Category Archives: ingredients

Are calories the only thing we should be worrying about?

Today, Food Facts heard about the roll-out of McDonald’s “Favorites Under 400 calories promotion. As of today, you’ll be able to walk into your local McDonald’s and view signage listing the products on the McDonald’s menu that are under 400 calories each. The promotion has been timed around the Summer Olympics in London that begin with opening ceremonies this coming Friday, July 27th, 2012.

It’s no secret that McDonald’s came under fire for sponsoring the games. With obesity rates on the rise worldwide, folks in the medical profession as well as health advocates everywhere were questioning whether or not this particular company should be one of the “faces” of this ancient event that promotes athleticism and sportsmanship. So … it appears as though this was McDonald’s answer to its naysayers.

In the first place, it’s important to note that there aren’t really that many menu items on the “Favorites Under 400 Calories” list. And the products featured are single items – not meals. You won’t find a burger with fries and a coke on it. Instead, you’ll find a burger – a regular, small burger. We all know that’s not the burger most folks are ordering from their menu and that it’s fairly rare that anyone is going to order any burger without some sort of meal accompaniment.

But more importantly, Food Facts feels compelled to ask – just how are we defining healthy these days??? If an item is under 400 calories, does that actually make it desirable to eat? We don’t think so. And we wanted to take the time to point out some of the less-than-desirable ingredients you’ll find in a few of the products on the new McDonald’s list.

Filet O Fish sandwich: A few of the controversial ingredients you’ll find in this item are: Partially Hydrogenated Soybean Oil, Barley Malted Flour, High-Fructose Corn Syrup, Azodicarbonamide and Polydorbate 80. But it does come in at 380 calories.

 

Sausage McMuffin: The controversial ingredients for this product include: Barley Malted Flour, High-Fructose Corn Syrup, MSG, BHA, BHT, Caramel Color, Propyl Gallate, Partially Hydrogenated Soybean Oil, and Sodium Benzoate. But it’s on the list at 370 calories.

 

Grilled Chicken Ranch Snack Wrap: A few of the ingredients you may not want to consume include: Autolyzed Yeast Extract, Hyrolyzed Protein, Polysorbate 80, Partially Hydrogenated Cottonseed Oil and Sodium Benzoate. This weighs in at 270 calories.

There are more products to examine and we’d like to encourage our blog followers to go into our database and search them out. You can find an image of the “Favorites Under 400 Calories” signage here: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/07/23/mcdonalds-favorites-under-400-calories_n_1695885.html   Take a look inside these products that are being heralded as “better to eat” than the Big Mac and make some educated choices. And, more importantly, educate others about your own educated choices.

For some people, calories are a big concern. But Food Facts likes to think that if people understood the ingredient list, calories wouldn’t be the ONLY concern.

Read more about the McDonald’s “Favorites Under 400 Calories” promotion: http://www.takepart.com/article/2012/07/23/low-cal-menu-mcdonalds-new-ploy-woo-its-critics
http://jezebel.com/5928496/mcdonalds-swears-its-a-perfectly-healthy-olympic-sponsor

Biting into a Twinkie may never be the same…

hostess twinkies at Foodfacts.com!

Many Foodfacts.com consumers are very familiar with the Hostess brand and their wide variety of cakes and sweets. Twinkies, Ho-Ho’s, Ding Dongs, Fruit Pies, Mini Muffins, and Donettes are just a few of their famous products. What some may not know is that most of these delicious childhood favorites contain beef fat. Why? We’re not quite sure, but we found a response from Hostess to a concerned consumer regarding this issue:
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Our Hostess Fruit pies contain beef fat. The shortening ingredients noted on our labels are: vegetable (may be soybean and/or canola and/or cottonseed and/or palm oil) and beef shortening. “Beef Fat” when noted, is a very small trace used in the creamy fillings of our cakes for taste. Also, it is used in a trace amount in the vegetable oil frying medium.

Beef fat being used for taste? Sounds ironic for a cake product. If you’re vegan or vegetarian, check the labels to make sure beef fat is not listed as an ingredients. Also, gelatin is normally animal-derived too, so don’t be fooled!

Foodfacts.com

Wendy’s Summer Treats a Healthy Option?

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Brought to you by Foodfacts.com:

As warmer weather approaches, so do new frosty treats from most fast-food restaurants. Despite a few attempts made to introduce healthier menu options, many franchises opt for sugar-filled desserts to drive in larger profits. It’s no secret that many sweet treats sold by large chains such as Burger King, McDonald’s and Wendy’s are big hits with many consumers. Today we’ll look closely at 3 new products introduced by Wendy’s earlier this summer.

Many are familiar with the Frosty, a major staple on the Wendy’s drive-thru menu. This thick chocolate combination between ice cream and a milk shake is a major money-maker, and thus drove the company to create 3 more varieties. This summer we were introduced to the Caramel Apple Frosty Parfait, the Wild Berry Frosty Parfait, and the Oreo Frosty Parfait. The word parfait is most likely to trigger “healthy” in many minds, however, these products don’t contain ingredients most would consider a parfait (i.e. yogurt). In fact, these items contain only ice cream and toppings, so technically they are just glorified sundaes.
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Caramel Apple Frosty “Parfait”: For starters, this product is 400 calories. Also, there is 5g or 25% your daily value from saturated fat, which is significantly high for just a treat. The kicker, there is also 57g of sugar, which is a little over 14 teaspoons. The sugars are most likely derived from the unnecessary caramel sauce, the brown sugar, and the apples which are also listed next to a few preservatives to keep their freshness. If you have trouble controlling blood glucose levels, or have GI sensitivities to massive amounts of sugar, you may want to think twice before ordering this item. There are about 25 ingredients in this frosty parfait, none of which contain yogurt, or any produce any type of benefits. We do know there are a few controversial ingredients, including high fructose corn syrup, artificial flavors, natural flavors, and carrageenan (a hidden form of MSG.)
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Wild Berry Frosty Parfait: The calorie content is slightly lower than the Caramel Apple option, with about 320kcal. The saturated fat is about 23% the daily value, and provides 30mg of cholesterol. Although lower than the Caramel Apple variety, this frosty parfait is equipped with a high 48 grams of sugar. The blueberries and strawberries covered with preservatives, along with carrageenan and artificial flavors cancel out any thoughts of this item being a sensible snack.
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Oreo Frosty Parfait: Finally, the Oreo Frosty Parfait, which is already doomed to be the least healthiest choice. This menu option contains 400 calories, 30% the daily value for saturated fat, 220mg of sodium, 56 grams of sugar, and approximately 50 ingredients. Chocolate syrup, Oreo chunks, artificial vanilla flavor, two sources of added high fructose corn syrup, and carrageenan make up what many believe to be a ‘healthy’ after dinner snack. However, anyone who is able to successfully finish this parfait is most likely to crash after the amount of sugar and controversial ingredients they’ve consumed.

Carefully read labels and menu options before you grab your next frosty treat!