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The FDA approves Frankenfish … GMO salmon on the market in as little as two years

???????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????Here in America, there are some crops we can pretty much guarantee are GMO. Our corn, our soy, cottonseed, canola and sugar beets are predominantly genetically modified. In the absence of real GMO labeling, this is helpful information for those who are consciously avoiding consuming genetically modified foods. Unfortunately, the FDA just made that a little more difficult by approving genetic modification in a completely different arena.  GMO salmon may be on the market in as little as two years.

This is big: The Food and Drug Administration approved the first genetically modified animal designed to be food. It’s an Atlantic salmon that also contains genetic material from Pacific-Chinook salmon and, well … this thing — an eel-ish creature known as ocean pout. The AquaAdvantage, as it’s officially called, has for years had its critics (for starters, Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s), and that number is likely to keep growing now that the debate isn’t just academic and the fillets could soon be for sale at your local seafood counter.

AquaBounty, the biotech company behind this Frankenfish, says the salmon will be available in two years, and, controversially, there will almost certainly be no label identifying the fish as GM. As the company’s CEO Ron Stotish explains, “When you’re the first and only, labeling is a dangerous decision. We’d like to label it as a premium product, but we’ll probably introduce it as ‘Atlantic salmon.’” AquaBounty says the advantages of this particular fish are that it grows twice as fast and only needs about 75 percent as much food as most conventional salmon.

In addition to the ongoing debate around food that’s been genetically modified, critics are also concerned that these salmon could escape into the wild. The company says that’s not very likely, but it’s implemented “several layers” of safeguards just in case — the fish are raised in sealed-off facilities in Canada and Panama, and the fish that are not used for breeding are always sterilized. Haven’t these people ever seen Jurassic Park?

While GMO salmon isn’t coming to your grocery store fish counter tomorrow, it is on the foreseeable horizon, with some estimates placing the market arrival of this new breed of fish at about 24 months. And once it does show up, GMO salmon isn’t going to be identifiable at that fish counter. The small sign sticking up from the ice next to those filets of fresh salmon won’t read New Salmon Product from AquaBounty. And we’ll never actually know what we’re eating. So even if you don’t like the idea that your salmon is part “eel-ish,” wants you to remember that it won’t matter. Because somehow or another according to AquaBounty and the FDA, we’ll all forget about it, stop caring about what we’re eating, or suddenly be perfectly fine with companies pretending to be Mother Nature without actually knowing or understanding whether or not there are ramifications or consequences. We need to stay vocal about this and remind them that there assumptions are incorrect.

McDonald’s focuses on technology instead of food to increase sales

digital menu boarddigital menu boardmcd-menu-boards2015 hasn’t been McDonald’s best year ever. Continuing a trend, sales have declined for the fast food giant. has watched with interest as McDonald’s has introduced new products, debuted all-day breakfast and a new app for its customers all in the name of increasing sales. While we really think it would make sense for McDonald’s to concentrate on improving the quality and ingredients of their food, they’ve decided to pursue a different path. McDonald’s focuses on technology instead of food to increase sales.  They need to increase their cost per transaction and they’re relying on technology to get that job done. If that sounds a little cold to you, you’re probably not wrong.

McDonald’s apparently noticed that people are really into eating seasonally these days — but for the world’s second largest fast food chain, the eerily green Shamrock shake served every March is about as seasonal as it gets. Instead, the McRib slinger has decided to install new digital menu boards that recommend meals based on the weather.

“It can monitor temperature outside and it will know which products sell better at hotter or colder temperatures and promote those products,” McDonald’s US President Mike Andres says. For instance, when it’s 100 degrees out, the menu might suggest a McFlurry; when it’s the dead of winter, the digital menu board may instead push lattes. What’s the proper weather in which to enjoy a McRib, anyway — and which McNugget sauce is best suited to a balmy summer day?

Stay tuned: The digital menu boards will be rolled out to all U.S. locations by the end of 2016. Andres also said “customers ended up spending more on every transaction in restaurants where the new menu boards were tested in Canada,” and the chain can probably use all the help it can get right now: It’s just beginning to emerge from a years-long sales slump.

