Category Archives: Junk Food

More bacon … this time from Taco Bell with the Bacon Club Chalupa

pdp-Bacon-Club-Chalupa-2015Did you know that a chalupa is described as a tostada platter? It is a Mexican specialty of south-central Mexico, including the states of Puebla,Guerrero and Oaxaca. Chalupas nad is made by pressing a thin layer of masa dough around the outside of a small mold, in the process creating a concave container resembling the boat of the same name, and then deep frying the result to produce crisp, shallow corn cups.

If you’re a Taco Bell fan, odds are you didn’t know that because the Taco Bell Chalupa doesn’t remotely resemble that description. And their Bacon Club Chalupa doesn’t resemble anything remotely Mexican.

Welcome the Bacon Club Chalupa back to the menu. Bacon. Again. We’ve been reporting on waaaay too many fast food items featuring bacon. We’re guessing this is supposed to be like a Mexican club sandwich.

FoodFacts.com looked a little further into it and discovered the following significant information:

Nutrition Facts:
Calories:                  470
Fat:                           29 grams
Saturated Fat:        6 grams
Sodium :                 870 mg

Fat and salt are abundant here. While good old American club sandwiches sound like fresh, healthy meal choices when you’re sitting in a diner, they most often contain the same abundance of fat and salt. Mimicking them in a Mexican reincarnation certainly doesn’t do anyone any favors.
Here’s what it takes to make a Bacon Club Chalupa:

Chalupa Shell: Enriched wheat flour, malted barley flour, water, soybean oil, yeast, sugar, vital wheat gluten, contains 1% or less of, salt, corn syrup solids, oat fiber, dough conditioners (sodium stearoyl lactylate, mono and di-glycerides), baking powder, soy protein isolate, enzymes, calcium propionate (P). Prepared in canola oil. Contains: Wheat, Soy, Fire Grilled Chicken: Chicken, water, seasoning (maltodextrin, dried garlic, salt, spices, natural flavor, carrageenan, dried onion, disodium inosinate & guanylate, citric acid, caramel color (C), garlic powder, onion powder), modified food starch, sodium phosphates, salt., Tomatoes: Fresh tomatoes., Avocado Ranch Sauce: Soybean oil, buttermilk, water, avocado, vinegar, enzyme modified egg yolk, garlic juice, sugar, salt, garlic powder, onion powder, spices, natural flavor, lactic acid, lemon and lime juice concentrate, disodium inosinate, potassium sorbate and sodium benzoate (P), propylene glycol alginate, xanthan gum, calcium disodium EDTA (PF), blue 1 (C). Contains: Milk, Eggs, Bacon: Bacon cured with water, salt, sugar, sodium phosphates, sodium erythorbate, flavor (including smoke flavor), sodum nitrite (P)., Iceberg Lettuce: Fresh iceberg lettuce, Three Cheese Blend: Part skim mozzerella cheese, cheddar cheese, Monterey pepper jack cheeese (cultured pasteurized milk, salt, enzymes, water, cream, sodium citrate, jalapeno peppers, salt, sodium phosphate, lactic acid, sorbic Acid (P)), anti-caking agent. Contains: Milk

With far too many controversial ingredients, this option from Taco Bell isn’t the best idea for anyone. We’d really love to see Taco Bell rethink their some of their product introductions. Perhaps if they concentrated more on better ingredients and staying true to their original theme, we’d find better options here. This just isn’t appealing. Sorry, Taco Bell.

http://www.tacobell.com/food/menuitem/Bacon-Club-Chalupa

Cap’n Crunch Berries Delights at Taco Bell … Where do they come up with this stuff anyway?

pdp-capt-crunch-delightsThey really don’t look delightful to us here at FoodFacts.com. And for the life of us we really can’t imagine why anyone thought these limited edition snack bites were a good idea. The idea of a pastry filled with sweet milk icing and then rolled in crushed Cap’n Crunch Berries cereal seems to be a stretch for the fast food imagination. And not necessarily a welcome one, either.

