Author Archives: foodfacts

Mars, Inc. to phase out artificial colors over a 5 year period.

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FoodFacts.com truly believes in everything in moderation. But along with said moderation, we really want people to think about what they are putting in their bodies and we’ve been trying to show people this for over a decade. Mars, Inc. is yet another company that is starting to realize that the ingredients that go into their products need to be re-examined. But is this really for our general health or because they need to fall in line to consumer demands? They announced this week that they will start to phase out the artificial coloring in their products in the next five year period.

“Artificial colors pose no known risks to human health or safety, but consumers today are calling on food manufacturers to use more natural ingredients in their products,” Mars said Friday.

While it makes us elated that large companies like Kraft Foods Group, Inc., Nestle, SA, General Mills, Inc, and now Mars, Inc. are feeling the pressure to remove all their artificial ingredients (for safer, more healthier ingredients) we can’t seem to understand why they keep coming out with statements like the one above. Even though Red 40 is approved by the FDA, there has been extensive research to come out saying it has caused tumors in laboratory animals (https://cspinet.org/new/pdf/food-dyes-rainbow-of-risks.pdf), and has come under serious fire by consumer and research advocacy groups.  It is also banned in several European countries. It has to make you wonder…why is the United States perfectly acceptable in allowing it in our foods?

You Literally Are What You Eat!

appWe know people get tired of hearing this, but eating and exercising go hand in hand. Even if you work out 7 days a week, it won’t save you from losing or gaining weight if you aren’t smart about what you are eating. Not too long ago there was an article in Forbes on just this subject and it kept us wondering why more people don’t seem to grasp how simple this concept it…and how much better your health and wellness is when you realize how important it is to take a look at what you are eating everyday. That old saying “You Are What You Eat,” couldn’t be more true.

What we found most interesting in the Forbes article: “Exercise Can’t Save Us: Our Sugar Intake Is The Real Culprit, Say Experts” is that it breaks down an editorial in the British Journal of Sports Medicine that says that exercise does not promote weight loss. Rather we can exercise till the day is long, but all the sugar and carbohydrates we consume will overtake our weight. As this article points out, exercise has typically stayed the same over the past couple of decades and obesity has skyrocketed. We have no choice but to really look at the foods we are consuming and what they are made up off.

Go down any aisle in your grocery store and you will find an obscene amount of processed food. Let’s face it: people today are on the go and looking for the faster and cheaper solution. And unfortunately what manifests is putting chemicals inside your body that you can barely pronounce. What people need to start realizing is that these processed foods are causing far more issues inside our body than skipping a day of exercise.

As The British Journal of Sports Medicine points out: “What we know to be true is much simpler: Sugar calories promote fat storage and hunger. Fat calories induce fullness or satiation. For every additional 150 calories in sugar (i.e., a can of soda) a person consumes per day, the risk for diabetes rises 11-fold, regardless of how much or little we exercise. The single most effective thing people can do for their weight, is to restrict calories – and even more, restrict carbohydrates.”

Don’t mistake what Foodfacts.com is saying though, as exercise is still an extremely important part of your daily life. But exercise alone will not make you healthy. Avoiding processed foods and trying to eat a cleaner diet with very few ingredients is healthy and smart. Fast food is cheap and easy for a reason: it’s full of ingredients that don’t do anything to get your digestive track healthy. It’s time to not only focus on your training routine, but to also make a concise effort to start putting healthy and clean food into our bodies and throw out the junk food. In doing so, we lower the risk of disease and ailments that can push our immune system down.

One of the many reasons why Foodfacts.com created our all my foodfacts app is to show people that food is more than just about calories or fats. The ingredients that you put inside your body have a direct affect on what happens inside your body. It’s such a simple thing. Download our app today to see exactly why you can’t exercise your way out of a bad diet!

In the iTunes Store: apple.co/1QE8Gb6

In the Google Play Store: bit.ly/1WIOmpu

In the Amazon App Store: amzn.to/1Imr3ie

 

 

Tom Colicchio is revolutionizing the food industry, one Food Action Policy at a time.

Many of us at FoodFacts.com have been fans of Tom Colicchio for years. From dining at one of his innovative restaurants (the farm at Riverpark is one of the most amazing urban gems you will see at a restaurant in midtown Manhattan) to watching his smart and calm culinary demeanor as he guides somewhat egocentric chefs on Bravo Tv’s “Top Chef,” you know that his passion for food is more than just a career choice, it literally fuels him.

