There’s an all-important ingredient missing from Starbucks famous Pumpkin Spice Latte … and it’s not the espresso

starbucks (1)You probably can guess that FoodFacts.com has the utmost respect and admiration for Food Babe, Vani Hari. She’s never afraid to take on food manufacturers and challenge them to change. Her efforts have led to many successes that are helping consumers enjoy healthier options. Hari’s writing has prompted petitions that forced Subway to remove azodicarbonamide from its bread, criticized pizza chains for using MSG, and even convinced Chick-fil-A to phase out chicken given antibiotics.

Hari’s latest investigation is aimed at Starbucks, specifically its pumpkin spice latte, with an August 25 blog post titled “You’ll never guess what’s in a Starbucks pumpkin spice latte. (Hint: You won’t be happy).”

As with many of her investigations, the Food Babe’s most pressing concern begins with Starbucks’ failure to disclose ingredients for all of its beverages online. Hari writes:

While they list some ingredients on their website, they still do not list the ingredients in their most popular items: their drinks! This includes all of their lattes, frappuccinos, macchiatos, smoothies, etc.

Indeed, Starbucks.com lists the ingredients only for all its food items — but no beverages. However, the issue is something the company says it’s working to amend.

“With more than 170,000 ways to customize your Starbucks beverage, listing ingredients can be very complex. We’ve been working on listing our core beverage recipes online via Starbucks.com, same as we do with our food, and hope to have an update in the near future,” a media spokesperson said Wednesday via email.

The Starbucks’ Pumpkin Spice Latte is a superstar in the coffee world. It has millions of afficionados. Consumers wait patiently for the beverage to reappear in Starbucks locations nationwide every fall. Unfortunately, it appears that it lacks an all-important ingredient. There’s no actual pumpkin in the beverage.

In her post, Hari goes on to list several “harmful” ingredients found in Starbucks’ most popular beverage, the PSL, including IV caramel coloring, Monsanto milk, pesticide residue, artificial flavors, preservatives, and sulfites.

The ingredient list reads as follows:

Milk, Espresso (Water, Brewed Espresso Coffee), Pumpkin Spice Flavored Sauce (Sugar, Condensed Nonfat Milk, High Fructose Corn Syrup or Sweetened Condensed Nonfat Milk (Milk, Sugar), Annatto (for color), Natural and Artificial Flavors, Caramel Color (class IV), Salt, Potassium Sorbate (preservative)), Whip Cream (Whipping Cream, Starbucks Vanilla Syrup (Sugar, Water, Natural Flavors, Potassium Sorbate, Citric Acid, Caramel Color (class IV)), Pumpkin Spice Topping: Cinnamon, Ginger, Nutmeg, Clove, Sulfites.

While Starbucks did not respond to questions about the Food Babe’s pumpkin spice latte blog post — including whether it has affected the company’s decision to make any changes to the drink — the media representative confirmed that the company is actively working to remove the caramel coloring from its beverage syrup.

“We are actively looking at phasing out caramel coloring, though we don’t have timing to share,” the media spokesperson said. “In any instances where it is used in our beverages, the level is well below the No Significant Risk Level (NSRL) and safe to consume.”

While Hari’s claim that the Starbucks pumpkin spice latte contains absolutely no real pumpkin is also true, it appears Starbucks is going with the “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” stance. According to the spokesperson, the coffee giant won’t be giving in on that one anytime soon.

“The idea behind the Pumpkin Spice Latte has always been to have an espresso-forward beverage, which is core to what Starbucks is known for, infused with pumpkin-inspired flavors and spices of the fall season,” she said. “The PSL has become the company’s most popular seasonal beverage of all time, and we have no plans to change the recipe.”

So, if we’ve got this right, Starbucks most popular, widely embraced fall beverage will continue to offer consumers the great taste of pumpkin without ever including any pumpkin in its ingredient list. It was designed to bring you the taste of pumpkin with natural and artificial flavor (not to mention at least a few other questionable ingredients) and it’s just fine the way it is. Except for the caramel coloring — which Starbucks is “working on” replacing, but isn’t ready to do quite yet.

