Monthly Archives: October 2013

Does Halloween candy spook us more than ghosts and goblins?

Halloween is upon us and those of us with small children have undoubtedly been talking with them excitedly for the last few months getting them ready for the big day. And for little ones, it really is a BIG day!

There’s a lot of excitement surrounding who or what they’ll be for Halloween. Costume shopping has become analogous to Christmas shopping. You know how the ultra-cool, wildly popular toy sells out of the major retail outlets about six weeks before Christmas? If you didn’t shop early, your kid might just be out of luck on Christmas morning. The same can now be said for Halloween costumes. If your child has his or her heart set on mimicking the main character from this year’s most popular movie, you’ll want to know about that a few months in advance so you can actually make that happen.

Halloween can be a stressful holiday for parents. The costume, the weather, the candy …. oh, that’s right … let’s not forget about the candy.

This has been a big parenting question for decades now, and we’re no closer to answering it today than we used to be. Do we allow our children to eat their candy haul, or do we: hide it, throw it away, donate it, sell it … or anything else we can think of that does not allow it to enter their mouths?

For generations the question has been addressed by separate factions – the “it’s only once a year, what harm can it do?” folks vs. the “It’s nothing but sugar. It has no nutritional value. It’s terrible for teeth. The kids collect pounds of it in one day and it’s unhealthy to eat that much candy – even if it takes a month to consume all of it” folks.

These separate divisions get a little louder each year. This year, the “No Candy Camp” includes a number of different Candy Buyback Campaigns sponsored by dentists. They’ll actually pay you for your candy and send it out to the troops overseas (who we guess must be immune to tooth decay???).

On the other side of the issue, there are plenty of people who have vivid memories of combining their “loot” with their siblings’ and divvying it up between themselves. It was a great way of making sure you got all your favorite candy and they got theirs. Many people remember that there was never a Halloween where they managed to eat all their candy – even by Thanksgiving. It was just a lot of fun and an opportunity to eat “contraband” legally for a short time, at least.

It’s a pretty personal issue and different families tackle it in different ways. And while it would be difficult to establish absolute rights and wrongs in this complex food situation that is both a sentimental and nutritional issue, we think it might be important to offer a little food for thought to everyone making their decision for the first time. Here are the nutritional “highlights” from the top 10 Halloween Candies of 2013.

Candy Corn:
http://www.foodfacts.com/ci/nutritionfacts/Chewy/Brachs-Candy- Corn-1100-oz/86948

Skittles:

http://www.foodfacts.com/ci/nutritionfacts/Chewy/Skittles-Original-Fruit-Candies-2-oz/4326

Butterfinger:
http://www.foodfacts.com/ci/nutritionfacts/Peanut-Butter/Nestle-Butterfinger-Candy-2-oz/4457

Twizzlers:
http://www.foodfacts.com/ci/nutritionfacts/Chewy/Twizzlers-Strawberry-Twists-24-oz/51634

Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups:

http://www.foodfacts.com/ci/nutritionfacts/Peanut-Butter/Reeses-Peanut-Butter-Cups-Minis-8-oz/66136

M&Ms

http://www.foodfacts.com/ci/nutritionfacts/Chocolate/M-Ms-Milk-Chocolate-Candies-213-oz/8817

Life Savers
http://www.foodfacts.com/ci/nutritionfacts/Hard/Life-Savers-5-Flavors-Hard-Candy-6-oz/4400

Tootsie Rolls
http://www.foodfacts.com/ci/nutritionfacts/Chewy/Tootsie-Roll-Midgees-Chocolate-Candy-12-oz/10095

Wonka Nerds
http://www.foodfacts.com/ci/nutritionfacts/Bite-Size/Wonka-Nerds-Rainbow-of-Flavors-7-oz/4632

Snickers:
http://www.foodfacts.com/ci/nutritionfacts/Chocolate/Snickers-Minis-Candies-13-oz/10476

Whatever you decide, FoodFacts.com wishes you and yours a happy, spooky and safe Halloween!

Maybe we really can’t eat just one …are we addicted to junk food?

Chances are pretty good that the answer to that question is “Absolutely!”

