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Sunshine Burger's Southwest Veggie BurgerWe spend plenty of time here at FoodFacts.com reporting on foods that we would classify as less than healthy. Ingredients, calories, fat, sodium content and added sugars are things we encourage discussion about every day. While education and awareness are our mission, it’s important to make note of the better products out there. There may be less news available about them, they are out there. In the midst of pointing out what we may want to avoid eating, it’s always helpful to point out products we can happily consider.

Every year, Prevention magazine publishes a list of the 100 Cleanest Packaged Food Products available. And this year, Sunshine Burger’s Black Bean Southwest Veggie Burger has received accolades as one of those products. We thought this was worth a blog spotlight because Sunshine Burgers are very well rated on our site.

Sunshine Burgers specializes in vegetarian patties. Their products are free from animal products, wheat, soy, peanuts, tree nuts and corn. Cole Jones, General Manager of Sunshine Burger and Specialty Food, said the honor demonstrates the producer’s commitment to producing clean food products, free from genetically modified ingredients.

“Sunshine Burger is dedicated to providing food that is healthful and wholesome and starts with using, real certified organic, non-GMO ingredients in all our burgers,” he said.

Here are the facts for the Sunshine Burger Black Bean Southwest Veggie Burger:

Calories:           240
Fat:                   12 g
Sodium:            240 mg

Ingredients: Sunflower Seeds Ground Raw ( Organic ), Rice Brown ( Organic ), Carrot(s) ( Organic ),Bean(s) Black ( Organic ), Pepper(s) Bell ( Organic ), Cilantro ( Organic ), Garlic (Organic),Pepper(s) Jalapeno(s) ( Organic ), Cumin Seed Ground ( Organic ), Onion(s) ( Organic ), Sea Salt

A little good news about food products is a nice change for all of us! We’ll highlight other winners of the 2014 Prevention Clean Food Awards. Education and awareness shouldn’t just be about products we shouldn’t reach for on our grocery shelves. We need to know about what we should be reaching for as well!

http://www.prevention.com/food/smart-shopping/100-cleanest-packaged-food-awards-2014-dinner

Posted in Healthy Diet, healthy eating, Healthy Habits, Healthy Lifestyle, Prevention Clean Food Awards, Sunshine Veggie Burgers | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Manufacturers Introduce More Free From Food Products as Consumers Avoid More IngredientsFor well over a decade, FoodFacts.com has been educating consumers about what’s really in the food products they purchase. We’ve helped thousands of people avoid the ingredients to which they are allergic or sensitive. In addition, we’ve helped alert consumers to the ingredients that are considered controversial for a variety of health reasons. We like to think we started a trend!

There’s been a growing awareness among consumers all over the country regarding food ingredients and how they affect our health and well being. As that awareness has increased, so have consumer voices. In a revealing new report, we’re learning that those voices are truly being heard.

Though shunning specific foods or ingredients is not a new phenomenon, today food avoidance has become a way of life for tens of millions of American consumers of all ages and is increasingly impacting the product trajectory of the U.S. food and beverage industry, according to “Food Formulation Trends: Ingredients Consumers Avoid,” a report by market research publisher Packaged Facts.

For some consumers, avoiding certain foods and ingredients is a matter of life and death due to allergies and sensitivities or specific health problems, such as celiac disease, diabetes, or lactose intolerance. However,” free from” food products are increasing in popularity among consumers without any specific mandatory medical motives or religious dietary restrictions. In the absence of a specific health condition the decision to opt for “free from” products — fat-free, sugar-free, salt-free, gluten-free, and so on — can be viewed as a lifestyle choice by consumers who increasingly place a high priority on healthy living. Packaged Facts’ research reveals that the rate of U.S. consumers who claim they are watching their diet remained at an average of 52% between 2006 and 2013, compared to only 28% of Americans in 2004.

“Consumers avoid certain foods or food ingredients for preventive health reasons that may be for their own personal health, the health of their children, and, among pregnant women, as a factor in prenatal health,” says Packaged Facts research director David Sprinkle. “This is not about dealing with specific allergies but rather a matter of optimizing health and also about seeking to create a quality of life based on eliminating negatives, with the point being not to make oneself sick.”

