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Worst Fast Food Stories

Foodfacts.com believes that many consumers may turn to fast foods for a variety of reasons. Whether it’s a financial issue, an addiction to greasy goodness, or just a matter of convenience, millions of people still turn to McDonald’s, Burger King, Taco Bell, and other famous franchises for a quick meal. What we aim to point out is that these foods are made within a matter of seconds, and not always in the most sanitary way. Here are some gross stories that have been reported at fast-food restaurants!
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The “Skin Sandwich”
In 2004, a man was enjoying a chicken sandwich from Arby’s when all of a sudden he pulled out about an inch long piece of skin, which appeared to be from a thumb. After impulsively getting sick, he filed a lawsuit for $50,000 dollars against the restaurant operator of the Arby’s. When health investigators approached the scene shortly thereafter, they interviewed the restaurant manager whom had a bandaged thumb. He claimed that he was slicing lettuce when he accidentally sliced his finger. Although he immediately cleaned the area and disposed of scraps around the slicer, he never threw away the pile of lettuce, which then went on the man’s sandwich. He thought he had taken the appropriate measures to sanitize the area.
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“Mousey Chicken”
A Baltimore Popeye’s had been dealing with a rodent infestation in their restaurant for a few weeks. This may not be surprising considering the Baltimore City Health Inspector had shut the restaurant down twice before for pest infestation and unsanitary conditions. What is surprising, the restaurant remained open. A man sat down to enjoy his chicken nuggets, when on his third nugget he also bit into a mouse that had been fried inside the meat. We’re hoping he still hasn’t gone back to this Popeye’s.
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“Nasty Clam Chowder”
A lawsuit had been settled in 2004 which had been filed by a woman who had found a condom in her McCormick & Schmick’s clam chowder. She claims she suffered severe emotional distress after consuming what appeared to be a rolled-up condom. She believes the kitchen staff had deliberately planted the item in her soup after they treated her rudely because she requested to have her soup reheated. The amount that was settled has not been revealed.
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“Jack in the Box Surprise”
As many already know, there are occasionally younger people working at fast-food restaurants just trying to earn some spending cash. They may not all be into fun and games, but a few at an Oregon Jack in the Box decided one day to have some fun at customer’s expense. To “amuse” themselves, they planted things such as hair, spit, phlegm, staples, acid and other foreign materials to people’s orders. Watch out where you eat!

“McChicken Head”mcchick
In 2000, a woman stopped on her way home from work to pick up a box of chicken wings for her family at McDonald’s. When she got home she proceeded to open the box and serve the wings when she picked up what appeared to be an unusual looking chicken wing. She then took a closer look and realized it had a beak and eyes. She jumped to the phone to call the restaurant manager, who calmly said “just bring it back and we’ll send it to corporate. We can then either refund you, or give you a new box.” Needless to say, she took the refund. She proclaimed after the incident she now only cooks her meals from home.
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“Bandaged Quarter Pounder”
In 1994, a man from Virginia Beach was sitting down to enjoy his quarter pounder when he noticed a texture unlike beef. He spit out the hamburger meat to find two used band-aids that had been cooked into his burger. It’s been said he may have had an allergy to the latex in the bandage, but whether or not that’s true, we’re not quite sure.
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“Brain-eating Food”
Now, this may be a myth, but we’ll share it anyway. It is believed that around 2007 a 50 yr old man was eating at a fast-food restaurant that wasn’t exactly following the best sanitary codes. In fact, it was so unsanitary that the man had consumed tapeworm eggs that nearly killed him. We’re not sure of the restaurant, or the meal, but it’s reported that after he was unconscious for eight days after the meal, a doctor found tapeworms in the man’s brain. He could have died from a disease called cysticercosis.

Too much Salt & not enough Potassium, increases your risk for Cardiovascular Disease and Death

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Foodfacts.com looks into the recent study of the harms of having to much salt intake in your diet and to little amounts of potassium. Earlier studies had found an association between high blood pressure and high levels of salt consumption and low levels of potassium intake. The combination of high salt — sometimes called sodium — and low potassium appears to convey a stronger risk for cardiovascular disease and death than each mineral alone, the study authors said.