Cap’n Crunch Berries Delights look to be a few inches in diameter each and come in packs of 2, 4 and 12. They’re also a really vibrant shade of red when you open them up. That never leaves us feeling particularly comfortable about eating something. Honestly, they look like overly sweet, highly processed small food disasters. Let’s take a look inside:

Nutrition Facts:
Calories:                                    330 (4 bites)
Fat:                                             22 grams
Saturated Fat:                          4.5 grams
Sugars:                                      14 grams

Ingredients: Dough and filling: Sugar, nonfat milk, margarine, evaporated milk, sweetened condensed milk, enriched bleached wheat flour, water, vegetable shortening (palm and soybean oils), eggs, yeast, dough conditioners (mono- and diglycerides, sodium alginate, sodium stearoyl lactylate), natural flavors, salt, Red 40 (C), enzyme. Cereal Coating: Corn flour, sugar, oat flour, brown sugar, coconut oil, salt, sodium nitrate, natural and artificial flavor, strawberry juice concentrate, malic acid, reduced iron, niacinamide, zinc oxide, vitamin B2 (riboflavin), BHT (P), vitamin B6 (pyridoxine hydrochloride), vitamin B1 (thiamin mononitrate), folic acid, yellow 5 & 6 (C), Red 40 (C), Blue 1 (C). Contains: Wheat, Milk, Eggs, Soy

There’s really no good reason to eat these. They’re a too-bright, neon color for a reason. They serve no nutritional purpose. They don’t even appear to be an actual dessert. Just small balls of sugar and controversial ingredients.

While we honestly don’t understand the attraction here, if you’re ever in a Taco Bell and you feel yourself drawn to the Cap’n Crunch Berry Delights, we hope you’ll remember this blog post and stay far away!

http://www.tacobell.com/food/sides/Capn-Crunch-Delights

Burger King’s Fully Loaded Crossan’wich … not the best way to start your day

Croissanwich_Loaded_desktopYou’ll probably never see FoodFacts.com advocating for anyone to choose a fast food breakfast sandwich over an actual, prepared-at-home-in-your-own-kitchen breakfast. Unless and until the food world changes drastically, we remain firmly in the “avoid” camp. Still, we know that sometimes, even nutritionally conscious people end up in situations that present them with few choices. If you’re ever in one of those situations and somehow end up in the nearest Burger King, take the Fully Loaded Crossan’wich off your list of possibilities.

It’s that bad. Here’s what our investigation turned up:

Nutrition Facts:
Calories:                      640
Fat:                               42 grams
Saturated Fat:            16 grams
Sodium:                      1740 mg

This breakfast sandwich seriously resembles a burger. The nutrition facts are that bad. This is an excessive breakfast, even for fast food. Among bad choices, this sandwich is a bad choice. Let’s find out what’s really in there:
Ingredients:
CROISSANT: Enriched Flour [Wheat Flour, Malted Barley Flour, Niacin, Reduced Iron, Thiamine Mononitrate, Riboflavin, Folic Acid], Water, Margarine [Palm Oil, Water, Soybean Oil, Sugar, Soybean Lecithin with Mono- and Diglycerides added, Potassium Sorbate and Citric Acid (preservatives), Beta Carotene, Vitamin A Palmitate], High Fructose Corn Syrup, Yeast, Salt, Sweet Whey, Dough Conditioner [Calcium Sulfate, Diacetyl Tartaric Acid Ester of Monoglyceride (DATEM), Ammonium Sulfate, Enzymes, Ascorbic Acid, Azodicarbonamide], Calcium Propionate, Natural and Artificial Butter Flavor, Modified Cornstarch. HAM: Ham cured with: Water, Dextrose, Contains 2% or less of salt, sodium lactate, sodium phosphate, natural smoke flavoring, sodium diacetate, sodium erythorbate, sodium nitrite, coated with caramel coloring. MILD SAUSAGE: Pork, Salt, Spices, Corn Syrup Solids, Dextrose, Monosodium Glutamate, Hydrogenated Soybean Oil, Grill Flavor (from Soybean Oil). THICK SLICED BACON: Cured with Water, Salt, Sugar, Sodium Phosphate, Sodium Erythorbate, Sodium Nitrite. EGG PATTY – FULLY COOKED: Whole Egg, Whey, Soybean Oil, Salt, Natural and Artificial Butter Flavor, Xanthan Gum, Citric Acide, Annatto (color). AMERICAN CHEESE (PASTEURIZED PROCESS): Cultured Milk, Water, Cream, Sodium Citrate, Salt, Sorbic Acid (Preservative), Sodium Phosphate, Artificial Color, Enzymes, Acetic Acid, Soy Lecithin.

Too many ingredients. Too many controversial ingredients. Too many calories. Too much fat. Too much saturated fat. Too much sodium.