So there you have it. McDonald’s continues to ignore its food issues in favor of marketing solutions for slumping sales. While that digital menu board may be a cool innovation, let’s face it, it’s not going to improve the ingredients in the McRib, or make the Big Mac taste any better. Consumers have been communicating a consistent message to McDonald’s – they aren’t thrilled with the quality and taste of the menu items. There’s no cool new technology trick that’s going to help them with that. And sooner or later, they are going to have to listen to their customers.

Defining Natural Foods … the government seems to need our help

Natural Food DefinitionThe FDA need consumer help to define Natural Foods. really sat down and thought about this. We’ve decided that the government turning to the public for help defining natural foods is a good thing. That’s because it’s our opinion that they have managed to get more than a few things wrong in the world of food when left to their own devises. We’re hopeful that the public will weigh in on this with the same kind of gusto we’ve seen challenge the food industry for making untruthful claims.

The government, or more specifically, The Food and Drug Administration is seeking your input to answer a question: How should the agency define “natural” on food labels?

Disagreement over what “all natural” or “100 percent natural” means has spawned dozens of lawsuits. Consumers have challenged the naturalness of all kinds of food products.

For instance, can a product that contains high fructose corn syrup be labeled as natural? What about products that contain genetically modified ingredients?

The FDA has received three citizen petitions asking for clarification. And, beginning Thursday, the agency will ask us — the public — to weigh in. Comments can be submitted electronically.

Developing a comprehensive, legal definition for this buzzword may be tough. After all, saying something is natural is a little bit like saying something is beautiful. The judgment is in the eye of the beholder.

Ivan Wasserman, a lawyer with the firm Manatt, Phelps & Philips who tracks this issue was asked some questions.

The Food and Drug Administration is asking people to weigh in on a definition for the term “natural” on food labels. Will this process lead to a new rule — a codified, legal definition?

By requesting comments, the FDA is obligated to review them. So, [the agency] has certainly taken on a big project in simply announcing this. But it has not announced that it’s creating a new rule or definition.

The FDA says it has had a long-standing policy on this issue and has “considered the term ‘natural’ to mean … nothing artificial or synthetic (including all color additives regardless of source).” So why is there still confusion over what counts as “natural”?

This policy does not address a lot of these newer issues [such as GMO ingredients, or newer ways of processing foods].

If the FDA were to create a more strict, more comprehensive definition, it would give manufacturers a lot more guidance on whether or not they could use the term “natural” on their food products.

There have been a lot of class-action lawsuits brought against companies that have labeled their products as “natural.” What are some of the most interesting examples?

Some of the original cases were brought against companies that included high fructose corn syrup in their products — which is obviously an ingredient that comes from corn, but has been processed. And there have been lawsuits against companies for including genetically modified ingredients in their products.

There are a lot of sides to this argument. And I think at the end of this process if the FDA does create a definition for “natural,” it’s going to be hard to satisfy everyone.

Food companies may also like the looser language since it gives them more wiggle room to use the term “natural.” Can you think of any precedents here — in food law — of creating stricter standards for food labels?

Yes: the organic label. If you see the [U.S. Department of Agriculture] organic seal on a food product, that has a very strict program [and set of rules] on what foods can bear that seal. So there is some precedent. But the term “natural” is a little more vague.

Do you agree that natural is a vague term?

We’ve always had an issue with the government definition for the ingredient “Natural Flavor.” By government definition it refers to a combination of ingredients that are derived from natural sources. There are some problems with that – in the first place that one ingredient, “Natural Flavor” is actually more than one ingredient. You’ll just never know which ingredients that manufacturer used to create the single “Natural Flavor.” You’ll also never know if you’re allergic to any of them … or if the manufacturer chemically processed a substance that was derived from natural sources. So there’s a big gray area concerning whether or not those ingredients are really natural. They may have started out that way, but you have no way of knowing exactly how it was processed to become part of that “Natural Flavor.”

We actually find the government definition of “Natural Flavor” to be vague … not necessarily the word natural. In fact, we’re pretty sure we could come up with a definition – and we’re pretty sure concerned consumers can as well.

