Category Archives: healthy snacks

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

Protecting against Alzheimer’s with the MIND diet

150319104218-largeDealing with Alzheimer’s is one of the most debilitating experiences possible. This heartbreaking disease destroys memories, families and lives. Multitudes of research with no cure. What if you could protect against Alzheimer’s with your food?

With the MIND diet, a person who eats at least three servings of whole grains, a salad and one other vegetable every day — along with a glass of wine — snacks most days on nuts, has beans every other day or so, eats poultry and berries at least twice a week and fish at least once a week and benefits.

A new diet, appropriately known by the acronym MIND, could significantly lower a person’s risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease, even if the diet is not meticulously followed, according to a paper published online for subscribers in March in the journal Alzheimer’s & Dementia: The Journal of the Alzheimer’s Association.

Rush nutritional epidemiologist Martha Clare Morris, PhD, and colleagues developed the “Mediterranean-DASH Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay” (MIND) diet. The study shows that the MIND diet lowered the risk of AD by as much as 53 percent in participants who adhered to the diet rigorously, and by about 35 percent in those who followed it moderately well.

“One of the more exciting things about this is that people who adhered even moderately to the MIND diet had a reduction in their risk for AD,” said Morris, a Rush professor, assistant provost for Community Research, and director of Nutrition and Nutritional Epidemiology. “I think that will motivate people.”

Morris and her colleagues developed the MIND diet based on information that has accrued from years’ worth of past research about what foods and nutrients have good, and bad, effects on the functioning of the brain over time. This is the first study to relate the MIND diet to Alzheimer’s disease.

“I was so very pleased to see the outcome we got from the new diet,” she said.

The MIND diet is a hybrid of the Mediterranean and DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diets, both of which have been found to reduce the risk of cardiovascular conditions, like hypertension, heart attack and stroke. Some researchers have found that the two older diets provide protection against dementia as well.
In the latest study, the MIND diet was compared with the two other diets. People with high adherence to the DASH and Mediterranean diets also had reductions in AD — 39 percent with the DASH diet and 54 percent with the Mediterranean diet — but got negligible benefits from moderate adherence to either of the two other diets.

The MIND diet is also easier to follow than, say, the Mediterranean diet, which calls for daily consumption of fish and 3-4 daily servings of each of fruits and vegetables, Morris said.

The MIND diet has 15 dietary components, including 10 “brain-healthy food groups” — green leafy vegetables, other vegetables, nuts, berries, beans, whole grains, fish, poultry, olive oil and wine — and five unhealthy groups that comprise red meats, butter and stick margarine, cheese, pastries and sweets, and fried or fast food.

With the MIND diet, a person who eats at least three servings of whole grains, a salad and one other vegetable every day — along with a glass of wine — snacks most days on nuts, has beans every other day or so, eats poultry and berries at least twice a week and fish at least once a week and benefits. However, he or she must limits intake of the designated unhealthy foods, especially butter (less than 1 tablespoon a day), cheese, and fried or fast food (less than a serving a week for any of the three), to have a real shot at avoiding the devastating effects of AD, according to the study.

Berries are the only fruit specifically to make the MIND diet. “Blueberries are one of the more potent foods in terms of protecting the brain,” Morris said, and strawberries have also performed well in past studies of the effect of food on cognitive function.

The MIND diet was not an intervention in this study, however; researchers looked at what people were already eating. Participants earned points if they ate brain-healthy foods frequently and avoided unhealthy foods. The one exception was that participants got one point if they said olive oil was the primary oil used in their homes.

The study enlisted volunteers already participating in the ongoing Rush Memory and Aging Project (MAP), which began in 1997 among residents of Chicago-area retirement communities and senior public housing complexes. An optional “food frequency questionnaire” was added from 2004 to February 2013, and the MIND diet study looked at results for 923 volunteers. A total of 144 cases of AD developed in this cohort.

AD, which takes a devastating toll on cognitive function, is not unlike heart disease in that there appear to be “many factors that play into who gets the disease,” including behavioral, environmental and genetic components, Dr. Morris said.

“With late-onset AD, with that older group of people, genetic risk factors are a small piece of the picture,” she said. Past studies have yielded evidence that suggests that what we eat may play a significant role in determining who gets AD and who doesn’t, Morris said.
When the researchers in the new study left out of the analyses those participants who changed their diets somewhere along the line — say, on a doctor’s orders after a stroke — they found that “the association became stronger between the MIND diet and [favorable] outcomes” in terms of AD, Morris said. “That probably means that people who eat this diet consistently over the years get the best protection.”

