Category Archives: healthy eating

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/

When is a fresh cracked egg not exactly a fresh cracked egg?

7288777_GWhen it comes from McDonald’s, of course.

As part of their transparency campaign, McDonald’s included a call to action on their website. It reads “Do we use fresh cracked eggs?” Unfortunately, FoodFacts.com found that when you click on it, it brings you to the nutrition facts and ingredients for the McMuffin. USDA Fresh Grade A Eggs are listed as the ingredients.

Perhaps that’s enough to satisfy some. But you need to keep reading to the section prefaced with the words “Prepared with.” Let’s take a look:

Prepared with Liquid Margarine: Liquid Soybean Oil and Hydrogenated Cottonseed and Soybean Oils, Water, Partially Hydrogenated Soybean Oil, Salt, Soy Lecithin, Mono and Diglycerides, Sodium Benzoate and Potassium Sorbate (Preservatives), Artificial Flavor, Citric Acid, Vitamin A Palmitate, Beta Carotene (Color).

We’re pretty sure that when any member of our community prepares eggs at home, those eggs are being prepared with butter. This “liquid margarine” McDonald’s is using is certainly compromising the integrity of those fresh cracked eggs. This “liquid margarine” is adding some unfortunate ingredients to your meal — partially hydrogenated oil, sodium benzoate and artificial flavor. Why does the preparation of fresh cracked eggs require artificial flavor? If they’re attempting to mimic the flavor of butter, it would be easier and healthier to use actual butter. The eggs themselves have enough flavor to carry themselves.

This isn’t liquid margarine. It’s a combination of oils with other ingredients that try to fool consumers into thinking it’s butter. This ingredient is ruining the integrity of any eggs they use.

Don’t be fooled. McDonald’s “Liquid Margarine” IS an ingredient in your morning eggs. While they’re trying to sway consumers into the idea that it’s not an ingredient — as evidenced by the separation of the “Prepared with” line. Those 14 other ingredients are actually in those fresh cracked eggs.

Is McDonald’s being transparent here? FoodFacts.com doesn’t think so.

http://www.mcdonalds.com/us/en/food/product_nutrition.breakfast.46.egg-mcmuffin.html

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

 

Low-quality carbohydrate consumption linked to weight gain

950341751Losing weight is a difficult proposition for many. It’s also been complicated by the myriad of concepts applying to weight loss that permeate our culture. We’re sure you’ve heard just about all of them — no-carb, low-carb, gluten free, nutritional cleansing, the cabbage soup diet, calorie counting, low-sugar, no-sugar. We could go on and on. The thing is, they don’t always work. And even when they do, folks who’ve been on them would probably tell you they put the weight right back on after they finished. Is there an answer to this? Why is it so difficult for people to achieve long-term weight loss?

A study from the Friedman School of Nutrition Science & Police from the Tufts University led the research concerning the correlation of glycemic index and long term weight. Prior studies proved the association of glycemic index and diabetes but this is the first time long-term weight showed in the equation.

The researchers analyzed 16 years of follow ups from over 120,000 men and women in the continental United States. They particularly observed the types of protein consumed by the participants and its relation to weight gain or loss.

They concluded two things in their search. First thing is that increased consumption of seafood, yoghurt, nuts, skinless chicken and yoghurt has a strong correlation with weight loss. While, increased consumption of red meat- especially processed meat is strongly related to weight gain.

Consumption of dairy products, low-fat or full-fat, did not really affect their weights.

“The fat content of dairy products did not seem to be important for weight gain. In fact, when people consumed more low-fat dairy products, they actually increased their consumption of carbs, which may promote weight gain. This suggests that people compensate, over years, for the lower calories in low-fat dairy by increasing their carb intake”, explained author Dr. Jessica Smith from Friedman.

Variations with food combinations are also expounded. Research suggests that increased consumption of red meat as well as foods with high GL will more likely lead to weight gain than increased red meat consumption while eating more vegetables instead.

Increased consumption of nuts, fishes and other foods that promotes weight loss while eating high-quality carbs with less GL will probably enhance the weight loss effect but increased consumption of low quality carbs with higher GL will still lead to weight gain even if there’s an increased portions of nuts and fishes.

As have mentioned earlier, dairy and poultry products did not seem to affect the weight but research showed that there will still be weight gain if there’s an increased consumption of low-quality carbs.