Let’s all give the FDA our very specific ideas! We’re the people they need to hear from on this very important issue. So visit this link: and follow the instructions. Let’s tell them that GMO ingredients aren’t natural … that high fructose corn syrup isn’t natural … that natural flavor needs a more sensible definition – and the other actual facts surrounding this issue that in truth really aren’t vague at all!

Eat slowly to eat well.

eat strawberriesWe’ve all got the same goal in mind – healthy eating. Dietary habits can vary – some are vegetarian, others vegan, some adapt a Mediterranean-style diet, some opt for Paleo. No matter how different our dietary choices may be, we’re all looking for optimum health. At the same time, we’re also looking for an optimum eating experience. Decades ago, healthy eating meant sacrificing flavor for health. Today, we’re looking to enjoy the flavors of the fresh, whole foods we consume. We expect to eat well as well as eat healthy. New information suggests that one of the most important aspects of that experience is pretty simple. Eat slowly to eat well.

When it comes to enjoying the flavors in food, our tongues really aren’t that useful. They can detect just a few basic tastes: sweet, salt, sour, bitter, umami, and maybe fat.

But real complexity comes from a food or drink’s aroma, and the main way we sense all the compounds isn’t from sniffing. Our bodies actually blast scents from the back of our mouths up into our nasal cavity where we can take in the difference between merlot and Chianti, according to a study published Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science.

Of course, you can smell foods by holding them up to your face and huffing. But that’s not quite the same as taking in all the flavors of a food. “When we have food or drink in our mouths, [the flavor] has to be going from the back of the mouth up and into the noise – going backwards,” says Dr. Gordon Shepherd, a neuroscientist at Yale University.

To figure out how that works, Shepherd and a team of Yale engineers and neuroscientists built a model of the inside of a person’s mouth, throat and nasal cavities. Then they used the model to analyze how air flows through it. They found that molecules from food we smell, or food volatiles, pile up at the back of our mouths and throats as we breathe.

When we’re breathing in through the nose, as one might do while chewing, air whips down the nasal cavity and into the lungs, creating a kind of air curtain separating the throat and the mouth. “That air curtain prevents all food volatiles from entering the lungs,” says Rui Ni, a mechanical engineer at Penn State University and lead author on the study. When we exhale, air sweeps into the back of the mouth and throat where that heap of volatile compounds is and carries them up into the nose.

This all happens naturally, Ni says. “But you can only do this effectively when you breathe smoothly,” he says. If you’re stuffing food with abandon down your throat or gasping for breath or heaving, you start to disrupt that normal pattern of airflow. Food volatiles won’t store properly at the back of your mouth, and they could get sucked into your lungs and pass into the bloodstream.

The other problem, notes Laleh Golshahi, a mechanical engineer at Virginia Commonwealth University who was not involved with the study, is if you inhale too slowly while eating, that air curtain doesn’t form effectively. Food volatiles don’t get bounced out of the trachea and then could also be drawn into the lungs.
“[Breathing] not too fast and not too slow is the key,” she tells The Salt in an email. “Though the faster you exhale, you have a better chance to sweep food volatiles from the back of your throat toward the nasal cavity to smell.”

Ni agrees. And so the big takeaway from this study for us eaters is this: To get the best sensory experience from your food, eat slowly and breathe evenly as you do it.

The scientists behind the PNAS study only scanned the throat, nasal and oral cavities of one patient, Golshahi notes. So there could be variability among us that might make the situation different for each person. But best practices for anyone probably include relaxed eating and even breathing.

Savoring your food slowly seems to be the way to go for other reasons, too. One study found that when dieters ate slowly, it became easier to control their food intake. And kids who are forced to hurry down a meal in a few minutes ate less and threw out more food. knows that following this advice can sometimes be easier said than done. We’re all way too busy. Slowing down seems to be a thing of the past with few of us having the luxury of doing so. Fitting our quest for the healthiest possible diet into what’s already a packed schedule can seem daunting, leaving us in a “grab-and-go” situation more times than not. We’d like to commit to slowing things down a bit. Let’s leave ourselves time to savor our meals whenever we can. It’s more enjoyable. It’s better for us. And it’s an important choice to make for our healthy lifestyles.