“The combination of high sodium and low potassium is really a double whammy for cardiovascular risk and for mortality,” said lead researcher Dr. Frank B. Hu, a professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School.

Although sodium and potassium act independently, high potassium levels can counteract some of the effect of high sodium, Hu said. “But the adverse effects of high sodium cannot be completely offset by a high potassium diet,” he said.

For the study, published in the July 11 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine, Hu’s team collected data on 12,267 people who were part of the Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey Linked Mortality File, from 1988-2006. In addition to mortality data, this survey contains dietary information.

To find out the role of salt and potassium and the risk of cardiovascular disease and death, the researchers looked at the levels of these minerals and the ratio between them. Over an average of 14.8 years of follow-up, 2,270 people died. Of these, 825 died from cardiovascular disease — which includes stroke — and 443 died of heart disease.

After taking into account variables such as gender, race and ethnicity, weight, high blood pressure, education and physical activity, Hu’s group found that high salt intake was associated with a 20 percent increased risk of death, while high potassium intake was associated with a 20 percent decreased risk of dying.

What’s more, high salt consumption coupled with low potassium intake was a significant risk factor for cardiovascular disease and heart disease, the researchers added.

“We should continue to reduce the amount of sodium in our diet, especially in processed foods,” Hu said. “We should also promote high consumption of potassium, especially from fruits and vegetables,” he added. “Those things should go hand-in-hand.”

While the study uncovered an association between heart disease and the two minerals, it did not prove a cause-and-effect.

Commenting on the study, Lona Sandon, an assistant professor of clinical nutrition at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas, said, “The findings are not surprising to me.”

The benefits of potassium to counterbalance the effects of salt for controlling high blood pressure have been known for years, but get little attention, Sandon said. “There have been hints in the past research literature that the ratio of the two may be more important than the nutrients individually,” she said.

Diets with plenty of fruits and vegetables are associated with better heart health, Sandon said. “Fruits and vegetables are your best natural sources of potassium and they are naturally low in sodium,” she explained.

“I agree with the authors that more emphasis should be put on the importance of getting more potassium while lowering sodium intake,” Sandon said.

“The DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diet does just that and has been around for quite some time now,” she stated. “It encourages people to eat more foods high in potassium (fruits, vegetables, low-fat dairy) while eating less sodium-laden foods.”

Sandon noted that this is consistent with the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, which encourage increased fruit and vegetable intake while lowering intake of foods high in sodium.

Those guidelines recommend that Americans limit their daily salt intake to less than 2,300 milligrams (about a teaspoon) for most people, and to less than 1,500 milligrams for people 51 or older, and people who have high blood pressure, diabetes or chronic kidney disease, regardless of their age.

Information provided by Health Day

Woman Faces Jailtime for Creating Organic Garden

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At Foodfacts.com we like to share the latest news on everything food related. In recent years there has been a tremendous movement in promoting organic foods due to the fear of pesticides and other chemicals leaking into much of the available produce. Many people have taken their health into their own hands by starting their own organic gardens. Check out the story below describing one woman’s battle in creating her own organic garden.

A Michigan woman is being charged with a misdemeanor offense and is facing up to 93 days in jail. Her crime? Planting a vegetable garden—in her own yard. Her front yard, that is.

Like many consumers today, Julie Bass, of Oak Park, Mich., appreciates the taste and healthfulness of organic vegetables, but isn’t much of a fan of how much going organic costs at the store. So, like many health-minded consumers, she planted a vegetable garden on her property.
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But Bass chose to take the unusual step of installing neatly arranged raised beds of vegetables in her front, rather than back, yard. Bass explained her unorthodox garden location (and showed off how neat and organized it is, for those curious) to a local TV station:
“We thought it’d be really cool to do it so the neighbors could see. The kids love it. The kids from the neighborhood all come and help,” she said.

