Category Archives: Junk Food Addiction

Taco Bell tries to heat things up again with Daredevil Loaded Grillers

pdp-DareDevil-Ghost-Pepper2Taco Bell’s newest introduction, Daredevil Loaded Grillers are certainly loaded. The website describes these “creations” as follows: “The Mild Chipotle Dare Devil Loaded Griller starts with a warm flour tortilla and is filled with seasoned beef, nacho cheese, crispy red strips and our mild chipotle sauce then wrapped up and grilled to perfection.”
FoodFacts.com sometimes feels like fast food chains use code words that can translate into bad ingredients and nutrition facts. The same way you can safely assume that the word “cozy” in a rental apartment ad means “way too small,” things like “crispy red strips” and “mild chipotle sauce” stand for any number of controversial ingredients. Let’s find out what’s really in this one.

Nutrition Facts:
Calories:                     420
Fat:                              22 grams
Saturated Fat:           5 grams
Sodium:                     940 mg

That’s pretty typical for fast food fare. The numbers aren’t good and the food isn’t good for you. Now let’s take a look at the ingredient list:

Flour Tortilla: Enriched wheat flour, water, vegetable shortening (soybean, hydrogenated soybean and/or cottonseed oil), sugar, salt, leavening (baking soda, sodium acid pyrophophate), molasses, dough conditioner (fumaric acid, distilled monoglycerides, enzymes, wheat starch, calcium carbonate), calcium propionate, sorbic acid, and/or potassium sorbate (P). Contains: Wheat, Seasoned Beef: Beef, water, seasoning [cellulose, chili pepper, onion powder, salt, oats (contains wheat), maltodextrin, soy lecithin, tomato powder, sugar, soybean oil, spices, garlic powder, citric acid, caramel color (C), disodium inosinate & guanylate, cocoa powder, natural and artificial flavors (contains gluten), trehalose, modified corn starch, lactic acid, torula yeast], salt, phosphates. Contains: Soy, Wheat, Nacho Cheese Sauce: Nonfat milk, cheese whey, water, vegetable oil (canola and soybean oil), food starch, maltodextrin, natural flavors, sea salt, contains 1% or less of jalapeno puree, vinegar, lactic acid, potassium citrate, potassium phosphate, sodium stearoyl lactylate, citric acid, cellulose gum, annatto (VC), yellow 6 (C). Contains: Milk,Creamy Chipotle Sauce: Soybean oil, water, egg yolk, vinegar, sour cream, chipotle peppers, contains 1% or less of chili peppers, garlic, onion powder, garlic powder, spice, sugar, salt, natural flavors (including smoke flavor), xanthan gum, canola and sesame oil, propylene glycol alginate, calcium disodium EDTA (PF), potassium sorbate and sodium benzoate (P). Contains: Egg, Milk, Red Strips: Ground corn masa, canola oil, carmine & yellow 6 (C).

There are at least a dozen items in this list that should have been left out altogether. We won’t be trying these, even on a dare.

http://www.tacobell.com/food/specialties/Dare-Devil-Loaded-Griller-Mild-Chipotle

In the world of fast food, bigger is better and spicy is trendy … meet Burger King’s new Extra Long Jalapeno Cheeseburger

Jelapeno_product-V2Big and spicy seem to be the name of the game in fast food these days. FoodFacts.com has been filling you in on everything ghost pepper and jalapeno for months now as fast food continues to “kick things up a notch.”

Burger King’s latest introduction is designed to do just that. And while we may not understand the “build” of the sandwich (the new Extra Long Jalapeno Cheeseburger places two beef patties side by side on a hoagie roll – sort of a burger sub) or the nutrition facts, or some of the ingredients, we are at least encouraged by the idea that there’s no spicy “ghost pepper sauce,” or any other element that suggests a barrage of controversial items hidden inside.

So here are the facts –

Nutrition Facts:
Calories:                                   590
Fat:                                            35 grams
Saturated Fat:                         13 grams
Sodium:                                   1190 mg

The nutrition facts are fairly typical for a fast food burger. They aren’t good. But you probably knew that before we took a look. Now let’s examine the ingredient list:

Ingredients:
SPECIALTY BUNS: Enriched wheat flour [flour, malted barley flour, reduced iron, niacin, thiamin mononitrate (Vitamin B1), riboflavin (vitamin B2), folic acid], water, high fructose corn syrup, sesame seeds, yeast, soybean oil, salt, wheat gluten, calcium sulfate, calcium propionate (preservative), flaxseeds, mono- and diglycerides, datem, citric acid, potassium iodate, soy lecithin. CONTAINS: WHEAT AND SOY, HAMBURGER PATTIES: 100% USDA inspected Ground Beef (Fire-Grilled), AMERICAN CHEESE (PASTEURIZED PROCESS): Cultured Milk, Water, Cream, Sodium Citrate, Salt, Sorbic Acid (Preservative), Sodium Phosphate, Artificial Color, Enzymes, Acetic Acid, Soy Lecithin. CONTAINS: MILK and SOY LECITHIN, MAYONNAISE: Soybean Oil, Eggs, Water, Distilled Vinegar, Contains 2% or Less of the Following: Egg Yolks, Salt, Sugar, Lemon Juice Concentrate, Natural Flavor, Calcium Disodium EDTA Added to Protect Flavor, Dehydrated Garlic, Dehydrated Onion, Paprika or Paprika Oleoresin. CONTAINS: EGG, Jalapenos, Iceberg Lettuce, Onions

There are items in this list that we obviously do not like. Honestly, though, for fast food this is a fairly clean option. It’s certainly not great. We try to avoid natural flavors, artificial color and Calcium Disodium EDTA. But in comparison to other fast food burgers (especially the ones relying on specialty sauces to spice things up), this is “less bad.”

We know that’s not saying much. We do try to be fair, though. How about we leave it at this: Burger King’s new Extra Long Jalapeno Cheeseburger is a better effort than some of the other spicy fast food options.

http://www.bk.com/menu-item/extra-long-jalape%C3%B1o-cheeseburger

Going where no breakfast sandwich has gone before … Dunkin’s Glazed Donut Breakfast Sandwich

1368630299433If you go to the Dunkin website and look this one up, the Glazed Donut Breakfast Sandwich is promoted with the tagline, “Going Where No Breakfast Has Gone.” If you’re FoodFacts.com, a line like that can be pretty scary as it can imply any number of things that essentially translate to “stay far, far away.”

To be honest, making a sandwich out of a glazed donut strikes us as a messy, sticky meal and does not push any of our happiness buttons. We understand that there may be others that aren’t left with that immediate impression. So if you’re one of the folks out there who’s wondering whether or not to indulge, let’s explore more about the Glazed Donut Breakfast Sandwich.

Nutrition Facts:
Calories:                360
Fat:                         20 grams
Saturated Fat:      8 grams
Sugar:                    13 grams

Honestly, considering the idea that the sandwich is a glazed donut WITH eggs AND bacon, the nutrition facts are fairly reasonable. They aren’t great, but honestly we expected to see worse.

What about the ingredients?

INGREDIENTS: Glazed Donut: Donut [Enriched Unbleached Wheat Flour (Wheat Flour, Malted Barley Flour, Niacin, Iron as Ferrous Sulfate, Thiamin Mononitrate, Enzyme, Riboflavin, Folic Acid), Palm Oil, Water, Dextrose, Soybean Oil, Whey (a milk derivative), Skim Milk, Yeast, Contains less than 2% of the following: Salt, Leavening (Sodium Acid Pyrophosphate, Baking Soda), Defatted Soy Flour, Wheat Starch, Mono and Diglycerides, Sodium Stearoyl Lactylate, Cellulose Gum, Soy Lecithin, Guar Gum, Xanthan Gum, Artificial Flavor, Sodium Caseinate (a milk derivative), Enzyme, Colored with (Turmeric and Annatto Extracts and Beta Carotene), Eggs], Glaze [Sugar, Water, Maltodextrin, Contains 2% or less of: Mono and Diglycerides, Agar, Cellulose Gum, Citric Acid, Potassium Sorbate (Preservative), Artificial Flavor]; Fried Egg: Egg Whites, Water, Egg Yolks, Modified Corn Starch, Natural Sautee Flavor (Soybean Oil, Medium Chain Triglycerides, Natural Flavor), Salt, Artificial Butter Flavor (Propylene Glycol, Artificial Flavor), Xanthan Gum, Citric Acid, Coarse Ground Black Pepper; Bacon: Pork, cured with: Water, Sugar, Salt, Sodium Phosphate, Smoke Flavoring, Sodium Erythorbate, Sodium Nitrite.

There are far too many controversial ingredients in here – a few of which really stand out from the pack. Things like Natural Sautee Flavor, Artificial Butter Flavor and Smoke Flavoring are terrible additions to this ingredient list.

