Category Archives: Junk Food

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

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/

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

 

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

Wendy’s new Bacon and Blue on Brioche … a bit much for fast food?

WendysWendy’s new Bacon and Blue on Brioche doesn’t sound much like a fast food burger. This limited edition burger attempts to elevate a fast food staple to a gourmet level. But are we really looking for gourmet fast food?

FoodFacts.com isn’t sure about how to answer that. We know what we can answer though — and that’s what are we eating when we order the Bacon and Blue on Brioche.

First let’s take a look at the nutrition facts for the new burger:

Calories:                       650
Fat:                                39 grams
Saturated Fat:             16 grams
Trans Fat:                    1.5 grams
Sodium:                       1290 mg

We’d like to point out that even before we get to the ingredient list, we know we’re not going to be eating this one. The 39 grams of fat and 16 grams of saturated fat are bad enough. But that 1.5 grams of trans fat are 1.5 grams too many.

But let’s take a look at the ingredients and see what we think:

Tomatoes, Spring Mix: Baby Lettuces (red & green Romaine, red & green oak, red & green leaf, lolla Rosa, tango), Spinach, Mizuna Arugula, Tatsoi, Red Chard, Green Chard, Blue Cheese Herb Alioli: Soybean Oil, Water, Blue Cheese (milk, cheese cultures, salt, enzymes), Egg Yolk, Distilled Vinegar, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Salt, Herbs (including rosemary and thyme) And Spices, Garlic (dehydrated), Onion (dehydrated), Shallots, Mustard Seed, Natural Flavors, Potassium Sorbate And Sodium Benzoate (preservatives), Glucono Delta Lactone, Xanthan Gum, Nonfat Dry Milk, Propylene Glycol Alginate, Calcium Disodium EDTA (to protect flavor). CONTAINS: EGG, MILK, Applewood Smoked Bacon: Pork Cured With: Water, Salt, Sugar, Sodium Phosphates, Sodium Erythorbate, Sodium Nitrite, Blue Cheese Crumbles: Blue Cheese (pasteurized milk, cheese cultures, salt, enzymes, penicillium roqueforti), Powdered Cellulose (to prevent caking), Natamycin (to protect flavor). CONTAINS: MILK, ¼ Pound Hamburger Patty: Ground Beef. Seasoned with Salt, Brioche Bun: Enriched Wheat Flour (wheat flour, malted barley flour, niacin, iron, thiamine mononitrate, riboflavin, folic acid), Water, Sugar, Yeast, Buttermilk Powder (whey solids, enzyme-modified butter, maltodextrin, salt, guar gum, annatto and turmeric [color]), Egg Yolks, Butter, Salt, Dough Conditioner (wheat flour, DATEM, contains 2% or less of: silicon dioxide [flow aid], soybean oil, enzymes [wheat], calcium sulfate, salt), Dry Malt, Calcium Propionate, Dough Conditioner (degermed yellow corn flour, turmeric and paprika [color], contains 2% or less of: natural flavor), Egg Wash (eggs, water). CONTAINS: WHEAT, EGG, MILK.

So that confirms it. This one is a no for us. If the Bacon and Blue on Brioche was an effort to elevate the fast food burger, there were better ways to do it.

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

Sugar consumption driving obesity and diabetes

sugar-obesity-webFoodFacts.com has conscientiously covered news regarding the obesity crisis for the last few years. We’ve covered junk food, fast food, processed food, white bread, chocolate, and genetics (among hundreds of other things) as links to obesity and weight gain. The research we read today though, made so much sense. That sense began with the concepts behind the study.

In the report, published Thursday in the Mayo Clinic Proceedings, a team of researchers performed a literature review to determine whether certain ingredients are much more dangerous than others when it comes to diabetes, and to challenge the idea that all calories are equal. To do so, they looked at the effects of carbohydrates from similar calories. They compared starch, pure glucose and lactose to added sugars like sucrose (table sugar) and fructose, which occurs naturally in fruit but which we mostly consume as a sweetener, such a with high-fructose corn syrup, added to food and drinks).

What they found was that the added sugars were significantly more harmful. Fructose was linked to worsening insulin levels and worsening glucose tolerance, which is a driver for pre-diabetes. It caused harmful fat storage—visceral fat on the abdomen—and promoted several markers for poor health like inflammation and high blood pressure. “We clearly showed that sugar is the principal driver of diabetes,” says lead study author James J. DiNicolantonio, a cardiovascular research scientist at Saint Luke’s Mid America Heart Institute. “A sugar calorie is much more harmful.”