In other words, it looks like the longer a person eats the MIND diet, the less risk that person will have of developing AD, Morris said. As is the case with many health-related habits, including physical exercise, she said, “You’ll be healthier if you’ve been doing the right thing for a long time.”

Morris said, “We devised a diet and it worked in this Chicago study. The results need to be confirmed by other investigators in different populations and also through randomized trials.” That is the best way to establish a cause-and-effect relationship between the MIND diet and reductions in the incidence of Alzheimer’s disease, she said.

The study was funded by the National Institute on Aging. All the researchers on this study were from Rush except for Frank M. Sacks MD, professor of Cardiovascular Disease Prevention, Department of Nutrition, at the Harvard School of Public Health. Dr. Sacks chaired the committee that developed the DASH diet.

FoodFacts.com is looking forward to additional research on the MIND diet. The power of nutrition is an amazing thing. Time after time, it’s proven that it goes beyond what we perceive as good health. Nutrition can also be the answer to chronic, deadly diseases — diseases we thought there were no answer for. We love hearing great news like this and will keep you posted on future developments.

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/03/150319104218.htm

The surprise inside isn’t the same as it used to be

cracker-jack-chocolate-peanut-butterRemember Cracker Jacks? Popcorn pieces covered in caramel. Chewy, crunchy, gooey, sweet, salty … Cracker Jacks were as delicious as they were fun. And who could forget the prize inside? Before you figured out that Cracker Jacks were a great snack, you wanted a box because of the prize.

Cracker Jacks are still with us.There’s still a prize inside. And now there are flavors. And the newest flavor is Chocolate Peanut Butter, which doesn’t seem very Cracker Jack like. But FoodFacts.com knows that time marches on.

So how do they make these new Chocolate Peanut Butter Cracker Jacks anyway?

FoodFacts.com did a little investigating. We found out that the prize inside isn’t just the toy that’s hiding in the package anymore. And it’s not necessarily one we were looking for.

In every half cup of new Chocolate Peanut Butter Cracker Jacks you’ll consume:

Calories:              100
Fat:                       .5 grams
Sugar:                  17 grams

Ingredients: Sugar Syrup, Syrup, Popcorn, Salt, Cocoa Powder (processed with alkalai), Maltodextrin (made from corn), Dextrose, Butter (Cream, Salt), Natural and Artificial Flavors (Artificial Peanut Butter Flavor, Artificial Chocolate Flavor, Natural Chocolate Flavor WONF), Cocoa Powder, Medium Chain Triglycerides, Glycerol, and Soy Lecithin, Contains Milk and Soy Ingredients

We’re not completely thrilled by the ingredients here. We’ve certainly seen better. The original is much better. We could even make our own version of these and make some improvements.

While we’ve always thought about the prize inside as the toy you needed to eat your way down to, these new Cracker Jacks give the term a new meaning. And there are some prizes that really aren’t worth winning.

http://www.fritolay.com/snacks/product-page/cracker-jack/cracker-jack-original-caramel-coated-popcorn-peanuts

Taking a turn in the wrong direction — unhealthy eating outpaces healthy eating globally

BLT-10-010710-FaWe get a lot of good news regarding the increase in fruit and vegetable consumption around the world. So FoodFacts.com was dismayed to read a new study containing information conflicting with the idea that consumers are becoming increasingly aware of the quality of their diets.

Worldwide, consumption of healthy foods such as fruit and vegetables has improved during the past two decades, but has been outpaced by the increased intake of unhealthy foods including processed meat and sweetened drinks in most world regions, according to the first study to assess diet quality in 187 countries covering almost 4.5 billion adults, published in The Lancet Global Health journal.

Improvements in diet quality between 1990 and 2010 have been greatest in high-income nations, with modest reductions in the consumption of unhealthy foods and increased intake of healthy products. However, people living in many of the wealthiest regions (eg, the USA and Canada, Western Europe, Australia and New Zealand) still have among the poorest quality diets in the world, because they have some of the highest consumption of unhealthy food worldwide.

In contrast, some countries in sub-Saharan Africa and some countries in Asia (eg, China and India) have seen no improvement in their diet quality over the past 20 years.

