Category Archives: fast food

Fast food marketing influences teenage boys far more than teenage girls

child eating beefburgerParents of teenagers understand just how different teenage boys and girls can be. But regardless of the gender of your teenager, at some point during these important years, we begin to relinquish a small amount of our decision making for them to them. The way they choose to dress and wear their hair come to mind immediately. Their food choices are another area where our teenagers begin to rely on themselves more and more. Even though they may be home for dinner every night, they are all spending more and more time away from us, with their friends at school and sports activities. Regardless of how much we’ve emphasized healthy eating, they have plenty of opportunity to fall in love with junk food. Our teenagers are subjected to a constant barrage of messaging from fast food and junk food on a daily basis.

Despite our knowledge of its scant nutritional value and questionable degree of quality, fast food does have its appeal. When it’s sweet, it’s really sweet; when it’s salty, it’s really salty; when it’s fatty, it’s really fatty; and hey, it’s cheap. We are all born innocent and then learn to love and accept concepts like Fourthmeal and Chicken Fries. Sometimes, it feels like a burger chain or taco stop just “gets you.”

A new survey, however, finds that fast food and junk food marketing is more likely to hit you just right if you’re a “dude”—namely, a teenage boy—than if you’re a young lady. The most recent findings of the Australian national survey of the dietary and behavioral habits of its high schoolers says so, anyway.

The study included data from nearly 9,000 students at 196 different secondary schools gathered in 2012 and 2013, and was released by Australia’s Cancer Council and the National Heart Foundation. Researchers found that 46 percent of the nation’s teenage boys regularly eat fast food, compared to 34 percent of girls, and that 63 percent of the boys often gorged on salty snacks.

But more interesting is the fact that the teenage boys were markedly more susceptible to the allures of junk food advertising that integrated giveaways, contests, or influencers, such as celebrities and pro athletes. Perhaps as a result, the boys were more likely to be overweight or obese than their female counterparts, despite engaging in more sports and other physical activities.

Almost one-third of boys are likely to buy a food or drink if it’s tied to an actor or sports personality that they like, versus just 19 percent of girls, and 40 percent of teenage boys will patronize a fast-food chain if they are offering a special product or giveaway.

This might not come as such a shock to everyone. If anything, it kind of just affirms the archetype of the stoned high school senior whose car floor is littered with stale French fries, or a cluster of chubby 17-year-old gamers eating dollar tacos in their parents’ basement while taking turns playing GTA 5.

But Kathy Chapman, speaking on behalf of the Cancer Council, tells the Australian Associated Press that the huge budgets of fast-food companies are enabling them to thoroughly and knowingly infiltrate the programming primarily watched by teenagers, and that “a barrage of increasingly sophisticated junk food marketing is undermining teenage boys’ longer-term health, highlighting the urgent need for measures to protect them.”
“Mass-media advertising works,” she adds.

But working out—rather than lounging in the plastic booth of a fast-food joint all day—might be the crucial kicker there.

Yes, advertising works. Of course consumers will deny ever being influenced by television, radio, print and the web. But whatever you see, hear, or read is in your mind somewhere and connections are drawn between those ads and your purchases. If you’ve ever taken an eight-year-old to a grocery store, you know it can turn into a series of requests from your child for products they’ve seen advertised. The same is certainly true for teenagers — just in different places, involving different foods and beverages. FoodFacts.com thinks it makes perfect sense that food marketing is affecting boys differently than girls. By the time a girl reaches her teenage years, other forms of marketing have affected her. She’s concerned about her clothes, how they fit and what she looks like. Unfortunately, that can be detrimental in different ways. Teenage boys are always hungry. And without those “girlish” concerns, can become prey to junk food marketing much more easily.

While we can’t be with our teenagers 24/7, we can make sure that when they are at home, we continue to inform and educate them. The habits we instill will make a difference and will help them make healthier choices.

http://munchies.vice.com/articles/teenage-boys-are-more-susceptible-to-the-lure-of-fast-food-than-girls

Another reason to stay away from fast food: new book claims fast food kills the gut bacteria that help you stay slim

fastfood (1)When we hear the word bacteria, our first inclination is to think of illness and things we should stay away from. Standing water, for instance, could be “crawling with bacteria.” Gas station bathrooms, uncleaned countertops, sticky seats in restaurants and bars are generally related in our minds to “nasty bacteria.” Bacteria gets a bad rap — and sometimes it should. There are harmful bacteria, but there are also beneficial bacteria. Those should be residing in our gut. What happens when those beneficial bacteria are killed off? What can cause that to happen?

While highly processed ingredients and huge portions typically aren’t doing you any favors, new information says they can also kill off the beneficial gut bacteria that help burn calories.