So in addition to the major possibility that the sandwich itself is messy and sticky, the contents in the sandwich in our opinion are messy and stick. We wouldn’t have indulged before we knew what was really in here. We’re certainly not going near it now.

http://www.dunkindonuts.com/dunkindonuts/en/menu/food/sandwiches/breakfastsandwiches/Glazed_donut_breakfast_sandwich.html

Taco Bell’s new Smothered Burrito with Shredded Chicken – it really is too much

pdp-smothered-burrito-chickenIf you’ve heard about the new Smothered Burrito with Shredded Chicken from Taco Bell and you’re considering giving it a go, FoodFacts.com would like to suggest that you wander over to the Taco Bell website and do a little research before you indulge.

What you’ll find is an image of the burrito that honestly looks just a bit over the top. One look at that image and you have to know that the nutrition facts and the ingredient list won’t be good because the product itself is really just too much … of everything. Here’s the Taco Bell description, “Our Smothered Burrito is filled with shredded chicken, premium Latin rice, hearty beans, and creamy chipotle sauce. Then it’s smothered with red sauce, loads of melted cheeses and topped with reduced-fat sour cream. Also available with seasoned beef or marinated premium thick-cut steak.”

Here are the nutrition facts:

Calories:                         640
Fat:                                  27 grams
Saturated Fat:               9 grams
Sodium:                         2,220 mg

Just imagine what the seasoned beef and steak versions look like! The sodium content in the Smothered Burrito with Shredded Chicken is waaay too high and the calories are pushing it for a menu item featuring chicken. Why bother? Taco Bell has lost the appeal of featuring chicken in a product when the nutritional benefits are completely buried by everything else going on.
And here’s the everything else that’s going on in the Smothered Burrito with Shredded Chicken:

Ingredients:
Red Sauce: Water, seasoning (modified cornstarch, maltodextrin, paprika (VC), salt, tomato powder, onion powder, spices, garlic powder, natural flavors (contains gluten), xanthan gum, malic acid, caramel color (C), ascorbic acid, citric acid, trehalose)., Shredded Chicken: Chicken breast, water, seasoning (salt, natural flavor, tomato powder, modified potato starch, garlic powder, dextrose, paprika (VC), onion powder, spices, maltodextrin, citric acid, safflower oil, disodium inosinate & guanylate, vinegar, sugar, soy lecithin), canola oil, rosemary extract (P). Contains: Soy, Flour Tortilla: Enriched wheat flour, water, vegetable shortening (soybean, hydrogenated soybean and/or cottonseed oil), sugar, salt, leavening (baking soda, sodium acid pyrophophate), molasses, dough conditioner (fumaric acid, distilled monoglycerides, enzymes, wheat starch, calcium carbonate), calcium propionate, sorbic acid, and/or potassium sorbate (P). Contains: Wheat, Refried Beans: Pinto beans, soybean oil, seasoning (salt, sugar, spice, beet powder (VC), natural flavors, sunflower oil, maltodextrin, corn flour, trehalose, modified cornstarch).,Premium Latin Rice: Enriched long grain rice, seasoning (salt, natural flavor, sugar, maltodextrin, dried parsley, onion powder, garlic powder, dried cilantro, disodium inosinate & guanylate)., Three Cheese Blend: Part skim mozzerella cheese, cheddar cheese, Monterey pepper jack cheese (cultured pasteurized milk, salt, enzymes, water, cream, sodium citrate, jalapeno peppers, salt, sodium phosphate, lactic acid, sorbic Acid (P)), anti-caking agent. Contains: Milk, Reduced-Fat Sour Cream: Milk, cream, modified corn starch, contains less than 1% of modified tapioca starch, maltodextrin, gelatin, lactic acid, sodium phosphate, citric acid, potassium sorbate (P), natural and artificial flavor, mono and diglycerides, locust bean gum, carrageenan, vitamin A. Contains: Milk, Creamy Chipotle Sauce: Soybean oil, water, egg yolk, vinegar, sour cream, chipotle peppers, contains 1% or less of chili peppers, garlic, onion powder, garlic powder, spice, sugar, salt, natural flavors (including smoke flavor), xanthan gum, canola and sesame oil, propylene glycol alginate, calcium disodium EDTA (PF), potassium sorbate and sodium benzoate (P). Contains: Egg, Milk

How’s that for a too-long ingredient list? Double-digit controversial ingredients. And honestly, even some of the ingredients that aren’t considered controversial are somewhat disturbing. Tomato powder, anyone?

We don’t think anyone should ever be this hungry. Sorry, Taco Bell.

http://www.tacobell.com/food/menuitem/Smothered-Burrito

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

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/

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