The authors warn that the study presents a worrying picture of increases in unhealthy eating habits outpacing increases in healthy eating patterns across most world regions, and say that concerted action is needed to reverse this trend.

Led by Dr Fumiaki Imamura from the Medical Research Council Epidemiology Unit at the University of Cambridge in the UK, a team of international researchers analysed data on the consumption of 17 key food items and nutrients related to obesity and major non-communicable diseases (eg, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and diet-related cancers) in countries around the world, and changes in diets between 1990 and 2010.

This analysis was performed by the Global Burden of Diseases Nutrition and Chronic Diseases Expert Group (NutriCoDE), chaired by Dr Dariush Mozaffarian, senior author on the paper and dean of the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University. NutriCoDE is an ongoing project assessing dietary information from more than 300 dietary surveys across the world and UN Food and Agriculture food-balance sheets, covering almost 90% of the global adult population.

The international team examined three different diet patterns: a favourable one based on 10 healthy food items (fruit, vegetables, beans and legumes, nuts and seeds, whole grains, milk, total polyunsaturated fatty acids, fish, omega-3s, and dietary fibre); an unfavourable one defined by seven unhealthy items (unprocessed meats, processed meats, sugar-sweetened drinks, saturated fat, trans fat, dietary cholesterol, and sodium); and an overall diet pattern based on all 17 food groups. The researchers calculated a diet score for each pattern and assessed differences by country, age, sex, and national income, with a higher score indicating a healthier diet (range 0-100).

The findings reveal that diet patterns vary widely by national income, with high-income countries generally having better diets based on healthy foods (average score difference +2.5 points), but substantially poorer diets due to a higher intake of unhealthy foods compared with low-income countries (average score difference -33.0 points). On average, older people and women seem to consume better diets.

The highest scores for healthy foods were noted in several low-income countries (eg, Chad and Mali) and Mediterranean nations (eg, Turkey and Greece), possibly reflecting favourable aspects of the Mediterranean diet. In contrast, low scores for healthy foods were shown for some central European countries and republics of the former Soviet Union (eg, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, and Kyrgyzstan).

Of particular interest was that the large national differences in diet quality were not seen, or were far less apparent, when overall diet quality (including both healthy and unhealthy foods) was examined as previous studies have done.

“By 2020, projections indicate that non-communicable diseases will account for 75% of all deaths. Improving diet has a crucial role to play in reducing this burden,” says Dr Imamura. “Our findings have implications for governments and international bodies worldwide. The distinct dietary trends based on healthy and unhealthy foods, we highlight, indicate the need to understand different, multiple causes of these trends, such as agricultural, food industry, and health policy. Policy actions in multiple domains are essential to help people achieve optimal diets to control the obesity epidemic and reduce non-communicable diseases in all regions of the world.”

According to Dr Mozaffarian, “There is a particularly urgent need to focus on improving diet quality among poorer populations. If we do nothing, undernutrition will be rapidly eclipsed by obesity and non-communicable diseases, as is already being seen in India, China, and other middle-income countries.”

Unfortunately, the availability of low-quality, nutritionally deficient foods remains a wedge between consumers worldwide and healthier diets. It appears that the choice between healthier foods and junk foods continues to be a global problem that needs to be addressed in order to insure the future well being of every population. Let’s make sure that we remain committed to healthy food and healthy choices for ourselves and everyone we love.

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/02/150218191719.htm

The new Ben & Jerry’s Cookie Cores are here! Excited?????

fair2They’re out! The new Spectacular Speculous, Peanut Buttah and Boom Chocolatta Cookie Core flavors.

Before we get too excited, FoodFacts.com thought we should get to the “core” of the new Cores. So let’s take a look and see exactly what we’ve got here.

The first one, Spectacular Speculous features Dark Caramel & Vanilla Ice Creams with Speculoos Cookies & a Speculoos Cookie Butter Core. Sounds pretty good. Here are the ingredients that go into it:

Cream, Skim Milk, Water, Liquid Sugar (Sugar, Water), Soybean Oil, Sugar, Egg Yolks, Wheat Flour, Rice Flour, Coconut Oil, Butter (Cream, Salt), Corn Syrup, Brown Sugar, Potato Flour, Cocoa Butter, Molasses, Vanilla Extract, Salt, Sodium Bicarbonate, Spices, Whey Protein Concentrate, Honey, Soy Lecithin, Guar Gum, Caramelized Sugar Syrup, Natural Flavor, Caramel Color, Carrageenan, Vanilla Beans.