The findings are the result of research into the links between gut bacteria and health conducted by genetic epidemiology professor Tim Spector of King’s College London.

He found that diets composed of a relatively small number of ingredients, most of which are highly processed, are toxic to these bacteria. In fact, many of them can die off within days of beginning such a diet.

Spector will elaborate on the research in his upcoming book, “The Diet Myth: The Real Science Behind What We Eat,” which focuses on the role that a diverse diet plays in fostering a healthy microbes in the human body.

In one study discussed in the book, Spector enlisted his 23-year-old son, Tom, who agreed to spend 10 days eating nothing but McDonald’s chicken nuggets, fries, burgers and Coca-Cola.

“Before I started my father’s fast food diet there were about 3500 bacterial species in my gut, dominated by a type called firmicutes,” the younger Spector, a genetics student told The Australian.

“Once on the diet I rapidly lost 1,300 species of bacteria and my gut was dominated by a different group called bacteroidetes. The implication is that the McDonald’s diet killed 1,300 of my gut species,” he said.

This discovery suggested to his father that many cases of obesity may not simply be due to overeating.

“Microbes get a bad press, but only a few of the millions of species are harmful and many are crucial to our health,” Professor Spector told The Australian.

“What is emerging is that changes in our gut microbe community , or microbiome, are likely to be responsible for much of our obesity epidemic, and consequences like diabetes, cancer and heart disease,” he said. “It is clear that the more diverse your diet, the more diverse your microbes and the better your health at any age.”

Previous studies made similar findings: Professor Rob Knight of the University of Colorado Boulder, who collaborates with Spector, famously showed that transferring gut bacteria from obese humans to mice could make the rodents gain weight.

Spector’s book claims that the diversity of microbes in the human body has decreased almost a third over the last century. But there’s also good news: Foods like dark chocolate, garlic, coffee and Belgian beer may help increase gut microbes.

Some of these claims cannot be independently verified, as the noted study isn’t published publicly nor readily available in a peer-reviewed journal. In addition, while mouse studies have found links between gut microbes, dietary changes and obesity, the evidence remains less clear in humans. As Robert Knight of the University of Colorado wrote in a recent review in the British Journal of Nutrition: “It remains a challenge to identify the key pathogenic microbiota and to establish a causal (rather than associative) relationship between specific microbes or community states and a given physiological or disease phenotype.”

In large part, the idea that fast food (and highly processed ingredients of all kinds) kills beneficial gut bacteria and throws bodies out of balance, inviting excessive weight gain is a theory. It is, however, a theory on which FoodFacts.com would like to see more credible studies done. While we’re at it, we’d like to see those studies include more than fast food. We think that other highly processed foods — foods from boxes and cans — should be studied as well. Let’s remember the big coincidence surrounding the obesity crisis. It’s a relatively new phenomenon that corresponds directly with the infiltration of highly processed foods in our diets over the last 30 years or so. Our grocery shelves are lined with unnecessary highly-processed everything, fast food is available everywhere (in some areas, every few blocks) and most people aren’t taking the time to cook actual food. It does seem that we’ve traded our health for convenience, with encouragement from food manufacturers and fast food chains. While we wait for further study and exploration, let’s all remember that real food doesn’t have any ingredient list — real food IS the ingredient list. Protein, produce, grains, nuts, seeds, beans … we all know what they are. Go to the grocery store and buy ingredients.

http://www.pbs.org/newshour/rundown/junk-food-kills-helpful-gut-bacteria-study-finds/

Real progress: Panera Bread commits to removing over 150 controversial ingredients by 2016

635660908535487026-XXX-CEO-Profile-Panera-Ron-Shaich-2Panera Bread just made everyone at FoodFacts.com happier than we’ve ever been about fast casual dining. They’ve committed to the removal of over 150 controversial ingredients from their menu items by 2016.

We’ve been saying the same thing over and over, every time a fast food or fast casual chain commits to using antibiotic-free chicken, or the removal of a single ingredient due to consumer demand. It’s nice, but just one thing isn’t going to change the perception of an increasingly health-conscious consumer. It has to be bigger than that.

Panera Bread got the real message and they’re doing something about it.

Last week the chain began using only “clean” salad dressings — dressings free from artificial sweeteners, colors, flavors and preservatives. That’s already great news, but it’s much bigger than that. The list of ingredients slated for removal could come directly from the FoodFacts.com controversial ingredient list. You can find the full list here: https://www.panerabread.com/panerabread/documents/panera-no-no-list-05-2015.pdf.

Among the real standouts for us are the removal of aspartame, artificial colors, artificial flavors, caramel color, high fructose corn syrup, partially hydrogenated oils and propylene glycol from their foods. The list goes on though and you should really check it out.