Burger King needs to get its act together and begin to respond to consumer demand for healthier fast food. The Fully Loaded Crossan’wich is poised to take a shot at our health and well being. We think it needs to be disarmed.

http://www.bk.com/menu-item/fully-loaded-crossanwich

Burger King’s A.1. Hearty Mozzarella Cheeseburger … a flame grilled fast food problem

A1_Hearty_Mozzarella_detailSome new fast food offerings are easy to identify as bad choices simply by their name.
FoodFacts.com puts the new Burger King A.1. Hearty Mozzarella Cheeseburger squarely in that category. There’s very little way to imagine that this could be remotely passable as a “less bad” fast food option.

It gets worse when you read the description on their website: “Features two ¼ lb. savory flame-grilled beef patties, topped with thick-cut smoked bacon, melted Mozzarella cheese, fresh chopped lettuce, crisp cut onions, and featuring savory A.1.®Thick & Hearty sauce, all on a warm, toasted, brioche-style bun.” Bacon, mozzarella, A1 sauce, brioche style bun. FoodFacts.com could easily be reading: controversial ingredients, extra fat and calories, controversial ingredients, controversial ingredients.

Let’s find out what’s in there:

Nutrition Facts:
Calories:                      800
Fat:                               48 grams
Saturated Fat:            21 grams
Sodium:                      1420 mg.

That’s a lot of calories, fat, saturated fat and sodium for one burger. We didn’t even get to the fries yet – which will most certainly push the sodium content of this meal well over the daily recommended intake. It’s pretty bad.

What do the ingredients look like?

BRIOCHE-STYLE BUN: Unbleached Enriched Flour (Wheat Flour, Malted Barley Flour, Niacin, Reduced Iron, Thiamin Mononitrate, Riboflavin, Folic Acid), Water, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Yeast, Dried Honey Blend (Cane Refinery Syrup and Honey), Soybean Oil, Contains 2% or less of each of the following: Salt, Wheat Gluten, Dextrose, Monocalcium Phosphate, Calcium Sulfate, Natural Flavors, Monoglycerides, Ascorbic Acid, Enzymes, Sunflower Oil, Vegetable Proteins, Wheat Maltodextrins, Calcium Phosphate, Wheat Dextrose, Corn Starch, Soy Lecithin, Soy Flour, Calcium propionate (to retard spoilage). HAMBURGER PATTIES : 100% USDA inspected Ground Beef (Fire-Grilled), THICK SLICED BACON: Cured with Water, Salt, Sugar, Sodium Phosphate, Sodium Erythorbate, Sodium Nitrite. MOZZARELLA CHEESE SLICED (PROCESSED): Cultured Milk, Skim Milk, Water, Cream, Whey, Sodium Citrate, Salt, Sorbic Acid (Preservative), Natural Flavor, Enzymes, Soy Lecithin, A.1.® STEAK SAUCE: Tomato Puree (Water, Tomato Paste), High Fructose Corn Syrup, Vinegar, Corn Syrup, Salt, Raisin Paste, Orange Puree, Spice, Xanthan Gum, Dried Onions, Dried Garlic, Caramel Color., Lettuce, Onion

While FoodFats.com can understand that this new burger might sound good to some, we’re really unhappy with the nutrition facts and the ingredient list certainly leaves something to be desired.

It’s summertime. Get out and fire up a grill. Choose some healthy toppings for your burger. Change it up with turkey or chicken. You’ll be doing your body a healthy favor. We’re also positive it will taste a lot better, too.

http://www.bk.com/menu-item/1-hearty-mozzarella-cheeseburger

Ice cream for the greater good from Ben & Jerry’s

Save Our SwirledPolitically correct ice cream. Ice cream with a cause. Socially conscious ice cream. Ben & Jerry’s may have defined a new category of our favorite sweet treat with Save Our Swirled.

The Ben & Jerry’s website describes the new flavor as follows: “It’s a swirled-class flavor you can’t resist, & a climate change message you can’t ignore.” Save Our Swirled boasts Raspberry Ice Cream with Marshmallow & Raspberry Swirls & Dark & White Fudge Ice Cream Cones. Sounds pretty decadent. And it may just be the first ice cream with a message. Save Our Swirled invites you to join the AVAAZ climate movement, and sign a petition that calls on world leaders to tackle climate change at the upcoming summit in Paris with the goal of working towards 100% Clean Energy by 2050.