It’s no surprise that he added food activism to his resume when he co-founded Food Policy Action in 2012. Their mission is to make food policies even more substantial while upholding the rights of farmers and food workers and make healthier food more accessible for all. In recent months, Mr. Colicchio took Capitol Hill by storm with 30 other chefs to discuss the Childhood Nutrition Act (which needs to be reauthorized every 5 years). Since new nutritional guidelines have been introduced in recent years for school cafeterias, it’s now more important than ever that every state adopts these paths to make sure our children are educated on eating healthy and proper meals.

To say we are impressed with this Top Chef is an understatement. Most of the celebrity chefs we see in mainstream media are more concerned with hawking products and selling themselves as a brand than educating people on what they are eating. Mr. Colicchio has now opened up the conversation and garnered media attention…exactly what people like us need that are trying to fight the good food fight.

So Mr. Colicchio, we’d like to know how we can partner up?! If you take a look at FoodFacts.com you will see that knowing what you are eating is all that we are about. Our mission is so similar to the one that you have cultivated yourself. Our passion is educating people on what’s really in the foods they are eating…the less ingredients the better! Our all my foodfacts app focuses on showing people all the ingredients they are consuming in the processed foods they are eating and how it affects them. We truly believe that everyone should be entitled to affordable, healthy food to consume and that if you can’t pronounce the ingredients in a package, you probably shouldn’t be eating it! So please, tweet us, write us, anything. We’d love to work with you!

An Open Letter To Weight Watchers

Dear Weight Watchers,
We’ve read all about how you no longer want to use the word “dieting” to sell Weight Watcher memberships, and have rather termed it, “Beyond the Scale.” We can’t help but tell you that we think this is one of the smartest move you’ve made in years (maybe even more than bringing Oprah Winfrey on board). In fact, this type of move is exactly what our company, FoodFacts, is all about.
When we started FoodFacts.com it was to show people what’s really inside the foods they are eating. But as more and more research evolves, we realize that it’s so much more than that. We also tend to think that people are putting all the emphasis on just dieting and exercising. What they aren’t realizing (and what more and more scientists and doctors are) is that you can exercise morning, noon and night…if you don’t change the way you eat it won’t make any difference to your health.
Don’t get us wrong, exercising is important to maintain your health. But what we want people to realize is that everything you put in your body can have an affect on it (potentially leading to so many diseases) and it’s the most important way to to control your health. We can’t understand why people continue to eat foods that are full of processed chemicals, when eating foods with less, real ingredients is the safest and healthiest way to eat.
If people realized that by simply eating an apple instead of eating a processed apple fruit bar (that contains way too many ingredients and chemicals), they would be taking one step in making a healthier way of life. Eating foods with less ingredients and reducing the processed ingredients that you put in your body can change your life…for the better.
So what we are trying to say is that we are right there with you, Weight Watchers (or WW). And we think that we’d make a good team. Take a look at our “all my foodfacts app” and our site. We are all about wanting people to realize that dieting and counting every carbohydrate you eat isn’t the only way to make you healthy and lose weight. Taking control of what you put in your body and the lifestyle you maintain can make all the difference in the world.
We’d love to talk, please contact us at [email protected]!

foodfacts.com Announces New Mission for Company Amid App Release

EDISON, N.J.Dec. 2, 2015 /PRNewswire/ – foodfacts.com, the world’s first nutritional database and food rating system, is proud to announce that we are issuing a new mission statement for our company.

“Food Facts has always taken a neutral footing when it’s come to food manufacturing,” noted Stanley Rak, President of foodfacts.com. “But as we continue to research processed foods and their ingredients, it’s become more alarming to see how they affect the human body in potentially harmful and dangerous ways. Food Facts can no longer sit idly by while giant food manufacturers continue to place chemicals and ingredients (that we can’t even pronounce) into our everyday foods. We are making it our mission going forward to challenge these food companies (and their CEOs) on ways to make safer, healthier and more nutritious foods with real ingredients.”

For the past decade, foodfacts.com has maintained an even-keeled stance on the food industry. But as obesity continues to plague our country and substantial research finds extraordinary links to diseases and ailments based on the foods people are eating, Mr. Rak’s position on challenging major food corporations has changed. “Our new in-app purchase for our all my foodfacts app links ailments to the ingredients in the foods you are eating, and it’s nothing short of appalling how deadly processed food has become. When I started foodfacts.com over a decade ago I wanted to show people what they were really eating, not just how many calories and grams of fat they were consuming. And while I commend many of the food companies and chain restaurants that are realizing the changes they need to make to the ingredients in the food they are creating and serving, I feel as though they aren’t doing enough. The food industry is worth billions of dollars and still, in 2015, their food is slowly poisoning the people of our nation.”