Hmmm. Kind of makes you wonder how the Pumpkin Spice Latte managed to rise to its current stratospheric level of popularity. Go Food Babe.

http://blogs.browardpalmbeach.com/cleanplatecharlie/2014/08/starbucks_to_food_babe_no_plans_to_put_real_pumpkin_in_pumpkin_spice_latte.php

Can high salt intake be related to the risk for multiple sclerosis?

World Multiple Sclerosis DaySalt. It seems like it’s always in the news. Too much is unhealthy. Too little might be unhealthy. The majority of our sodium intake is coming from the processed foods in our grocery stores, not from the salt shakers in our kitchens. Certain food products are just about guaranteed to contain more sodium than others. The list goes on. But no matter how the latest news is reported, a few basic ideas remain consistent. We need sodium in our diets to help our bodies function properly, but too much is unhealthy — and the majority of us are getting much too much. And much too much can result in things like high blood pressure and the buildup of fluid in people with congestive heart failure and kidney disease. But are there any other health problems that can be linked to our excessive salt habit?

A novel study has unveiled that there might be an association between salt consumption and multiple sclerosis (MS) risk.

Currently, multiple sclerosis is considered to be an autoimmune disease. Previous studies have indicated that salt may alter the autoimmune disease. Keeping that factor in mind, researchers carried out the study to know if salt has a direct effect on the course of the disease.

The study was of observational nature. For the study, participants with relapsing-remitting MS were recruited and were divided into two groups. The first group had 70 patients. For two years in the follow-up period, clinical, radiology and sodium intake data was gathered.

For a year after enrolment, blood and urine samples were taken. Researchers measured level of salt and creatinine, a marker of inflammatory activity, in urine samples. Other things measured were serum sodium and vitamin D levels, as low level of it has been linked with MS.

The second group had 52 volunteers. Urine samples were collected and were assessed as per the same procedure used in the first group. Researchers found that volunteers who had high salt intake were four times more like to have severe MS symptoms.

Researchers considered the factors like age, gender, disease duration, smoking status, vitamin D levels, body mass index and treatment. When comparison was done on individual basis, people having moderate or high salt were found to witness around three times more progression in the systems and four times more likely to experience exacerbating symptoms.
“Findings suggest further research into whether dietary salt reduction could ease MS symptoms or slow the progression of the disease might now be warranted”, affirmed researchers.

FoodFacts.com can’t help but mention the onslaught of research we’ve seen lately revealing new insights into our food and ingredient consumption. This particular study showing a link between sodium and the progression of of multiple sclerosis symptoms is eye-opening and very unexpected. As we learn more about the unfortunate effects of excessive sodium consumption, we are encouraged by the idea that the preparation of fresh foods, in our own kitchens contributes to our health and well being. Just another reason to avoid the processed foods that contain too many and too much of a long list of things that don’t contribute to our health.

http://newsmaine.net/20449-high-salt-intake-may-be-linked-increased-ms-disease-activity-study

Don’t eat that! It will spoil your appetite! Junk food just might do exactly what your mother warned you about …

Assorted Junk FoodYou have at least one memory from your childhood featuring your mom or your grandmother or some other well-meaning adult admonishing you in a harsh tone. “Don’t eat that! It will spoil your appetite!” It might have been cookies, or candy or chips. Inevitably, it was very close to dinner time. And odds are, you weren’t pleased by the words.

As it turns out, junk food really might spoil your appetite — on a more permanent basis.

Researchers at the University of New South Wales Australia conducted several studies to see how junk food would impact rats’ weight and dietary preferences. Of course, they found the obvious—junk food “makes rats fat.” But they also determined that junk food-fed rats experienced a reduced desire for novel foods, which is important as this appetitive tendency, innate in animals, typically encourages rats’ to pursue a balanced diet.

“Eating junk food seems to change the response to signals that are associated with food reward,” commented Prof. Margaret Morris, Head of Pharmacology from the UNSW Australia’s School of Medical Sciences and a study co-author.