Happy Veteran’s Day – find out where veterans eat for free today loves the idea that we’re seeing public acknowledgement of our veterans today on the day we commemorate their valuable service to our country. The parades are great – we all enjoy them. But we really like the idea of a tangible “thank you” and are happy to see several restaurants participating in free meals for veterans today. Find out where veterans eat for free today.  Here’s a working list … so if you know a veteran, please share!

Note: Offers good at participating location. Uniform or military ID may be required as proof of service. Some of the offers listed below originally found at

Applebee’s – Restaurant offering veterans and active military a free meal from open to close on Nov. 11.

Bar Louie – Free meal up to $12 November 10th and 11th with proof of military ID or service.
Brann’s Steakhouse – Free 6 oz sirloin and two sides

Bob Evans – Veterans and active military personnel get the choice of a free breakfast menu item on Nov. 11. Find more information here

Bonefish Grill – Veterans and active military get free Bang Bang Shrimp on Nov. 11. Find more information here

California Pizza Kitchen – Veterans and active military personnel can choose a free entrée from a list of pizzas, salads and pastas. Find more information here

Carrabba’s — All veterans and active duty service members get a free appetizer November 9 through 15.

Cheeseburger in Paradise – Free burger with fries on Nov. 11. Find more information here

Chili’s – Veterans and active military personnel get free meal from a selection of items. More information here

Cracker Barrel – Veterans receive free Double Chocolate Fudge Coca-Cola Cake on Nov. 11; 10% of sales from the cake will go to the USA Transition 360 Alliance. Find more information here

Dairy Queen – Select Dairy Queen locations will offer free $5 lunches on Veterans Day from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.; offer includes the following locations: Noblesville DQ Grill & Chill at 5625 Pebble Village Ln, Carmel DQ Grill & Chill at 9802 N Michigan Rd, Meridian St DQ Grill & Chill at 9040 N Meridian St, Indy DQ Grill & Chill at 2425 National Ave, and Greencastle DQ Grill & Chill in Greencastle

Denny’s – Veterans and active military get Free Build Your Own Grand Slam from 5 a.m. to noon on Nov. 11. Find more information here

Dunkin’ Donuts – Free medium hot or iced coffee on Nov. 11. Find more information here

FATZ Café — Veterans and active military get a free World Famous Calabash Chicken meal on November 11.

Fazoli’s – Veterans and active military get free Build Your Own Pasta on Nov. 11. Find more information here

Golden Corral – Free thank you dinner on Military Appreciation Night (Nov. 11 from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.). Find more information here

Hooters – Veterans and active military get a free menu item of their choice of a pre-selected menu on Nov. 11. Find more information here

IHOP – Free Red, White & Blue pancakes for veterans and active military from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Nov. 11. Find more information here

Krispy Kreme — Krispy Kreme is offering a free doughnut and small coffee to all veterans on November 11 at participating locations.

Krystal — Active and retired military receive a free Krystal Chicken or Sausage Biscuit from 6 AM to 11:00 AM on November 11.

Little Caesars – Veterans and active military personnel receive a free $5 Hot-N-Ready lunch combo, which includes a small deep dish pizza and a 20-ounce drink. Find more information here

Logan’s Roadhouse — In addition to the 10% military discount offered every day, military and former military guests will also receive a free dessert on November 11.

Long John Silver’s – Offering a free 2-piece fish basket to our veterans this week at participating locations. Find more information here

O’Charley’s – Veterans and active duty service members get a free $9.99 meal on November 9, as well as free pie on November 11.

Olive Garden – Veterans and active military eat free from selection of entrées. Family members dining with them also get 10% off their meals. Find more information here

On the Border — Veterans and active duty military can enjoy a free meal from the “Create Your Own Combo menu” on November 11.

Outback Steakhouse – Veterans and active military personnel receive free Bloomin’ Onion and beverage on Nov. 11; deployed personnel can get a rain check for the offer. Find more information here

Ponderosa – Veterans and active military receive free buffet on Nov. 11 from 4 p.m. to close. Find more information here

Red Lobster – Veterans and active military receive their choice of free appetizer or dessert; offer good from Nov. 9 through Nov. 12. Find more information here

Red Robin – Veterans and active military personnel get free Red’s Tavern Double burger with bottomless steak fries on Nov. 11. Find more information here

Ruby Tuesday — Veterans, active duty and reserve service members get a free appetizer on November 11.

