Category Archives: Sugary Beverages

Shamrock Shakes from McDonald’s … did you get yours this St. Patrick’s Day?

366305547,366305548,366305549.jpgWe were wondering … and if you did, do you know what was in it?

It’s an unmistakable concoction. The Shamrock Shake is bright green (a little too bright for our taste here at FoodFacts.com). One look and you know for certain that this is a St. Patrick’s Day specialty, of the same order of the green beer and green eggs and ham sold at local pubs all around the country to celebrate this particularly festive holiday when everyone experiences some good Irish cheer.

So in case you did run into your local McDonald’s and grab one, we thought we’d take some time to tell you exactly what you consumed. It isn’t pretty (even if you really like the shade of green featured in your cup).

We’ll begin with the ingredient list:

Ice Cream Reduced Fat (Milk, Sugar, Cream, Milk Nonfat Solids, Corn Syrup Solids, Mono and Diglycerides, Guar Gum, Dextrose, Sodium Citrate, Flavors Artificial Vanilla, Sodium Phosphate, Carrageenan, Disodium Phosphate, Cellulose Gum, Vitamin A Palmitate) ,Syrup (Corn Syrup High Fructose, Corn Syrup, Water, Sugar, Flavors Natural, Xanthan Gum, Citric Acid, Sodium Benzoate, Yellow 5, Blue 1) , Cream Whipped (Cream, Milk Nonfat, Corn Syrup, Sugar, Corn Syrup High Fructose, Contains 1% or less of the following: [Mono and Diglycerides, Carrageenan, Polysorbate 80, Beta Carotene,Flavoring Artificial and Natural, Tocopherols Mixed Vitamin E] ) , Cherries Maraschino(Cherries, Water, Corn Syrup, Corn Syrup High Fructose, Sugar, Malic Acid, Citric Acid,Flavoring Artificial and Natural, Sodium Benzoate, Potassium Sorbate, Red 40,Sulphur Sulfur Dioxide [Contains Sulfite] )

To save you from actually having to count the ingredients, there are 54 of them. Seems a bit heavy handed to us for one shake. To make matters even worse, 20 of those ingredients are controversial. And that bright green color that qualifies it as a “Shamrock Shake,” that’s Yellow 5 and Blue 1. We’d like to point out that while the shake is green, there’s no such thing as Shamrock flavor, so we’re not exactly sure what McDonald’s was going for here. At least the Irish Creme coffees from Dunkin Donuts are trying to simulate Irish Creme flavor. This is just a green shake with bad ingredients.

The nutrition facts for the Shamrock Shake are no better. Let’s take a look at the 16 oz. medium size shake:

Calories:                             660
Fat:                                      19 g
Saturated Fat:                   12 g
Cholesterol:                       75 mg
Sugar:                                 93 g

Yes, you read that right. There are 93 g of sugar in a medium Shamrock Shake. That’s 23.5 TEASPOONS OF SUGAR. Wow! The World Health Organization wants us to limit sugar intake to 6 teaspoons a day. So one medium Shamrock Shake is almost 4 DAYS worth of sugar intake.

If you treated yourself to a Shamrock Shake this St. Patrick’s Day, you might want to count your sugar grams carefully for the remainder of the week. If you didn’t have one, don’t feel badly about missing out on McDonald’s once a year green “treat.” Oh, and either way, next year, you can find plenty of other, far better treats to indulge in for a little Erin Go Bragh. Sometimes we can take a sweet treat much too far!

http://www.foodfacts.com/ci/nutritionfacts/DessertsShakes/McDonalds-McCafe-McShamrock-Shake-Medium-16-fl-oz/91918

The sugary beverage debate continues … would taxing sugar-sweetened drinks help the obesity crisis?