Food manufacturers, recognizing the opportunity to appeal to concerned consumers who also tend to be trendsetters for other consumers, are extremely accommodating to this shift toward food avoidances, reformulating products to eliminate those ingredients that are being shunned. Of course, food manufacturers have been reformulating their products for decades, especially products in which the fat, sugar, or salt contents needed to be reduced or eliminated in order to appeal to more health-conscious consumers. But there remains an opportunity for major food and beverage companies to become more active in producing “free from” products.

Recently we’ve seen major companies such as General Mills increasingly becoming involved in providing products that appeal to food avoiders, but specialty marketers still lead the way in producing “free-from” foods and beverages. Retailers are also increasingly engaged in providing private label versions of “free-from” products for food avoiders.

This report is such great news for consumers everywhere and it certainly makes us here at FoodFacts.com even more enthusiastic about our mission. More of us are taking ingredient lists seriously. Our voices are helping food manufacturers develop products that make more sense for millions of people committed to healthier lifestyles. There’s certainly more work to be done — but we’re thrilled that more manufacturers are introducing more “free from” products to satisfy the demands of food conscious consumers!

http://www.virtual-strategy.com/2014/04/02/food-avoiders-driving-increased-introduction-%E2%80%9Cfree-from%E2%80%9D-products-packaged-facts-report

Posted in Free From Products, healthy eating, Healthy Habits, Healthy Lifestyle, Ingredient Avoidance | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Taco Bell Breakfast A.M. Crunch Wrap BaconWe’ve been hearing about it for months and now it’s finally here. Taco Bell breakfast is being served from 7 a.m. to 11 a.m. every day of the week. As expected, the morning offerings all present a new twist on Mexican flavors. The new breakfast items bring Taco Bell in direct competition with McDonald’s and Burger King, both of whom own mornings in the fast food world.

So, will Taco Bell breakfasts present a serious alternative to the already established fast food leaders? FoodFacts.com isn’t really sure about that. The only thing we can be sure of right now is what you’ll actually be eating if you choose to sit down at Taco Bell for your morning meal.

We chose the A.M. Crunch Wrap with Bacon to focus on because it appears to be a Mexican interpretation of a traditional fast food breakfast sandwich. Just replace the biscuit, or the English muffin, or the bagel with a tortilla and add some creamy jalapeno sauce. While we’re pretty certain you won’t find the A.M. Crunch Wrap in Mexico, these are the American fast food wars. Let’s find out what the A.M. Crunch Wrap brings to the table.

Nutrition Facts:

Calories:      660
Fat:              41 g
Sodium:    1280 mg

Might as well have a burger for breakfast, don’t you think? A McDonald’s Egg McMuffin weighs in at 330 fewer calories, 29 fewer grams of fat and 460 fewer mg of sodium.

Let’s see what the ingredient list tells us:

Eggs (Eggs Whole, Flavors Butter [Soybeans Oil, Soybeans Oil Hydrogenated, Salt, Soy Lecithin, Flavoring Artificial and Natural, Beta Carotene, TBHQ, Citric Acid,Polydimethylsiloxane] , Contains 1% or less of the following: [Salt, Citric Acid, Peppers,Xanthan Gum, Guar Gum] ) , Hashbrowns (Potatoes, Canola Oil, Corn Oil, Cottonseed Oil,Palm Oil, Soybeans Oil, Sunflower Oil, Potatoes Dehydrated, Salt, Disodium Dihydrogen Pyrophosphate, Dextrose, Oil [Canola Oil High Oleic Low Linolenic, TBHQ,Polydimethylsiloxane] , Bacon Topping [Bacon Topping, Cured with Water] , Creamy Jalapeno Sauce [Soybeans Oil, Water, Vinegar, Peppers Jalapenos, Buttermilk, Sour Cream Powder,Eggs Yolks, Dextrose, Spices, Peppers Chili, Salt, Glucono Delta Lactone, Onions Dehydrated,Flavors Natural, Paprika, Sugar, Xanthan Gum, Lactic Acid, Disodium Guanylate, Disodium Inosinate, Citric Acid, Sorbic Acid, Propylene Glycol Alginate, Garlic Powder, Cocoa Powder,Calcium Disodium EDTA] , Tortillas [Wheat Enriched Bleached Flour, Water, Vegetables Shortening]

Plenty of controversial ingredients in that list, not to mention hidden MSG. Generally not our idea of an ideal morning meal.