While reviewing the tremendous amounts of new information that have been released over the past year or so regarding obesity, FoodFacts.com has noticed that more than a few studies point out a common fact. The proliferation of junk foods that are high in sugar, salt and fat has occurred in our society at the very same time that obesity has soared. We don’t actually think that’s a coincidence and it does beg the question, “Is junk food addictive?” Maybe you really can’t eat just one of a wide variety of junk foods with high levels of fat, salt and sugar.

Take Oreos, for instance – everyone knows it’s just about impossible to eat one and not look for more. There’s new research out of Connecticut College that is showing that certain foods (and particularly Oreos in this study) cause our brains to signal us to eat more of them. Addictive drugs have this very same affect on the brain. Previous research in both rodents and humans have shown that the same area of the brain will light up on scans when drugs are used or high fat, high sugar foods are consumed.

This research was conducted by students who constructed a two-sided maze to test this theory on rats. On one side of the maze, the rats were fed Oreos. On the other side, they were given rice cakes. Then the rats were permitted to choose for themselves which side of the maze to independently explore.

The researchers recorded the amount of time the rats spent on each side. They then compared the times to a similar experiment where the rats were given an injection of cocaine or morphine on one side of the maze and a shot of saline on the other.

The lab rats conditioned with cookies spent just as much time on the “drug” side of the maze as the rats conditioned with cocaine or morphine, the researchers say. It was also found that the Oreo-eating rats actually experienced more pleasure than the animals who had been injected with drugs.

If consumption of foods high in fat and sugar can lead to addictive behaviors and have the same effect on the brain as drugs that are known to be addictive, then those foods could be considered addictive. This explains why some people have difficulty regulating their food intake, especially when it comes to high fat and sugar options.

We need to keep in mind that rats aren’t humans and these results may or may not be replicated in a human study. Considering that part of the rat study involved the use of illegal drugs, it’s difficult to imagine this research being replicated for the human population. In addition, the research didn’t prove that the rats were addicted – it simply showed that the rats kept going back for more Oreos and found the experience pleasurable.

These things considered though, FoodFacts.com DOES think there’s definitely something these rats are teaching us. There may very well be a correlation between addiction and junk food. That’s why it’s so hard for so many to resist the temptation. And, whether it’s an Oreo or a different product that’s high in fat and sugar, maybe we really can’t eat just one … even with the best of intentions. Just one more reason that processed junk food belongs on all of our “avoid” lists!

http://thechart.blogs.cnn.com/2013/10/16/oreos-as-addictive-as-cocaine-in-lab-rat-study/

Food grading systems affect quality of food choices

FoodFacts.com has its own, unique and proprietary Health Score System. When you look up a food in our database, our algorithm goes to work and assigns that food a score based on a number of different considerations, among which are controversial ingredients, fat content and sugar and sodium levels. It’s a quick way to help visitors determine quickly whether or not that specific food is something they want to purchase and consume.

We think grading systems are a great concept and an easy way to encourage consumers to make more nutritionally sound food choices. If every food was required to carry a grade, we’d be pretty naturally drawn to the foods with the higher grades. Our thought process was confirmed today when we read some interesting information about a food grading system that’s been implemented in a hospital cafeteria.

Massachusetts General Hospital implemented a simple, color-coded system for the foods carried in its hospital cafeteria. It appears that this system increased customer’s attention to the healthiness of their food choices, along with encouraging purchases of the most healthy items. In their report in the October issue of Preventive Medicine, Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) investigators describe customer responses to surveys taken before and after the 2010 implementation of a system using green, yellow or red “traffic light” labels to reflect the nutritional quality of items. Before the system was implemented, 46% of those surveyed indicated that health/nutrition was an important factor when making food selections. After the system was implemented that number increased to 63%. And the percentage of those who stated they looked at a product’s nutritional information prior to purchase doubled from 15% before implementation to 33% after.

FoodFacts.com is happy to report that our Health Food Score is an enormously popular component of our website. Visitors rely on this quick read on where any product stands nutritionally. This assessment of the scoring system used at Massachusetts General Hospital also points to the idea that a grade for food is viewed favorably by consumers. Our own system of rating foods according to a report card with grades ranging from A through F or the system implemented at Massachusetts General which utilizes traffic light symbols (green, yellow and red) are both exceptionally simple for consumers to decipher.