This is a stunning move by Panera Bread and one that challenges every other fast casual and fast food chain. If Panera Bread can find a way to remove just about every ingredient we want to avoid from their menu (we don’t see natural flavor and carrageenan on their list), it’s really impossible to imagine that other chains can’t accomplish the same thing while still offering food that’s appealing and affordable to their consumers.

With this statement, Panera Bread proves that no chain has an excuse. It’s time for the rest of the fast casual and fast food giants to follow their lead.

https://www.panerabread.com/panerabread/documents/panera-no-no-list-05-2015.pdf
http://www.usatoday.com/story/money/2015/05/04/panera-panera-bread-fast-food-restaurants-dining-artificial-additives/26696823/

Taco Bell’s new Chipotle Chickstar almost makes a Big Mac look good

Screen Shot 2015-05-04 at 1.11.15 PMAnother new one from Taco Bell proves that fast food chicken sandwiches can, in fact, be a poorer nutritional choice than a fast food burger. This time we have Chipotle Chickstars.

It’s basically a chicken sandwich wrapped in a tortilla that’s grilled. The website describes it this way, “A warm, soft, flour tortilla filled with new premium all-white-meat crispy chicken that’s marinated in bold Mexican spices, rolled in a crunchy corn tortilla coating, and crisped to perfection combined with creamy chipotle sauce, real cheddar cheese, lettuce, and tomatoes and then wrapped up and grilled for maximum portability.” Sounds innocent enough, doesn’t it?

Let’s see what we can find out about this “unique” new chicken sandwich …

Nutrition Facts:
Calories:                 760
Fat:                          43 grams
Saturated Fat:       8 grams
Sodium:                 1650 mg

WOW. There is no one eating this chicken sandwich who should be thinking that it’s better than other alternatives being served. You could actually consume less calories from a Big Mac at McDonald’s than from the Chipotle Chickstar — not to mention fat and sodium.

What about the ingredients?

CRISPY CHICKEN Chicken White Meat, Water, Seasoning [Maltodextrin, Salt, Sodium Phosphate, Tomato Powder, Sugar, Vinegar Solids, Yeast Extract, Onion Powder, Citric Acid, Chicken Broth, Sunflower Oil, Garlic Powder, Jalapeno Juice Solids, Chicken Powder, Gum Arabic, Chicken Fat, Acetic Acid, Modified Corn Starch, Smoke Flavor, and Grill Flavor (from Sunflower Oil)], Salt, Rice Starch, and Sodium Phosphate. BREADED WITH: Wheat Flour, Tortilla Pieces (Corn, Vegetable Oil {Corn, Soybean, and/or Sunflower Oil], Dextrose, Salt, Dried Yeast, Roasted Barley Flour, Annatto Extract (color). BATTERED WITH: Water, Bleached Wheat Flour, Hydrogenated Cottonseed Oil, Salt, Leavening (Sodium Acid Pyrophosphate, Sodium Bicarbonate, Monocalcium Phosphate), Spices, Disodium, Inosinate and Disodium Guanylate, Dried Onion, and Dried Garlic. PREDUSTED WITH: Bleached Wheat Flour, Hydrogenated Cottonseed Oil, Salt, Leavening (Sodium Acid Pyrophosphate, Sodium Bicarbonate, Monocalcium Phosphate), Spices, Disodium, Inosinate and Disodium Guanylate, Dried Onion, and Dried Garlic. CONTAINS: Wheat CHIPOTLE SAUCE Soybean Oil, Water, Egg Yolk, Distilled Vinegar, Sour Cream (Cream, Modified Corn Starch, Gelatin, Lactic Acid, Guar Gum, Mono & Di Glycerides, Disodium Phosphate, Citric Acid, Artificial Flavor), Chili Peppers, Salt, Sugar, Chipotle Peppers, Garlic Including Dehyrated, Natural Flavors Including Smoke Flavor, Potassium Sorbate and Sodium Benzoate Added As Preservatives, Xanthan Gum, Onion*, Mustard Seed, Propylene Glycol Alginate, Maltodextrin, Corn Starch, Jalapeno Peppers*, Calcium Disodium EDTA To Protect Flavor, Canola and Sesame Oil. *Dehydrated CONTAINS EGG, MILK CHEDDAR CHEESE Cultured Pasteurized Milk, Salt, Enzymes, Annatto (Color), Anti-Caking Agent. CONTAINS MILK LETTUCE Iceberg Lettuce TOMATO Tomatoes TORTILLA Enriched Bleached Wheat Flour (Flour, Niacin, Reduced Iron, Thiamine Mononitrate, Riboflavin, Folic Acid), Water, Vegetable Shortening (Soybean Oil, Hydrogenated Soybean Oil), Contains less than 2% of the following: Sugar, Salt, Leavening (Sodium Bicarbonate, Sodium Acid Pyrophosphate), Fumaric Acid, Calcium Propionate and Sorbic Acid (used as preservatives), Yeast, Molasses, Dough Conditioner [Distilled Monoglycerides, Enzymes, Wheat Starch and Calcium Carbonate with Tocopherols, Ascorbic Acid, and Citric Acid (added as Antioxidants)] CONTAINS: WHEAT