Researchers recommend more nuts, fishes and other protein-rich foods while avoiding low quality carbs that can be seen from starches, grains and sugars.
Let’s have a short FoodFacts.com refresher course in carbs. Carbohydrates are in just about everything we eat. Low quality carbohydrates are often referred to as simple carbs. They contain smaller molecules of sugar that are easily absorbed by your body. The energy is stored as glycogen in our cells and if not used immediately they are converted into fat. These are generally found in processed foods — things like candy and desserts, sugary cereals, sodas and other sugary beverages and refined breads. These products, and others like them, fall higher on the glycemic index than quality carbs like whole grain breads, unprocessed whole grain cereals, green vegetables and fresh fruits.

We can see again that fresh whole foods are the healthiest, most beneficial dietary choices we can make. As often as possible, preparing foods in our own kitchens gives us the best opportunity for optimal health.

http://www.dailytimesgazette.com/study-finds-low-quality-carbs-culprit-weight-gain/4454/

Eat eggs and reduce your risk of type 2 diabetes

egg1Does anyone remember the “no tat” craze during the 1990s? The grocery store shelves were lined with non-fat products — non-fat cheese, fat-free ice cream, fat-free cookies — even fat free bologna. Statistically, America actually got fatter while this was going on … all the time believing that we were doing the best thing for our health.

One of the biggest taboos during the fat-free era were eggs, or more specifically egg yolks. That’s when the egg white trend started. Long after most of those fat-free products disappeared from the grocery shelves, or at least took a back seat to lower fat or full fat items, the trend against whole fresh eggs continued. It did die down slowly but surely as new research and advice found that whole egg consumption (in moderation) is actually healthy. Today there’s more research showing more health benefits from the incredible, edible egg.

Type 2 diabetes is becoming increasingly widespread throughout the world. Research has shown that lifestyle habits, such as exercise and nutrition, play a crucial role in the development of the disease. In some studies, high-cholesterol diets have been associated with disturbances in glucose metabolism and risk of type 2 diabetes. In contrast, in some experimental studies, the consumption of eggs has led to improved glucose balance, among other things. However, there is no experimental data available on the effects of egg consumption on the incidence of type 2 diabetes. In population-based studies, too, the association between egg consumption and type 2 diabetes has been investigated only scarcely, and the findings have been inconclusive. Egg consumption has either been associated with an elevated risk, or no association has been found.

The dietary habits of 2,332 men aged between 42 and 60 years were assessed at the baseline of the Kuopio Ischaemic Heart Disease Risk Factor Study, KIHD, at the University of Eastern Finland in 1984-1989. During a follow-up of 19.3 years, 432 men were diagnosed with type 2 diabetes.

The study found that egg consumption was associated with a lower risk of type 2 diabetes as well as with lower blood glucose levels. Men who ate approximately four eggs per week had a 37 per cent lower risk of type 2 diabetes than men who only ate approximately one egg per week. This association persisted even after possible confounding factors such as physical activity, body mass index, smoking and consumption of fruits and vegetables were taken into consideration. The consumption of more than four eggs did not bring any significant additional benefits.

A possible explanation is that unlike in many other populations, egg consumption in Finland is not strongly associated with unhealthy lifestyle habits such as smoking, low physical activity or consumption of processed meats. In addition to cholesterol, eggs contain many beneficial nutrients that can have an effect on, for example, glucose metabolism and low-grade inflammation, and thus lower the risk of type 2 diabetes. The study also suggests that the overall health effects of foods are difficult to anticipate based on an individual nutrient such as cholesterol alone. Indeed, instead of focusing on individual nutrients, nutrition research has increasingly focused on the health effects of whole foods and diets over the past few years.

Fresh eggs are real food. FoodFacts.com believes that focusing our diets as much as possible on fresh, whole foods benefits our health. More and more research is released almost daily testifying to the importance of our dietary habits. We strive for balance, moderation and nutritional quality in the foods we choose to consume. We hope you do, too!

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/04/150402081806.htm

Baskin Robbins Whaddaya Say Creme Brulee Ice Cream … what’s inside the unusual new flavor

baskin-robbins1We’re not big fans of Baskin Robbins ice cream. FoodFacts.com is positive when the original 31 flavors debuted, their ingredient lists looked nothing like they do today. And while the tremendous choices offered are a great selling point for the company, they do resemble the fast food version of ice cream. There are just too many questionable ingredients lurking in even the simplest flavor Baskin Robbins offers.