How did the researchers come to this conclusion?

For several weeks, the team fed one group of animals a diet of healthy rat food, and they fed another group of rats a diet that included not-so-healthy human foods such as pie, dumplings, cookies and cake. Both groups of rats were also given cherry and grape sugar water to drink. The junk food-fed rats wound up weighing 10 percent more than their healthy food-fed counterparts.

In one of the experiments, the team taught these rats to associate cherry and grape sugar water with different sound cues. The healthy rats responded appropriately to the sound cues—that is, if they had just consumed grape sugar water and then heard another cue for grape sugar water, they wouldn’t drink more of it. Junk food-fed rats, on the other hand, would respond to sound cues in an unhealthy manner—if they heard a noise associated with grape sugar water, they would drink said sugar water even if they had just consumed a lot of it. (The same findings hold for cherry sugar water.)

In other words, it appears junk food-fed rats don’t seem to realize when they’ve overindulged in a food (the flavored sugar water); instead, they respond to the sound cues just the same, whereas healthy rats stop responding to the food they just ate.

“We know a lot about food and nutrition and what we should be doing, and yet we’re getting fatter and fatter,” Morris says. “Our sort of diet appears to override an animal’s ability to know it’s just eaten something—they’re just eating indiscriminately, if you will.”

In another experiment, the researchers wanted to see whether the apparent disruption of the reward mechanism persisted after the junk food-fed rats were placed on a healthy diet. Even after a week on healthy rat chow, the formerly junk food-fed rats still acted the same way, treating both solutions indiscriminately, according to Morris.

“It suggests that whatever changes happen in the brain may persist for a while,” she says.

The study, while pertaining to rats, has a lot of troubling implications for humans. Rat behavior often gives insight into human behavior—which means we should think deeply about junk food’s psychological and public health impacts.

Science is constantly offering us new perspectives on our health and our foods. FoodFacts.com can say with confidence that those new perspectives simply uphold what nutritionists, dietitians, researchers, and educated consumers have known all along. Junk food is nutritionally vacant. What it does provide, unfortunately, are high levels of sugar, salt and fat, contributing to obesity, diabetes and heart disease. And according to the study detailed here, it can interfere with our normal tendencies to balance our diets, thus leading to more of the same. Now that’s a new perspective — not to mention yet another significant reason to stay far away from junk food.

http://www.newsweek.com/junk-food-addictive-avoid-trying-new-foods-266803

Ohio’s Legendary Pink Cookie Banned from Cafeterias

YouTube-screenshot-WEWS-NewsChannel5-AFP-Getty-Images-Jim-WatsonWe’re all pretty happy about the new nutritional standards for our schools. It’s great to know that there are now real rules in place that govern the fat, sugar, salt and calorie content of the foods our kids choose to consume while they are in their school environment. But there are some things in some places that some people really just don’t want to let go of. And that’s what today’s blog post is all about.

Now, thanks to federal regulations, students in all 11 taxpayer-funded public schools in Elyria, Ohio cannot enjoy the famous Elyria pink cookie anymore.

This cookie is no ordinary cookie, according to The Chronicle-Telegram, the Cleveland suburb’s local newspaper.

It’s a velvety, cake-like, scrumptious delicacy glazed with a huge dollop of sugary pink icing. Cleveland magazine dubbed the Elyria pink cookie the “Best Cafeteria Cookie” in 2009. Locals will even call up asking for special bulk orders of the tasty treat.

The originator of the Elyria pink cookies, Jean Gawlik, formulated the legendary confection almost 40 years ago using a simple, personal recipe her late mother had given her. It includes lots of butter, a couple different kinds of sugar, some Crisco and sour cream.

As local ABC affiliate WEWS notes, the cookie has been a staple on the local school menu since roughly the Carter administration.

This year, though, students in the Elyria must say goodbye to all that because of calorie restrictions.

“We can’t have them in the cafeteria for sale, period,” Scott Teaman, who runs the district’s cafeteria services, told The Chronicle-Telegram. “The guidelines for snacks are very strict, and there is no wiggle room.”