FoodFacts.com feels badly for the poor innocent chicken used in this sandwich. Inherently, consumers hear chicken sandwich and automatically relate the sandwich to healthier options. Lean protein, less calories. We understand the dilemma and hope that posts like this can help make it abundantly clear that not all chicken is equal after processing and the addition of a strange and very controversial list of ingredients.

The Big Mac is NOT a healthy choice for anyone — but it’s still better than the Chipotle Chickstar from Taco Bell. And that is saying a mouthful.

http://www.tacobell.com/food/specialties/Chipotle-Chickstar

Bacon Guacamole Flatbread from Dunkin, for breakfast

Screen Shot 2015-05-04 at 1.10.58 PMDunkin’s latest breakfast mash-up combines eggs, bacon and guacamole for a new twist to start your morning. While we here at FoodFacts.com didn’t have the most enthusiastic response to the new breakfast sandwich, there may be some who find this appealing. Our own take is that fast food guacamole is closer to a spread than the guacamole we personally enjoy. Not our favorite thing.

Since we know there will be folks who look at this and think differently, we thought we’d do a little exploring for you to find out what’s really in this new sandwich, besides the traditional Dunkin “un-egg-like” looking egg. Here’s what we found:

Nutrition Facts:

Calories:                          360
Fat:                                  17 grams
Saturated Fat:                5 grams
Sodium:                          850 mg

Ingredients:

Multigrain Flatbread: Whole Wheat Flour, Enriched Wheat Flour (Wheat Flour, Malted Barley Flour, Niacin, Iron, Thiamin Mononitrate, Riboflavin, Folic Acid), Water, Multigrain Blend [Wheat Sourdough (Water, Fermented Wheat Flour), Wheat Grains, Rye Grains, Oat Grains, Flaxseed, Rye Sourdough, Millet Seed, Teff Seed, Salt, Potassium Sorbate (Preservative)], Yeast, Soybean Oil, Sugar, Dough Conditioner [Water, Emulsifiers (Mono and Diglycerides, DATEM), Guar Gum, Sorbic Acid (Preservative), Natural Flavor, Enzymes], Contains 2% or less of the following: Oat Hydrocolloid (Oat Bran, Oat Fiber), Wheat Gluten, Salt, Calcium Propionate (Preservative), Natural and Artificial Flavor; Fried Egg: Egg Whites, Water, Egg Yolks, Modified Corn Starch, Natural Sauteed Flavor (Soybean Oil, Medium Chain Triglycerides, Natural Flavor), Salt, Artificial Butter Flavor (Propylene Glycol, Artificial Flavor), Xanthan Gum, Citric Acid, Coarse Ground Black Pepper; Guacamole Spread: Hass Avocado, Tomato, Onion, Salt, Lime Juice Concentrate, Cilantro, Jalapeno Pepper, Garlic, Jalapeno Powder; Reduced Fat Cheddar Cheese: Pasteurized Part-Skim Milk, Cheese Culture, Salt, Enzymes, Annatto (Color); Bacon: Pork, cured with: Water, Sugar, Salt, Sodium Phosphate, Smoke Flavoring, Sodium Erythorbate, Sodium Nitrite.May contain trace amounts of Soy.

First we need to point out the instances of natural and artificial flavor found in this list. Then we need to emphasize the use of artificial butter flavor made of propylene glycol and artificial flavor which we find especially disturbing. We also don’t understand the need for natural sauteed flavor, either. Both the natural sauteed flavor and the artificial butter flavor are in the eggs, which for some reason have a rather long list of ingredients. This seems to be a fast food trend and is something that most people should find off-putting, to say the least.

Both the nutrition facts and the ingredients are fairly standard for a fast food breakfast sandwich. There’s nothing good here, no matter how appealing the sandwich might appear.

http://www.dunkindonuts.com/dunkindonuts/en/menu/food/sandwiches/breakfastsandwiches/bacon_guacamole.html

The third hottest pepper in the world now in your french fries …. Jalapeno Ghost Pepper Fries from Wendy’s

wendys-new-logo (1)Some of us like a little heat in our food sometimes. Tabasco sauce can be fun added to a burger. Jalapenos in a taco or added to a sauce can give food a kick — and also some additional flavor. But how much heat is too much heat?