If we want a Mexican-inspired breakfast, we’d prefer cracking some eggs, adding some jalapeno peppers with the appropriate herbs and scrambling them up in a pan in our kitchen. We’re pretty positive the flavors will be far better and we absolutely KNOW the ingredients will be too.

http://www.foodfacts.com/NutritionFacts/Specialties/Taco-Bell-AM-Crunch-Wrap–Bacon-1-crunchwrap/92161

Posted in fast food, Fast Food Breakfast Sandwich, taco bell, Taco Bell A.M. Crunch Wrap, Taco Bell Breakfast | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Homemade Easter Peeps, Healthier Easter Basket IdeasWe know you secretly love them even now as an adult. They’re probably one of the first things that come to mind when you hear the word Easter. And they undoubtedly bring to mind images of the Easter baskets of your childhood.

Of course, we’re talking about Peeps. Yellow Peeps. Blue Peeps. Green Peeps. Purple Peeps. Peeps shaped like ducks. Peeps shaped like bunnies. They were possibly the sweetest Easter treat of all.

Alas, if only Peeps were actually as good for us as the memories they evoke. To be honest, they’re pretty bad. Here’s the ingredient list:

Sugar, Corn Syrup, Gelatin, Contains less than 0.50.5% of Potassium Sorbate, Flavor(s) Artificial, Yellow 5, Carnauba Wax

O.k. Peeps are marshmallows, so we expect for them to contain a lot of sugar. Until you get past the fourth ingredient, Peeps are just a treat. Then we get to the artificial flavors and color. And the Carnauba wax — which we more commonly associate with polishing our cars, not food.

Can you still give your kids the pleasure of Easter Peeps without the bad ingredients? Can you still enjoy sneaking a Peep during the Easter season? FoodFacts.com thinks you can. Just make marshmallows!

Here’s what you’ll need:

1 cup water
3 tbsns gelatin
2 cups organic white sugar
Coconut oil
Natural food coloring (such as India Tree)

Here’s what you’ll do:

Place 1/2 cup of the water in a large bowl and sprinkle the gelatin evenly over it.. Let it sit for a few minutes.

Put the sugar and the other 1/2 cup of water in a small pot and bring to a boil while stirring.

Once the mixture is a rolling boil (or 242F with a candy thermometer), pour the hot sugar water mixture over the gelatin/water mixture and beat with an electric mixer for about 10 minutes until the combined mixture turns into marshmallow with peaks. Add food coloring in the amount required amount to achieve desired color while whipping the marshmallow mixture.

Pour the mixture into a 9X13 glass dish that has been coated with some coconut oil. Let it sit out for several hours until firm (about 12 hours).

Remove marshmallow from dish in one large piece and cut out desired peeps shapes small cookie cutters.

While we can’t exactly call them healthy, let’s remember they are a seasonal treat. A little holiday indulgence made with ingredients you know and trust is a far better alternative to the store bought tradition that includes some rather unsavory ingredients. Homemade Peeps in your Easter baskets help make sure you’ll know what’s really in your kids Easter treats.  You can even sneak a treat for yourself and feel a lot better about it!

Posted in Healthy Easter Basket Ideas, Healthy Habits, Healthy Holiday Habits, Healthy Holiday Recipes, Peeps | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Dunkin Donuts Ice Cream Flavored Iced CoffeeAccording to Dunkin Donuts, we’ll all be screaming for ice cream flavored iced coffee. What do you think? Does it sound like it’s worth screaming for?

Butter Pecan Swirl, Cookie Dough Swirl, and Jamoca Almond Fudge Swirl have joined the Dunkin Donuts iced coffee lineup. The new flavors are based on popular Baskin Robbins ice cream varieties. We’re pretty sure that everyone in our FoodFacts.com community knows our feelings about most of the Baskin Robbins ice cream flavors. So naturally, we wanted to do a little investigating about the new coffee flavors that take their names from those ice creams.