Starbucks — Veterans, active duty service members and spouses get a free tall coffee on November 11 at participating locations.

Sticky Fingers — Veterans, active, inactive or retired servicemen and servicewomen get a free entrée up to a $12.99 value on November 11. In addition to the free meal, veterans who dine-in get a coupon valued at $10 to be used on their next visit.

Texas Roadhouse – Veterans and active military get free meal from pre-selected menu plus choice of drink. Find more information here

TGI Fridays — Veterans and active duty military get a free lunch from a select menu on November 11 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Tim Horton’s (West Michigan) – Free Donut on Nov. 11

Uccello’s Ristorante – Free express lunch buffet. Veterans should show proof of military service, like a Military ID card or Driver’s License with veterans designation.

Uno Pizzeria & Grill – Veterans and active military get a free entrée or individual pizza with an entrée or pizza purchase of equal or greater value on November 11.

White Castle – Veterans and active military get free breakfast slider with choice of small coffee or small drink. Find more information here

Thank a veteran today! Let’s all remember the sacrifices our service men and women make for our freedom every day!

Attention vegetarians: there’s a 10 percent chance that the veggie hot dog you’re eating isn’t really a veggie hot dog

141110163713-hot-dog-file-story-topIf you’re a vegetarian, knows that you’ve got a tremendous variety of food choices available to you that “replace” a meat product. There’s vegetarian sausage, vegetarian bacon, veggie burgers, veggie pepperoni for pizza and, of course, vegetarian hot dogs. Most folks we know have a favorite brand for a variety of reasons that probably include ingredient lists. A new study is pointing to the idea that if you’re a fan of vegetarian hot dogs, you may have more to think about than what’s printed on the ingredient list of the brand to which you’re loyal.

A new study is indicating that there’s a possibility that the vegetarian hot dog you’re purchasing actually isn’t vegetarian at all.  In fact, there’s a 10 percent chance that the veggie hot dog you’re eating isn’t really a veggie hot dog – it contains meat.

Perhaps worse, the company found hygiene issues in four of its 21 vegetarian samples. It also found human DNA in 2% of its hot dog samples — and two-thirds of the vegetarian samples.

Overall, 14.4% of the hot dogs and sausages tested by Clear Foods “were problematic,” the company said.

Clear Foods is a company that “translates quantifiable molecular tests into actionable food data insights,” according to its website. In English, that means it uses genetic sequencing to figure out just what’s in your lunch.

Its results on hot dogs aren’t always comforting. Overall, the company found nutritional label inaccuracies, pork substitution and some unexpected ingredients, including chicken and lamb.

On the other hand, Clear gave high marks to a variety of manufacturers, both national and regional. Butterball, McCormick, Eckrich and Hebrew National led among national brands, each with a score of 96 out of 100, based on Clear’s formula.

This information is particularly disturbing. Vegetarians need to be able to trust the brands they rely on to keep meat out of their products. In addition, wants to note the hygiene issues suggested by the finding of human DNA in a variety of different hot dog brands, as well as the presence of pork where no pork was supposed to be used, as well as a few other unpleasant items of note, truly create an incredible violation of trust between hot dog consumers and food manufacturers.

14.4% of the hot dogs samples in Clear Food’s study had some sort of a problem: vegetarian hot dogs containing meat; nutritional label inaccuracies; hygienic issues; ingredient substitutions and more. Read the results of the study here at for the full details and the brands included in the analysis.

Is potassium bromate hiding in your bread? Possible cancer-causing additive still included in the ingredient lists of many bread products covers a wealth of controversial ingredients on our website. We highlight those items as they appear in the ingredient lists of over 100,000 products in our database. And we provide descriptions of why those ingredients are controversial. Let’s go a little bit further here, though, and put a spotlight on one specific ingredient. There may be potassium bromate hiding in your bread. It may cause cancer. And it’s lurking in a variety of bread products on our grocery shelves.

Potassium bromate is added to flour to strengthen the dough, allow it to rise higher and give the finished bread an appealing white color.