We’ve often thought that the implementation of this type of system on food packaging could really help to raise the nutritional awareness of consumers nationwide. We’re sure that there probably isn’t any food manufacturer anywhere that will willingly place a red light symbol or an F grade right on their packaging. Perhaps it would be better to provide a grade for products rated C or above (yellow light worthy). This might help consumers to gravitate towards products with better nutritional value and AWAY from the products that don’t carry a grade or symbol that helps them easily identify a healthier option. It could also provide some much-needed motivation for manufacturers to focus on offering higher-quality products for purchase. We’d love to see this simple idea that’s already proven effective be brought to the national stage. Everyone would benefit.

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/10/131017173904.htm

Is there actually such a thing as a healthy French fry? Burger King says its new Satisfries fit the bill!

FoodFacts.com may still be on the fence in regard to the new Satisfries Burger King recently introduced to consumers. While Burger King is not touting the healthfulness of this new French fry option (to their credit – it’s still a fry), the nutritional information they are promoting is pretty impressive.

These new crinkle-cut Satisfries boast 40% less fat and 30% less calories than plain old Burger King fries – down almost 77 calories and 5 grams of fat for a small order!

So what could we possibly be on the fence about?

FoodFacts.com hasn’t been able to see the ingredient list as of yet. We’re working on getting it so that we can find a comfortable place to stand on either side of the nutritional fence regarding Satisfries.

From what we’ve read, it appears that all Burger King fries are coated with a batter that helps the fries crisp up in the deep fryer while remaining moist and flavorful. According to the company, the drop in fat and calories in the Satisfry is a result of reformulating that thin coating – nothing more and nothing less. The reformulated coating is less porous than the old one, meaning the fries absorb less oil and are, therefore, lighter in calories and fat than their non-crinkle-cut counterparts.

Essentially this means that the ingredient list we currently have for traditional Burger King Fries will not change for the new Satisfries. As soon as we have that information we’ll get off that fence one way or another. But in the meantime, Satisfries do represent a notable reduction in fat and calories for fast food consumers. Yes – it’s still fast food and yes, there are absolutely better food choices … but Satisfries are a step in the right direction for the fast food industry.

One small note. Satisfries appear to cost between 20 and 30 cents more than regular fries. Maybe the reformulation of that thin coating costs a bit more. We’re not sure, but we did think we should let you know. And honestly, maybe the savings in fat and calories is actually worth the 20 – 30 cents. Consumers will have to make that decision.

In the meantime, we’ll keep you posted on how consumers respond to Satisfries and we’ll let you know when we can share ingredient information for the product with you. What we can say for sure right now though is that in a category of food offerings that seem to proffer less and less nutritional value consistently, it’s nice to see Burger King introduce a product with improved nutritional content.

While FoodFacts.com isn’t a proponent of fast food, we do think it’s important to acknowledge companies who are making real efforts to offer better options. So … nice work Burger King. Oh … and can you send us that ingredient list as soon as you can?

Control hunger … snack on almonds

FoodFacts.com knows that there snacking has become an issue of sorts here in the U.S. There are so many unhealthy snack choices that surround us daily. Our grocery shelves are filled with them. Most contain countless questionable ingredients, too much salt and too much sugar. And our snack habits have contributed to our current struggles with obesity. We need some help choosing snacks that will work to curtail hunger that don’t work to put on the pounds. Today we read some interesting information that may provide that help.

A new study published in the October issue of the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that study participants eating 1.5 ounces of dry-roasted, lightly salted almonds every day experienced reduced hunger and improved dietary vitamin E and monounsaturated (“good”) fat intake without increasing body weight.

An estimated 97% of Americans are consuming at least one snack per day. In light of increasing snacking frequency and snack size among U.S. adults, combined with continued increases in obesity rates and widespread nutrient shortfalls, it becomes increasingly important to identify snacks that pose little risk for weight gain while providing health benefits.