Yesterday, FoodFacts.com noted that the New York State Supreme Court upheld the ruling against the mayor’s proposed ban on sugar-sweetened beverages. The court’s four-judge panel was unanimous in its decision that the New York Board of Health and Mental Hygiene “violated the state principle of separation of powers” with the proposed ban. Many other states were waiting on the Court’s decision with great interest, as their legislatures pondered the introduction of similar bans. The hope for legislation like this is that it would eventually have a positive effect on curtailing and perhaps, even reversing the obesity crisis.

So now that New York won’t be banning the sale of large-sized sugar-sweetened beverages, there are other courses of action for the government to consider – one of them being a federal tax on sugary beverages. Today we learned of a joint study from researchers at RTI International, Duke University and the U.S. Department of Agriculture, exploring such a tax.

The study, published online in the American Journal of Agricultural Economics, found that a half-cent per ounce increase in sugar-sweetened beverage prices, which adds up to about ten cents on a typical 20-ounce bottle of soda, could reduce total calories from the 23 foods and beverages examined under the study. Unfortunately, researchers also found that a reduction in consumption of sugary beverages due to a tax would most likely lead consumers to substitute those beverage calories by increasing their calorie, salt and fat intake from untaxed foods and beverages.

To conduct the study, researchers used data on household food purchases from the 2006 Nielsen Homescan panel, a large national consumer panel maintained by the Nielsen Company. Families in the panel are provided with a handheld scanner and instructed to scan the Universal Product Code (UPC) of products they purchased at retail outlets, record purchase quantities and coupons used and identify the retailer that the product was purchased from. Researchers noted that while levying a tax on sugar-sweetened beverages may seem similar to using taxes to curb smoking habits in the population, it isn’t the same thing. In the case of beverages, consumers can simply substitute an untaxed food item for the taxed beverage. It’s also important to consider that there are many other ways to promote healthy eating and reduce nutrition-related chronic disease.

FoodFacts.com thinks that this study, and others like it, are interesting food for thought regarding our country’s approach to tackling the obesity crisis. Bans on large-sized sugar-sweetened beverages and taxes on sugary drinks might serve to curb the excessive sugar consumption that’s rampant in our population. What it doesn’t serve to do is to recognize the other end of that same problem. The foods and beverages will still be out there on our grocery shelves, in our fast food chains and our smaller food retailers. And those foods and beverages will still contain the excessive amounts of sugar that they contain now. Until processed food products contain less added sugars, we’ll still have a problem in the population, even if proposed regulations might make the problem a little smaller. Educating consumers and promoting nutritional awareness is still the best method of empowering the population and creating real, positive change. Let’s all continue to share our awareness within our own networks. We can all play an important role in reversing the worldwide trend of obesity.

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/07/130730123106.htm

New cancer risk related to high sugar consumption

Sugar, sugar everywhere … FoodFacts.com is always seeking awareness and education about the problems related to our high levels of sugar consumption. Sugar, in a variety of forms, is added to almost every processed food and beverage product available on our grocery shelves. We’re experiencing soaring levels of obesity and diabetes, and it hasn’t altered the sugar content of our food supply.

Today we read about the results of a new study coming out of the University of Edinburgh in Scotland that has linked high sugar and fat diets with an increased risk of bowel cancer. It appears that colorectal (bowel) cancer can be positively associated with the consumption of sugary beverages, cakes, cookies, snacks and desserts.

Conducted last year using data from the Scottish Colorectal Cancer Study, the study included 2,063 patients suffering from bowel cancer and 2,776 control participants from Scotland.

The study builds on previous research analyzing links between diet and bowel cancer, which identified two distinct eating patterns. One was a diet high in healthy foods, such as fruit and vegetables, and the other diet was high in meat, fat and sugar.

The research team analyzed over 170 foods, including fruits, vegetables, fish and meat, as well as chocolate, nuts, chips and fruit drinks. They also looked at links between some established risks of bowel cancer, such as family history of cancer, physical activity and smoking.

Results revealed that the healthy diet was associated with a decreased risk of bowel cancer, while the high fat and sugar diet is associated with an increased risk.