Potassium bromate is an ingredient in at least 86 baked goods and other food products found on supermarket shelves, including well-known brands and products such as Hormel Foods breakfast sandwiches, Weis Kaiser rolls and French toast, and Goya turnover pastry dough.

Regulators in the United States and abroad have reached troubling conclusions about the risks of potassium bromate that you probably don’t know about, but should. In 1999 the International Agency for Research on Cancer determined that potassium bromate is a possible human carcinogen. It is not allowed for use or is banned as a food additive in a number of countries, including the United Kingdom, Canada, Brazil and the European Union. The state of California requires food with potassium bromate to carry a warning label.

In tests on lab animals, exposure to potassium bromate increased the incidence of both benign and malignant tumors in the thyroid and peritoneum – the membrane that lines the abdominal cavity. Later research confirmed and expanded these findings, concluding that ingesting potassium bromate resulted in significant increases in cancer of the animals’ kidneys, thyroid and other organs.

Potassium bromate also has the potential to disrupt the genetic material within cells. Upon entering the body, potassium bromate can be transformed into molecules called oxides and radicals. These highly reactive molecules can damage DNA and may play a role in the development of cancer. Scientists have observed such damage in human liver and intestine cells, where exposure to potassium bromate resulted in breaks in DNA strands and chromosomal damage.

Researchers also saw significant damage to the cell membranes of lysosomes – the small intracellular bodies responsible for important cell functions such as cellular digestion – ironically, the process by which food is broken down into components useful to our cells. Models of the relationship between DNA damage and potassium bromate show a consistent low-dose linear response, which means that the amount of DNA damage observed is proportional to the amount of potassium bromate consumed.

Despite the significant evidence of potassium bromate’s harmful health effects, the food industry has long argued that it is of no concern in baked products. The industry claims potassium bromate is theoretically fully converted into potassium bromide, a similar yet non-carcinogenic chemical, during baking. But testing in the United Kingdom revealed that potassium bromate remains detectable after baking, with six out of six unwrapped breads and seven out of 22 packaged breads containing measurable levels.

California is the only state to have taken any measures to warn residents of the dangers associated with this chemical, placing potassium bromate on its Proposition 65 list, which means that products that contain it must carry a cancer warning on their labels. However, no other regulatory agency has taken any action to regulate or remove this dangerous chemical from American grocery store shelves. Our nation’s food additive review system fails in its mandate to keep Americans safe. Congress must overhaul this broken process in order to truly protect us from potentially cancer-causing chemicals such as potassium bromate. is here to help you avoid potassium bromate. And our latest app won’t just tell you what products include potassium bromate, it will tell you how many times you’ve actually eaten the ingredient each day, week and month! Check out how easy it is to take control of your healthy lifestyle:

Read more:

The Burger King Halloween Whopper … the color of the bun isn’t the only thing that’s creepy follows along with the fast food world and reports on the nutrition facts and ingredient lists of all the new offerings. Those posts often tell you that we wouldn’t want to eat the item on which we’ve reported. We often cite specific ingredients that place those items on our avoid list.

Today though, we’re looking at the Burger King Halloween Whopper. We’re sure you’ve been hearing the stories connected to the burger. Without stating the very definite physical response that many people have had to this new creation, let’s just leave you with the idea that it appears to be particularly hard on the systems of those who consume it … leaving some colorful results in its aftermath and causing Burger King to note that the flavoring and food colorings used in the Halloween Whopper in the U.S. are common and within the safe and acceptable daily intake levels approved by the FDA. The problems appear to be linked to the black sesame seed bun.

Are you completely turned off yet? We are.

Let’s take a closer look at the Halloween Whopper and see if we can figure out the cause of its spooky and colorful after effects.

Creepy Nutrition Facts
Calories:              710
Fat:                      43 grams
Saturated Fat:    15 grams
Trans Fat:           1.5 grams
Sodium:              1530 mg
The Halloween Whopper is not a good food choice. Too many calories. Too much fat. Too much saturated fat. Trans fat. And far too much sodium.