The newly published four-week randomized, controlled clinical study, led by researchers at Purdue University, investigated the effects of almond snacking on weight and appetite.
The study included 137 adult participants at increased risk for type 2 diabetes. Participants were divided into five groups: a control group that avoided all nuts and seeds, a breakfast meal group and lunch meal group that ate 1.5 ounces of almonds each with their daily breakfast or lunch, and a morning snack group and afternoon snack group that each consumed 1.5 ounces of almonds between their customary meals. All almond snacks were eaten within approximately two hours after their last meal and two hours before their next meal.

Participants were not given any other dietary instruction other than to follow their usual eating patterns and physical activity. Participant compliance to consuming almonds was monitored through self-reported dietary intake assessments and fasting vitamin E plasma levels. Despite consuming approximately 250 additional calories per day from almonds, participants did not increase the total number of calories they ate and drank over the course of the day or gain weight over the course of the four-week study.

“This research suggests that almonds may be a good snack option, especially for those concerned about weight,” says Richard Mattes, PhD, MPH, RD, distinguished professor of nutrition science at Purdue University and the study’s principal investigator. “In this study, participants compensated for the additional calories provided by the almonds so daily energy intake did not rise and reported reduced hunger levels and desire to eat at subsequent meals, particularly when almonds were consumed as a snack.”

The new study suggests snacking can be a weight-wise strategy, depending upon the foods consumed. The combined positive effects of daily almond consumption seen in participants on hunger, appetite control, and vitamin E and monounsaturated fat intake without any impact on body weight suggests almonds are a smart snack choice that can help support a healthy weight.

FoodFacts.com likes this research for a number of reasons. We know folks like to snack. And we know that healthy snack options aren’t always as convenient as people might like. Often, grabbing that bag of chips or snack cake off the rack is easier than planning and preparing a snack to travel with you during the day. Almonds are actually pretty convenient. They don’t require preparation. They travel easily. And portion sizing is simple. They’re healthy for many reasons and they can stave off hunger until your next meal. Easy. Satisfying. Nutritionally valuable. We should all give this a try!

http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/releases/267214.php

Changes at the fast food counter … small steps to fight childhood obesity

FoodFacts.com is constantly looking for new information regarding how the obesity crisis is being dealt with.  It’s not just the research and medical information in which we are interested.  We’re also always seeking out how our society (people, businesses and culture) is finding ways to educate consumers, change unhealthy habits and work on reversing a situation that so desperately needs to improve.  Today we read information that does exactly what we’re looking for!

Food advocates and McDonald’s released an updated agreement clarifying the chain will phase out on the kids’ meal section of menu boards. listing soda

Margo G. Wootan, nutrition policy director at the Center for Science in the Public Interest in Washington, said on Sept. 26, McDonald’s, in partnership with the Alliance for a Healthier Generation — founded by the American Heart Association and the Clinton Foundation as a response to the growing rate of childhood obesity — announced that it would cease featuring and promoting soda as a beverage option with kids’ meals.

“The fine print of the agreement, however, disclosed that while McDonald’s would not depict soda through graphics on the Happy Meal section of the menu, it would still list soda as a Happy Meal option on menu boards,” Wootan said in a statement.

CSPI issued a statement on Sept. 27 stating that McDonald’s had misled the public and the media about the true extent of it announcement — because continuing to list soda on menu boards as a Happy Meals option is featuring soda on the menu and is a promotion of sugar drinks to children, Wootan said.

“I spoke to McDonald’s and the alliance about my concerns regarding the agreement and urged them to completely remove soda from the Happy Meal section of the menu board,” Wootan said.

“A McDonald’s spokesman told me that my concerns were brought to McDonald’s Donald Thompson, chief executive officer, who agreed that continuing to list soda on the Happy Meal section of menu boards would be inconsistent with McDonald’s commitment. I applaud McDonald’s for strengthening its commitment and removing soda from the kids’ meal section of its menu boards.”

Taking soda off the Happy Meal section of menu boards at McDonald’s is an important step toward healthier kids meals and healthier children, Wootan added.

FoodFacts.com heartily agrees. This is a definite step forward for childhood obesity concerns. While it’s not going to fix the problem, we know that the manners in which products are promoted have a definite effect on children. If they aren’t seeing the kid’s meal with a soda, they probably won’t be asking for a kid’s meal with soda. And, although it may not seem like a huge help, it is definitely a step in the right direction.