Let’s take a look …

Butter Pecan Swirl with skim milk
Calories:             180
Fat:                       0 g
Sugar:                  36 g

The nutrition facts are based on the addition of skim milk to a small sized Butter Pecan Swirl iced coffee. The small size contains 9 teaspoons of sugar. That’s a bit much for us.

Ingredients
Skim Milk; Brewed Espresso Coffee; Butter Pecan Flavored Swirl Syrup: Skim Milk, Sugar, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Water, Brown Sugar (Sugar, Molasses), Natural and Artificial Flavors, Caramel Color, Salt, Disodium Phosphate, Potassium Sorbate (Preservative); Caramel Flavored Swirl Syrup: Sweetened Condensed Nonfat Milk, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Sugar, Water, Brown Sugar, Caramel Color, Potassium Sorbate (Preservative), Natural Flavor, Salt.

Hmmmm ….

Cookie Dough Swirl
Calories:         170
Fat:                   6 g
Sugar:              24 g

The small size Cookie Dough Swirl contains a little less sugar, weighing in at 6 teaspoons.

Ingredients
Brewed 100% Arabica Coffee; Cookie Dough Flavored Swirl Syrup: Sweetened Condensed Skim Milk (Skim Milk, Sugar), High Fructose Corn Syrup, Sugar, Water, Brown Sugar, Natural and Artificial Flavors, Salt, Potassium Sorbate (Preservative); Light Cream: Milk, Cream, Disodium Phosphate (Stabilizer), Sodium Citrate (Stabilizer).
A little less bad …

Jamoca Almond Fudge Swirl
Calories:         170
Fat:                   6 g
Sugar:              23 g

The small size Jamoca Almond Fudge Swirl is the “best” option for added sugars with a little less than 6 teaspoons.

Ingredients
Brewed 100% Arabica Coffee; Jamoca® Almond Fudge Flavored Swirl Syrup: High Fructose Corn Syrup, Sugar, Water, Cocoa processed with alkali, Natural and Artificial Flavor, Potassium Sorbate (Preservative), Salt; Light Cream: Milk, Cream, Disodium Phosphate (Stabilizer), Sodium Citrate (Stabilizer).

Are you screaming for ice cream flavored iced coffee yet? We’re not. While the flavors sound like fun, they’re just not worth the added sugars and bad ingredients. We think we prefer quieter coffee.

http://www.dunkindonuts.com/content/dunkindonuts/en/menu/beverages/icedbeverages/coffee0/iced_coffee.html?DRP_SWEET=None&DRP_FLAVOR=Butter+Pecan+Swirl&DRP_SIZE=Small&DRP_BLEND=Original&DRP_DAIRY=Skim+Milk

Posted in Dunkin Donuts, Dunkin Donuts Butter Pecan Swirl Iced Coffee, Dunkin Donuts Cookie Dough Swirl Iced Coffee, Dunkin Donuts Jamoca Almond Fudge Swirl Iced Coffee | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Cost of Childhood ObesityWhile there has been some good news recently regarding the obesity crisis, there’s still a long way to go. With about one in every three children and teens in the U.S. either overweight or obese, there are many health concerns related to childhood obesity. This life-altering condition is a burden for the millions of children affected by it, both emotionally and physically.

Now, we’re learning more details about the financial burden as well.

For the first time, the costs of the condition, called “one of the most serious public health challenges of the 21st century” by the World Health Organization, have been quantified by researchers. The findings are shocking: The epidemic has an estimated $19,000 price tag per child.

The cost analysis was led by researchers at the Duke Global Health Institute and Duke-NUS Graduate Medical School in Singapore, who measured direct medical costs, such as doctors’ visits and medication. Additional costs, such as lost productivity due to obesity, were not included.

The figure becomes more frightening when the number of obese children in the U.S. is taken into account: Lifetime medical costs for 10-year-olds alone reach $14 billion.
With this new research, the incentive to reduce childhood obesity comes with economic benefits in addition to health, said Eric Andrew Finkelstein, the lead author of the study.
“These estimates provide the financial consequences of inaction and the potential medical savings from obesity prevention efforts that successfully reduce or delay obesity onset,” he said.