Front yard or back, it’s her property, and she’s allowed to do with it what she pleases, right? Wrong, say the local authorities, citing local codes that require front yards to have only “suitable” live plant material. City planners say that vegetables, for some reason, don’t qualify for the standard, even though they are certainly alive, and certainly are planted. To some, this sort of code enforcement makes the restrictions against drying clothes on a clothesline seem reasonable.
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Bass was given a warning, then a ticket, and now she has been charged with a misdemeanor for violating the City of Oak Park’s planning code. A pretrial hearing is scheduled for July 26, and Bass is facing up to 93 days in jail.

For growing vegetables.

On her own property.

Bass isn’t giving in, however, and it looks like she has plenty of support on her side. A thread at Reddit with information on rallies and petitions to stop the prosecution has already generated 299 comments (and counting).

Bass does have a backyard, but she has no plans to uproot and replant her garden back there any time soon:
“They say, ‘Why should you grow things in the front?’ Well, why shouldn’t I? They’re fine. They’re pretty. They’re well maintained,” said Bass.

(Time Magazine)

What is Polysorbate 80?

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Here at Foodfacts.com, we like to keep viewers aware of possible health implications from a variety of products and ingredients. Today we feature Polysorbate 80.creamsicle

Polysorbate 80, also known as polyoxyethylene sorbitan monooleate, is a common food additive used as an emulsifier in a wide variety of products, mostly different ice creams. What it does is help make frozen treats smoother and more resistant to melting. Why do we classify this ingredient as controversial? Many studies have been done showing possible links to infertility, bladder cancer, negative interactions with Crohn’s disease, and in some cases anaphylactic shock. turkey-hill

Most humans in US and Canada consume approximately 0.1g of polysorbate 80 in their foods each day. In addition to foods, polysorbate 80 is now also an additive in H1N1 flu shots, and other vaccinations. With the increasing incidence of influenza in recent years, polysorbate 80 consumption is expected to rise even more.

Although polysorbate 80 is currently deemed safe for consumption, it’s wise for consumers to make their own judgments over these different types of additives. Check back to Foodfacts.com to see what other products contain this ingredient!

Are Raw Foods Really Healthier than Cooked foods?

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Foodfacts.com teams up with our friends over at Dietsinreview.com to to look into whether raw foods are healthier than Cooked foods. Raw food diets are getting a lot of attention lately, both on this blog and in the wider health community. The raw diet tied for the second best diet for weight loss in U.S. News‘ assessment, and raw cleanses are a hot trend this summer.

Supporters of the raw diet believe that raw fruits, vegetables and in some cases meat and dairy are the richest sources of vitamins, minerals, enzymes and other nutrients. While a plant-based raw diet is certainly very healthy, cooking some plants actually increases some nutrients and can also make nutrients more bio-available.
Once you start to look at the question of raw vs. cooked foods, it immediately becomes a complex matter. Nutrition science has become quite sophisticated, yet there’s still only a limited amount of research available on the subject. Some nutrients may be lost during the cooking process yet others are enriched by cooking and exposure to heat. Yet, there are still many gray areas when it comes to the importance of many vitamins, minerals and other phytochemicals. Below are some of the facts that we do have about raw vs. cooked foods, organized by nutrient.

Lycopene

Lycopene is an essential nutrient found in tomatoes, and is associated with lower rates of cancer. One study published in the British Journal of Nutrition found that one kind of lycopene is made more bioavailable by cooking. “Lycopene is a carotenoid, and all carotenoids, along with phenolic acids and flavonoids, are enhanced by cooking,” says Mary Hartley, RD, MPH Nutritionist for Calorie Count. She adds that studies have shown that carotenoid-rich foods are best eaten in the presence of fat or oil.