Spooky ingredients?
Let’s see what’s going on in that black sesame seed bun:

“BLACK SESAME SEED BUN: Unbleached Enriched Flour (Wheat Flour, Malted Barley flour, Niacin, Reduced Iron. Thiamin Mononitrate, Riboflavin, Folic Acid), Water, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Yeast, Contains 2% or less of each of the following: Wheat Gluten, Soybean Oil, Salt, Maltodextrin, Defatted Wheat Germ, Fructose, Refiners Syrup Powder, Glycerine, Monoglycerides, Sodium Stearoyl Lactylate, Powdered Flaxseed, Brown Sugar, Corn Syrup, Gum Arabic, FD&C Red #40, Molasses Powder, Modified Corn Starch, FD&C Blue #1, Calcium Sulfate, Raisin Juice Concentrate, Spice, Worcerstershire Sauce (Vinegar, Molasses, Corn Syrup, Water, Salt, Caramel Color, Dried Garlic, Sugar, Spice, Tamarind, Natural Flavor), Natural Flavor, FD&C Yellow #6, Sugar, Orange Juice Concentrate, Sunflower Oil, Ascorbic Acid, Corn Syrup Solids, Garlic Powder, Caramel Color, Enzymes, Onion Powder, Tannic Acid, Agar, Citric Acid, Xanthan Gum, Calcium Propionate and Potassium Sorbate (to retard spoilage), Topped with Sesame Seeds. CONTAINS: WHEAT

The flavoring and food colorings used to color the HA.1.®LOWEEN WHOPPER® black bun in the US, are commonly used in the industry and within the safe and Acceptable Daily Intake (ADI) approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).”

It doesn’t take a lot of imagination to figure out that the food coloring included in this bun is creating the unusual physical effects linked to the Halloween Whopper.

But when the burger chain released the burger, a representative told ABC News that the black bun contains less than 1 percent food dye.

Dr. Robert Glatter, an emergency care physician at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City, told that many common synthetic dyes, including D&C Red #40 and FD&C Blue #1 “are generally not able to be broken down or absorbed by the body so they end up coming out …”

He said that burger lovers shouldn’t be alarmed and noted that the Food and Drug Administration considers these dyes safe for public consumption. Also, similar reactions occur when people eat natural foods like beets or consume of large amounts green vegetables.

O.k. it was nice to know that the side effects of eating this whopper aren’t going to hurt anyone. But, really, why would anyone want to eat this? And why would Burger King want to offer this? The Halloween Whopper has “NO” written all over it!

Fall is all about the (real) pumpkin!

pumpkin-patch (1) is constantly posting about different pumpkin-flavored products during the fall season. In the last few years, autumn is pumpkin season and there are literally hundreds of products boasting the flavors of the fall. Unfortunately, very few of them contain actual, real pumpkin. That’s a great disservice to all of us because honestly pumpkin is a tremendously healthy food choice and one we really should try to incorporate into our diets seasonally. Let’s take a closer look why fall is all about the pumpkin!

Weight loss
Pumpkin is rich in fiber, which slows digestion. “Pumpkin keeps you feeling fuller longer,” says Caroline Kaufman, MS, RDN and an upwave diet and nutrition expert. “There’s seven grams of fiber in a cup of canned pumpkin. That’s more than what you’d get in two slices of whole-grain bread.”
Pumpkin may be filling, but it’s also a low-calorie superstar. “Canned pumpkin is nearly 90 percent water, so besides the fact that it helps keep you hydrated, it has fewer than 50 calories per serving,” Kaufman says.

Sharper vision
Pumpkin’s brilliant orange coloring comes from its ample supply of beta-carotene, which is converted to vitamin A in the body. Vitamin A is essential for eye health and helps the retina absorb and process light. A single cup of pumpkin contains over 200 percent of most people’s recommended daily intake of vitamin A, making it an outstanding option for optical health.
Pumpkin also contains lutein and zeaxanthin, two antioxidants that are thought to help prevent cataracts and may even slow the development of macular degeneration.

Better immunity
Looking for a way to ward off illness and improve your immune system? Try pumpkin. The large shot of vitamin A the fruit provides helps your body fight infections, viruses and infectious diseases. Pumpkin oil even helps fight various bacterial and fungal infections. Plus, pumpkin is packed with nearly 20 percent of the recommended amount of daily vitamin C, which may help you recover from colds faster.