The newest flavor, however, is far from simple. Whaddaya Say Creme Brulee offers the taste of the popular dessert cold in a cone or cup. We’re not entirely sure there are any number of ice cream aficionados clamoring for a creme brulee flavor. But it’s here. Now let’s take a look at what’s actually inside it.

Nutrition Facts for a large 4 ounce serving:

Calories:                     260
Fat:                              11 grams
Saturated Fat:            7 grams
Cholesterol:               55 mg
Sugar:                         31 grams

Fairly average nutrition facts for ice cream. While the sugar content is a bit high, there’s nothing out of the ordinary here. Ice cream is a sweet treat best enjoyed in moderation. It’s made from milk, cream, eggs and sugar with chocolate, caramel, vanilla, nuts or fruits — to name just a few flavor additions that make ice cream so much fun to eat.

What’s used to create Whaddaya Say Creme Brulee?

Cream, Creme Brulee Ribbon (Sugar, Corn Syrup, Water, Caramel Color, Pectin, Natural Flavor, Vanilla Extract), Nonfat Milk, Creme Brulee Candy (Sugar, Corn Syrup), Sugar, Corn Syrup, Creme Brulee Flavored Base (Corn Syrup, Water, Brown Sugar, Caramel Color, Natural Flavor), French Custard Base [Sugar, Sugared Egg Yolk (Egg Yolks, Sugar), Water], Whey Powder, Stabilizer/Emulsifier Blend (Cellulose Gum, Mono and Diglycerides, Guar Gum, Carrageenan, Polysorbate 80).

There are some recognizable ice cream ingredients in here — cream, milk, sugar, egg yolk. But there’s also Caramel Color, Natural Flavor, Carrageenan and Polysorbate 80.

We never really considered turning the hot, creamy, sugary dessert that is creme brulee into an ice cream. Part of the fun of real creme brulee is breaking through the torched sugary crust on the top to reach the custard underneath. Can’t do that with ice cream. But what we really can’t do are those nasty ingredients we try hard to avoid.

Though somewhat less offensive than the ingredient lists of other Baskin Robbins flavors, we’re still saying no to Whaddaya Say Creme Brulee. Not happening here.

https://www.baskinrobbins.com/content/baskinrobbins/en/products/icecream/flavors.html

Dunkin Donuts latest mash-up … the Oreo Cheesecake Square Donut

images (1)Here’s another new fast food offering that had a product developer thinking about “what would happen if …”

This particular if was combining Oreo cheesecake squares with donuts. While we can see how this might make some people excited, FoodFacts.com isn’t particularly thrilled with the concept. Oreo cheesecake squares are a popular, semi-homemade dessert. They’re already nutritionally questionable by themselves. Honestly, every cheesecake is. Anyone attempting a healthy lifestyle is already saving these small gems for special occasions and generally not thinking about them for breakfast — or an afternoon snack for that matter. And then you have donuts. Popular? Yes. Nutritionally beneficial? No.

Leave it to Dunkin to put the two together into one perfectly square morning meal option.

But before we pass judgement, let’s take a look at what’s actually in the new Oreo Cheesecake Square Donuts masterminded by Dunkin.

Nutrition Facts:

Calories:                      370
Fat:                              18 grams
Saturated Fat:            8 grams
Cholesterol:               10 mg
Sugar:                         22 grams

While the facts aren’t good, they do pretty much line up with the rest of Dunkins specialty donuts, give or take a few calories, grams of fat and sugar. That doesn’t make the Oreo Cheesecake Square donuts a good option. But it does make us wonder how they’re made. Cheese cake is notoriously laden with calories and fat — so how did Dunkin manage to put it in a donut and keep the nutrition facts analogous with the rest of their offerings?