While it was noted that some of the main predictors of colorectal cancer include family history and genetic risk factors, diet can actually play a very important role in its development. Previous research did link the disease with high consumption of processed links, but this new information shows a link with sugary snacks and drinks. Researchers acknowledge that the study does not show a cause and effect relationship between this type of cancer and sugar consumption, but the suggestion is certainly strong enough to indicate the need for larger studies in the future.

FoodFacts.com understands that added sugar is an unnecessary component of thousands of food products. We’re already aware of the role of added sugars in contributing to the worldwide obesity crisis and we’ve already been made aware of the unprecedented climb in instances of diabetes across the globe. Now, researchers are acknowledging a possible link between sugary foods and colorectal cancer. The majority of the sugar consumed by our population doesn’t come from our sugar bowls, it comes from products we purchase every day. While nothing may ever actually get added sugar out of our food supply, we can cut down on the sugar we consume ourselves, by preparing fresh, whole foods in our own kitchens where we can make sure our own diets our as healthy as we can make them.

http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/263392.php

Sugar here, sugar there, too much sugar everywhere!

Everyone in the FoodFacts.com community understands our position on added sugars in our food supply. Sugar is everywhere and takes many forms. Unless we’re preparing meals from scratch at home and using fresh ingredients, we are bound to be consuming more sugar than we’re even aware of. It’s just that prevalent in all kinds of food products.

The latest report from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has now stated that Americans are definitely consuming too much sugar – about 13% of the average adult’s total caloric intake is coming from sugar and high fructose corn syrup. This report included data collected on added sugar consumption between 2005 and 2010 for U.S. adults.

These shockingly high levels of sugar consumption were far greater than what would be considered typical for adults. The American Heart Association has been urging consumers to cut the amount of added sugar they are consuming. They’ve reported on the evidence that has accumulated that too much sugar is associated with obesity, high blood pressure, heart disease and stroke.

The new CDC report shows that men are consuming more sugar per day than women. But gender differences fall away when looking at sugar consumption as a percentage of daily caloric intake. On average, men consumed 12.7% of daily calories from added sugar as compared to 13.2% for women. Those between the ages of 20 and 39 consumed the highest amount of added sugar – with over 14% of daily calories coming from sugars. It was also found that calories consumed from sugars decreased with age, with men and women over the age of 60 having the lowest percentage of daily calories from sugar intake.

Researchers noted that most of the added sugars consumed came from foods rather than beverages. In addition, added sugars are not those that occur naturally from foods like fruit or milk.

If you’re a FoodFacts.com member, it’s likely you read ingredient lists and nutrition labels before you purchase products. And it’s also likely that you’re already aware of the copious amounts of sugar that can be found in products that most wouldn’t assume contain them. We can’t emphasize the importance of reading lists and labels for so many reasons. Added sugars are a tremendous concern for our population. Read the labels before you buy. And understand that there really isn’t any reasonable substitute for meals you prepare yourself, in your own kitchen from whole, fresh foods that weren’t processed before they reached your table.

http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/260083.php

More news on the sugary beverage debate … drinking even one 12-Ounce sugar-sweetened soft drink a day can increase your risk for Type 2 Diabetes

FoodFacts.com listens to a lot of consumers say things like “I don’t drink that much soda, maybe I have one every day.” There’s been a lot of debate recently surrounding the consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages. The attempt by the New York City mayor to ban the sale of large-sized sugar-sweetened beverages in an effort to curb the obesity crisis raised all sorts of arguments both for and against his proposition. Some of the recent research into the effects of those beverages may lead some to believe that he really had a point.

Today we found just that sort of research and wanted to share it with you. A new study out of the Imperial Collage in London, England has shown that for every 12 oz. serving of a sugar-sweetened soft drink each day, the risk of developing Type 2 Diabetes increases by about 22%. So if you have one sugar-sweetened soda at lunch, your risk increases by 22% and then if you have another one later at dinner that same day, your risk increases by another 22%. That’s quite substantial.

