Category Archives: dietsinreview.com

Are Raw Foods Really Healthier than Cooked foods?

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Foodfacts.com teams up with our friends over at Dietsinreview.com to to look into whether raw foods are healthier than Cooked foods. Raw food diets are getting a lot of attention lately, both on this blog and in the wider health community. The raw diet tied for the second best diet for weight loss in U.S. News‘ assessment, and raw cleanses are a hot trend this summer.

Supporters of the raw diet believe that raw fruits, vegetables and in some cases meat and dairy are the richest sources of vitamins, minerals, enzymes and other nutrients. While a plant-based raw diet is certainly very healthy, cooking some plants actually increases some nutrients and can also make nutrients more bio-available.
Once you start to look at the question of raw vs. cooked foods, it immediately becomes a complex matter. Nutrition science has become quite sophisticated, yet there’s still only a limited amount of research available on the subject. Some nutrients may be lost during the cooking process yet others are enriched by cooking and exposure to heat. Yet, there are still many gray areas when it comes to the importance of many vitamins, minerals and other phytochemicals. Below are some of the facts that we do have about raw vs. cooked foods, organized by nutrient.

Lycopene

Lycopene is an essential nutrient found in tomatoes, and is associated with lower rates of cancer. One study published in the British Journal of Nutrition found that one kind of lycopene is made more bioavailable by cooking. “Lycopene is a carotenoid, and all carotenoids, along with phenolic acids and flavonoids, are enhanced by cooking,” says Mary Hartley, RD, MPH Nutritionist for Calorie Count. She adds that studies have shown that carotenoid-rich foods are best eaten in the presence of fat or oil.

Vitamin C

“Heat readily destroys thiamine (B-1) and vitamin C,” says Hartley. Vitamin C is a highly unstable compound that is quickly degraded through oxidization and cooking. Scientific American reports that cooking tomatoes for just two minutes decreases their vitamin C content by ten percent.
“Foods high in thiamin include whole grain and enriched grain foods, fortified cereals, lean pork, wheat germ, legumes, and organ meats,” explains Hartley. “Vitamin C is found in many fruits and vegetables, especially red and green peppers, oranges, cantaloupe, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, baked potato, and cabbage.” She suggests eating a raw source of vitamin C every day.

B Vitamins

Like vitamin C, B vitamins are water soluble and can be lost through boiling. To decrease the loss of water soluble vitamins, choose cooking methods that minimize the use of water, such as grilling, roasting and microwaving. Making soups and stews will also preserve these vitamins in the broth. Raw sources of vitamin B include bananas, oysters, tuna and caviar. Liver is also a rich source of B vitamins, but we don’t recommend eating it raw.

Vitamins A, D, E and K

These vitamins appear to be unaffected by cooking. “Most nutrients, including fiber, carbohydrates, protein, fat, minerals, trace minerals, and all of vitamins A, D, E and K, remain when vegetables are cooked,” says Hartley.

Enzymes

“It is important to differentiate between enzymes that are needed for digestion and enzymes that naturally occur in foods,” points out Hartley. She explains that the enzymes found in food have no bearing on digestion. However, enzymes can have other effects on the body. “For instance, the myrosinase enzyme family and indoles found in cruciferous vegetables contain anti-cancer compounds that are destroyed by heat,” says Hartley. Cauliflower, cabbage, cress, bok choy, broccoli, Brussel sprouts, kale, kohlrabi, mustard, rutabaga and turnips are all cruciferous vegetables. However, cooking these vegetables also destroys goitrogenic enzymes that interfere with the formation of thyroid hormone. “It’s always a tradeoff, with some nutrients becoming more available and others becoming less available, when food is cooked.” dietsinreview1

Conclusion

Hartley and I agree that while some may swear by the raw food diet, it takes a lot of work and careful planning, not to mention the difficulty of giving up foods like cheese and bread. The bottom line is that it’s good to eat plenty of fruits and vegetables, no matter how they are prepared. Garlic and nuts are also best when eaten raw, along with fruits that are high in vitamin C. Adding more raw fruits and vegetables to your diet can also help with weight loss, because the fiber can help you feel full while consuming fewer calories.
Cooking makes many foods more appealing and enhances some nutrients, and also kills off bacteria, which is particularly important when it comes to meat and animal products. “Cooking (and careful chewing!) generally makes food more digestible by softening the fibers,” says Hartley. “People should eat a variety of cooked and raw foods, with a raw source of vitamin C eaten every day.”

Article written by Margaret Badore at DietsInReview.com

Man Made Meat: Coming Soon!!!!