FoodFacts.com would have to bet that there are plenty of home cooks in Elyria who already know the recipe for the scrumptious pink cookie. While we know it will be missed, we’re certain it won’t die as a community tradition. We do understand that folks are upset — but we’re willing to go out on a limb here and say that the beloved pink cookie will live on. And we’re happy about that. We do still, though, think it’s best that we all stick to the nutritional standards currently being enforced in our schools.

Read more: http://dailycaller.com/2014/08/23/now-michelle-obama-has-caused-americas-best-cafeteria-cookie-to-be-outlawed/#ixzz3Bq6ThJrL

Tremendous oversight by Dairy Queen employees leads to panic and health concerns

iStock_000029610102SmallThis is a very unpleasant story … but one that needs to be told because fast food consumers should be aware of the possible health risks that can exist at any fast food location that have nothing to do with the fat, calories, salt, sugar or bad ingredients.

A pretty frightening incident occurred for a Colorado woman and her son when they ordered a vanilla shake from a Dairy Queen and instead got ice cream with some floor cleaner in it.

Lisa Chase said she ordered the shake at a Dairy Queen location in the town of Thornton and gave it to her son. It didn’t take long for the boy to start complaining that the treat felt like it was burning his tongue.

“Something was, like, bubbling on my tongue,” Riley Chase said, adding that the bubbling was accompanied with a burning sensation.

Apparently, the shake contained more than just ice cream. Along with the dairy and vanilla-flavored ingredients, the shake also contained floor cleaner and a degreasing concentrate.

“You couldn’t even taste the ice cream in it,” said Lisa Chase. “It tasted like you were drinking a very strong cleanser. Then, the burn started instantly.”

The cleaner that Riley ingested contains sodium hydroxide that can cause internal burns, vomiting and even shock.

While her son is already feeling better, following a trip to the hospital, Lisa Chase is worried that others may not have been so lucky.

“Now they admitted it’s two since I was there… now it’s up to three people. They need to be held accountable for what they’re doing,” she said.

The owner of the Dairy Queen franchise in Thornton said the incident was a terrible accident. Apparently, one employee was soaking the vanilla syrup container in the cleaner when another worker picked it up believing it was clean, and filled it with syrup.

The owner also said he has contacted the Health Department and poison control, and that both employees have been disciplined for failing to follow proper procedure.

When you think about this situation, it’s (sadly) easy to see how it could have happened. FoodFacts.com is, frankly, curious as to how we haven’t heard about something like this before. And while, it’s certainly not a possibility any of us might like to consider, it’s absolutely something for which fast food consumers should be on the alert. This is a mistake that is far too easy to make — especially with lines of consumers waiting for their orders and workers trying to keep up with them. So, if you aren’t making vanilla shakes in your blender with your own ice cream and milk, it’s important to be aware of this potentially deadly mistake that could so easily be repeated anywhere.

http://www.kutv.com/news/features/national/stories/vid_6698.shtml

Consumer voices heard by WhiteWave: Horizon and Silk products losing the carrageenan

iStock_000003462088SmallOne of the most common questions we get here at FoodFacts.com has to do with the controversial ingredient carrageenan. The questions take on a variety of forms, but the basic idea is “What’s wrong with carrageenan, it’s just seaweed, right?” The quick answer is “Nope, wrong.” Carrageenan isn’t seaweed. It’s derived from seaweed and therefore considered a “natural” ingredient. Carrageenan is extracted from the seaweed with an alkaline solution like potassium hydroxide (used to manufacture soaps, batteries and cuticle remover solutions, as well as in the refining of petroleum and natural gas). In short, chemicals are used to produce Carrageenan.

Carrageenan, used as a thickener and emulsifier in foods and beverages, will be phased out from Horizon and Silk products over time, said Sara Loveday, a company spokeswoman.

The ingredient has been the subject of criticism in some circles, with natural-food advocates pointing to animal studies that suggest it causes gastrointestinal inflammation and other problems.