Wendy’s has introduced Jalapeno Ghost Pepper Fries. Unless they’ve added almost no real ghost peppers in this dish, odds are very few people will be able to enjoy it, even if they’re big fans of hot food. If you’ve ever watched a cooking show that features ghost peppers, you’ll see chefs boil the peppers, discard them and use just a few tablespoons of the liquid in the dish they’re preparing. Even then, the finished product can be too hot for some to handle. And with good reason.

In 2007, Guinness World Records certified that the ghost pepper was the world’s hottest chili pepper, 900.5 times hotter than Tabasco sauce; the ghost chili is rated at more than 1 million Scoville heat units (SHUs). Classic Tabasco sauce ranges from 2,500 to 5,000 SHUs. However, the bhut jolokia was superseded by the Trinidad moruga scorpion in 2012 ]which was in turn replaced by the “Carolina Reaper” on December 26, 2013.

That makes the ghost pepper the third hottest chili in the world. Imagine a pepper that’s over 900 times as hot as Tabasco sauce. Then imagine including it in a dish for fast food consumers, who may not understand the punch this pepper can pack.

Our suspicion is that there’s little, if any, ghost peppers in these new Wendy’s fries. So let’s investigate a little and see what we can find out.

Small French Fries: Potatoes, Vegetable Oil (contains one or more of the following oils: canola, soybean, cottonseed, sunflower, corn), Dextrose, Sodium Acid Pyrophosphate (to maintain natural color). Cooked in Soybean Oil, Vegetable Oil (may contain one or more of the following: canola, corn, cottonseed), Hydrogenated Soybean Oil, Natural Flavor, Citric Acid (preservative), Dimethylpolysiloxane (anti-foaming agent). Cooked in the same oil as menu items that contain Wheat, Egg, and Fish (where available). Seasoned with Sea Salt. Cheddar Cheese Sauce Water, Cheddar Cheese (pasteurized milk, cheese culture, salt, enzymes), Milk Ingredients, Cream Cheese (pasteurized milk and cream, cheese culture, salt, carob bean gum), Modified Cornstarch, Soybean Oil, Palm Oil, Whey, Sodium Phosphate, Cream, Cheese Culture, Milk Fat, Parmesan Cheese (pasteurized part-skim milk, cheese cultures, salt, enzyme), Butter, Sodium Phosphate, Salt And Sea Salt, Sodium Alginate, Carob Bean Gum, Mono & Diglycerides, Annatto And Apocarotenal (for color), Lactic Acid. CONTAINS: MILK. Cheddar Cheese, Shredded Cultured Pasteurized Milk, Salt, Enzymes, Annatto Color, Potato Starch and Powdered Cellulose (to prevent caking), Natamycin (natural mold inhibitor). CONTAINS: MILK. Ghost Pepper Sauce Soybean Oil, Sour Cream (cream, modified corn starch, lactic acid, gelatin, guar gum, mono and diglycerides, sodium phosphate, sodium benzoate and potassium sorbate [preservatives], acetic acid, citric acid, phosphoric acid, natural and artificial flavors), Buttermilk, Jalapeno Pepper, Egg Yolk, Salt, Water, Distilled Vinegar, Cilantro, Sugar, Spice, Xanthan Gum, Onion (dehydrated), Oleoresin Paprika, Garlic (dehydrated), Acetic Acid, Ghost Pepper, Natural Flavor, Citric Acid, Oleoresin Rosemary. CONTAINS: EGG, MILK. Diced Jalapenos Jalapenos.

The Ghost Pepper sauce actually contains more jalapeno pepper than ghost pepper — which is the fifth ingredient to last in the list. And that list, just for the ghost pepper sauce, contains 34 ingredients. Without any percentages given for the use of the actual pepper, it’s difficult to understand why the fries carry any sort of ghost pepper moniker. There are natural and artificial flavors used and those must be to mimic the flavor of something (probably peppers.)

The new Jalapeno Ghost Pepper Fries from Wendy’s have very little to do with ghost peppers. This is marketing ploy to generate consumer interest for a new product. While we’re sure the fries do have a kick of heat, eating these has little resemblance, if any, to eating any dish prepared with ghost peppers. Foodfacts.com likes trying new and interesting foods. We even enjoy a little heat every now and again. But we also like transparency regarding the foods we choose to consume. Wendy’s isn’t doing that here. We’d probably be saying no to this anyway, just based on the length and content of the ingredient list. But the idea that there’s barely any ghost pepper in a sauce for which the fries are named seals the deal. Not trying this one.

https://www.wendys.com/en-us/nutrition-info

A better choice from McDonald’s … the Artisan Grilled Chicken Sandwich

h-mcdonalds-Artisan-Grilled-Chicken-SandwichDid we really just say that?

We’re as surprised as you are. In keeping with FoodFacts.com long-standing philosophy of giving credit where it’s due no matter who, we really felt like we had to post about this sandwich.