Most of the research that has been conducted on the effects of sugar-sweetened beverages comes from populations in North America. The study sought to establish whether there is a link between sugary-beverage consumption and Type 2 Diabetes in Europe. They used data on consumption of juices, nectars, sugar-sweetened soft drinks and artificially sweetened soft drinks that had been collected from eight European countries participating in the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition. This included about 350,000 participants.

The researchers study included 12,403 type 2 diabetes cases and a random sub-cohort of 16,154 identified within the larger European study. They found that, after adjusting for confounding factors, consumption of one 12oz serving size of sugar-sweetened soft drink per day increased the risk of type 2 diabetes by 22%.

The authors also discovered a significant increase in Type 2 Diabetes as it relates to the consumption of artificially sweetened soft drinks. When the BMI of the participants was taken into account, however, this association disappeared, indicating that the participants weight was driving the increase. The consumption of fruit juices and nectars was not linked to an increase for Type 2 Diabetes. The researchers noted that their findings are similar to the results of studies conducted in North America.

Knowing that this research confirms the results of many studies conducted across North America does motivate us here at FoodFacts.com to get behind efforts to curb the consumption of sugary-beverages. We understand that there are many different ways to accomplish this large undertaking. Our belief, as always, is that education is the first, best step to incite change. We do that every day with our website and hope to see more efforts to educate consumers on the importance of eliminating sugar-sweetened soft drinks from their diets.

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/04/130424185205.htm

Sugar-sweetened beverages directly linked to deaths all over the world

FoodFacts.com has been keeping up to date on the subject of sugary beverages. The New York City ban on sugary drinks has been in the news consistently and has been responsible for shining a brighter spotlight on the subject. Today we found important new information that we wanted to make sure and share with our community.

New research has revealed that drinking sugary soft drinks is responsible for close to 180,000 deaths worldwide every year. The finding comes from research presented at the American Heart Association’s Epidemiology and Prevention/Nutrition, Physical Activity and Metabolism 2013 Scientific Sessions.

We are already aware that sugary beverages are associated with increased body weight and obesity. These conditions can lead to cardiovascular disease, diabetes and cancer. Using data published in the 2010 Global Burden of Diabetes Study, researchers found an association between the consumption of sugary drinks and 180,000 deaths around the world. 133,000 of those deaths were related to diabetes, 44,000 to cardiovascular disease and 6,000 to cancer. In the United States, data showed that about 25,000 deaths were linked to sugary beverages in 2010.

Countries in Latin America and the Caribbean had the highest number of diabetes deaths due to consumption of sugar-sweetened drinks with 38,000. Mexico had the highest rate of death due to sugary drink consumption at about 318 deaths per million.

Japan, the country that consumes the least amount of sugary drinks in the world only had 10 deaths per million linked to sugary beverage consumption.

Over the past 30 years, global consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages has risen tremendously. The Yale Rudd Center for Food Policy and obesity has stated that sugary drinks are the number one source of calories for American Adolescents.

This study is quite a bit different than those we normally read regarding the consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages. And seeing a direct link between sugary drink intake and death certainly puts things in better perspective. FoodFacts.com hopes that this information receives the attention it deserves and serves as a catalyst for consumers to reconsider their beverage choices for the sake of their health and longevity.

Read more here: http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/257958.php

Great New Contest from the Center for Science in the Public Interest

The Center for Science in the Public Interest has contacted FoodFacts.com and asked us to let our community know about a great new video contest they’re running.

We all know that the concern about sugary beverages has become an important conversation for the population. The New York City ban of large-sized sugary beverages in certain establishments as well as a tremendous amount of new research regarding sugary beverages and obesity has sparked this significant discussion all over the country.

So when the Center for Science in the Public Interest asked us to let FoodFacts.com visitors know about this exciting and enlightening contest they’re now running, we were happy to comply!

Here are the details:

POUR ONE OUT VIDEO CONTEST

Help spread the health message about sugary drinks and you could win $1,000!