Let’s move on to Peanut Buttah which boasts Peanut Butter Ice Cream with Crunchy Peanut Butter Sugar Bits, Peanut Butter Cookies & a Peanut Butter Cookie Core. The ingredients for this flavor as listed on the website are:

Cream, Skim Milk, Liquid Sugar (Sugar, Water), Water, Peanuts, Sugar, Soybean Oil, Egg Yolks, Wheat Flour, Rice Flour, Peanut Oil, Butter (Cream, Salt), Coconut Oil, Potato Flour, Partially Defatted Peanut Flour, Salt, Brown Sugar, Eggs, Whey Protein Concentrate, Natural Flavor, Cocoa Butter, Peanut Flour, Soy Lecithin, Sodium Bicarbonate, Vanilla Extract, Guar Gum, Carrageenan, Milk.

And then we come to Boom Chocolatta with Mocha & Caramel Ice Creams with Chocolate Cookies, Fudge Flakes & a Chocolate Cookie Core. Ingredients for this new core are:

Cream, Skim Milk, Liquid Sugar (Sugar, Water), Water, Sugar, Soybean Oil, Cocoa (Processed With Alkali), Egg Yolks, Butter (Cream, Salt), Coffee Extract, Corn Syrup, Rice Flour, Potato Flour, Wheat Flour, Coconut Oil, Brown Sugar, Vanilla Extract, Salt, Sodium Bicarbonate, Natural Flavor, Cocoa Powder, Soy Lecithin, Eggs, Chocolate Liquor, Cocoa Butter, Milk, Whey Protein Concentrate, Guar Gum, Carrageenan, Milkfat.

Phew. That’s all three of them. And, honestly, we’re kind of glad we held off on our excitement. We’re not thrilled with natural flavor, carrageenan or caramel color. And those ingredients are showing up pretty consistently here.

Yeah, we know it’s Ben & Jerry’s. So we know that once in a while, even some of the most nutrition-conscious folks ARE going to indulge. Just thought you should know anyway!

http://www.benjerry.com/flavors/cookie-cores

Should you eat or drink that orange?

orange-juiceChoose the fruit, you’d say! That’s the general advice, since juices are stripped of the fiber – which most us don’t get enough of — in whole fruit. And let’s face it: Most juice contains a lot of sugar, which most of us consume too much of.

To determine if that is true, a research team of German and Saudi scientists analyzed a batch of fresh navel oranges in three forms: peeled segments, a puree and as both fresh-squeezed and pasteurized juice. As outlined in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, the researchers saw no difference in the levels of vitamin C and carotenoids, while levels of flavonoids did vary. However, when they changed their experiment to better mimic digestion, more carotenoids and flavonoids were released via OJ than via the fruit.

In fact, they found that the release of carotenoids was two to three times higher in the liquid form than the fruit (11 percent versus 28 percent for fresh and almost 40 percent in pasteurized juice). The flavonoids were five times higher too.

While the study’s results are in line with other research that found that nutrients in fruits and vegetables can be more available when the produce is chopped, mashed or juiced, nutritionists caution against assuming that this study and others be taken as gospel. They point out that determining what nutrients exist does not determine which nutrients are better absorbed in the human body combined with what other substances. For instance, research has shown that people absorb more beta-carotene from tomatoes with olive oil added, and that cooking broccoli for too long can destroy its antioxidants.

Likewise, how the OJ is made can influence results. Buying a large carton (with sugar added) versus squeezing it oneself can have an impact. Furthermore, store-bought fruit juice often contains almost as much concentrated fructose as a soft drink. Besides health issues from the glucose, juice can also be less filling so people drink more, which can mean more calories are often consumed.

According to experts in food science and nutrition, drinking fresh-squeezed glasses of OJ and such also can spike blood sugar levels faster and higher than one experiences from eating whole fruit. In addition, a study linked regular juice consumption to an increased risk of diabetes and other studies have shown an impact on teeth.

While the answers do not support a definite conclusion as to whether the juice is as healthy as the orange, or a similar determination for other fruits, experts encourage that any servings of fruit are better than having none. To get the fiber from the pulp, they recommend choosing versions of things like OJ that have pulp added. In addition, they recommend keeping track of the sugars in fruit juices and keeping the sugar intake below five percent of one’s daily consumption.