Though the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released numbers last year touting a surprising 43 percent drop in obesity rates among two- to five-year-olds in the last decade, they don’t take into account the bigger picture. Obesity rates still go up as children age. The condition is also associated with premature death later in life and remains a global epidemic.

FoodFacts.com tries to keep our community up to date with news and research regarding the obesity crisis. As we said, there’s still so much work to do. As our children’s caregivers, it’s up to us to begin healthy habits for them right from the start. Fresh, real foods and plenty of activity should help to set them up for a healthier life that doesn’t include the emotional, physical and financial problems connected with obesity.

http://www.takepart.com/article/2014/04/12/childhood-obesity-epidemic-costing-almost-20000-child

Posted in Childhood Nutrition, Childhood Obesity, children, obesity, Obesity Crisis, Obesity in America | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

National Read Your Labels Day
Thanks Citizens for Health! The second annual National Read Your Labels Day is upon us. FoodFacts.com wants to help spread the word helping to encourage Americans to get the 4-1-1 on what’s in their foods and beverages!

On this day, Citizens for Health wants everyone to open their kitchen cabinets and read the labels of the food products they’ve purchased. They’re especially interested in folks taking note of the ten additives they’d like us all to avoid. Here’s their list:

1. High Fructose Corn Syrup
2. Aspartame
3. Hydrolyzed Protein
4. Autolyzed Yeast
5. Monosodium Glutame
6. Potassium Bromate
7. Brominated Vegetable Oil
8. BHA and BHT
9. Trans Fats
10. Artificial Colors

If we highlighted those in orange, we’d be reading a few ingredient lists we can think of on the FoodFacts.com website. We’d probably add a few more items to the list, but it’s a great place to begin. If consumers became aware of these ingredients, we’d find progress in the fight against obesity, type 2 diabetes, heart disease and cancer.

Jim Turner, who chairs Citizens for Health said, “We sponsored the first ‘Read Your Labels Day’ this last April to help Americans to be aware of how many chemicals are used in processed foods and beverages. The response was tremendous. We had stories on TV stations around the country, and the news was covered by major grocery publications. Even some of the biggest supermarkets, including Whole Food Markets, hosted ‘Read Your Labels Day’ events in their stores. We’re expecting an even bigger success in 2014.”

While many shoppers scan the nutrition labels on packages looking for such things as saturated fats or sodium content, an independent study published in 2011 by the food and beverage research group Mintel reported that less than half of consumers surveyed read the ingredients labels on the foods they purchased in supermarkets.

“The majority of us don’t check the list of ingredients on food package labels,” added Turner. “The big food manufacturers are counting on this. If we don’t read or understand the ingredients in their products, they can put pretty much whatever they want to into our food.”

Intelligent consumers cause changes to occur. There have been small victories in the recent past. Subway is removing azodicarbonamide from their breads. Kraft is removing artificial colors from some of their Macaroni and Cheese products. Gatorade removed brominated vegetable oil from some of their sports drinks. Consumer voices count.

But in order for us to have a voice, we need to know the ingredients being used in the foods we consume and understand why we shouldn’t be consuming them. That starts with reading the ingredient lists on every single product we purchase. Reading about those ingredients on FoodFacts.com helps put in perspective the idea that certain ingredients really aren’t fit for consumption. Chemicals belong in labs, not human bodies.

This Friday, open your cabinets. Read some labels. Decide which ingredients are best left alone. Oh, then don’t forget to make some noise and let food manufacturers know that you’re not satisfied with the ingredients they are choosing to include in your food. Happy National Ready Your Labels Day everyone!

http://foodidentitytheft.com/

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McDonald's Bacon Clubhouse BurgerHave you heard about the new McDonald’s Bacon Clubhouse Burger? If you Google the new burger, you’ll see that the big news here is that this is the only burger besides the Big Mac that features the “special sauce” that graces its big brother burger. It appears that people are excited about the use of the Big Mac “special sauce” on a sandwich that isn’t the Big Mac.

The Bacon Clubhouse Burger is attempting to appeal to a more sophisticated audience, though. It also features an artisan roll, smoked applewood bacon, carmelized grilled onions, leaf lettuce and Angus seasoning.