Is it perfect? No. But it’s miles ahead of anything else we’ve seen coming from McDonald’s. We’d even go as far as saying that if you’re in a pinch, with no other choices around, you can actually eat this.

The McDonald’s website description of the Artisan Grilled Chicken Sandwich reads “100% grilled chicken breast filet seasoned to perfection with ingredients like salt, garlic and parsley – seared in our kitchens, no preservatives added. Crisp leaf lettuce, fresh tomato, and a vinaigrette dressing. All atop our delectable artisan roll.” After further exploration, here’s what we found:

Nutrition Facts
Calories:                      360
Fat:                               6 grams
Saturated Fat:            1.5 grams
Sodium:                       930 mg

It is higher in sodium than we’d like. Compared to other chicken sandwiches on their menu, however, this sandwich is lower in calories, fat and saturated fat. For fast food, this isn’t a terrible nutritional profile.

Let’s move on to the ingredients:

ARTISAN GRILLED CHICKEN FILET Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breast with Rib Meat, Water, Salt, Vegetable Starch, Sugar, Garlic Powder, Lemon Juice Concentrate, Honey, Onion Powder, Dried Vinegar, Natural Flavor (Plant Source), Baking Soda. Prepared with Canola Oil/Olive Oil Blend and Herb Seasoning (Sugar, Garlic Powder, Salt, Lemon Juice Concentrate, Parsley, Onion Powder, Dried Honey, Citric Acid, Spice, Dried Vinegar, Natural Flavor [Plant Source]). ARTISAN ROLL Wheat Flour or Enriched Flour (Wheat Flour or Bleached Wheat Flour, Niacin, Iron, Thiamine Mononitrate, Riboflavin, Folic Acid), Malted Barley Flour, Water, Sugar, Yeast, Palm Oil, Wheat Gluten, Dextrose, Salt, Contains 2% or less: Natural Flavors (Plant Source), Corn Flour, Soybean Oil, Calcium Sulfate, Mono- and Diglycerides, Sodium Stearoyl Lactylate, Monocalcium Phosphate, Ascorbic Acid, Enzymes, Calcium Propionate (Preservative), Vegetable Proteins (Pea, Potato, Rice), Sunflower Oil, Turmeric, Paprika, Corn Starch, Wheat Starch, Acetic Acid.
CONTAINS: WHEAT, TOMATO SLICE, LEAF LETTUCE, VINAIGRETTE SAUCE Soybean Oil, Cider Vinegar, Water, Garlic, Chicken Broth, Contains Less Than 2%: Natural Flavor (Plant Source), Salt, Sugar, Honey, Xanthan Gum, Carrot Juice Concentrate.

Like we said, it isn’t perfect. Natural Flavor appears three times on the ingredient list. But that’s the only controversial item here. For McDonald’s that’s a major accomplishment. And while we’re still not running out to our nearest location to pick one up, even FoodFacts.com has to admit that they finally managed to add a menu item that won’t get an F in our Health Score system.

Now if McDonald’s could just address the remainder of the problems on their menu, we’d all be a lot happier with them.

http://www.mcdonalds.com/us/en/food/product_nutrition.chickenfish.2196.artisan-grilled-chicken-sandwich.html

Eating junk food for just 5 days can wreak havoc on your metabolism

dv1554016Millions of people who eat an otherwise healthy diet go through short periods of time where they allow themselves the pleasure of eating junk food. Vacations are usually the biggest reason. Traveling by car to a destination for many hours can lead to quick stops for food — fast food, processed food, packaged food. Once reaching a destination, it’s entirely likely that folks will indulge in foods prepared with large amounts of butter and fat. They are on vacation, after all. As soon as they get back to real life, their diets switch back to the healthy foods they normally consume. Can’t hurt, right?

It takes surprisingly few days of a mac-and-cheese-rich diet to do some really bad things to your metabolism. Just five days on a diet full of processed food was enough to alter a body’s healthy response to food, finds a small new study published in the journal Obesity.
Researchers wanted to look at how skeletal muscles adapt when we pound our bodies with fatty processed foods, so they took 12 healthy college-aged men and put them on an eating regimen designed by the researchers, including an initial control diet. Those on the fatty diet ate 55% of their calories came from fat—and about 18% of their total calories came from saturated fat. That’s a lot more saturated fat than most Americans eat, no matter how bad their diet. The control diet was about 30% fat.

“When we were toying around with what diet we were going to use, we looked at things like gift certificates for McDonald’s,” says Matthew W. Hulver, PhD, department head of Human Nutrition, Food and Exercise at Virginia Tech. “But a McDonald’s diet isn’t even saturated enough compared to what we fed the people in our study.”