Mr. Rak wants answers on why food ingredients are not drastically changing from the CEO’s of powerful food companies. “I want McDonald’s CEO, Steve Easterbrook, to tell us why they spent money creating an app with weather maps to sell more of their food products, rather then spend that money to change the ingredients in their processed food. Or maybe Pepsi’s (who owns Quaker) CEO,Indra Nooyi, can tell us why their Quaker Strawberries & Cream Instant Oatmeal uses over 50 ingredients to make their strawberry flavoring… instead of just using real strawberries? I want foodfacts.com to challenge these heavy weights and impact change. We want people to feel safe about the foods they are spending their hard-earned money to buy and nourish their families with. Food Facts won’t rest until we get answers and a turn around in food ingredient quality,” concluded Mr. Rak.

For more information and membership please visit: www.foodfacts.com
To download our app:
iTunes: http://apple.co/1QE8Gb6
Google Play: http://bit.ly/1WIOmpu
Amazon: http://amzn.to/1Imr3ie

Healthy vs. Unhealthy Food: Ingredient Word Clouds

Healthy vs. Unhealthy Food: Ingredient Word Clouds

Eating healthy can be tricky. Even when you make a conscious effort to make smart nutritional choices, it’s not always easy to know exactly what’s in your food. At the grocery store, shoppers can check the ingredient list on any packaged product, but when you’re out to eat, or grabbing something to go, you might not notice the long list of chemicals or additives that make up your favorite treats.

Foodfacts.com decided to have some fun with word clouds to illustrate just how extreme the difference is between whole, natural foods, and overly-processed, fast food menu items. As you might have guessed, fruits and vegetables are chock full of vitamins and minerals while processed foods like Culver’s fried cheese curds and Taco Bell’s epic Double Decker taco are brimming with complicated-sounding artificial ingredients.

Check out the word clouds below to see what different foods are made up of.

Taco Bell’s Double Decker Taco


 

Culver’s Wisconsin Cheese Curds


McDonald’s Big Mac


Black Beans


Quinoa


Broccoli


CDC Infographic Shows Super-sized Portions Are the New Normal

 

THW NEW (AB)NORMAL.

FoodFacts has learned that “Super Sized” portions are the new normal sized portions.

In the mid-2000s, Cornell researcher Brain Wasink performed an experiment called the “bottomless bowl of soup.” He gave unsuspecting diners self-filling bowls of tomato soup to see how they would naturally regulate how much they consumed. On average, they ate 73% more than control subjects with normal bowls. Humans aren’t good at saying no to food. And that tendency to mindlessly keep eating when provided with super-sized portions has some serious health consequences.

The Center for Disease Control’s (CDC) new infographic, “The New (Ab)Normal,” makes clear how the increase in portion sizes over the past 50 years has corresponded to America’s ever-expanding waistline. The average American is 26 pounds heavier than in 1950. About one-third of us are overweight or obese and that number is projected to hit nearly 50% by 2030. At the same time, the size of a hamburger has tripled, a basket of fries more than doubled, and the average soda has grown from a modest 7 ounces to a jumbo 42 ounces.

A 2009 study of chain restaurants shows that 96% of the entrees served exceeded U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) recommendations for calories, sodium, and fat. The CDC says the average restaurant meal is also four times larger than it was in the 1950s. Looking at these statistics, it’s not surprising that eating only one fast food meal a week is associated with overweight and obesity.

We’d all like to eat healthy, home cooked meals, but sometimes that’s not realistic. When you are eating out, especially at a chain or fast food restaurants, the CDC recommends splitting your meal with a companion, taking half home, or ordering the smallest size entrée on the menu available. They also encourage patrons to ask restaurant managers to provide smaller portions.

When trying to visually estimate appropriate portion size, the following comparisons can be helpful: A healthy serving of fruit vegetables is about the size of a baseball, a serving of meat should be about the size of a deck of cards, a serving of rice is about the size of a light bulb, a serving of fat, such as butter or mayo, should be no larger than a poker chip.