Read more: http://www.upi.com/Health_News/2013/10/12/McDonalds-plan-to-remove-Happy-Meal-soda-clarified/UPI-80011381550479/#ixzz2hwZrqAI7

A hearty and healthy breakfast may help fertility

FoodFacts.com understands that currently about one in ten women experience difficulty when trying to conceive. Infertility is a difficult and painful journey for many. The latest technologies designed to help women conceive are effective for some – but not all. Additionally those technologies are exceptionally costly and not every prospective fertility patient has insurance that will cover these procedures. It would be a blessing for so many if there was a simple answer that might actually provide help for some of the women seeking to start a family. Today we read information about research that may prove beneficial.

A new study by researchers at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and Tel Aviv University reveals that eating a good breakfast can have a positive impact on women with problems of infertility.

In recent years, nutritional research has found that our weight is affected not only by the level of calorie intake, but also by the question of when to consume large amounts of calories.

Now, research, conducted by Prof. Oren Froy, director of the Nutrigenomics and Functional Foods Research Center at the Robert H. Smith Faculty of Agriculture, Food and Environment of the Hebrew University, and Ma’ayan Barnea, plus Prof. Daniela Jocabovitz and Dr. Julio Weinstein from Tel Aviv University and Wolfson Medical Center, shows that a big breakfast increases fertility among woman who suffer from menstrual irregularities.

The study examined whether meal times have an impact on the health of woman with menstrual irregularities due to Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS). PCOS affects approximately 6-10% of woman of reproductive age, disrupting their reproductive abilities. This syndrome creates a resistance to insulin, leading to an increase in male sex hormones (androgens), and can also cause menstrual irregularities, hair loss on the scalp though increase in body hair, acne, fertility problems and future diabetes.

The experiment was carried out at Wolfson Medical Center on 60 women over a 12-week period. The women, from the ages of 25 to 39, were thin with a BMI (body mass index) of less than 23 and suffered from PCOS.

The women were divided into two groups and were allowed to consume about 1,800 calories a day. The difference between the groups was the timing of their largest meal. One group consumed their largest meal, approximately 980 calories, at breakfast, while the other at dinner. Researchers wanted to examine whether the schedule of calorie intake affects insulin resistance and the increase in androgens among woman suffering from PCOS. The women kept records of exactly what they ate.

The findings, recently published in the journal Clinical Science, showed improved results for the group that consumed a big breakfast. Glucose levels and insulin resistance decreased by 8%, while the second group (“dinner”) showed no changes. Another finding showed that among the “breakfast” group, testosterone (one of the androgens) levels decreased by nearly 50%, while the “dinner” group level stayed neutral. In addition, there was a much higher rate of ovulating woman within the “breakfast group” compared to the “dinner” group, showing that eating a hearty breakfast leads to an increase in the level of fertility among woman with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome.

While we realize that further research is necessary to confirm these findings, FoodFacts.com is encouraged to learn that for some of the women experiencing fertility problems, a big healthy breakfast might just be their first step on their path to parenthood!

http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/releases/266880.php

Increase your intake of polyphenols and live a longer life

FoodFacts.com would love for all food consumers to answer this question: If someone told you that you could extend your life by increasing your consumption of fruits and vegetables, would you do it? Pretty easy to answer, isn’t it? Today we read some new research that infers just that!

It is the first time that a scientific study associates high polyphenols intake with a 30% reduction in mortality in older adults. The research, published on Journal of Nutrition, is the first to evaluate the total dietary polyphenol intake by using a nutritional biomarker and not only a food frequency questionnaire. Research is signed by Cristina Andrés Lacueva, Montserrat Rabassa and Mireia Urpí Sardà, from the Department of Nutrition and Bromatology of the UB; Raúl Zamora Ros (ICO-IDIBELL), and experts Antonio Cherubini (Italian National Research Centre on Aging), Stefania Bandinelli (Azienda Sanitaria di Firenze, Italy) and Luigi Ferrucci (National Institute on Aging, United States).