Loveday says WhiteWave still thinks carrageenan is safe, but decided to remove it because customer feedback has been so strong.

“When you get to a certain point of how vocal and strongly a consumer feels about it, we felt it was time to make a change,” she said.

It’s just the latest example of a food maker removing an ingredient customers found objectionable. Regardless of whether an ingredient is safe, companies are finding themselves under growing pressure from customer sensitivities about ingredients, especially given their ability to mobilize on social media sites.

WhiteWave, based in Broomfield, Colorado, did not immediately detail when the ingredient would be phased out of various products. But in a communication with Hari that was shared with The Associated Press, the company said carrageenan will be removed from Horizon flavored milked in the first quarter of next year. It will be removed from all other Horizon items such as eggnog, low-fat cottage cheese and heavy whipping cream, by the second quarter of 2015, the statement said.

The ingredient will be removed from its top five Silk Soy and Coconut drinks by the second quarter of 2015 and other Silk products in 2016.

FoodFacts.com is thrilled with this great news! Carrageenan is an ingredient that confuses so many consumers because it is considered natural, no matter how it is produced. It’s great to see a major manufacturer listening to consumer voices and removing it from their popular products. Consumer voices count. There’s more and more proof of that every day. We know that the consumers who are speaking their minds about carrageenan will express their approval for this move by WhiteWave with increased loyalty for their favorite products. And we know that WhiteWave will set the tone for other manufacturers to step up to the plate and follow suit.

http://abcnews.go.com/Health/wireStory/whitewave-remove-ingredient-horizon-silk-25042264

The most important meal of the day may not be as important as we think

222979_10150199008818407_4160974_nWe all heard it when we were kids. And our kids still hear it now. “Breakfast is the most important meal of the day.” We also heard, “You can’t be at your best without eating breakfast” and, “Breakfast fuels your morning.” Any combination of those statements has been emphasizing to us all that our day can’t possibly begin without sitting down to a good, healthy breakfast.

But that’s actually been debated for years. Adding to the ongoing debate about what makes for good food habits is another new study refuting the long-held notion that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. It’s certainly not the first study to suggest this, but just one in a chain that has suggested that breakfast may not be all it’s cracked up to be. Earlier this year, another team had reported that when overweight and obese participants were asked to skip or eat breakfast, both groups lost the same amount of weight. Now, the new research, in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, finds that normal weight breakfast eaters also aren’t necessarily any better off than breakfast skippers, at least metabolically speaking.

The study, conducted at the University of Bath, had 33 normal weight men and women either eat a breakfast (of at least 700 calories) before 11 a.m. or skip it all together. They recorded various metabolic markers – resting metabolic rate, cholesterol, and blood glucose – over a period of six weeks to see if there were any measurable differences between the two groups.

And there really weren’t any big ones. The only discernible difference was that breakfast skippers ate fewer total calories over the course of the day, which counters the image of the breakfast skipper binging later on to make up for the loss. The downside was that they did burn fewer calories over the course of a day. Meanwhile, breakfast eaters were more active in the morning, but this mainly offset the extra calories they’d consumed for breakfast.

In terms of metabolic profiles, the two groups looked pretty close. The breakfast group, especially at the end of the six weeks, did have slightly more stable blood sugar levels over the course of a day than breakfast skippers.

“I almost never have breakfast,” study author James Betts told The Times. “That was part of my motivation for conducting this research, as everybody was always telling me off and saying I should know better.” He added that he doesn’t have plans to change his routine.

Other studies have suggested that skipping breakfast is linked to considerably poorer cardiovascular health: One large study last year, which followed nearly 27,000 men over a period of 16 years, showed that skipping breakfast was linked to a 27% increased risk of coronary heart disease. The authors said this is likely due to the connections between extended fasting and blood pressure, cholesterol, and insulin resistance.

It’s worth mentioning that the current study was very small and short-term, and it will need to be repeated with more people and over a longer period of time. It may be that the effects of breakfast-skipping add up over time, and the results only evident after several years.