 

Cinnamon, making a healthier diet … nutritional information from FoodFacts.com

Cinnamon, a common spice found in most pantries has benefits that we at FoodFacts.com understand go beyond giving food a distinctive flavor and aroma. Cinnamon may be beneficial to health – possibly helping to lower blood glucose and blood lipids and increase insulin sensitivity. Cinnamon extracts can also be used as a natural pesticide, as well as a natural antimicrobial, making it an effective preservative. Nutritionally, cinnamon is a good source of calcium, manganese, iron and dietary fiber. With so many benefits to cinnamon, why not add it as part of a healthy diet?

Some studies show that cinnamon can aid in lower blood sugar and blood lipids, as well as increase insulin sensitivity – which is great news for people with metabolic syndrome and/or type 2 diabetes. In one animal study, rats were fed a high fat, high fructose diet, to stimulate metabolic syndrome. The rats experienced abnormal fat accumulation and reduced pancreatic weight, which was alleviated with the addition of cinnamon. An extract of cinnamon was also shown to regulate genes critical to the uptake of glucose and the function of insulin in isolated fat cells.

In studies using human subjects, cinnamon’s effects on gastric emptying and blood glucose were tested. The study showed that adding 6 grams of cinnamon (a little more than 2 teaspoons ) helped to delay gastric emptying, possibly resulting in lower blood glucose. However, one meta analysis study of cinnamon’s effects for blood glucose, blood lipids, and A1C did not show significant results, so more research in this area is needed.

Cinnamon extracts are also used as natural pesticides, insecticides, fungicides as well as cat and dog repellants. A study published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry shows that a cinnamon extract is effective insecticide for mosquito larva.

Cinnamon also acts as a powerful antimicrobial. One study shows it was effective against some bacteria (Pseudomonas fluorescens and Serratia liquefaciens, Brochothrix thermosphacta, Carnobacterium piscicola, Lactobacillus curvatus, and Lactobacillus sake) In fact, cinnamon is also comparable to chemical preservatives such as BHA, BHT and propyl gallate in preventing oxidative damage, keeping food from spoiling.

The next time you are unsure which spice to pick from the spice rack, may we suggest cinnamon? It’s health benefits alone are a good enough reason to use the spice, but it will also add a wonderful scent and flavor to your food.
http://www.ars.usda.gov/SP2UserFiles/Place/12354500/Data/SR24/reports/sr24fg02.pdf (pg 53)
http://www.ars.usda.gov/research/projects/projects.htm?ACCN_NO=415229&showpars=true&fy=2011
http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=68
http://care.diabetesjournals.org/content/31/1/41.full
http://www.pesticideinfo.org/Detail_Chemical.jsp?Rec_Id=PC33596
http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/jf0497152?prevSearch=cinnamaldehyde%2Bmosquito&searchHistoryKey=

Chemicals in our environment and our bodies … healthy lifestyle information from FoodFacts.com

FoodFacts.com understands that people don’t want manmade chemicals in their bodies; we definitely don’t. To avoid unwanted chemicals (such as pesticides and heavy metals) in our bodies, we wash our fruits and vegetables to rid them of pesticides and avoid taking huge bites of lead (maybe only little ones). However, a report published by the CDC titled Human Exposure to Environmental Chemicals shows the level of chemicals people have in their bodies. The latest report has 75 chemicals listed; some which may be surprising.

The Human Exposure to Environmental Chemicals report measures the amount of chemicals in blood and urine from a sample group of people and over a number of years. They state that the chemicals they tested for may have found their way into the human body through air, dust, soil, water and food. It also shows if a population has more/less of a certain chemical in their system. For example, their toxicology report states “In the past 15 years, data show that blood cotinine levels for nonsmokers in the US population have decreased about 70%, indicating that public health interventions to reduce ETS exposure have been successful.” The same report also says bisphenol A (BPA), which is linked to reproductive toxicity, has been found 90% of the samples tested. Furthermore, the report states, “the measurement of an environmental chemical in a persons blood or urine does not by itself mean that the chemical causes disease.” While there might be traces of chemicals found in our system, which may or may not be causing harm, do we want them there at all?

For example, one of the herbacides, 2,4- D, was found in concentrations of 12.6 micrograms/L in samples in the 95th percentile. Pesticideinfo.org lists this chemical having moderate toxicity, a possible carcinogen and a suspected endocrine disrupter. Another chemical listed 1,4 dichlorobenzene (urinary 2,5 Dichlorophenol) was found in amounts of 473 micrograms/liter in samples in the 95th percentile. 1,4 dichlorobenzene is listed as a known carcinogen in California. So what can we do about this?