Polyphenols are naturally occurring compounds found largely in fruits, vegetables, coffee, tea, nuts, legumes and cereals. More than 8,000 different phenolic compounds have been identified in plants. Polyphenols have antioxidant, antiinflammatory, anticarcinogenic, etc. effects.

The research published on Journal of Nutrition is based on a 12-year follow-up of a population sample composed by 807 men and women aged 65 or over from Greve and Bagno (Tuscany, Italy), within the InCHIANTI study. The group of the UB analysed the effect of polyphenol-rich diets by means of a nutritional biomarker — the total urinary polyphenol (TUP) concentration — as a proxy measure of intake. To be exact, UB researchers contributes to first literature references on TUP application to epidemiological or clinical studies.

Professor Cristina Andrés Lacueva, head of the Biomarkers and Nutritional & Food Metabolomics Research Group of the UB and coordinator of the study, explains that “the development and use of nutritional biomarkers enables to make a more precise and, particularly, more objective estimation of intake as it is not only based on participants’ memory when answering questionnaire. Nutritional biomarkers take into account bioavailabity and individual differences. According to the expert, “this methodology makes a more reliable and accurate evaluation of the association between food intake and mortality or disease risk.”

In conclusion, the research proves that overall mortality was reduced by 30% in participants who had rich-polyphenol diets (>650 mg/day) in comparison with the participants who had low-polyphenol intakes ( Raúl Zamora Ros, first author of the study, points out that “results corroborate scientific evidence suggesting that people consuming diets rich in fruit and vegetables are at lower risk of several chronic diseases and overall mortality.” Moreover, the research stresses the importance of evaluating — if possible — food intake by using nutritional biomarkers, not only food frequency questionnaires.

Here at FoodFacts.com, we try to get our five a day every day. We’re committed to a healthy diet based on fresh, whole foods and avoiding controversial ingredients. Our awareness of how nutrition affects our health and well being is paramount in our mission and in our lives. Today we just added to that awareness with this great news! Lets pass it on!

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/10/131009111025.htm

Advergames … target marketing unhealthy food to our kids

FoodFacts.com has followed the issue of how food manufacturers market foods to children. We’ve posted about how the food industry is supposed to self-regulate and how they have stated their commitment to promoting healthier food choices to children. They haven’t been extremely successful in their efforts. Today on Slate.com, we read about how the industry has increased another marketing tactic called “advergames” as another powerful promotional tool. Here’s what they had to say:

Exactly as their name suggests, advergames combine advertising and addictive video games in a way that ensure kids bathe in product spots for as long as they click on the keyboard or smartphone. That might mean anything from popup ads unrelated to the action to whole experiences built around branded characters. Recently, Chipotle got a lot of attention for their Scarecrow commercial and its accompanying game/app, but examples are as numerous as your options for breakfast cereal. Sticking just to that aisle, there’s “Ice Block” from Fruit Loops, “Cap’n Crunch’s Crunchling Adventure,” and “Cookie Crisp City.”

Recently, researchers at Michigan State University analyzed more than 100 advergames to see whether any patterns emerged about the products being advertised. After looking at 145 different websites, the researchers identified 439 products from 19 brands. They then analyzed the nutritional contents of each of these products to see how they measured up against health recommendations for children.

Of the products advertised, approximately 95 percent of the meals and 78 percent of the snacks exceeded total fat content recommendations set by the United States Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. For sodium, 95 – 97 percent of the meals and 41 percent to 64 percent of the snacks failed to meet guidelines (depending on whether you’re using the USDA or FDA’s recommendations). And when it came to added sugar, 86.6 percent of meals and 97 percent of snacks exceed the USDA recommendations. (The FDA doesn’t make a recommendation for added sugar.)

There’s some powerful lobbying at work. In 2009, a number of government organizations were tasked with defining nutrition principles for foods marketed to children. It was aptly named the Interagency Working Group on Foods Marketed to Children, and it has failed repeatedly to stand up to the food industry. In fact, right now its official recommendation is for the industry to regulate itself.

Elizabeth Taylor Quilliam, one of the papers lead authors, says this was an interesting secondary takeaway from the research. “The fact that the agencies were not able to get together with one standard, and that it’s still up to the industry to self regulate is continuing to create this confusing environment where a lot of the messages getting through to kids may not be the ones that parents would want them to receive.”