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Foodfacts.com is teaming up with our friends over at Dietsinreview.com to look into the future of meats! In less than one year from now we could be reading the food review of the world’s first in vitro hamburger. Yes, you read that right. (Check out our blog on Meat Glue)
As an answer to our globe’s growing population and increasing meat consumption, scientists in the Netherlands are very close to debuting their meat grown from stem cells of healthy cows. The scientists have been working to grow muscle tissue from a small number of stem cells they’ve extracted from the cattle.
As awkward as this process sounds, the researchers believe it’s going to be beneficial for the world. As the trends lead us to believe that the world’s meat consumption is expected to double by the year 2050, this man-made meat will be able to be produced without the need for livestock.
The meat is expected to be more affordable and lead to the sustainability our growing population needs. In vitro meat production could lead to a 35 to 60 percent reduction in energy consumption. Land requirements for farming would decrease by 89 percent and the production of greenhouse gas would decrease due to non-conventional farming.
This product does not stand alone in its unique nature. In 2009, strips of pork were grown using a similar stem cell method and fish fillets have been grown in a lab from the muscle tissue of goldfish.dietsinreview
What a brave new world we live in. “It’s too difficult to farm these days, you say? Well, let’s just grow a burger in the lab!” These practices are still in the very early stages and it’s unclear when or if these products will be available to the public.
As the information is still limited regarding this meat production, I, for one, am curious what the taste test will reveal. I am also curious who else is making today the day they become a full fledged (slightly grossed out) vegetarian?

Article Provided by: Lacy Jaye Hansen

McDonald’s Chemical Cocktail is Just in Time for Summer

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By Margaret Badore for DietsInReview.com

Foodfacts.com is teaming up with our friends over at Dietsinreview.com to look into McDonald’s “Chemical Cocktail.” Admittedly, a mango pineapple smoothie sounds like a refreshing treat to enjoy in the heat of the summer. But the new McCafé Mango Pineapple Real Fruit Smoothie that they’re promoting, and which was a number-one trend on Twitter this week as #ANewMcDFavorite, is anything but real fruit. Unless you consider “clarified demineralized pineapple juice concentrate”, “mango puree concentrate”, or “pineapple juice concentrate” to be real fruit.

There are certainly items on the McDonald’s menu that are worse for you (you’d need a chemistry degree to understand their scrambled eggs), but few that so blatantly try to deceive.

You’ll slurp down a whopping 220 calories in this impostor fruit beverage. When you drink that kind of empty calories, you aren’t likely to feel full or satisfied.
The “fruit” smoothie also contains 49 grams of sugar, which is more than you’ll find in a can of Coke. Recent research has shown that that sugar consumed in liquid form is metabolized differently than sugar in solid foods, and may be more prone to convert to fat.

It’s a travesty that McDonald’s has the audacity to claim this product contains anything resembling real fruit. Other McDonald’s fruit smoothies do contain whole fruit, but the concentrates in this particular menu item don’t make the cut.

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No matter your health goals, you will be better off getting some fresh fruit, low-fat milk or yogurt and blending up something at home. Let us show you how to make a healthy smoothie.

Nutrition Information via McDonalds

5 Chemical Foods to Remove from Your Diet

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Foodfacts.com is teaming up with our friends over at Dietsinreview.com to help inform you about what chemicals you should try removing from your diet. These days it seems you need an advanced science degree to read and understand a food ingredient label. Most of us scan over them simply because it’s easier. However, what we’re overlooking in all that multi-syllabic jargon are chemical additives that can have incredibly negative effects on our health.

Manufacturers use chemical additives for a number of reasons, including a longer shelf life, better taste or color, and even to keep production costs down. We’ve identified five that are especially concerning, and hope you’ll take an extra minute to review your food labels before making a purchase.

Trans Fat – One of the most controversial additives, this can be found on food labels as “Partially Hydrogenated Oil or Vegetable Oil.” The consumption of trans fat can be detrimental to cardiovascular health, and it has been linked with the obesity epidemic. Watch food labels closely because a food with less than.5 grams of trans fat per serving is allowed to list zero grams on its label.

Foods with Trans Fat: Fried Food, Microwave Popcorn, Margarine, Crackers, Chips, Store-bought Cookies

Artificial Coloring - Food dyes are a chemical and offer no nutritive value, meaning they don’t offer any vitamins or minerals. Artificial coloring is noted in food labels, with some of the more common (and considered carcinogens) being Blue 1, Blue 2, Green 3, Red 3, Yellow 6.

Foods with Artificial Coloring: Soda, Candy, Juice, Frosting, Canned Fruit, Hot Dogs

Sodium Nitrite or Nitrate - These additives are used to give “cured meats” a salty taste and give their reddish hue. As an example hot dogs nd bacon would be more of a grey hue without these chemicals. Linked with cancers in adults and children, these are easily avoided by looking for natural meats and checking labels.

Foods with Nitrites or -ates: Bacon, Hot Dogs, Sausage, Deli Meat

Saccharin or Aspartame - These artificial sweeteners are actually sweeter than natural sugar, but far worse for your health. While they’ve made it possible for many to enjoy sweet treats, the affects on the body aren’t any better. Saccharin has been considered for ban by the FDA, and is linked with multiple types of cancers in many studies. These are manufactured chemical additives and, like the others, offer nothing in the way of nutrition.

Foods with Artificial Sweeteners: “Sugar” Packets, Diet Soda, Sugar-Free or Reduced-Sugar Foods

Diacetyl - The buttery flavor you enjoy from many packaged foods is probably not butter, but instead dactyl, a chemical ingredient linked with a lung disease nicknamed “popcorn lung.” While that health concern helped reduce its use, it’s still looking at the ingredients label to see if it’s lurking.

Foods with Diacetyl: Artificially-flavored Butter Products, Microwave Popcorn

By Brandi Koskie for DietsInReview.com