle, 20 fl oz)
240 calories
0 g fat
61 g sugars

Sugar Equivalent: 4 slices Sara Lee Cherry Pie

Foodfacts.com is looking into the unhealthiest drinks in America. Leave it to SoBe to take an otherwise healthy bottle of tea and inject it with enough sugar to turn it into dessert. The Pepsi-owned company’s flagship line, composed of 11 flavors with names like “Nirvana” and “Cranberry Grapefruit Elixir,” is marketed to give consumers the impression that it can cleanse the body, mind, and spirit. Don’t be fooled. Just like this bottle of green tea, all of these beverages are made with two primary ingredients: water and sugar.

information provided by Menshealth.com

Worst Frozen Coffee Drink!

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Dairy Queen Caramel MooLatte (24 fl oz)
870 calories
24 g fat (19 g saturated, 1 g trans)
112 g sugars

Sugar Equivalent: 12 Dunkin’ Donuts Bavarian Kreme Doughnuts

Foodfacts.com continues to explore the unhealthiest drinks in America, and Coffee-dessert hybrids are among the worst breed of beverages. This one delivers 1 gram of fat and 4.6 grams of sugar in every ounce, making even Starbucks’ over-the-top line of Frappuccinos look like decent options. Maybe that’s why DQ decided to give it a name that alludes to the animal it promises to turn you into. If you can bring yourself to skip DQ and head to a coffee shop instead, order a large iced latte with a couple shots of flavored syrup and save some 600 calories. But if you’re stuck where you are, you’re better off pairing a small treat with a regular cup of joe.

Information provided by menshealth.com

America’s Worst Espresso Drink

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Foodfacts.com is looking into the most unhealthy drinks in America. Lets take a look at Starbucks Peppermint White Chocolate Mocha with Whipped Cream

Starbucks Peppermint White Chocolate Mocha with Whipped Cream (venti, 20 fl oz)
660 calories
22 g fat (15 g saturated)
95 g sugars

Sugar Equivalent: 8½ scoops Edy’s Slow Churned Rich and Creamy Coffee Ice Cream

Hopefully this will dispel any lingering fragments of the “health halo” that still exists in coffee shops—that misguided belief that espresso-based beverages can’t do much damage. In this 20-ounce cup, Starbucks manages to pack in more calories and saturated fat than two slices of deep-dish sausage and pepperoni pizza from Domino’s. That makes it the equivalent of dinner and dessert disguised as a cup of coffee. If you want a treat, look to Starbucks’ supply of sugar-free syrups; if you want a caffeine buzz, stick to the regular joe, an Americano, or a cappuccino.

Information provided by Men’s Health Magazine.