Vitamin C

“Heat readily destroys thiamine (B-1) and vitamin C,” says Hartley. Vitamin C is a highly unstable compound that is quickly degraded through oxidization and cooking. Scientific American reports that cooking tomatoes for just two minutes decreases their vitamin C content by ten percent.
“Foods high in thiamin include whole grain and enriched grain foods, fortified cereals, lean pork, wheat germ, legumes, and organ meats,” explains Hartley. “Vitamin C is found in many fruits and vegetables, especially red and green peppers, oranges, cantaloupe, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, baked potato, and cabbage.” She suggests eating a raw source of vitamin C every day.

B Vitamins

Like vitamin C, B vitamins are water soluble and can be lost through boiling. To decrease the loss of water soluble vitamins, choose cooking methods that minimize the use of water, such as grilling, roasting and microwaving. Making soups and stews will also preserve these vitamins in the broth. Raw sources of vitamin B include bananas, oysters, tuna and caviar. Liver is also a rich source of B vitamins, but we don’t recommend eating it raw.

Vitamins A, D, E and K

These vitamins appear to be unaffected by cooking. “Most nutrients, including fiber, carbohydrates, protein, fat, minerals, trace minerals, and all of vitamins A, D, E and K, remain when vegetables are cooked,” says Hartley.

Enzymes

“It is important to differentiate between enzymes that are needed for digestion and enzymes that naturally occur in foods,” points out Hartley. She explains that the enzymes found in food have no bearing on digestion. However, enzymes can have other effects on the body. “For instance, the myrosinase enzyme family and indoles found in cruciferous vegetables contain anti-cancer compounds that are destroyed by heat,” says Hartley. Cauliflower, cabbage, cress, bok choy, broccoli, Brussel sprouts, kale, kohlrabi, mustard, rutabaga and turnips are all cruciferous vegetables. However, cooking these vegetables also destroys goitrogenic enzymes that interfere with the formation of thyroid hormone. “It’s always a tradeoff, with some nutrients becoming more available and others becoming less available, when food is cooked.” dietsinreview1

Conclusion

Hartley and I agree that while some may swear by the raw food diet, it takes a lot of work and careful planning, not to mention the difficulty of giving up foods like cheese and bread. The bottom line is that it’s good to eat plenty of fruits and vegetables, no matter how they are prepared. Garlic and nuts are also best when eaten raw, along with fruits that are high in vitamin C. Adding more raw fruits and vegetables to your diet can also help with weight loss, because the fiber can help you feel full while consuming fewer calories.
Cooking makes many foods more appealing and enhances some nutrients, and also kills off bacteria, which is particularly important when it comes to meat and animal products. “Cooking (and careful chewing!) generally makes food more digestible by softening the fibers,” says Hartley. “People should eat a variety of cooked and raw foods, with a raw source of vitamin C eaten every day.”

Article written by Margaret Badore at DietsInReview.com

Top 10 Scariest Food Additives

Here at foodfacts.com, we like to keep our readers informed of all current and up-to-date information regarding health and food. Here is a recent news article discussing the 10 scariest food additives in some of the most popular food products most can find in their pantry.

There was a time when “fruit flavored” and “cheese flavored” meant “made with real fruit” and “made with real cheese.” Today? It’s artificial everything. Most of the food at your local supermarket is no more authentic than Snooki’s tan. Our fruit comes packaged in Loops, our cheese delivered via Whiz. Sure, it’s edible, but there’s no way your great grandparents would recognize this junk as food.

The problem with additives runs deep. The FDA currently maintains a list of ingredients called Everything Added to Food in the United States (EAFUS), which features more than 3,000 items and counting. Thankfully, most EAFUS ingredients are benign, but a few of them do have potentially harmful effects. Why they’re legal is a mystery to us. Some of them might be backed by powerful lobby groups, while others probably survive simply because some guy at the FDA has too much paperwork on his desk and hasn’t made time to adequately review the data.