They settled on a Westernized diet topped with butter, featuring foods like macaroni and cheese, ham and cheese sandwiches with mayonnaise and butter, and fatty microwavable meals. The researchers took muscle biopsies from the men before and after the high-fat feeding. The researchers formulated the fatty diets to be identical in calories to the control.
When researchers looked at specific gene targets, the effects on metabolism were dramatic.

“The normal response to a meal was essentially either blunted or just not there after five days of high-fat feeding,” Hulver says. Before going on a work-week’s worth of a fatty diet, when the men ate a normal meal they saw big increases in oxidative targets four hours after eating. That response was obliterated after the five-day fat infusion. And under normal eating conditions, the biopsied muscle used glucose as an energy source by oxidizing glucose. “That was essentially wiped out after,” he says. “We were surprised how robust the effects were just with five days.”

While their overall insulin sensitivity didn’t change in the short time frame, the findings suggest that longer exposure to a diet of this kind might lead to insulin resistance down the line.
If five days of fat is enough to mess with metabolism, the chronic effects raise interesting questions, Hulver says. “Our question is: does this prime the body? When you go into a period where you are overconsuming calories, would individuals who have a chronic high fat diet be predisposed to weight gain?”

Hulver says he doesn’t know the answer yet, but his lab’s future studies hope to find out.

FoodFacts.com wants to emphasize that this study wasn’t about weight gain. It was about the health effects of eating bad food. Health effects that were evident after just five days. Your healthy lifestyle is so important for your body. While we understand that this study doesn’t tell us what happened after these individuals returned to eating their normal diets, it does clearly underscore that junk food is junk for your body and your body responds in kind. The perfect diet may be unattainable, but our continued efforts to consume what’s best is the optimal goal. The optimal outcome is good health and longevity. Let’s strive for that and remember that we are, in fact, feeding our bodies every time we put food in our mouths.

http://time.com/3821475/junk-food-diet-metabolism/

Pretzel rolls on a roll … Dunkin’s new Pretzel Roll Chicken Sandwich

1426143986252Pretzel rolls are one of the newest fast food trends.  After making it big at Wendy’s, Dunkin Donuts is the latest fast food chains to add a pretzel roll sandwich to their menu.

So, if you like pretzel roll sandwiches you may be interested in how the new Dunkin version stacks up for your dietary requirements.  Let’s take a look at what you can expect.

Nutrition Facts:

Calories:                          640
Fat:                                   25 grams
Saturated Fat:                8 grams
Cholesterol:                    70 mg
Sodium:                          1560 grams

That’s quite a chicken sandwich!  If we didn’t know any better, FoodFacts.com might think these were the nutrition facts for a fast food burger.   At 65% of your daily recommended allowance for sodium, this is one especially salty sandwich.  So even before we take a good look at the ingredients, we’re not off to a good start with this one!

Here are the ingredients:

Pretzel Roll: Roll: Enriched Wheat Flour (Wheat Flour, Malted Barley Flour, Niacin, Iron, Thiamin Mononitrate, Riboflavin, Folic Acid),Water, Sugar, Nonfat Dry Milk, Yeast, Palm Oil, Salt, Dough Conditioner (Wheat Flour, DATEM, Contains 2% or less of: Soybean Oil, Enzymes, Ascorbic Acid, L-Cysteine Hydrochloride, Azodicarbonamide), Wheat Gluten, Shelf Life Extender (Wheat Flour, Monoglycerides, Wheat Gluten, Corn Syrup Solids, Contains 2% or less of: Silicon Dioxide to prevent caking, Soybean Oil, Enzymes, Calcium Sulfate, Salt), Natural Pretzel Flavor (Glycerin, Natural Flavor, Water), Calcium Propionate (Preservative), Azodicarbonamide, Ascorbic Acid; Contains traces of Egg; Lye solution is applied as Surface Finishing Agent, Soy Lecithin added as a Processing Aid; Topping: Pretzel Salt; Chicken: Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breast with Rib Meat, Water, Seasoning (Sugar, Maltodextrin, Salt, Yeast Extract, Spice, Onion Powder, Spice Extractives, Citric Acid, Natural Flavors), Isolated Soy Protein with less than 2% of: Soy Lecithin, Sodium Phosphates. BREADED WITH: Wheat Flour, Sugar, Salt, Leavening (Sodium Acid Pyrophosphate, Sodium Bicarbonate), Dextrose, Spice, Yellow Corn Flour, Spice Extractive, Extractives of Paprika and Turmeric. BATTERED WITH: Water, Wheat Flour, Yellow Corn Flour, Sugar, Modified Corn Starch, Leavening (Sodium Acid Pyrophosphate, Sodium Bicarbonate), Salt, Dextrose, Extractives of Paprika and Turmeric, Spice. PREDUSTED WITH: Wheat Flour, Modified Wheat Starch, Sugar, Wheat Gluten, Salt and Leavening (Sodium Acid Pyrophosphate, Sodium Bicarbonate). Breading Set In Vegetable Oil (Soy and/or Corn and/or Rice Oil); Sliced White Cheddar Cheese: Pasteurized Milk, Cheese Culture, Salt, Enzymes; Bacon: Pork, cured with: Water, Sugar, Salt, Sodium Phosphate, Smoke Flavoring, Sodium Erythorbate, Sodium Nitrite; Honey Mustard Sauce: Sugar, Cider Vinegar, Mustard, Water, Contains less than 2% of: Honey, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Vegetable Oil (Soybean and/or Canola), Salt, Molasses, Spice, Paprika (Color).