Younger-looking skin
Sure, eating pumpkin can help you look younger (beta-carotene in pumpkin helps protect us from the sun’s wrinkle-causing UV rays), but the pulp also makes a great, all-natural face mask that exfoliates and soothes. All you need is 1/4 cup pureed pumpkin (not pumpkin pie), an egg, a tablespoon of honey and a tablespoon of milk. Mix, then apply it, wait for 20 minutes or so and wash it off with warm water.

Lower cancer risk
Beta-carotene is great for your eyes and skin, but you know what else it’s good for? Fighting cancer. Research shows people who eat a beta-carotene-rich diet may have a lower risk of some types of cancer, including prostate and lung cancer.
Vitamins A and C are “a kind of cell defense squad,” Kaufman says. “[They] are both antioxidants, and they act as shields for your cells against cancer-causing free radicals.”

It may help treat diabetes
In scientific tests, pumpkin has been shown to reduce blood glucose levels, improve glucose tolerance and increase the amount of insulin the body produces. More testing needs to be done before we can say for sure what pumpkin’s benefits for diabetics will be, but if you have diabetes, munching on pumpkin certainly won’t hurt.

Reading about all these health benefits associated with our favorite orange gourd really does make us even more concerned about what passes for pumpkin in the seasonal products in our grocery stores. Let’s make it about real pumpkin. Let’s incorporate this fall vegetable into our meals with some creative seasonal cooking and leave the “flavored” stuff back on the shelves!

Spice things up for a longer life

150804202650_1_540x360Like a little spice in your life? Your proclivity for spicy foods may actually help extend your lifespan. While has long understood that previous research has linked health benefits like reduced risk of obesity, inflammation and cancer to certain beneficial spices, we thought this newest finding was particularly interesting.

An international team led by researchers at the Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences examined the association between consumption of spicy foods as part of a daily diet and the total risk and causes of death.

They undertook a prospective study of 487,375 participants, aged 30-79 years, from the China Kadoorie Biobank. Participants were enrolled between 2004-2008 and followed up for morbidities and mortality.

All participants completed a questionnaire about their general health, physical measurements, and consumption of spicy foods, and red meat, vegetable and alcohol.

Participants with a history of cancer, heart disease, and stroke were excluded from the study, and factors such as age, marital status, level of education, and physical activity were accounted for.

During a median follow-up of 7.2 years, there were 20,224 deaths.

Compared with participants who ate spicy foods less than once a week, those who consumed spicy foods 1 or 2 days a week were at a 10% reduced risk of death (hazard ratios for death was 0.90). And those who ate spicy foods 3 to 5 and 6 or 7 days a week were at a 14% reduced risk of death (hazard ratios for death 0.86, and 0.86 respectively).*

In other words, participants who ate spicy foods almost every day had a relative 14% lower risk of death compared to those who consumed spicy foods less than once a week.

The association was similar in both men and women, and was stronger in those who did not consume alcohol.

Frequent consumption of spicy foods was also linked to a lower risk of death from cancer, and ischaemic heart and respiratory system diseases, and this was more evident in women than men.

Fresh and dried chili peppers were the most commonly used spices in those who reported eating spicy foods weekly, and further analysis showed those who consumed fresh chili tended to have a lower risk of death from cancer, ischaemic heart disease, and diabetes.

Some of the bioactive ingredients are likely to drive this association, the authors explain, adding that fresh chili is richer in capsaicin, vitamin C, and other nutrients. But they caution against linking any of these with lowering the risk of death.

Should people eat spicy food to improve health? In an accompanying editorial, Nita Forouhi from the University of Cambridge says it is too early to tell, and calls for more research to test whether these associations are the direct result of spicy food intake or whether this is a marker for other dietary or lifestyle factors.

* A hazard ratio is a measure of how often a particular event happens in one group compared to how often it happens in another group, over time.

Some of us are bigger fans of spicier foods than others. So, if you’re a little on the spicy side, you may want to kick up the heat in your meals on a regular basis. While it’s not proven, it certainly can’t hurt!