So it’s complicated. FoodFacts.com would have to agree that any fruit in any form is better than no fruit at all. While juice has certainly received plenty of thumbs down in the last few years because of sugar content, orange juice is still made from oranges … not chemicals.

http://guardianlv.com/2015/01/is-the-juice-as-healthy-as-the-orange/

We eat more junk food when we watch too much television. Surprised?

man-watching-tvProbably not. We all know the scenario. You’re sitting comfortably on the sofa. You turn on a favorite movie. It’s late at night. Suddenly you get a craving. Maybe it’s ice cream, or cookies, or chocolate, or chips. Whatever you’re chosen indulgence, it seems to make the movie better. And sadly, you probably don’t realize how much you’re eating while you’re concentrating on the movie plot.

According to a new study, the more hours we spend in front of the TV, the more likely we are to snack on junk food.

The research, conducted by Prof. Temple Northup of the Jack J. Valenti School of Communication at the University of Houston, TX, is published in The International Journal of Communication and Health.

This is not the first study to associate TV use with unhealthy eating. A 2014 study published in the journal Applied Physiology, Nutrition and Metabolism, for example, linked television viewing time to unhealthy dietary patterns among children aged 9-11.

In that study and others reporting similar findings, researchers say the results may be explained by the fact that TV watching is a sedentary activity, and that this encourages unhealthy eating.

But in his study, Prof. Northup sought to determine the psychological explanations for the link between TV use and increasing consumption of unhealthy foods.

“There was very little prior research on the psychological reasons this relationship might exist beyond that it’s a sedentary activity that encourages snacking,” he says. “I wanted to investigate underlying psychological reasons that this relationship might exist.”

To reach his findings, Prof. Northup conducted a cross-sectional survey on 591 participants of an average age of 22.

The survey was designed to gather information on participants’ overall television and news media usage and their nutritional knowledge. In addition, Prof. Northup assessed their “fatalistic views” toward eating healthily, which he told Medical News Today is “a general viewpoint that measures the extent to which you think you understand proper nutrition.”
Overall, the results of the survey revealed that the more time participants spent watching TV, the more likely they were to have an unhealthy diet.

What is more, those who watched more TV had a poorer understanding of nutrition and a more fatalistic view toward healthy eating, compared with participants who watched less TV. “In turn, those two items predicted snacking behaviors,” says Prof. Northup.

He believes the lack of nutritional knowledge among people who watch more TV may be explained by increased exposure to advertising of unhealthy foods.

“Within advertising, most foods are nutritionally deficient, while entertainment programming depicts characters frequently snacking on unhealthy foods and rarely eating a balanced meal,” he explains. “If these are the messages, those who watch a lot of them may become less able to determine what is healthy.”

He notes that, interestingly, participants who watched a lot of television news but not a lot of television overall had better nutritional knowledge than those who watched more general TV. Prof. Northup said that this may be because news media “typically focus their stories on trending topics – like what diet is best or what foods are healthy or unhealthy – rather than a broader context of healthy living.”

On considering the association between high TV usage and more fatalistic views toward nutrition, Prof. Northup says the link is not surprising given that viewers are presented with conflicting messages about food.

“After all, on the one hand, heavy users are told to eat a lot of sugary drinks and snacks, while on the other, they are told to avoid those snacks in favor of a variety of other foods,” he explains. “If all messages being presented conflict, it becomes hard to decipher exactly what should be followed. This could lead to the belief that it is just not possible to fully understand nutrition.”

Prof. Northup says his study results suggest the media is contributing to obesity:

“Based on these results, the media may be one piece of the obesity problem by sending messages to consumers that create fatalistic attitudes toward eating healthy as well as lowering overall nutritional knowledge.

These two variables in turn contribute to poor nutritional eating – a well-established cause of obesity.”

But there is something we can do that may stop us reaching for the junk food while watching TV: reduce the amount of unhealthy snacks in the house.

“If you know you’re prone to eating while watching TV, then it would be best to not have a lot of snacks like chips in the house, and instead have things like carrot sticks,” added Prof. Northup.