FoodFacts.com can get behind the ice cream with a cause concept — can’t we all? It’s a tremendous idea. But what’s this new Save Our Swirled flavor all about anyway? Let’s take a look.

Every half cup serving of Save Our Swirled, carries these nutrition facts:

Calories:                            250
Fat:                                    12 grams
Saturated Fat:                  8 grams
Sugar:                               27 grams

Fairly typical ice cream nutrition facts. Nothing out of the ordinary here. A bit high in sugar, but it is ice cream — a small indulgence every now and again. But let’s find out what’s really in there.

CREAM, SKIM MILK, WATER, LIQUID SUGAR (SUGAR, WATER), CORN SYRUP, SUGAR, RED RASPBERRY PUREE, COCONUT OIL, EGG YOLKS, DRIED CANE SYRUP, RED RASPBERRY JUICE CONCENTRATE, COCOA (PROCESSED WITH ALKALI), EGG WHITES, NATURAL FLAVORS, PECTIN, VEGETABLE JUICE (COLOR), XANTHAN GUM, GUAR GUM, COCOA, MILK, SOY LECITHIN, SALT, VANILLA EXTRACT, CARRAGEENAN.

It’s not perfect yet. We’ve still got carrageenan listed as the last ingredient. We’ve certainly seen worse though and do want to point out that most of the ingredients used aren’t controversial.

So if you’re craving social consciousness and you’re looking for a treat, Ben & Jerry’s Saved Our Swirled may be the way to go. Just don’t eat the whole pint in one sitting. We’re looking to solve the world’s problems, not add to them!

http://www.benjerry.com/flavors/save-our-swirled-ice-cream

Ever wonder what the saltiest foods in America are?

ssaltWe know we eat too much sodium. Salt is in every processed food that’s in a box or a can or on a fast food menu. The only way we can really avoid consuming too much sodium is cooking fresh foods in our own kitchens. FoodFacts.com knows, though, that we’re all guilty (some of us less than others) of relying on convenience foods when we’re too busy to get ourselves in the kitchen.

Maybe we should start with the foods we should obviously avoid as we attempt to decrease the sodium in our diets. So what are the saltiest foods in America?

Pizza Hut Meat Lovers 9” Personal Pizza
No one should be eating this. The saltiest fast-food menu item in America right now is the Meat Lovers 9” Personal PANormous Pizza from Pizza Hut, with an insane 3,670 milligrams of sodium; that’s more than 1,000 milligrams more than the daily recommended allowance. Pizza is one of the saltiest foods around, so there really aren’t any low-sodium options at Pizza Hut, but we’d suggest sticking to a small portion of the 12” Medium Cheese Pan Pizza, which contains 530 milligrams per slice.

Subway Spicy Italian Sub
Not far behind Pizza Hut — Cured meats are loaded with sodium, and Subway’s Spicy Italian is loaded with them. Pepperoni, salami, and cheese are all included in this sandwich, and a footlong contains 2,980 milligrams of sodium. Choose a six-inch roast beef (660 milligrams) or a six-inch turkey breast (670 milligrams) sandwich instead.

Sonic Chili Cheese Tots
These didn’t sound like a great idea to begin with. Topping the daily recommended sodium allowance with one dish, Sonic’s large chili cheese tots is the saltiest item on their menu, with 2,760 milligrams of sodium (not to mention 59 grams of fat). If you must have chili and cheese on your tots, opt for a small, which contains 970 milligrams.

Taco Bell Smothered Beef Burrito
The Smothered Beef Burrito is the most sodium-heavy item on Taco Bell’s Menu, with 2,260 milligrams.

KFC Mashed Potato with Gravy Bowl
Out of all the individual items on KFC’s menu, it’s the Mashed Potato with Gravy Bowl that contains the most sodium, with 2,040 milligrams. The snack-size bowl, which contains just 790 milligrams is a better option.

These are just a few of the fast food options out there with sodium levels that are jaw dropping. There are certainly many more. It’s a good idea to do some research and take a look before you decide to indulge.

http://www.foxnews.com/leisure/2015/05/28/america-saltiest-fast-foods/

Big news from Taco Bell and Pizza Hut: Artificial colors and flavors on the way out

Taco Bell, Pizza HutFoodFacts.com is committed to recognizing the efforts of food manufacturers, fast food chains and fast casual restaurants responding to consumer demands for better quality food choices. So these announcements from both Taco Bell and Pizza Hut are the subject of today’s blog.