FoodFacts.com did a little searching. We found games our kids are playing at BKcrown.com (Burger King), McVideogame.com (McDonald’s), PebblesPlay.com (Post Cereal), CrazySquares.com (General Mills Cinnamon Toast Crunch). Those are just a few of the branded sites. In addition, at GamesOnline.fm, you can play TacoFu from Taco Bell, at GameGape.com, you can play White Castle Chase the Crave and at CandyStand.com, you can play Gummi Grab, Sour then Sweet and Sour Patch Stunt Crew. We were only searching for about 10 minutes. There are plenty more like these out there. You’ll notice, though, that we didn’t find an advergame for an organic food brand. Pretty much sums it up.

http://www.slate.com/blogs/future_tense/2013/10/09/advergames_show_why_the_government_needs_to_stand_up_to_the_food_lobby.html

Viewing food images may decrease consumption

FoodFacts.com is well acquainted with folks trying their best to lose weight. We’re constantly adding “diet” food products to our database. You know the ones we’re talking about. Under 400 calories. Incredibly small portion sizes. And ingredient lists a mile long with far too many controversial ingredients. Changing dietary habits and lifestyle will actually help people achieve and maintain a healthy weight. Otherwise, they’ll go back to those same diet products for years, without much significant result. Today, though, we read some very interesting information that might just help us eat less. And if you are trying to lose weight, adding this simple action to more conscious eating and healthier lifestyle habits might just be worth a try!

Researchers from Brigham Young University (BYU) and the University of Minnesota say their study, published in The Journal of Consumer Psychology, shows that looking at too many pictures of food can make it less enjoyable to eat.

“In a way, you’re becoming tired of that taste without even eating the food,” says Ryan Elder, professor at BYU and co-author of the study. “It’s sensory boredom – you’ve kind of moved on. You don’t want that taste experience anymore.”

The researchers recruited 232 participants who were asked to carry out experiments that involved viewing and rating pictures of various foods.

In one experiment, half of the participants were asked to look at 60 pictures of sweet foods, including cake, truffles and chocolates. The other half of the participants were asked to look at 60 pictures of salty foods, including chips, pretzels and French fries.

Both groups rated each food based on how appetizing they thought it was.

All subjects were then required to eat a salty food, specifically, peanuts. They then rated how much they enjoyed eating the peanuts.

Results of the experiment showed that the participants who viewed the photos of the salty foods enjoyed the peanuts significantly less, compared with those who viewed the sweet foods, even though they had not viewed pictures of peanuts, just other salty foods.

The researchers say the reason for this is that over-exposure to images of food increases a person’s satiation.

Satiation is defined as a reduction in enjoyment as a result of repeated consumption. For example, a person enjoys the first slice of cake more than the fourth slice, as they have become tired of eating the same food.

The study authors say:

“We provide mediation evidence to show that satiation manifests because considering a food engenders spontaneous simulations of the taste of that food item, which by itself is enough to produce satiation.

These findings establish sensory simulations as an important mechanism underlying satiation, and provide behavioral evidence that simple evaluations can produce sensory-specific satiety.”

Jeff Larson, also a professor at BYU, notes that if a person wants to continue enjoying food consumption, it is best to avoid looking at too many food-related photos.

“Even I felt a little sick to my stomach during the study after looking at all the sweet pictures we had,” he says.

But he notes that their findings could be useful for those who want to avoid a particular unhealthy food. If a person wants to avoid eating chocolate, for example, he says they may want to look at more pictures of it.

However, Prof. Elder warns that there is a stipulation: “You do have to look at a decent number of pictures to get these effects. It’s not like if you look at something two or three times you’ll get that satiated effect.”

FoodFacts.com can think of a number of ways to put this information to good use in more ways than just weight loss or weight control. If someone is craving fast food, viewing repetitive images of their favorite meal might help them avoid it. Processed boxed or canned foods might be avoided in the same way. Maybe we just found a “healthy diet aid” accessible through the internet and social media. Food for thought!

http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/267044.php