Category Archives: food

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Yellow Dye #5

Earlier this month, FoodFacts.com shared some known facts about Red Dye #40, the most commonly used artificial food coloring (AFC) according to the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI). Before National Candy Month comes to a close, we would like to bring our readers’ attention to another commonly used AFC, Yellow Dye #5.

Yellow Dye #5 or tartrazine is a food colorant derived from coal tar. There have been many publications that extensively discussed the harmful effects of this colorant. Toxicology, in particular, published the findings that tartrazine causes disruption of estrogen in humans, which essentially affects the hormonal balance that can lead to a myriad of health problems.

Because of the potential harmful effects it poses to the body, Yellow Dye #5 is banned in many European countries such as Norway and Austria. However, its use in the United States has only been regulated, albeit to a certain extent, by the Federal Drug Administration (FDA). Yellow Dye #5 is widely used in the country in the manufacturing of potato chips, candies, soda and “fruit” drinks, and even pet food.

Here are the reported health effects of Yellow Dye #5:

Allergic reactions

Reports state that consumption of candies and other foods with Yellow Dye #5 triggered hypersensitivity to chemicals such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID). Other sources say that asthma is also among the allergic reactions caused by Yellow Dye #5.

Behavioral problems

Like Red Dye #40, Yellow Dye #5 can cause hyperactivity and other behavioral problems in children. Some of the behavioral problems include, but not limited to, impulsive behavior, lack and/or loss of concentration and inability to control activity.

Cancer and other health risks

Yellow Dye #5 and many other AFCs are reported to be tainted with cancer-causing contaminants. Because of the hormonal imbalance side effect, Yellow Dye #5 may cause adverse effect on male potency, genital size and sperm count. Some reports also say that the said imbalance can cause breast development and even breast cancer in men.

As always, FoodFacts urges consumers to check food labels for Yellow Dye #5 and other AFCs. Here are some of the names that Yellow Dye #5 go by:

  • Tartrazine
  • FD&C Yellow 5
  • Yellow 5
  • E102
  • C.I. 19140
  • Acid Yellow 23
  • Food Yellow 4
  • trisodium 1-(4-sulfonatophenyl)-4-(4-sulfonatophenylazo)-5-pyrazolone-3-carboxylate)

Use the All My Food Facts app to check food labels. Get it on iTunes, Google Play and Amazon!

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Know your ingredients with All My Food Facts app: Goya Dry White Cooking Wine

Cooking with white wine does a lot of good to your dishes. It brings balance and acidity to your favorite recipes. Dry white wine is versatile and the most commonly used type of wine for cooking. The rich oakiness of dry white turns bitter during the cooking process, contrary to the unwanted caramelized sweetness that other white wines bring. Alcohol content in dry white wine evaporates while cooking, thus extracting its flavor profile that gets added to your dishes.

FoodFacts.com recently put together a cookout menu made up of healthy dishes for Father’s Day, which you are most welcome to prepare at any given grilling session this summer; and we suggested to forgo the usual red meats and fire up a sweet soy salmon recipe for the main dish instead. For this recipe, we recommended Goya Dry White Cooking Wine as one of the ingredients, and for good reason. Take a look at what we found using the All My FoodFacts app!

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Note: The product information shown above is only a general overview of Goya Dry White Cooking Wine. Sign up on our website for personalized specifications on which products are good for you and which you should avoid based on your dietary data, or you can get the All My FoodFacts app on iTunes, Google Play and Amazon!

 

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It’s time to rethink the snacks we put in our children’s travel bags

Summer traveling for families doesn’t just mean making new memories made up of fun activities and amazing adventures. For many, it also means carefree eating (read: disregarding nutritious foods and mindless munching unhealthy snacks). More often than not, parents pack their children’s bags with treats that may be filling, but are poor in nutrition and even pose risks to their health.

FoodFacts.com recently stated in a recent blog post that 43% of products marketed for children contain artificial food coloring, based on the new study published on Clinical Pediatrics. Many consumers are unaware that artificial food additives used to enhance color and flavor, and prolong shelf life are made from by-products of petroleum. You read that right – petroleum, that liquid mixture mined from the earth and refined to produce gasoline. So, before you head off to your family getaway this summer, you may want to rethink those bags of candies and chips you are packing for your children.