DiNicolantonio and his fellow authors say current dietary guidelines are harmful since they recommend levels of sugar consumption that are unhealthy. For instance, the Institute of Medicine says added sugar can make up 25% of the total calories we consume, and the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans say up to 19% of calories from added sugars is alright. That varies greatly from the American Heart Association, which recommends no more than 6 tsp of sugar a day for women 9 tsp for men. The World Health Organization has proposed that added sugar make up only 5% of a person’s daily calories.

“The studies that we looked at clearly show that once you hit 18 percent compared to just 5 percent of your total calories from sugar, there’s significant metabolic harms promoting prediabetes and diabetes,” says DiNicolantonio. “In fact, there’s a two-fold increase.”

This is not the first time sugar has been fingered as a primary culprit in American’s bad health. Other researchers are pushing the message that it’s refined carbohydrates like added sugars that are the problem.

“We need to understand that it isn’t the overconsuming of calories that leads to obesity and leads to diabetes. We need to totally change that around,” says DiNicolantonio. “It’s refined carbs and added sugars that lead to insulin resistance and diabetes, which leads to high insulin levels, which drives obesity.”

DiNicolantonio recommends major changes to combat the problem. He says the government should stop subsidizing corn which makes high fructose corn syrup so cheap and should instead subsidize healthy foods so that consumers are encouraged to make the switch from processed foods to whole foods, since it’s the processed stuff that’s putting so much sugar in our diets. He adds that in his opinion, sugar-sweetened beverages should not be sold in schools or hospitals, and perhaps the government should put warning labels on them.

Such severe changes are not likely in the immediate future, but if sugar is indeed the number on cause for diabetes among all other foods, then more needs to happen to help Americans cut back. Especially since there is no real need for added sugar in our diets.

Sugar is addicting for millions of us. And food manufacturers have fed that addiction by adding sugar to most every product in our grocery stores. We’re eating too much of it. Sure, we believe in coincidences sometimes — but not here. The tremendous rise in obesity across the globe doesn’t simply coincide with the meteoric rise in the availability of processed food, junk food, fast food and sugary beverages. They go hand in hand and it’s time to make the real changes that will allow us to reverse this life-threatening trend.

http://time.com/3687808/this-is-the-number-1-driver-of-diabetes-and-obesity/

Baskin-Robbins’ new Icing on the Cake flavor … we’re not sure this is actually ice cream

landingPortraitConesHave your cake and lick it too. Cake flavored ice cream with cake pieces, frosting bits, and candy confetti ribbon.

That’s how Baskin-Robbins is promoting its new Icing on the Cake flavor on their website.

We’ve got to be honest with you. FoodFacts.com isn’t really certain that this can actually be classified as ice cream. We don’t know that we’ve encountered an ice cream product that contains 72 ingredients. Some of the most interesting flavors of ice cream available don’t contain anything close to 72 ingredients.

Here they are, in all there not-so-glorious glory:

Cream, Nonfat Milk, Confetti Swirl Ribbon [Powdered Sugar (Sugar, Corn Starch), Peanut Oil, Maltodextrin, Nonpareils (Sugar, Corn Starch, Confectioner's Glaze, Yellow 5, Carnauba Wax, Red 3, Blue 1, Red 40, Yellow 6, Blue 2), White Coating (Sugar, Partially Hydrogenated Palm Kernel and Palm Oils, Reduced Mineral Whey Powder, Whole Milk Powder, Nonfat Dry Milk, Soy Lecithin as an Emulsifier, Salt), Stabilizer (Mono and Diglycerides, Hydrogenated Soybean Oil, Tocopherol, Ascorbic Acid, Citric Acid as an Antioxidant, Soy Lecithin as an Emulsifier), Salt], Sugar, Cake Pieces (Unbleached Wheat Flour, Sugar, Palm Oil, Water, Nonfat Milk Powder, Salt, Natural Flavors), Frosted Cookie Freckles [Sugar, Coconut Oil, Buttermilk Powder, Natural Flavor, Titanium Dioxide (Color), Artificial Colors (Yellow 6 Lake, Yellow 5 Lake, Blue 1 Lake), Soy Lecithin as an Emulsifier], Vanilla Cream Flavored Base [Sugar, Water, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Modified Corn Starch, Titanium Dioxide (Color), Salt, Natural and Artificial Flavor, Potassium Sorbate (Preservative)], Corn Syrup, Whey Powder, Emulsifier/Stabilizer Blend (Cellulose Gum, Mono and Diglycerides, Guar Gum, Carrageenan, Polysorbate 80), Natural Flavors.