Taco Bell and Pizza Hut say they’re getting rid of artificial colors and flavors, making them the latest big food companies scrambling to distance themselves from ingredients people might find unappetizing.

Instead of “black pepper flavor,” for instance, Taco Bell will start using actual black pepper in its seasoned beef, says Liz Matthews, the chain’s chief food innovation officer.

The Mexican-style chain also says the artificial dye Yellow No. 6 will be removed from its nacho cheese, Blue No. 1 will be removed from its avocado ranch dressing and carmine, a bright pigment, will be removed from its red tortilla strips.

Matthews said some of the new recipes are being tested in select markets and should be in stores nationally by the end of the year.

The country’s biggest food makers are facing pressure from smaller rivals that position themselves as more wholesome alternatives. Chipotle in particular has found success in marketing itself as an antidote to traditional fast food, although some question the meaningfulness of some of its claims. In April, Chipotle announced it had removed genetically modified organisms from its food, even though the Food and Drug Administration says GMOs are safe.

Critics say the purging of chemicals is a response to unfounded fears over ingredients, but companies are nevertheless rushing to ensure their recipes don’t become marketing disadvantages. In recent months, restaurant chains including Panera, McDonald’s and Subway have said they’re switching to ingredients people can easily recognize.

John Coupland, a professor of food science at Penn State University, said companies are realizing some ingredients may not be worth the potential harm they might cause to their images, given changing attitudes about additives.

Additionally, he noted that the removal of artificial ingredients can be a way for companies to give their food a healthy glow without making meaningful changes to their nutritional profiles. For instance, Coupland said reducing salt, sugar or portion sizes would have a far bigger impact on public health.

Taco Bell and Pizza Hut are owned by Yum Brands Inc., which had hinted the changes would be on the way. At a conference for investors late last year, Yum CEO Greg Creed referred to the shifting attitudes and the desire for “real food” as a revolution in the industry.

Representatives at KFC and Yum’s corporate headquarters in Louisville, Kentucky were not immediately available to comment on whether the fried chicken chain would also be removing artificial ingredients.

Pizza Hut says it will remove artificial colors and preservatives by the end of July.

Taco Bell says it will take out artificial colors, artificial flavors, high-fructose corn syrup and unsustainable palm oil from its food by the end of 2015. It says artificial preservatives will be removed “where possible” by 2017. The moves do not affect fountain drinks or co-branded products, such as its Doritos-flavored taco shells.

Brian Niccol, the chain’s CEO, said price increases are based on a variety of factors, and that the company would work to keep its menu affordable.

“I do not want to lose any element of being accessible to the masses,” Niccol said.

When asked whether the changes would affect taste, a representative for Taco Bell said in an email that “It will be the same great tasting Taco Bell that people love.”

While we do think both chains have a long way to go in terms of the ingredients they are using in their foods, this is certainly a step in the right direction. We’ll be curious to examine ingredient lists once these changes have gone into effect. Thanks to the stated time lines, we shouldn’t have to wait too long to take a fresh look.

Every food manufacturer, fast food giant and fast casual restaurant needs to take a good long look at their ingredient lists and LISTEN to the consumers who are making their voices clearly heard. Taco Bell and Pizza Hut are following the voices of those that mean success for their brands. It’s the smart thing to do. Let’s see who’s next to react to the wake-up call.

http://krqe.com/2015/05/30/taco-bell-pizza-hut-artificial-ingredients-getting-booted/

The latest from Wendy’s … the Jalapeno Fresco Spicy Chicken Sandwich

unnamedWendy’s continues to spice up fast food offerings with the Jalapeno Fresco Spicy Chicken Sandwich. If you check out their website, you’ll find this description: “We’re kicking up the heat with 5 layers of spice on our new Jalapeño Fresco Spicy Chicken sandwich. It’s our classic spicy chicken breast topped with fresh, diced jalapeños, ghost pepper sauce, Colby pepper jack cheese all on a red jalapeno bun. It’s too hot to last, so try one today!”

Sounds interesting, but we’ve already seen that “ghost pepper sauce” on their french fries. It was light on the ghost peppers (thankfully) and heavy on the controversial ingredients. We’re also concerned about the spicy chicken breast and the red jalapeno bun for the same reasons. Let’s investigate and see what we can find.