The bottom line is still that you should do what feels right. If you wake up famished and can’t make it more than an hour without feeling woozy, you should probably eat breakfast. But if you don’t even think about eating till midday, then you’re probably fine to skip it. There’s so much individual variation in nutrition and metabolism that the idea that eating breakfast is either a good thing or a bad thing is getting pretty hard to swallow.

It’s possible that some of the old food cliches that have become standard beliefs over generations may not be as true as we once thought. There are still a few, though, that FoodFacts.com believes might still be worth repeating to future generations. “Eat your vegetables, they’re good for you.” “You are what you eat.” “An apple a day keeps the doctor away.” And while breakfast might eventually prove to NOT be the most important meal of the day, we do think there’s still something to be said for it. A healthy meal in the morning just might set the tone for the rest of the choices we make during the day.

http://www.forbes.com/sites/alicegwalton/2014/08/23/why-breakfast-may-not-be-the-most-important-meal-of-the-day/

11 hours of “pay it forward” at Florida Starbucks

Starbucks Coffee on Coffee BeansIt really feels like there isn’t any good news to be found recently. The news has been bleak here in the U.S. and around the world. With very little escape from disease, corruption and violence, FoodFacts.com thought it might be refreshing to focus our blog post on an ongoing string of kindness that actually lasted for 11 hours at a Florida Starbucks. It’s a much-deserved pick-me-up for us all!

A woman drove up and paid for her own iced coffee at 7 a.m. Wednesday at a St. Petersburg store, and also asked to pay for a caramel macchiato for the driver behind her, who then did the same for the next customer.

After a few people continued the chain, the employees started keeping a tally on a piece of paper by the window.

By 1:30 p.m., 260 people had paid it forward, according to the Tampa Bay Times, ordering their own drinks and paying for one for the stranger behind them. After people ordered their drinks and drove up to the window, barista Vu Nguyen explained that the drink had already been paid for and asked if they’d like to return the favor. In total, 378 people agreed to keep it going.
The baristas thought that if the chain lasted until closing, at 10 p.m., they would put the remaining money on a gift card and continue the next day, according to theTampa Bay Times. But the chain finally ended in that evening.

At 6 p.m., the 379th customer ended the chain by ordering a coffee and declining to pay for the next one.

Nguyen says he doesn’t believe that final customer understood the pay-it-forward concept.

While it would have been great if the “pay it forward” chain had continued, we do think that an 11-hour streak was impressive and exceptionally commendable. It’s great to see humanity emanating from the population … and to observe how one simple act of kindness can propel another, and another, and another.

It’s a great idea. We should all try to step up to allow a chain of kindness to begin in our own community. A nice antidote to the current onslaught of unpleasant news, as well as an important reminder that a simple act of kindness can go an awfully long way.

http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation-now/2014/08/21/378-people-pay-it-forward-at-fla-starbucks/14380109/

A new take on eating healthy combines vice and virtue to achieve goals

iStock_000023805834SmallIf consistent healthy eating proves to be a challenge, there seems to be a possibility that total dedication may not be as effective in achieving a healthy lifestyle as you think.

Variety may trump virtue when it comes to the struggle to eat healthy, says a Vanderbilt marketing professor who studies consumer self-control and endorses “vice-virtue bundles” combining nutritious and not-so-nutritious foods.

“We suggest a simple … solution that can help consumers who would otherwise choose vice over virtue to simultaneously increase consumption of healthy foods (virtues) and decrease consumption of unhealthy foods (vices) while still fulfilling taste goals — ‘vice-virtue bundles,’” Kelly L. Haws, associate professor of management at Vanderbilt’s Owen Graduate School of Management, said.

The idea is to not give up entirely foods that provide pleasure but aren’t nutritious. Instead, the focus should be on lowering the portion of the “vice” foods and correspondingly raising the portion of a healthy food to replace it.

In a series of experiments, Haws and her colleagues found that people have a “taste-health balance point” — a proportion of vice and virtuous foods that make up one serving — which they find satisfactory. For most, the perfect vice-virtue bundle is made up of a small (1/4) to medium (1/2) portion of vice. So if a vice-virtue bundle was made up of fries and slices of apple, it might take a small or very small serving of fries to satiate the need for the vice food.