Below are 10 of the most dubious ingredients hiding in your food, compliments of Eat This, Not That! 2011. Even if you’re not convinced of their danger, you have to admit this: The more filler ingredients you cut from your diet, the more space you have for wholesome, nutritious foods.

Scary Ingredient #1: Olestrapringles
A fat substitute synthesized by Procter & Gamble. Because human digestive enzymes can’t break down the big molecules, Olestra contributes 0 calories to your diet.

Why it’s scary: In the late ’90s, Frito-Lay released Olestra-enhanced WOW chips and Procter & Gamble introduced Fat Free Pringles. Both products were required to carry warning labels to notify customers about the risk of “loose stools.” Within 4 years, some 15,000 people had dialed in to a hotline set up specifically to handle adverse-reaction complaints. Apparently the complaints didn’t move the FDA, because in 2003, the administration revoked the warning-label mandate. If you want to take your chances with diarrhea, go ahead, but first consider this: Olestra also appears to interfere with the body’s ability to absorb some crucial nutrients like beta-carotene and lycopene. To counteract the effect, processers add some nutrients back, but it’s unlikely that all the blocked nutrients are adequetly replaced.

Furthermore, just last week I tweeted that an animal study at Purdue University found that fake fats like Olestra may cause more weight gain than real fat.

Where you’ll find it: Lay’s Light chips, Pringles Light chips

Scary Ingredient #2: Caramel Coloring
An artificial pigment created by heating sugars. Frequently, this process includes ammonia.stove-top

Why it’s scary: Caramel coloring shows up in everything from soft drinks and sauces to breads and pastries. When made from straight sugar, it’s relatively benign. But when produced with ammonia it puts off 2-methylimidazole and 4-methylimidazole, chemicals that have been linked to cancer in mice. The risk is strong enough that the California government, a bellwether for better food regulation, categorized 4-methylimidazole as “known to cause cancer” earlier this year. Unfortunately, companies aren’t required to disclose whether their coloring is made with ammonia, so you’d be wise to avoid it as much as you can.

Where you’ll find it: Colas and other soft drinks, La Choy soy sauce, Stove Top stuffing mix

Scary Ingredient #3: Saccharin
An artificial sweetener discovered by accident in the 1870s.sweet-n-low

Why it’s scary: Studies have linked saccharin to bladder tumors in rats, and in 1977, the FDA required warning labels on all saccharin-containing foods. In 2000, the agency changed its stance and allowed saccharin to be sold without warning labels. But that doesn’t make it entirely safe. A 2008 Purdue study found that replacing sugar with saccharin in rats’ diets made them gain more weight, proving once again that you should be aware of these faux fat foes.

Where you’ll find it: Sweet ‘N Low, TaB cola

Scary Ingredient #4: Potassium Bromate
A compound that conditions flour and helps bread puff up during baking.

Why it’s scary: Potassium bromate causes thyroid and kidney tumors in rats, and it’s banned from food use in many countries. In California, products containing potassium bromate are required to carry a cancer warning. Fortunately, negative publicity has made the additive relatively rare, but until the FDA banishes it, you should remain on the lookout.

Where you’ll find it: Johnny Rockets Hoagie Roll

Scary Ingredient #5: Butylated Hydroxyanisole (BHA) and Butylated Hydroxytoluene (BHT)
Petroleum-derived antioxidants and preservatives.
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Why they’re scary: The Department of Health and Human Services says BHA is “reasonably anticipated to be a human carcinogen,” yet the FDA allows it to be used anyway. BHT is considered less dangerous, but in animal research, it too has resulted in cancer. Oddly, the chemicals aren’t even always necessary; in most cases they can be replaced with vitamin E.