Let’s take a look:

Donut: Enriched Wheat Flour (Flour, Malted Barley Flour, Niacin, Reduced Iron, Thiamin Mononitrate, Riboflavin, Folic Acid), Water, Palm Oil, Yeast Donut Concentrate [Soy Flour, Salt, Pregelatinized Wheat Starch, Whey (Milk), Sodium Acid Pyrophosphate, Baking Soda, Nonfat Milk, Gum Blend (Cellulose, Guar, Acacia, Carrageenan, Xanthan), Sodium Caseinate (Milk), Sodium Stearoyl Lactylate, Eggs, Soybean Oil, Soy Lecithin, Natural and Artificial Flavor, Annatto and Turmeric (Colors)], Dextrose, Soybean Oil, Yeast, Mono and Diglycerides; Cream Cheese Filling: Cream Cheese (Pasteurized Milk and Cream, Cheese Culture, Whey Protein Concentrate, Salt, Xanthan and/or Carob Bean Gum), Water, Sugar, Corn Syrup, Modified Food Starch, Contains 2% or less of each of the following: Partially Hydrogenated Soybean Oil with Mono and Diglycerides, Cultured Nonfat Dry Milk, Nonfat Dry Milk, Titanium Dioxide (Color), Salt, Glucono Delta Lactone, Sorbic Acid (Preservative), Artificial Flavor, Yellow 5 and Yellow 6; White Icing: Sugar, Water, Corn Syrup, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Partially Hydrogenated Soybean and/or Cottonseed Oil, Contains 2% or less of: Maltodextrin, Dextrose, Soybean Oil, Corn Starch, Sodium Propionate and Potassium Sorbate (Preservatives), Salt, Titanium Dioxide (Color), Citric Acid, Polyglycerol Esters of Fatty Acids, Agar, Soy Lecithin (Emulsifier), Artificial Flavor; OREO® Crumb Topping: Sugar, Unbleached Enriched Flour (Wheat Flour, Niacin, Reduced Iron, Thiamin Mononitrate, Riboflavin, Folic Acid), High Oleic Canola Oil and/or Palm Oil and/or Canola Oil and/or Soybean Oil, Cocoa processed with alkali, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Cornstarch, Leavening (Baking Soda and/or Calcium Phosphate), Salt, Soy Lecithin (Emulsifier), Vanillin (an Artificial Flavor), Chocolate.

So obviously there’s no real cheesecake filling going on inside the donut. There is cream cheese filling that we could probably liken to cream cheese frosting. It looks like cheesecake filling because of the use of artificial colors. And let’s not forget the artificial flavors used in the creation of the donut, the filling, the icing and the Oreo topping. Throw in a little partially hydrogenated oil, and high fructose corn syrup — and, well, you get the picture.

If you’re craving Oreo cheesecake squares, they’re fairly easy to prepare at home. They aren’t the best nutritional choice you can make. And they still do contain Oreos (which have some problems in and of themselves.) But at least you can be sure what’s in the rest of the squares you’ve prepared.

It’s honestly a better choice. Sorry, Dunkin — we’re not trying this one.

http://www.dunkindonuts.com/content/dunkindonuts/en/menu/food/bakery/donuts/donuts.html?DRP_FLAVOR=OREO+Cheesecake+Square+Donut

Too much processed packaged food contains too much sodium

KFC_Bandung_Supermall-300x199Just last week we learned that packaged processed foods account for the majority of grocery spending in America. We’re already aware that Americans consume too much sodium. So this new information shouldn’t be too surprising.

According to a recent study conducted by the US Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) packaged and processed foods contain too much salt. Around 80 percent of the excessive salt intake is caused by the packaged grocery store food.

CDC stated that 77% of the excessive salt consumption was due to restaurant meals and other packaged foods that were all found to contain a very high amount of salt. They found that home cooked food had lesser amount of salt hence good for health.

“Americans consume an average of 3,500 milligrams (mg) of sodium each day (excluding salt added at the table). But the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2010, recommend limiting sodium to less than 2,300 mg a day. About six in 10 adults should further limit sodium to 1,500 mg a day,” states CDC in its official report.

“Although most of the regional differences found did not have a clear direction or contributor, some may relate to regional variations in the popularity of specific types of products within a food category,” CDC said.

“We looked at bread, cold cuts, pizza, poultry, soup, sandwiches, cheese, pasta-mixed dishes, meat-mixed dishes and savory snacks,” she said.

It may become a surprise for many people that bread is actually a high offender when it comes to salt but in fact most of the sodium people intake comes from bread.

“A lot of foods that people don’t think taste salty do actually have a lot of sodium in them. So, we recommend people just read those nutrition labels, make comparisons, try to choose lower sodium options, be sure to eat more fresh fruits, vegetables and meats and cook more at home because that way you have more control over the amount of sodium.”