Haws is among five researchers who lay out their findings in “Vice-Virtue Bundles,” a paper under review for publication.

Vice-virtue bundles could also be the answer for many in the food service industry who are actively seeking out healthy food options that consumers will voluntarily choose, Haws said.

“Given that consumers consistently find vice-virtue bundles to be attractive, managers should consider adding vice-virtue bundles to their product lines,” Haws said.

“For restaurants and food vendors that already offer pure vice and virtue options, vice — virtue bundles provide an opportunity for product line expansion through existing items rather than through development of completely new offerings.

“This provides a potential opportunity for cost-savings, as many food establishments devote considerable resources to developing new product offerings, which can in turn increase inventory or production costs.”

This round of research did not mix in any pricing or marketing components, but the researchers say it would be easy for restaurants to pursue such experiments on their own.

“With the right marketing and the right choice sets, we believe that vice-virtue bundles offer exciting directions for future research and practice aimed at maximizing health without compromising tastes,” the researchers concluded.

Haws’ research interests are related to consumer behavior, with a focus on issues relevant to consumer welfare, specifically with respect to food/health and financial decision making. Her interests include consumer self-control, strategies for improving food consumption and behavioral pricing.

So what would you like to find in your vice-virtue bundle? FoodFacts.com can think of a few ideas. How about a good-sized serving of your favorite vegetable with a very small side of fries? A serving of roasted chicken with a very small serving of mac and cheese? Baked salmon with just a spoonful of scalloped potatoes?

While the information is an interesting possibility, there are more of a few of us that agree that just a little taste of that mac and cheese paired with a regular serving of baked chicken just might make us crave a little more of the mac and cheese. Maybe it’s just us …

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/08/140811180253.htm

The early demise of Burger King’s Satisfries

iStock_000016208114SmallSeems like we only just blogged about the introduction of Burger King’s lower-calorie Satisfries. Less than a year later, we’re blogging about the end of the chain’s healthier option for french fry lovers.

This is a blow to the fast-food chain, which has struggled to keep up with its direct rivals McDonald’s and Wendy’s while also dealing with customers fleeing for brands like Chipotle and Panera, which are marketed as healthier options. Satisfries were supposed to make burger fans feel better about their fast-food meal.

Satisfries are made with a special batter that absorbs less oil, causing them to have 20% fewer calories than regular Burger King fries. A small serving of Satisfries contains 270 calories and 11 grams of fat, while the conventional version has 340 calories and 15 grams of fat.

Price may have been one factor in why customers largely rejected the lower-calorie option. A small order of the lower-calorie fries typically costs about $1.89, compared to $1.59 for a bag of its regular fries.

Earlier this week, Burger King’s 7,500 North American eateries were given the option of continuing to offer Satisfries. Owners of only 2,500 restaurants decided to do so.

“The remaining restaurants will treat the product as a limited-time menu offering and have begun phasing it out after this unprecedented run,” Burger King North America President Alex Macedo said in a statement.

The company maintains that it always planned to allow customer demand to decide the fate of the product.

Essentially, Satisfries are dead at 5,000 Burger Kings and on life support at 2,500 others. The product was launched to cater to what seemed like a specific consumer demand — healthier products — but ultimately it seems people who eat fries are not going to change their habits to save a few calories.

FoodFacts.com has to wonder whether it’s possible for any fast food chain to successfully introduce a menu item that can be perceived as a healthier option. An honest look at Satisfries tells us that while there is a savings in fat and calories, the difference may not be big enough to convince educated consumers that these fries could actually be deemed healthier.

Burger King did make an effort, though. And for that, they should be commended.

We’d love to see those efforts continue. Maybe they could begin with offering a burger with a lower fat content. That might make a real difference to consumers. Just a thought.

http://www.fool.com/investing/general/2014/08/15/why-did-customers-reject-burger-kings-satisfries.aspx