Nutrition Facts:

Calories:                                    580
Fat:                                             30 grams
Saturated Fat:                          9 grams
Sodium:                                    1380 mg

Right away we can see that this chicken sandwich is no healthier than eating a hamburger. So if you’re thinking that chicken is always a healthier option, think again. Most fast food chicken sandwiches aren’t healthier. The ingredients will tell us why.

Colby Pepper Jack Cheese: Colby Cheese (pasteurized milk, cheese culture, salt, enzymes, annatto [vegetable color]), Monterey Jack Cheese With Hot Peppers (pasteurized milk, jalapeno peppers [jalapeno peppers, salt, acetic acid, calcium chloride]. cheese culture, habenero peppers, salt, enzymes). CONTAINS: MILK. Spicy Chicken Breast: Chicken Breast, Water, Seasoning (salt, spice, sodium phosphate [sodium trypolyphosphates, sodium polyphosphates], modified corn starch, paprika, spice extractives, extractives of paprika, and extractives of turmeric). Breaded With: Wheat Flour, Water, Modified Corn Starch, Salt, Bleached Wheat Flour, Wheat Gluten, Spice, Gum Arabic, Egg White Solids, Yellow Corn Flour, Spice Extractives, Leavening (sodium acid pyrophosphates, sodium bicarbonate, monocalcium phosphate), Extractives Of Paprika. Cooked in Vegetable Oil (soybean oil, corn oil, cottonseed oil, hydrogenated soybean oil, citric acid [preservative], dimethylpolysiloxane [anti-foaming agent]). Cooked in the same oil as menu items that contain Fish (where available). CONTAINS: EGG, WHEAT. Cheddar Cheese Sauce: Water, Cheddar Cheese (pasteurized milk, cheese culture, salt, enzymes), Milk Ingredients, Cream Cheese (pasteurized milk and cream, cheese culture, salt, carob bean gum), Modified Cornstarch, Soybean Oil, Palm Oil, Whey, Sodium Phosphate, Cream, Cheese Culture, Milk Fat, Parmesan Cheese (pasteurized part-skim milk, cheese cultures, salt, enzyme), Butter, Sodium Phosphate, Salt And Sea Salt, Sodium Alginate, Carob Bean Gum, Mono & Diglycerides, Annatto And Apocarotenal (for color), Lactic Acid. CONTAINS: MILK. Ghost Pepper Sauce: Soybean Oil, Sour Cream (cream, modified corn starch, lactic acid, gelatin, guar gum, mono and diglycerides, sodium phosphate, sodium benzoate and potassium sorbate [preservatives], acetic acid, citric acid, phosphoric acid, natural and artificial flavors), Buttermilk, Jalapeno Pepper, Egg Yolk, Salt, Water, Distilled Vinegar, Cilantro, Sugar, Spice, Xanthan Gum, Onion (dehydrated), Oleoresin Paprika, Garlic (dehydrated), Acetic Acid, Ghost Pepper, Natural Flavor, Citric Acid, Oleoresin Rosemary. CONTAINS: EGG, MILK. Red Onion Diced Jalapenos Jalapeno Cheddar Bun: Enriched Wheat Flour (wheat flour, malted barley flour, niacin, iron, thiamine mononitrate, riboflavin, folic acid), Water, Sugar, Yeast, Palm Oil, Ground Jalapenos, Jalapeno Peppers, Dough Conditioner (wheat flour, diacetyl tartaric acid esters of mono-diglycerides [DATEM], contains 2% or less of: soybean oil, ascorbic acid, enzymes [wheat], l. cysteine hydrochloride), Salt, Cheddar Cheese (pasteurized milk, cheese culture, salt, enzymes, annatto, cellulose [anti-caking agent]), Dry Malt, Calcium Propionate, Dough Conditioner (degermed yellow corn flour, turmeric and paprika [color], contains 2% or less of: natural flavor), Wheat Gluten, Dough Conditioner (calcium sulfate, wheat starch, wheat flour, contains 2% or less of: enzymes [wheat], salt), Butter Flavor (corn maltodextrin, medium chain triglycerides, gum arabic, natural flavors), Shine Agent (modified starch, sodium alginate, mono-diglycerides, soy lecithin, polysorbate 60). CONTAINS: WHEAT, SOY, MILK.