Where you’ll find it: Goya lard, Golden Grahams, Cinnamon Toast Crunch, Orbit gum

Scary Ingredient #6: Partially Hydrogenated Vegetable Oil
A semi-solid fat created when food processors force hydrogen into unsaturated fatty acids.sandwich

Why it’s scary: Partially hydrogenated fats are the principle sources of trans fat in the American diet, and a Harvard study estimated that trans fat causes 70,000 heart attacks every year. The good news: Partially hydrogenated oils are beginning to slowly retreat from our food. Progressive jurisdictions like New York City are starting to restrict the allowable amounts in restaurants, and many chains are switching to healthier frying oil. Still, the battle isn’t over. At Long John Silver’s, for example, there are still 17 menu items with more than 2 grams of the stuff. According to the American Heart Association, that’s about the maximum you should consume in a single day.

Where you’ll find it: McDonald’s McChicken, Long John Silver’s Broccoli Cheese Soup

Scary Ingredient #7: Sulfites
Preservatives that maintain the color of food, and by releasing sulfur dioxide, prevent bacterial growth. fig-enwton

Why it’s scary: Humans have used sulfites to keep food fresh for thousands of years, but some people—especially asthma sufferers—experience breathing difficulties when exposed. In the 1980s, unregulated use resulted in at least a dozen deaths, prompting the FDA to slap warning labels on wine bottles and develop new guidelines for proper use. Now restaurants can no longer soak fresh ingredients in sulfites. According to the Center for Science in the Public Interest, there have been no known deaths since the new legislation took hold. The bottom line: If you’re among the majority of people not sensitive to sulfites, consumption won’t hurt you. If you’re not sure, ask your doctor for a test.

Where you’ll find it: Wine, Sun-Maid Mixed Fruit, Jolly Ranchers, Fig Newtons

Scary Ingredient #8: Azodicarbonamide
A synthetic yellow-orange dough conditioner bagel

Why it’s scary: This chemical is used most frequently in the production of industrial foam plastic, and although the FDA has approved its use for food in the States, the United Kingdom has labeled it a potential cause of asthma. In a review of 47 studies on azodicarbonamide, the World Health Organization concluded that it probably does trigger asthmatic symptoms. The WHO concluded, “exposure levels should be reduced as much as possible.” I’ll put it more concisely: Avoid it.

Where you’ll find it: Dunkin’ Donuts bagels, McDonald’s burger buns

Scary Ingredient #9: Carrageenan
A thickener and emulsifier extracted from seaweed.popsicle

Why it’s scary: Seaweed is actually good for you, but carrageenan is a mere seaweed byproduct. Through animal studies, it has been linked to cancer, colon trouble, and ulcers. It isn’t certain that carrageenan harms humans, but avoiding it is clearly the safer option. Most studies examined degraded forms of the additive, and research from the University of Iowa found that carrageenan could be degraded through the normal digestive process.

Where you’ll find it: Weight Watchers Giant Chocolate Fudge Ice Cream Bars, Skinny Cow Ice Cream Sandwiches, Creamsicles

Scary Ingredient #10: Ammonium Sulfate
An inorganic salt that occurs naturally near active volcanoes and is used commercially to nourish yeast and help bread rise.4036996_orig

Why it’s scary: This nitrogen-rich compound is most often used as fertilizer, and also appears commonly in flame retardants. Thankfully, the ingredient only sounds scary—a 2006 Japanese rat study found the additive to be non-carcinogenic. Both the Center for Science in the Public Interest and the FDA deem it safe.

Retrieved from: Yahoo.com

6 Foods That Weaken Bones

Foodfacts.com looks into 6 foods that can cause your bones to weaken. To build and maintain h5 bones, eating the right foods makes all the difference. By the same token, certain foods can actually sap bone strength by leaching minerals right out of the bone, or they block the bone’s ability to regrow. Surprisingly, some of these are foods we eat lots of every day. Here, the six biggest bone-sappers:

1. Soft drinks

Soft drinks pose a double-whammy danger to bones. The fizziness in carbonated drinks often comes from phosphoric acid, which ups the rate at which calcium is excreted in the urine. Meanwhile, of course, soft drinks fill you up and satisfy your thirst without providing any of the nutrients you might get from milk or juice.soda

What to do:
When you’re tempted to reach for a cola, instead substitute milk, calcium- and vitamin D-fortified orange juice, or a fruit smoothie made with yogurt. Or just drink water when you’re thirsty, and eat a diet high in bone-building nutrients.