Just what does that cosmopolitan burger description really get us, though? Time to go under the bun with FoodFacts.com as we investigate what’s really in this new McDonald’s creation.

Let’s start with the nutrition facts:

Calories:                 720
Fat:                          40 g
Saturated Fat:           15 g
Sodium:                1470 mg
Sugar:                      14 g

Let’s just say that, believe it or not, the Big Mac is actually a better nutritional choice than the Bacon Clubhouse Burger. Obviously that’s not saying much. This burger contains 180 additional calories, 11 extra grams of fat, 5 more grams of saturated fat, 430 mg of additional sodium and 5 more grams of sugar than the Big Mac. Not exactly a healthy meal — and we didn’t even add fries to it yet!

What about the ingredients? We’re sure you can guess, but here they are:

QUARTER POUND 100% BEEF PATTY  Ingredients: 100% Pure USDA Inspected Beef; No Fillers, No Extenders. Prepared With Grill Seasoning (Salt, Black Pepper). *Based On The Weight Before Cooking 4 Oz. (113.4g) ARTISAN ROLL Ingredients: Wheat Flour or Enriched Flour (Wheat Flour or Bleached Wheat Flour, Niacin, Iron, Thiamine Mononitrate, Riboflavin, Folic Acid), Malted Barley Flour, Water, Sugar, Yeast, Palm Oil, Wheat Gluten, Dextrose, Salt, Contains 2% or less: Natural Flavors (Plant Source), Corn Flour, Soybean Oil, Calcium Sulfate, Mono- and Diglycerides, Sodium Stearoyl Lactylate, Monocalcium Phosphate, Ascorbic Acid, Enzymes, Calcium Propionate (Preservative), Vegetable Proteins (Pea, Potato, Rice), Sunflower Oil, Turmeric, Paprika, Corn Starch, Wheat Starch, Acetic Acid. TOMATO SLICE THICK CUT APPLEWOOD SMOKED BACON Ingredients: Pork Bellies Cured with Water, Salt, Sugar, Natural Smoke Flavor (Plant Source), Sodium Phosphate, Sodium Erythorbate, Sodium Nitrite. CARAMELIZED GRILLED ONIONS Ingredients: Slivered Onions Prepared in Onion Reduction Sauce (Palm, Soybean and/or Cottonseed Oil, Salt, Sugar, Caramelized Sugar, Onion Powder, Maltodextrin, Natural Flavors [Plant Source], Spice). BIG MAC SAUCE Ingredients: Soybean Oil, Pickle Relish (Diced Pickles, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Sugar, Vinegar, Corn Syrup, Salt, Calcium Chloride, Xanthan Gum, Potassium Sorbate [Preservative], Spice Extractives, Polysorbate 80), Distilled Vinegar, Water, Egg Yolks, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Onion Powder, Mustard Seed, Salt, Spices, Propylene Glycol Alginate, Sodium Benzoate (Preservative), Mustard Bran, Sugar, Garlic Powder, Vegetable Protein (Hydrolyzed Corn, Soy and Wheat), Caramel Color, Extractives of Paprika, Soy Lecithin, Turmeric (Color), Calcium Disodium EDTA (Protect Flavor). PASTEURIZED PROCESS WHITE CHEDDAR CHEESE Ingredients: Milk, Water, Cheese Culture, Cream, Sodium Citrate, Contains 2% or less of: Salt, Citric Acid, Sorbic Acid (Preservative), May Contain One or More of: Sodium Phosphate, Sodium Pyrophosphate, Sodium Hexametaphosphate, Enzymes, Acetic Acid, Soy Lecithin (Added for Slice Separation). LEAF LETTUCE ANGUS SEASONING Ingredients: Salt, Sugar, Onion Powder, Natural (Animal and Plant Sources) and Artificial Flavors, Spice, Maltodextrin, Autolyzed Yeast Extract, Dried Beef Broth, Dextrose, Garlic Powder, Worcestershire Sauce Powder (Distilled Vinegar, Molasses, Corn Syrup, Salt, Caramel Color, Garlic Powder, Sugar, Spices, Tamarind, Natural Flavor [Fruit Source]), Spice Extractives, Beef Fat, Caramel Color, Annatto and Turmeric (Color).