While we only discussed the known facts about Red Dye #40, it’s also worth noting other food colorants that are in our foods: Blue Dye #1, Blue Dye #2, Citrus Red Dye #2, Green Dye #3, Red Dye #3, Yellow Dye #5 and Yellow Dye #6. According to various studies, artificial food dyes can cause serious health problems including, but not limited to, the following:

  • Hyperactivity and other behavioral problems
  • Allergic reactions
  • Damage in chromosomes
  • Organ damage
  • Birth defects
  • Cancer
  • Obesity
  • Asthma
  • Diabetes
  • Hypoglycemia

When it comes to packing food for children, it wouldn’t hurt to grab ideas from well-known chefs. Take these turkey rolls that restaurateur and celebrity chef, Richard Blais, packs for his daughter, for instance. They’re tasty and healthy, and your kids can take them anywhere.

Barring any restrictions (such as quarantine regulations in specific borders, transportation rules and so on), here are healthy snacks you should be putting in your children’s travel pack:

  • Fresh or dried fruits
  • Sliced vegetables
  • “Good” candies
  • Raw nuts and trail mix
  • Homemade snacks like the aforementioned turkey rolls, healthy muffins and granola with dried fruits concoctions

Download the All My Food Facts app to find out if your favorite travel snack is good for you! Get it on iTunes, Google Play and Amazon.

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Recipe: Spinach salad with apples, cranberries, avocados and pecans in balsamic vinaigrette

Eating salad daily is one of the simplest ways you can do to jumpstart your efforts to implement healthy eating habits and dramatically improve your health. It is a convenient way to work in a heaping serving of fresh fruits and vegetables, which are rich in vitamins, minerals, fiber and antioxidants.

Salads start off healthy, what with the natural ingredients that make the base. However, many salads wind up being unhealthy because of the toppings and dressings that people embellish them with either at home or at restaurants.

FoodFacts.com shares this salad recipe that’s guaranteed high in nutrition and low in calories.

Time: 30 minutes

Serving: 4

Ingredients

Directions

  1. In a large bowl, combine spinach, apples, cranberries and avocados.
  2. Drizzle the salad with the dressing and toss.
  3. Chop pecan halves into smaller bites and sprinkle on salad.
  4. Serve immediately.

 

Love salads? Find out how your favorite dressing fares in our health score with the all my foodfacts app. Get it on iTunes, Google Play and Amazon!

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Foods you should eat to stay healthy this summer

Summer is officially here, and it is time to sit back and relax! Whether you’re off to epic outdoor adventures or just staying put for low-key backyard or poolside barbecues, there’s no doubt that the tranquility of the season makes eating, all the more, one of life’s simple pleasures.

Thankfully, summertime brings an abundance of fruits and vegetables available for us. So, while you’re gallivanting and gormandizing, FoodFacts.com lists foods that can help you stay in tip-top shape during the summer months.

Corn

Make corn your official side dish for those grilling sessions with family and friends! Corn contains two specific antioxidants, lutein and zeaxanthin, which help form macular pigment that filter out the sun’s ultraviolet rays. To put it simply, corn is a natural sunblock that can help protect your skin from damages caused by the sun.

Tomatoes

Tomato is rich in lycopene that help protect your skin from sunburn, making it another great produce that you can add to your line of defense against the blazing summer sun. Bear in mind that tomato increases its lycopene content when processed and/or cooked.

Berries

Berries make for a delicious and healthy snack whether you’re eating them off of a bowl at home or off of a container when you’re on the road. Munching on berries can significantly improve your diet as they are rich in antioxidants and fiber. These fibrous fruits can help you combat constipation, which is a common problem when traveling.

Green tea

Green tea is one of the most highly recommended foods for detoxing and hydrating. It should be a staple regardless of where you are. In her article, A Top Chef’s Tips for Keeping It Healthy While Traveling, celebrity chef Marisa Churchill recommends bringing your own supply so you’ll always have some on hand and consuming 20 ounces of green tea per day.

Water

Water still remains the best way to stay cool and hydrated during the scorching summer months. Drink 16-32 ounces, plus additional amounts when you’re being active to replenish the loss from perspiration. Be sure to always have water with you when you are traveling. You may also want to consider bringing a portable water filter so you can have access to clean, drinking water wherever you go.

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Know your ingredients with All My Food Facts app: India Tree Nature’s Colors Decorating Set

Additives are used by food manufacturers to enhance the quality and appearance of our foods. In the recent years, there’s been plenty of talk about artificial food colorings (AFC), in particular, and the potential harm they pose on our health. At the center of these talks is Red Dye #40, the most commonly added artificial food coloring according to the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI). To date, there hasn’t been a definitive consensus from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) whether or not Red Dye #40 is, indeed, toxic.

While health practioners, experts and concerned consumers engage in the exhaustive ongoing debate, FoodFacts.com digresses from the probable harmful effects of artificial food colorings, and shifts the conversation to urge consumers to opt for natural food colorings. There is an abundance of resources for natural food dyes such as spinach, turmeric, beets, blueberries and even bugs. Natural food colorings are not as luminous and shelf-stable as AFCs. However, natural food colorings are preferred by health-conscious parents and influencers in the food industry because they’re not plagued by controversies and they’re obviously the healthier choice.