Sugary Drinks make up the largest single source of calories in the American
diet and each year more studies are finding a link between soda and obesity.
We invite you to submit a short video pouring out sugary drinks in a fun and
creative way for a chance to win up to $1,000! The Pour One Out video
contest seeks to reframe perceptions about sugary drinks by raising
awareness of the health effects of overconsuming beverages like soda,
sports drinks, sweetened teas and energy drinks. Videos will be judged on
creativity, originality and effectiveness of the health message. Prizes
will go to the top 3 videos:

1st place video will receive a $1,000 cash prize 2nd place will receive $500
3rd place will receive $250

Submissions will be accepted until November 7th by email at:
fewersugarydrinks@cspinet.org. For more details and the official contest
rules, visit: cspinet.org/liquidcandy/pouroneout.html

If you’ve got a video camera, a point of view and a little creativity, this is a great opportunity to help share your knowledge and spread a significant message that’s affecting the health and quality of life of all our citizens.

FoodFacts.com encourages our community to have a little fun, perhaps win a great prize and get involved in the issues that matter to our health and well-being!

New York City may be leading the way … new studies show stronger links between sugar-sweetened beverages and obesity

FoodFacts.com has learned that this has been a busy week for the sugar-sweetened beverage and obesity debate. Coming right off the heels of the New York City ban on the sale of large-sized sugary beverages at certain establishments, there were three new studies published this week that are suggesting that New York City has the right idea and may, in fact, be leading the way towards stronger regulations from the federal government.

We know that a third of American adults and about 17% of American kids are currently obese. It has been suggested that sugary beverages have contributed to the obesity problem as the rate of consumption of those drinks has risen at the same pace as the obesity problem since the late 70s. But these new studies which were published this past week in the New England Journal of Medicine directly explored the effects of sugar-sweetened drinks on weight.

The first two studies were random trials. One involved over 600 children split into groups. One group was given a sugar-sweetened beverage to drink and the other a sugar-free version of the same drink. They were followed for a year and a half. While both groups of children gained weight over the period, the group consuming the sugar-sweetened beverage gained over two pounds more over the same period of time.

The other involved tracking over 200 overweight or obese adolescents whose diets regularly included sugary beverages. One group was given only diet beverages and water over a full year period. This group had the beverages delivered directly to their homes for tracking purposes. The other group continued to drink the sugary beverages they had always consumed without any change to their habits.

By the end of the study period, the group drinking the sugar-sweetened beverages had appreciably higher BMIs than the group given the diet beverages and water.

The final study focused on over 30,000 men and women of European ancestry over a course of time. Among those involved in the study who were genetically predisposed to obesity, higher consumption levels of sugar-sweetened drinks were linked to higher BMI.

The American Beverage Association released a statement regarding the studies, “Obesity is a serious and complex public health issue facing our nation and the rest of the world, and we all must work together to solve it. We know, and science supports, that obesity is not uniquely caused by any single food or beverage. Thus, studies and opinion pieces that focus solely on sugar-sweetened beverages, or any other single source of calories, do nothing meaningful to help address this serious issue.”

Health and medical groups are now appealing to the U.S. Surgeon General to publish a report on sugary beverages and obesity. The report they are seeking is based on the idea that sugar-sweetened beverages need the same treatment from the federal government as cigarette smoking and its relationship to cancer.

Perhaps, despite the tremendous concern among New Yorkers regarding the ban on large-sized sugary beverages, the city’s mayor is actually on the cutting edge of the fight against obesity. FoodFacts.com is looking forward to following this issue and bringing our community breaking information regarding other bans that may ensue from the results of these new studies – and possibly even some action from the Surgeon General’s office as well.

We invite you to read more: http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2012/09/sugary-drinks-get-the-one-two-three-punch-from-obesity-research/#.UGIrEtWdHIV
http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2012/07/health-groups-call-on-surgeon-general-for-report-on-soda/#.UGIrJ9WdHIW