On the plus side, however, our bodies are amazing machines that can filter out chemicals that aren’t supposed to be there. Our bodies rid toxins from our system through waste elimination (feces/urine), but there are multiple organ systems at work – like our livers, kidneys, lungs as well as our colon (plus other systems, like our immune system). For those of us that want to keep chemicals in our bodies low, we can keep our organs running efficiently by taking a few simple measures.

Drinking plenty of (filtered) water to help our kidneys flush away toxins, keep caffeine, alcohol and processed foods to a minimum – the less your liver has to do, the better. Sweating also helps remove a trace amount of chemicals, so we can go ahead and add another benefit to exercising. Eat plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables for their vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients, antioxidants and fiber, which will help our immune system and keep a healthy colon. Remember to thoroughly wash your fruits and vegetables and/or buy organic when/if possible.

Taking these simple precautions may not only reduce your exposure to chemicals, but also add to an overall healthy lifestyle.

http://www.pesticideinfo.org/Search_Chemicals.jsp
http://www.cdc.gov/exposurereport/

The Many Faces (er..Ears?) Of Corn … nutrition facts brought to you by FoodFacts.com

According to the USDA 2010 crop production summary corn for grain production is estimated at 12.4 billion bushels.1 With so many bushels of corn sold, you’d wonder what all the corn is being used for? As it turns out, corn is a versatile crop with a wide variety of uses. The national corn growers association states that there are more than 4,200 different uses for corn products.  Corn can be used for both food and non-food products. Non-food uses can include pharmaceuticals and cosmetics, while food uses can be as transparent as high fructose corn syrup or as ambiguous as sodium erythorbate (since that same product could come from a different source like, sugar canes or beets). This FoodFacts.com blog article will focus on corn derived products and ingredients which we may not realize use corn.

NONFOOD PRODUCTS:

Antibiotics: Over 85 different types of antibiotics are produced using corn.  Penicillin is one of the antibiotics made using a corn product – corn steep liquor, as it has nutrients needed for penicillin to grow. It was formerly considered a waste material, corn steep liquor became a crucial ingredient in the large-scale production of penicillin.

Aspirin: an oxidized starch paste, which dries to a clear, adherent, continuous film, is spread in a thin layer over the aspirin.

Paper Products: Paper products use raw starch in the manufacturing process. The properties of high paste viscosity and strong gels are useful in specially coated papers. Pyrodextrins are also used for paper manufacturing for the adhesive property on remoistenable gums for postage stamps and packaging tape.

FOOD PRODUCTS:

Beer: Beer manufacturing is a process of treating malt to convert and extract the barley starch to fermentable sugars using the amyloytic enzymes present in malt followed by yeast fermentation. However, demand for lighter, less filling beer, especially in the U.S., has permitted use of more refined carbohydrate sources of two types: a) dry adjuncts, primarily dry milled corn grits, broken rice, refined corn starch, and more recently, dextrose and b) liquid adjuncts, namely corn syrups.

Citric Acid: Used as preservative, pH control, and to add a tart flavor to foods. Citric acid can be found in fruit sauces, jellies, canned goods and many other types of foods. Citric acid can be derived from fruits, however in view of the fact that the isolation of citric acid from fruits is very expensive, it is commercially produced from sugar with the help of bacteria and yeasts.  (See the 331 page list of food items that use citric acid as an ingredient: http://blog.foodfacts.com/search/index.cfm?type=ingredient&query=citricacid)

Iodized Salt: Iodine, an essential nutrient, is found in iodized salt. It was originally added to salt to prevent goiters. Corn derived dextrose is also added to iodized salt to help retain the added iodine.

Many (understatement perhaps?) products can be made from corn. It is used as food for humans and feed for animals, as well as nonfood uses in pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, detergents and more. As science has a tendency to do, it will most likely find many more uses for corn.

See this poster for more products which use corn: http://www.ncga.com/uploads/useruploads/cornusesposter.pdf

http://usda01.library.cornell.edu/usda/nass/CropProdSu//2010s/2011/CropProdSu-01-12-2011_revision.pdf
http://www.ncga.com/uploads/useruploads/woc-2011.pdf
http://www.gfo.ca/AboutUsMain/Community/ConsumerResourcesforCorn.aspx
http://herbarium.usu.edu/fungi/funfacts/penicillin.htm
http://www.food-info.net/uk/qa/qa-fi13.htm