One of the more popular natural food dyes in the market is India Tree Nature’s Colors Decorating Set, which is made with vegetable colorants. We used the All My FoodFacts app and we’re happy to see its health score.

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Note: The product information shown above is only a general overview of India Tree Nature’s Colors Decorating Set. Sign up on our website for personalized specifications on which products are good for you and which you should avoid based on your dietary data, or you can get the All My FoodFacts app on iTunes, Google Play and Amazon!

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Red Dye #40

Food dyes are added to our foods to make them look more appetizing. There are actually plenty of natural food dyes available for our consumption, such as beets, spinach and turmeric. However, natural food dyes are highly sensitive to light and heat. Their colors, as well as taste, may be altered dramatically at any given phase of the food manufacturing process, including the final packaging and delivery stages.  This is one reason why food manufacturers generally prefer artificial food dyes over natural food colorants.

Artificial food dyes are more iridescent and more shelf-stable than natural food dyes. They also come in each of the primary colors, therefore allowing manufacturers to mix them up and produce a wide array of other hues.

Red Dye #40 is the most commonly used artificial food coloring, according to Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI). It should be of no surprise to learn that it appears in numerous candies. As a matter of fact, candies that suggest any fruit content are most likely to have the said colorant. Red Dye #40 is actually present in other foods that are neither red nor bright. Some of them include, potato chips, barbecue sauce and peanut butter.

Whether natural or synthetic, most of the dyes that we ingest are excreted from our bodies. However, FoodFacts.com wants to remind you of what health experts and advocates alike have been saying for a long time: Red Dye #40 has potential to cause serious harm to the body.

Here are some quick facts released in the recent years about Red Dye #40:

  • The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulates that manufacturers disclose the existence of Red Dye #40 in their products on their labels. However, the FDA doesn’t require them to specify how much.
  • The CSPI reports that Red Dye #40 and other artificial food dyes can cause allergic reactions in some people.
  • Research shows that Red Dye #40 can cause hyperactivity and other behavioral problems in children.
  • 43% child-oriented products contain Red Dye #40 and other artificial food dyes.
  • Red Dye #40 contains p-Cresidine, which the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services believes to be cancer-causing.
  • Despite the outcry of CSPI, health advocates and consumers, which includes a petition to ban certain artificial food dyes, there is still no clear consensus from the FDA that Red Dye #40 is toxic.

It is highly recommended that you take caution in consuming foods that contain Red Dye #40. Below are other names that the said colorant go by:

  • FD&C Red No. 40
  • Allura Red
  • Red 40
  • Red No. 40
  • FD and C Red No. 40
  • Allura Red AC
  • C.I. 16035
  • C.I. Food Red 17

FoodFacts.com has always made it explicit that consumers like you be proactive in learning the ingredients contained in your foods. Use the All My Food Facts app to check food labels. Get it on iTunes, Google Play and Amazon!

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Healthy dishes for Father’s Day cookout

It’s almost Father’s Day! Are you still looking for a great gift for Dad? Take a hint from the old adage, “the fastest way to a man’s heart is through his stomach,” and give him something he’ll truly appreciate: eau de grill.

Last month, FoodFacts.com shared some healthy recipes to prepare for Mom to treat her like the queen that she really is. Today, we’re sharing this perfect Father’s Day cookout menu to whip up this Sunday that will make the king of the grill really proud.

Brunch

maple-709982Get Dad all fired up by making his first Father’s Day meal special. The sweet flavor of maple syrup and the oak smokiness of a touch of bourbon make up the brilliance of this concoction. This will make Dad’s pre-grilling pancake brunch something he’ll definitely be glad to wake up to.

Get the recipe: Bourbon Maple Syrup

Foodfacts.com recommended ingredient: Great Value Pure Maple Syrup

 

Appetizer

img_4867Warm that barbecue mojo up with some shrimp skewers. This dish is so easy to prepare that you may even want to start serving it to the family on a regular basis. This low-key, stress-free dish is great to get both the appetite and family conversations going.

Get the recipe: Pesto Shrimp Skewers

Foodfacts.com recommended ingredient: Wegmans Food You Feel Good About Peeled & Deveined Large Uncooked Shrimp

Main Dish

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Dad is most likely going to expect the usual steak or burger, but he won’t be disappointed with this salmon dish for his main course. It’ll get him just as satisfied and filled – with fewer calories and much less fat, at that – he won’t be missing his favorite red meat staples.