This interesting study offers a different view on snacking while viewing. FoodFacts.com is pretty certain, though, that we should all make an effort to reduce or eliminate the unhealthy snacks in our homes. Because, let’s face it, even the healthiest eaters can give into temptation when the living room turns into a movie theater and the concession counter is no further away than your own refrigerator!

http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/287768.php

Attention Girl Scout Cookie Lovers: Meet the new gluten free Toffee-Tastic

mtc_toffeeHere at FoodFacts.com, we’ve devoted some blog space to the unfortunate state of our much-beloved Girl Scout cookies. We’ve actually apologized for that — but honestly, those adored, ever-anticipated treats have honestly not lived up to their highly esteemed association.

Luckily the Girl Scouts have been listening — not necessarily to us — but to the voices of consumers around the country. And their newest introduction is actually something we can talk about more positively — even if it is a cookie.

Toffee-tastic is the new gluten-free Girl Scout cookie you’ll be able to enjoy this cookie season. And honestly, for the first time in a long time, we can say that we might just indulge — a little, anyway.

So here are the facts for one serving (or two cookies) of the newest Girl Scout cookie — the Toffee-Tastic:

Calories:                        140
Fat:                                 7 grams
Saturated Fat:               4 grams
Sugar:                            7 grams

These nutrition facts are pretty typical for cookies. Just two though — hopefully that serving size will change. In our own experience, most folks eat three or four for a serving.

As you might imagine, though, it’s the ingredients that interest us most. So here are the Toffee-Tastic ingredients:

Rice Flour, Tapioca Starch, Sugar, Butter (Cream, Salt), Palm Oil, Brown Rice Flour, Butter Toffee Bits (Sugar, Butter (Cream, Salt), Corn Syrup, Soy Lecithin, Salt), Invert Sugar, Contains 2% or less of Salt, Soy Lecithin, Xanthan Gum, Baking Soda

If we were going to indulge in unnecessary calories from baked goods and didn’t have the choice of home cooked goodies, we could actually eat these cookies. We don’t often say that. But this time, we really can.

We often find that gluten-free products are actually more appealing than their mainstream counterparts. That’s certainly the case for Toffee-Tastic cookies. So if you’ve been off Girl Scout cookies since you started reading ingredient lists, you can take a second look here. Just make sure you consume the actual serving size so the numbers we reported above actually apply!

http://www.girlscouts.org/program/gs_cookies/meet_the_cookies.asp

Dunkin Donuts Introduces the Chocolate Croissant

dunkinchocolateWhen we think of chocolate croissants we tend to think of small, intimate cafes, steaming cups of cafe au lait and a leisurely, relaxed experience we can slowly savor. We don’t need to be in Paris, we can be down the street at a local coffee house. But that indulgent chocolate croissant does need to be part of a relaxing and flavorful experience.

So please forgive FoodFacts.com if we didn’t relate to Dunkin Donuts introducing their new Chocolate Croissant. For us, it removes the experience from the food. Plus this chocolate croissant is fast food so we’re suspicious about it.

For anyone who might find this new offering appealing, we thought we’d take a look.

Here are the nutrition facts from the Dunkin website:

Calories:                         320
Fat:                                 19 grams
Saturated Fat:                8 grams
Sugar:                            15 grams

If it makes a difference, the Chocolate Croissant is under 400 calories. So technically, you could start your day with this and not throw off every other meal you plan to eat. But you will be consuming more fat than you would if you started your day with two scrambled eggs. And you’ll be eating just about 4 teaspoons of sugar. We know there are items on the Dunkin menu that carry nutrition facts that are worse. But that doesn’t make the Chocolate Croissant an ideal breakfast or snack.

Here are the ingredients:
Croissant: Pastry: Enriched Wheat Flour (Flour, Niacin, Reduced Iron, Thiamin Mononitrate, Riboflavin, Ascorbic Acid, Folic Acid, Enzymes), Water, Margarine [Vegetable Oils (Palm, Modified Palm, Canola), Water, Sugar, Mono and Diglycerides, Soy Lecithin, Citric Acid, Potassium Sorbate (Preservative), Artificial Flavor, Vitamin A Palmitate, Vitamin D, Beta Carotene (Color)], Sugar, Yeast, Dough Conditioner (Flour, DATEM, Calcium Carbonate, Ascorbic Acid, Enzymes), Salt, Cellulose Gum, Wheat Gluten, Artificial Flavor; Chocolate Filling: Sugar, Vegetable Oils (Palm, Soy), Cocoa Powder processed with alkali, Corn Starch, Soy Lecithin, Artificial Flavor, Tocopherol (Antioxidant); Glaze: Corn Syrup, Water, Sugar, Contains less than 2% of the following: Pectin, Molasses, Sorbic Acid and Sulfiting Agents (to preserve freshness), Agar, Citric Acid, Natural and Artificial Flavor. May contain traces of Milk, Eggs and Tree Nuts (Almonds, Pecans).