Take a look at the length of that ingredient list! The longer the list, the greater the likelihood of controversial items. And that’s certainly true here. The bun alone is enough to put us off from this sandwich. Makes you wonder if they’re using test tubes to measure the ingredients out instead of kitchen equipment. Consider this: if you’re baking rolls at home and you’d like them to be “shiny,” you’re likely brushing the tops with beaten eggs prior to baking. At Wendy’s, they’re using a “shine agent” that includes polysorbate 60 to emulsify the solution.

FoodFacts.com isn’t a fan of fast food using “solutions” to glaze baked goods. We’re also not a fan of a large number of the ingredients used to create this chicken sandwich. Sorry Wendy’s, we’ll find a way to spice up our meals without the Jalapeno Fresco Spicy Chicken Sandwich.

https://www.wendys.com/en-us/nutrition-info#nutrition_zone_1

Americans still eat too much junk: 61% of food purchases are highly processed

processed-foods-and-snacksIf we look at the news, we see that American consumers have become much more aware of nutrition and diet. Our voices are being heard by food manufacturers, fast casual chains and even some fast food giants. Manufacturers are removing ingredients we find objectionable. Fast food is becoming less desirable. And Panera Bread recently committed to removing over 150 controversial ingredients from their menu items. All seems to be well in food land, doesn’t it?

Unfortunately, that’s not exactly true. FoodFacts.com was disturbed to learn that according to new information, most of the foods we buy are highly processed and loaded with sugar, fat and salt.

We like junk food so much that 61% of the food Americans buy is highly processed, according to research published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. And almost 1,000 calories a day of person’s diet come solely from highly processed foods.

Not all processed food is the same, however. The USDA classifies processed food as any edible that’s not a raw agricultural commodity, so even pasteurized milk and frozen fruits and vegetables count. “It’s important for us to recognize that a processed food is not just Coca-Cola and Twinkies—it’s a wide array of products,” says study author Jennifer Poti, a research assistant professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

So in the first study of its kind, researchers scrutinized our diets by analyzing a massive set of data of the foods we buy while grocery shopping. The stats came from 157,000 shoppers, who tracked their edible purchases with a barcode scanner from 2000-2012, for anywhere from 10 months to 14 years.

Using software that picked out words in the nutrition and ingredient labels, the 1.2 million products were placed into one of four categories : minimally processed—products with very little alteration, like bagged salad, frozen meat and eggs—basic processed—single-ingredient foods but changed in some way, like oil, flour and sugar—moderately processed—still recognizable as its original plant or animal source, but with additives—and highly processed—multi-ingredient industrial mixtures that are no longer recognizable as their original plant or animal source.

No surprise, our favorite categories are those last two. More than three-quarters of our calories came from highly processed (61%) and moderately processed (16%) foods and drinks in 2012. Best-selling products were refined breads, grain-based desserts like cookies, sugary sodas, juice, sports drinks and energy drinks.

Preferences for highly processed foods were remarkably stable over time, Poti says, which likely has implications for our health, since the study also found that highly processed foods were higher in saturated fat, sugar and salt than other purchases. But interestingly, no U.S. study has yet looked at the link between highly processed foods and health outcomes like obesity and diabetes, Poti says.

To be clear, the researchers aren’t pooh-poohing processing, per se. “Food processing is important for food security and nutrition security of Americans,” Poti says. The study wasn’t able to capture the full spectrum of our diets—loose spinach doesn’t come with a barcode, after all—and the authors acknowledge that food purchasing doesn’t always directly translate to dietary intake. But the results suggest that we might want to swap some bags of chips for, say, cans of beans. “Foods that required cooking or preparation”—like boxed pasta and raw eggs—”were generally less than 20% of calories purchased throughout the entire time period,” Poti says.

So we’re getting it, but we’re not getting it. FoodFacts.com often wonders if average consumers associate nutritional awareness with more obvious junk food … fast food and fast casual chains, soda and specific controversial ingredients that have received lots of negative publicity. Is it harder to associate a box of instant mashed potatoes with the term “junk food,” than it is to link a Big Mac to the phrase? Does everyone understand what highly processed foods actually are? Or are foods in boxes and cans somehow immune to the association because they live on our grocery store shelves?

We’ve still got so much work to do.

http://time.com/3888102/processed-food-sugar-fat/

Fast food marketing influences teenage boys far more than teenage girls

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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