FoodFacts.com wants to emphasize the idea that America’s salt problem isn’t a result of the salt in their salt shakers. It’s a result of the salt in the processed foods in our grocery stores. Shop carefully. Understand the differences in processed foods and if you can’t eliminate them completely from your diet, stay away from highly processed items. Shop for ingredients you need to prepare meals, not prepared meals. We can get sodium consumption under control with understanding, awareness and action. We’ll all be healthier for it.

http://www.theamericanregister.com/cdc-says-packaged-processed-food-contains-too-much-sodium/10491/

Americans grow their appetite for highly processed foods

a-heinz-ketchup-bottleWe’re all aware that processed foods contain the majority of the salt, sugar and fat consumed in America today. Foods that come out of boxes and cans contain ingredient lists full of the things we here at FoodFacts.com are committed to avoid. Sadly, many U.S. consumers don’t relate those boxes and cans to nutritional problems that can easily lead to health difficulties. And their appetite for those foods continues to grow.

A nation-wide analysis of U.S. grocery purchases reveals that highly processed foods make up more than 60 percent of the calories in food we buy, and these items tend to have more fat, sugar and salt than less-processed foods.

“Many Americans have strongly held opinions and beliefs about processed foods,” said Jennifer M. Poti, Ph.D., research assistant professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and leader of the research team conducting this study. “Some consider processed foods to be tasty, convenient and affordable choices while others contend that the combination of sugar, fat, salt and flavoring in these foods promotes overeating and contributes to obesity. But until now, we didn’t really have the evidence needed to settle this debate: No prior studies have examined whether highly processed foods collectively have a worse nutritional profile than minimally processed foods, using nutrition information and ingredient lists specific for barcoded food and beverage products.”

From 2000 to 2012, the researchers asked 157,142 households to use UPC barcode scanners to record all foods and beverages they purchased from grocery stores for at least 1 year. Although items without barcodes were not included, Poti points out that packaged produce such bagged lettuce or pints of berries can be scanned. Households participated in the study for an average of four years and collectively purchased 1.2 million items. The research team then linked each item to its nutrition information, product description and ingredient list, allowing them to rank each product’s degree of food processing.

The researchers classified products as highly processed if they contained multi-ingredient, industrially formulated mixtures. They labeled foods such as soda, cookies, chips, white bread, candy and prepared meals as highly processed foods and categorized fresh or frozen fruits and vegetables, milk, eggs, dried beans and fresh meat as unprocessed or minimally processed. The investigators also examined convenience, distinguishing between foods that are ready to eat, ready to heat or require cooking and/or preparation. Candy and chips are examples of ready-to-eat foods, and frozen meals are a ready-to-heat food.

“Overall, we found that not only are highly processed foods a dominant, stable part of U.S. purchasing patterns, but also that the highly-processed foods that households are purchasing are higher in fat, sugar, and salt, on average, compared to the less-processed foods that they buy,” said Poti, who will present these findings at the American Society for Nutrition (ASN) Annual Meeting during Experimental Biology 2015. “The unshifting dominance of ultra-processed and ready-to-eat foods as major calorie contributors to U.S. diet and their poor nutrient profile support the need to incentivize food manufacturers to improve the nutritional quality of their products.”

The analysis revealed that from 2000 to 2012, the proportion of calories in highly processed food and beverage purchases by U.S. households remained stable at 61.0 to 62.5 percent. The researchers noted a significant increase in the proportion of calories purchased in ready-to-heat foods, which reached 15.2 percent in 2012. More than 80 percent of calories were purchased in ready-to-eat or ready-to-heat form in 2012, and these tended to be higher in fat, sugar and salt than food purchases that required preparation.

The researchers continue to track purchases to see how nutrition and level of processing might change over time. They are also using the data to examine whether purchasing habits vary based on race or socio-economic status.

Poti said that she also hopes this study can lead to a more careful use of the term processed food. “It is important that when we discuss processed foods, we acknowledge that many processed foods, such as canned vegetables or whole-grain breakfast cereals, are important contributors to nutrition and food security,” she said. “However, it is the highly processed foods — those with an extensive degree of processing — that might potentially be related to obesity.”

So what should Americans be shopping for at the grocery store? The answer is simple — and an easy way to determine what is considered highly processed. Shop for ingredients to prepare meals — not prepared meals and you’ll avoid the sometimes hidden salt, sugar and fat included in those boxes, cans and even bags. We can all do our part to reduce the percentage of processed foods being purchased in this country, one meal at a time.

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/03/150329141017.htm