2. Salt

Salt saps calcium from the bones, weakening them over time. For every 2,300 milligrams of sodium you take in, you lose about 40 milligrams of calcium, dietitians say. One study compared postmenopausal women who ate a high-salt diet with those who didn’t, and the ones who ate a lot of salt lost more bone minerals. Our American diet is unusually salt-heavy; many of us ingest double the 2,300 milligrams of salt we should get in a day, according to the 2005 federal dietary guidelines.

What to do:
The quickest, most efficient way to cut salt intake is to avoid processed foods. Research shows that most Americans get 75 percent of their sodium not from table salt but from processed food. Key foods to avoid include processed and deli meats, frozen meals, canned soup, pizza, fast food such as burgers and fries, and canned vegetables.

3. Caffeine

coffee2The numbers for caffeine aren’t as bad as for salt, but caffeine’s action is similar, leaching calcium from bones. For every 100 milligrams of caffeine (the amount in a small to medium-sized cup of coffee), you lose 6 milligrams of calcium. That’s not a lot, but it can become a problem if you tend to substitute caffeine-containing drinks like iced tea and coffee for beverages that are healthy for bones, like milk and fortified juice.

What to do:
Limit yourself to one or two cups of coffee in the morning, then switch to other drinks that don’t have caffeine’s bone-sapping action. Adding milk to your coffee helps to offset the problem, of course.

4. Vitamin A

In the case of vitamin A, recent research is proving that you really can get too much of a good thing. Found in eggs, full-fat dairy products, liver, and vitamin-fortified foods, vitamin A is important for vision and the immune system. But the American diet is naturally high in vitamin A, and most multivitamins also contain vitamin A. So it’s possible to get much more than the recommended allotment of 5,000 IUs (international units) a day — which many experts think is too high anyway.

Postmenopausal women, in particular, seem to be susceptible to vitamin A overload. Studies show that women whose intake was higher than 5,000 IUs had more than double the fracture rate of women whose intake was less than 1,600 IUs a day.

What to do:
Switch to low-fat or nonfat dairy products only, and eat egg whites rather than whole eggs (all the vitamin A is in the yolk). Also check your multivitamin, and if it’s high in vitamin A, consider switching to one that isn’t.

5. Alcohol

Think of alcohol as a calcium-blocker; it prevents the bone-building minerals you eat from being absorbed. And heavy drinking disrupts the bone remodeling process by preventing osteoblasts, the bone-building cells, from doing their job. So not only do bones become weaker, but when you do suffer a fracture, alcohol can interfere with healing.

What to do:
Limit your drinking to one drink a day, whether it’s wine, beer, or hard alcohol.

6. Hydrogenated oils

For a number of years now, we’ve known from studies that the process of hydrogenation, which turns liquid vegetable oil into the solid oils used in commercial baking, destroys the vitamin K naturally found in the oils. Vitamin K is essential for h5 bones, and vegetable oils such as canola and olive oil are the second-best dietary source of this key nutrient, after green leafy vegetables. However, the amounts of vitamin K we’re talking about are tiny here — one tablespoon of canola oil has 20 micrograms of K, and one tablespoon of olive oil has 6 micrograms, as compared with 120 micrograms in a serving of spinach.

What to do:
If you’re eating your greens, you don’t need to worry about this too much. If you’re a big lover of baked goods like muffins and cookies, bake at home using canola oil when possible, and read labels to avoid hydrogenated oils (which many manufacturers of processed foods have eliminated in recent years).

Information provided by Yahoo health.

7/6: National Fried Chicken Day! Read before you order!

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Here at FoodFacts.com, we like to keep our followers up-to-date with current trends, research, and events. Today we share with you that July 6, 2011 is deemed National Fried Chicken Day. In fact, July 6th has celebrated this “holiday” for many years now. Although we aren’t so sure how it was originated, we do know that many people do choose to celebrate this day, especially with the immense patriotism still lurking from Independence Day.