We counted. That’s about 17 ingredients we don’t want to eat all in one burger. Please make sure you read the ingredients in the Big Mac sauce carefully. This is the sauce consumers are making such a big fuss over. They’re happy it’s making an appearance on another burger. We’re not.

The McDonald’s Bacon Clubhouse Burger isn’t deserving of the buzz surrounding its introduction. It’s just another fast food monstrosity with too many calories, too much fat, too much sodium and too many bad ingredients.

http://www.mcdonalds.com/us/en/food/product_nutrition.sandwiches.1360.bacon-clubhouse-burger.html

Posted in Big Mac, McDonald's, McDonald's Bacon Clubhouse Burger | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

iStock_000017868525Small.jpgMost of the country is patiently waiting for the sunshine to poke through the clouds and bring the warmer weather we’ve been waiting for. It was a harsh, harsh winter for most and the little we’ve seen of spring has been wet and a bit gloomy so far.

We suppose that might be a reason we’re seeing all sorts of springtime promotions announced. There are more this year than we’ve seen in the past. Dunkin Donuts is getting in on the action, helping to bring us a little more of the springtime with the introduction of the Peeps Donut.

FoodFacts.com has to admit that we were confused by the concept of a Peeps Donut when we first heard about it. Peeps, as just about everyone in the U.S. and Canada knows, are marshmallow candies that are a traditional part of the spring holidays. They are familiarly shaped like chicks and bunnies and are brightly colored in holiday colors like pink, yellow and green. Their popularity has resulted in Christmas Peeps, Halloween Peeps and Summer Peeps all specifically colored to match the season of their release.

Of course, we’re not Peeps fans. All those artificial colors don’t leave us feeling great about the products. But that wasn’t why we were confused. Is the Peeps Donut marshmallow flavored? Could they really have put a Peep on top of a donut? And if they did, why?

We did a little investigating. From what we’re reading, the donut part of the Peeps Donut is not marshmallow flavored. Perhaps it’s supposed to be, but no one actually thinks it is. Yes, Dunkin put a Peep on top of the donut. We really don’t know why. Doesn’t seem like a likely flavor combination to us. And to go a bit further, the Peeps Donuts are iced with the colors of the season — complete with the same artificial colors we don’t care for in the actual Peeps.

So here are the facts:

Calories:                 310
Fat:                        15 g
Saturated Fat:         7 mg
Sugar:                    21 g

The ingredient list is where it really gets interesting:

Donut: Enriched Wheat Flour (Flour, Malted Barley Flour, Niacin, Reduced Iron, Thiamin Mononitrate, Riboflavin, Folic Acid), Water, Palm Oil, Yeast Donut Concentrate [Soy Flour, Pregelatinized Wheat Starch, Salt, Whey (Milk), Baking Soda, Sodium Acid Pyrophosphate, Nonfat Milk, Gum Blend (Cellulose, Guar, Acacia, Carrageenan, Xanthan), Sodium Caseinate (Milk), Sodium Stearoyl Lactylate, Eggs, Soybean Oil, Annatto (Color), Natural and Artificial Flavor, Soy Lecithin, Turmeric (Color)], Dextrose, Soybean Oil, Yeast, Mono and Diglycerides; Strawberry Flavored Icing: Sugar, Water, Corn Syrup, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Partially Hydrogenated Soybean and/or Cottonseed Oil, Contains 2% or less of: Maltodextrin, Dextrose, Soybean Oil, Corn Starch, Sodium Propionate and Potassium Sorbate (Preservatives), Salt, Titanium Dioxide (Color), Citric Acid, Polyglycerol Esters of Fatty Acids, Agar, Soy Lecithin (Emulsifier), Natural and Artificial Flavor, Red 40; Green Icing: [White Icing: Sugar, Water, Corn Syrup, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Partially Hydrogenated Soybean and/or Cottonseed Oil, Contains 2% or less: Maltodextrin, Dextrose, Soybean Oil, Corn Starch, Artificial Flavor, Salt, Titanium Dioxide (Color), Sodium Propionate and Potassium Sorbate (Preservatives), Citric Acid, Polyglycerol Esters of Fatty Acids, Agar, Soy Lecithin (Emulsifier); Green Coloring: Water, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Glycerin, Modified Food Starch, Sugar, Carrageenan Gum, Sodium Benzoate and Potassium Sorbate (Preservatives), Xanthan Gum, Citric Acid; May Contain FD&C Blue 1, FD&C Blue 2, FD&C Red 3, FD&C Red 40, FD&C Yellow 6, FD&C Yellow 5]. Topping May Include: Yellow Peep: Sugar, Corn Syrup, Gelatin, Contains less than 0.5% of the following ingredients: Yellow 5, Potassium Sorbate (Preservative), Natural Flavors, Carnauba Wax. Pink Peep: Sugar, Corn Syrup, Gelatin, Contains less than 0.5% of the following ingredients: Potassium Sorbate (Preservative), Natural Flavors, Red 3, Carnauba Wax.