A special ingredient list indeed.  The coveted pretzel roll features the same ingredient other fast food chains have committed to removing from their products — azodicarbonamide.  Then we have something called “Natural Pretzel Flavoring”, more azodicarbonamide, more natural flavors and some high fructose corn syrup.

Yet another fast food chicken option that really isn’t a better choice than a burger.  There are still so many fast food consumers who think that ordering a chicken sandwich really is healthier, when it’s really not.  The Dunkin Donuts Pretzel Roll Chicken Sandwich is just like most of the chicken sandwich options available throughout the vast fast food empire masquerading as a better choice.  Trust us, it’s not.

 

http://www.dunkindonuts.com/content/dunkindonuts/en/menu/food/sandwiches/Bakery_Sandwiches/pretzel_roll_chicken_sandwich.html

 

The new Taco Bell Sausage, Egg and Cheese Biscuit Taco feature 15 ingredient scrambled eggs

0326_waffle_taco_970Scrambled eggs should be just that … fresh eggs scrambled in a pan with some butter and a little salt and pepper. That’s it. In the Taco Bell breakfast menu, though, it’s not that simple. The scrambled eggs millions of consumers are eating from Taco Bell contain 15 ingredients.

The new Sausage, Egg and Cheese Biscuit Taco features these rather complicated, anything but fresh scrambled eggs. Those eggs are stuffed in a biscuit folded to look like a taco. Is it our imagination, or does this new offering from Taco Bell resemble a biscuit sandwich turned on its side? Not the most innovative introduction.

Just in case this sounds like an actual breakfast option to you, FoodFacts.com thought we’d investigate the nutrition factst and ingredient list to see how the new Taco Bell Sausage, Egg and Cheese Biscuit Taco stands up.

Nutrition Facts:

Calories:                           430
Fat:                                    28 grams
Saturated Fat:                 11 grams
Cholesterol:                     120 mg
Sodium:                           740 mg

Featuring the ingredient list is a complicated issue. We’re pretty sure Taco Bell likes it that way. Here’s the best we can do from the ingredient statement on their website.

EGGS
Whole Eggs, Butter Flavor (Liquid And Hydrogenated Soybean Oil, Salt, Soy Lecithin, Natural And Artificial Flavor, Beta Carotene (Color), TBHQ And Citric Acid Added To Protect Flavor, Dimethylpolysiloxane, An Anti-foaming Agent Added). Contains Less Than 1% Of The Following: Salt, Citric Acid, Pepper, Xanthan Gum, Guar Gum. CONTAINS: EGGS, MILK AND SOYBEANS

BISCUIT TACO SHELL
Enriched Bleached Wheat Flour (Bleached Wheat Flour, Malted Barley Flour, Niacin, Iron, Thiamine Mononitrate, Riboflavin, Folic Acid), Cultured Lowfat Buttermilk (Cultured Pasteurized Part Skim Milk, Nonfat Milk, Salt), Interesterified Soybean Oil, Cultured Butter (Cream, Lactic Acid), Nonfat Milk, Sugar, Contains 2% Or Less Of: Leavening (Sodium Acid Pyrophosphate, Baking Soda, Monocalcium Phosphate), Salt, Corn Starch, Calcium Propionate (Preservative), Soybean Oil. Contains: Wheat, Milk, Soy

SAUSAGE PATTY
Pork, Seasoning (Salt, Corn Syrup Solids, Spices, Dextrose, Caramel Color, Autolyzed Yeast Extract, Natural Flavor And Less Than 2% Soybean Oil And Silicon Dioxide Added As Processing Aids), And Water
CHEDDAR CHEESE
Cultured Pasteurized Milk, Salt, Enzymes, Annatto (Color), Anti-Caking Agent. CONTAINS MILK

We’re a little picky about our food. We think that eggs ARE ingredients — they don’t contain ingredients.

We’ll pick up breakfast someplace else.

http://www.tacobell.com/breakfast/