Artificial flavor gets multiple mentions in this list. Even once is too much for us, so this is really unappealing. We’re also not fond of the use of sulfites.

We’re not going to get the experience we’re looking for with this Chocolate Croissant. We’re not excited about the nutrition facts and we’re less excited about the ingredients — not to mention we’re not going to enjoy that leisurely moment involving an actual French bakery creation and a steaming hot cafe au lait sitting by the window of a Dunkin Donuts.

http://www.dunkindonuts.com/content/dunkindonuts/en/menu/food/bakery/other/other_bakery.html?DRP_FLAVOR=Chocolate+Croissant

A sweet surprise: Americans are buying fewer pre-packaged baked goods

Cakes and piesJunk food. It’s one of FoodFacts.com’s pet peeves. There are plenty of junk foods we really dislike. High on that list have always been pre-packaged baked goods. You know the ones we’re talking about — cookies, fruit pies, cupcakes, snack cakes, pastries. There seem to be millions of them — from famous brand names, to the completely unknown that have found their way to grocery store shelves. Generally speaking any of the pre-packaged baked goods you can pick up in your grocery store will have far too much sugar and a very unhealthy dose of controversial ingredients, not too mention unhealthy fats. While commercial bakers may not have gotten the message that consumers are looking for healthier options from food manufacturers, Americans seem to be acting on their desires.

Apparently, Americans are buying fewer pre-packaged baked goods, including cakes, cookies, pies and donuts.

The researchers, led by Kevin C. Mathias from the University of North Carolina, note that ready-to-eat grain-based desserts (RTE GBDs) are a major contributor of energy, sugar and saturated fat to our diets, which likewise contributes to obesity.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there has been a major increase in obesity in the US during the past 20 years, contributing to heart disease, type 2 diabetes and cancer – some of the leading causes of preventable death.

Because pre-packaged baked goods are packed with obesity-causing empty calories, the researchers say they are a strategic target for lowering consumption of sugars and saturated fats in the American diet.

As such, the researchers wanted to examine the changes in the nutritional content of RTE GBDs, as well as shifts in consumer purchasing behaviors.

To do so, the team analyzed nutrition facts panel information from commercial databases in terms of RTE GBD products purchased by over 130,000 households, according to the Nielsen Homescan longitudinal dataset 2005-2012.

After assessing the information, the researchers found that, though there has been little nutritional change in the content of pre-packaged baked goods that we bought during that time, overall consumer purchases of such products decreased by 24%.

“The results from this analysis show that the new RTE GBD products released in 2012 did not have lower energy, sugar or saturated fat densities than the products already existing on the market,” says Mathias.

He notes that reformulating existing pre-packaged baked goods comes with many challenges, including duplicating taste, appearance and texture.

The researchers suggest that creating new labeling systems featured on the front of packaging could steer consumers toward buying products with lower energy, sugar and saturated fat – which could help improve dietary intake.

Still, this potentially positive shift could also backfire, according to the team: “A potential concern of shifting purchases of RTE GBDs toward products with lower energy, sugar or saturated fat content is that consumers could potentially purchase more RTE GBD products if they are perceived to be healthier.”

Mathias says one way of getting around this conundrum is through “stealth reformulations by which changes in the product composition are conducted unbeknownst to consumers.”
But this brings another issue into play, as the American public is not typically fond of changes – whether chemically or nutritionally – made to the products they buy without their knowledge.

Still, the researchers say understanding the types of products purchased in the US is important in expanding knowledge on the effectiveness of efforts aiming to help consumers choose healthier dietary options. Mathias adds:

“The results from the product and purchase level analyses highlight an opportunity for both food manufacturers and public health officials to work together to develop strategies to shift consumer purchases toward products with lower energy, sugar and saturated fat densities in addition to decreasing overall purchases of RTE GBDs.”

We are hopeful that as consumers become more conscious the nutritional value of packaged foods (baked goods included) trends like this will continue. We have seen clearly over the last few years how the actions of consumers have moved manufacturers to change the way certain foods and beverages are produced. Consumers are speaking to pre-packaged baked goods manufacturers. Let’s hope they get the message.

http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/287359.php