The donut itself contains something Dunkin refers to as a “gum blend.” Not sure what that’s about. No matter which color icing and Peep you choose, you’ll be treated to high fructose corn syrup, carrageenan, and a plethora of artificial food coloring, among other ingredients we don’t particularly like. Not to mention the fact that Peeps contain carnauba wax, with which we’d rather polish our cars than actually eat.

All things considered, we’ll find a different way to celebrate spring.

http://www.dunkindonuts.com/content/dunkindonuts/en/menu/food/bakery/donuts/donuts.html?DRP_FLAVOR=Peeps%20Donut

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iStock_000013818677Small.jpgEvery chocolate lover carries just a little guilt over indulging in their favorite sweet. As more and more research is released revealing the health benefits of moderate chocolate consumption, that guilt dissipates a bit. But the newest research may prove to be the most surprising of all, unexpectedly linking chocolate to the possible prevention of both obesity and type 2 diabetes.

In a mouse study, led by Andrew P. Neilson of the Department of Food Science and Technology at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, researchers discovered that a certain antioxidant in cocoa – the main ingredient in chocolate – prevented mice from gaining weight and lowered their blood sugar levels.

This is not the only study to suggest that consuming chocolate can prevent such health conditions.

Earlier this year, a study claiming that chocolate, as well as wine and berries, protects against type 2 diabetes, while other research found that teens who eat lots of chocolate tend to be slimmer.

Such studies claim that the reason chocolate may have these health benefits is because of the flavanols it contains. These are types of antioxidants.

But the researchers of this most recent study say that not all flavanols are the same. In fact, cocoa has several different types.

In their study, published in the Journal of Agricultural Food and Chemistry, the investigators set out to determine exactly which flavanol may be responsible for preventing weight gain and lowering blood glucose levels.

For the research, the investigators assigned mice to one of six different diets for 12 weeks.

These consisted of high- and low-fat diets, and high-fat diets supplemented with either monomeric, oligomeric or polymeric procyandins (PCs) – types of flavanols. Mice were given 25 milligrams of these flavanols each day for every kilogram of their body weight (25 mg/kg).

The research team found that a high-fat diet supplemented with oligomeric PCs was the most effective for maintaining weight of the mice and improving glucose tolerance – a factor that could help prevent type 2 diabetes.

Commenting on the findings, the researchers say:

“Oligomeric PCs appear to possess the greatest antiobesity and antidiabetic bioactivities of the flavanols in cocoa, particularly at the low doses employed for the present study.  Additional studies of prolonged feeding of flavanol fractions in vivo are needed to further identify the fractions with the highest bioactivities and, therefore, the greatest potential for translation to human clinical applications at reasonable doses.”

The investigators point out that the doses of flavanols used in this study are significantly lower than doses used in past research and are more feasible when translated into flavanol levels for human consumption.

“Therefore, our data suggest that moderate doses of cocoa flavanols or cocoa powder have the potential to be more effective in human clinical trials than previously thought,” they add.

While FoodFacts.com understands that this study is by no means suggesting we all stock up on our favorite candy bars, it is exciting news for chocolate lovers everywhere. It’s also fascinating to understand that chocolate — which has for so long been thought of as an unnecessary source of calories — may actually help prevent the diseases with which it has been associated. Hearing good news about a food we love is always a welcome thing … especially when that food is such a sweet indulgence!

http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/275008.php

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