Get the recipe: Plank-grilled sweet soy salmon

FoodFacts.com recommended ingredient: Goya Cooking Wine – Dry White

Side Dish

asparagus-353941This side dish recipe is low-calorie and low-carb, and could easily be the official side for every grilling get-together this summer. The acidity of the Sriracha toasted pecan vinaigrette pairs perfectly well with the nice, smoky flavor of the grilled asparagus.

Get the recipe: Grilled Asparagus with Sriracha Toasted Pecan Vinaigrette

FoodFacts.com recommended ingredient: Lee Kum Kee Sriracha Chili Sauce

Dessert

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Two ingredients, one delicious dessert. Broiling mango brings the fruit’s natural sweetness out, which is balanced by the lime juice. This broiled mango treat will definitely cap off your Father’s Day cookout with the sweet taste of summer.

Get the recipe: Broiled Mango

FoodFacts.com recommended ingredient: Lime

 

Find the healthiest ingredients for your Father’s Day menu with All My Food Facts. Get the app on iTunes, Google Play and Amazon!

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It’s National Candy Month, too!

June is quite the contradictory month. It’s not only National Fresh Fruits and Vegetables Month, it’s also National Candy Month! That’s right – the National Confectioners Association is celebrating chocolates, candies, gums, mints and all kinds of sweets this month!

FoodFacts.com absolutely advocates making better food choices through the awareness of healthy and unhealthy ingredients contained in our food. However, we also appreciate the men and women who create treats that play a special role in commemorating significant cultural and historical events in the United States. In fact, most American confectionery companies are family-owned, and directly contributes to the US economy in the agriculture, manufacturing, retail and shipping sectors.

That said, we are joining the millions of Americans celebrating in National Candy Month, but we are doing so in a healthy and equally-fun way! Here’s how you can get in the candy spirit without compromising your health goals.

Bite-sized portions

When trying to cut down calories, abstaining from sweets and salty foods is usually the first step. Nutrition experts believe, though, that the occasional treats can be a part of your balanced diet, as long as you pay attention (and have control) of the quantity. Sarah-Jane Bedwell, RD says, “Everyone should allow themselves a daily treat because there is no reason why a 100- or 200-calorie snack can’t fit into a healthy diet.”

Get your sweets from “good” stores

Proponents of the organic food movement as well as veganism have helped launch more than just a handful of businesses that cater to their respective audiences. It should be of no surprise to find that there are now organic and vegan candy stores that give us relatively better options for sweet treats.

Keep it dark

When it comes to chocolates, the darker the better. Dark chocolates contain less sugar and are more filling than milk chocolates. This superfood can actually give your body plenty of health benefits. They are rich in antioxidants and can aid in blood flow improvement, and lower blood pressure and the risk of heart diseases.

Make your own treats

Today’s top food influencers share plenty of hacks for making healthy versions of popular sweets like Butterfinger, Snickers and Twix. These foodies also constantly come up with brilliantly innovative health-conscious treats that allow you to succumb to your sweet tooth, guilt-free.

Make fruit candies

While we’re on the subject of making your own treats…

Take advantage of the abundant supply of fruits this season and grab some ripe, blemish-free fruits such as mangoes, cranberries and California apricots. The best and easy way to turn fruits into candies without the added sugar is to dry them. You can dry fruits on your burner, in the oven or under the sun!

Tip: Use the all my food facts app to find out how your favorite candies fare on our health score. Get it on iTunes, Google Play and Amazon!

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Know your ingredients with All My Food Facts app: Market Pantry Blueberries Whole Fruit

Fruits are rich in vitamins, minerals and fiber that provide vital nutrients for the body’s proper nourishment and maintenance. People who eat more fruits and vegetables as part of their overall healthy diet reduce their risk of chronic diseases.

While getting your fruits from the produce section of your supermarket is ideal, a lot of shoppers take their supply from the refrigerated aisle. Packaged fruits may not always be as good as fresh fruits, but some of them are not exactly as bad as generally perceived.

Packaged fruits may be just as healthy for you as whole fruits, just as long as they’re fresh. Take this store brand, for instance. FoodFacts.com used the All My FoodFacts app on Target’s Market Pantry Blueberries Whole Fruit and found that it has an excellent health score.

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When it comes to packaged fruits, be sure that they are chilled at a temperature of 40°F or below. Check the label for both packaging and use-by dates, and consume within five or six days before the vitamin C and carotenoid levels begin to drop.

Note: The product information shown above is only a general overview of Market Pantry Blueberries Whole Fruit. Sign up on our website for personalized specifications on which products are good for you and which you should avoid based on your dietary data, or you can get the All My FoodFacts app on iTunes, Google Play and Amazon!