22 of these ingredients are controversial — about 30% of the total ingredients are items we really don’t want to be eating. And two of them stand out above and beyond the others.

The use of confectioner’s glaze is especially unappealing. For those who are not clear on what confectioner’s glaze is — it’s actually shellac (commonly used to varnish wood surfaces). Shellac is actually a chemical secreted by female lac bugs (Laccifer lacca), a type of “scale insect.” They create shellac in order to form sheltering tunnels as they travel along the outside of trees. It is extracted for industrial use by scraping bark, bugs and tunnels off of trees in Asian forests and into canvas tubes. The tubes are then heated over a flame until the shellac melts and seeps out of the canvas, after which it is dried into flakes for sale. Before use in food or as varnish, the shellac must be re-dissolved in denatured alcohol.
The second one we take serious issue with is carnuba wax. That’s the same wax that’s used in car wax and shoe polish. And in Icing on the Cake, we get to eat it.

Is this really ice cream? We’re not so sure.

So, Baskin-Robbins, we’d really rather not have our cake and lick it too. It’s kind of toxic. Sorry.

https://www.baskinrobbins.com/content/baskinrobbins/en/products/icecream/flavors.html?popupurl=/content/baskinrobbins/en/products/icecream/flavors/icingonthecakeicecream.html

Wendy’s drops soda from kids meals … sort of, but not really

WendysKidMealSorry Wendy’s. FoodFacts.com is really not trying to minimize your efforts to offer healthier options to consumers. But it’s true … a kids meal without a soda is still a kids meal. It’s still full of calories, fat and sodium, not to mention ingredients your average child can’t pronounce and doesn’t need. Plus, you really didn’t remove it, you just stopped promoting it.

Wendy’s is the latest fast-food chain to remove the soda option from kids’ meal menus.

That means when parents drive through a pick-up window, they won’t see soda as an option on the menu board, but if they decide to order one, they won’t be turned down.

The fast-food chain is the most recent to cave to pressure from children’s health advocacy groups. McDonald’s made a similar commitment to drop soda from Happy Meals in 2013, after partnering with the Alliance for a Healthier Generation, a group aimed at fighting childhood obesity.

The Center for Science in Public Interest released a statement Thursday saying that Wendy’s was removing the soda option from menu boards and kids’ meals.

The statement said they hoped Wendy’s would also offer healthier choices including, “whole grain rolls, offering more fruit and vegetable options, reducing sodium across the menu, and dropping Frostys from the children’s menu.”

Unlike some fast-food chains, Wendy’s default drink choice was never soda, Bob Bertini, a spokesman for Wendy’s said in an e-mail to USA TODAY Network.

“When ordering a kids’ meal, the customer is asked what beverage they prefer,” Bertini wrote. “The change is the kids’ meal beverage options which are shown on our menu boards.”

Bertini says the fast-food company began displaying images of “healthful beverage options,” including 1% white or chocolate milk, bottled water and 100% juice.

He says the kids’ meal soft drink option no longer appears on the chain’s menu boards, inside the restaurants, at the pick-up windows or on the mobile app in the U.S. and Canada.

While soda is no longer the default drink, it still remains one of the most profitable items for fast-food chains like McDonald’s and Wendy’s, according to Jesse Bragg, media director for Corporate Accountability International.

Bragg says nothing will be solved until the marketing practices that draw kids to fast food is curbed.

“It’s incredibly difficult to enforce on a local level in the fast food industry,” Bragg said.

For children’s health advocates the battle is far from over. In the soda wars, other restaurants such as Subway, Arby’s and Chipotle do not offer soda on the kids’ menu.

But, one of the giants is still left standing — Burger King.
“Two down, one to go,” says Howell Wechsler, chief executive officer of Alliance for a Healthier Generation.

An email statement from Burger King said the company is, “currently in the process of analyzing the removal of fountain drinks from our kids’ menu boards.”

So to clarify this “change” even more — you CAN still get a soda with a kids meal at Wendy’s. The soda is simply not being promoted on the menu boards. Nearest we can tell, that’s not much of a change. It’s not like consumers are actually being told in the store that they can no longer order a soda with the kids meal. THAT would be a change. Taking the image of the soda out of the pretty picture of the kids meal and leaving the word soda out of the kids meal description on the menu board … not so much.

http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation-now/2015/01/15/wendys-drops-soda-kids-meal-fast-food/21814699/

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