We too would like to celebrate this holiday, but in a more health-conscious manner. You see, fried chicken can be very high in trans-fat, cholesterol, and sodium. Therefore, we would like to take the time to reveal some products you may want to learn more about, prior to indulging. Today we have decided to feature the very popular chicken-based franchise, Chick-Fil-A.

We’ll start off with the breakfast Chicken Biscuit. This sandwich provides about 51% of the daily value for sodium alone. With only a 5.1 oz serving, and 440 calories, 1,230mg of sodium is quite a lot, especially to start off the day! biscuit2Although this sandwich is high in protein with 17g, and also carries a decent amount of iron, this still cannot compensate for the 8g of saturated fat and variety of controversial ingredients. You may want to replace ordering this ingredient-packed sandwich with an item more nutrient-dense and filling, such as the yogurt parfait with granola. This may be a better option for a morning meal or snack.

Then there’s the Spicy Chicken Sandwich Deluxe. The pros of this sandwich, it has a good amount of protein, vitamin C, and calcium, most likely from the tomato, lettuce, and single slice of cheese. However, this 570 calorie sandwich also contains 8g saturated fat, and 27g total fat. These amounts count for approximately 40-42% your daily value of saturated fat and total fat, which are undeniably very high numbers for one single sandwich. spicy_chicken_sandwich2We must also point out that this sandwich contains almost 100 different ingredients. Some of which include monosodium glutamate (MSG), high fructose corn syrup, a variety of coloring additives, and TBHQ, all controversial ingredients which we have thoroughly discussed in prior blog posts. To get your chicken “fix” without all the extra mess, you may want to instead try the char-grilled chicken garden salad, without dressing or on the side.

To find chicken and other recipes for today and the rest of the week, try the Foodfacts.com recipe page!

What’s in your Happy Meal?

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McDonald’s Scrambled Eggs

Foodfacts.com takes a deeper look into the ingredients in some of McDonald’s most popular foods!McDonald’s scrambled eggs are not just made with whole eggs; they are also filled with preservatives, hydrogenated oils, food coloring, and other additives. In fact, there are approximately 20 different ingredients in the 3.3oz serving that McDonald’s provides each morning to millions of consumers that may possibly believe they are receiving a well-balanced meal.

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One of the first ingredients listed on the nutrition label is sodium acid pyrophosphate. This food additive helps scrambled eggs maintain their “appealing” yellow color. What some may not know is that this product is also used in petroleum production. The chemicals in this compound help to prevent clumping in oil-well drilling mud. Still think that’s appetizing?

Some other ingredients listed in this product are sodium benzoate, and beta carotene colors. This is quite controversial considering that some studies recently done by the Food Standards Agency, have shown that sodium benzoate in the presence of food coloring may cause hyperactive behavior in children. Although this study is still being investigated, it is good information to know for the next time you bring your kids to the McDonald’s drive-thru window.

Aside from all the food additives and preservatives, these scrambled eggs also have 4g of saturated fat, and 520mg of cholesterol. These numbers represent 20% of the daily value for saturated fats and 173% of daily value for cholesterol, just in this one serving alone. Sounds like it may be healthier just to prepare your eggs at home.

McDonald’s Big Mac

McDonald’s Big Mac is 3 buns, 2 beef patties, and 100 other ingredients. This sandwich lists high fructose corn syrup, ammonium chloride, propylene glycol alginate, sodium benzoate, and calcium disodium, just to name a few.

big-mac

What sticks out most in the above list is probably ammonium chloride. You may have heard of this ingredient because it is very commonly used in shampoos as a thickening agent, cleaning products, various glues, fertilizers, textiles and leather, and even fireworks and explosives. In the Big Mac and many other foods, ammonium chloride is used as a food additive. This inorganic compound helps maintain color in food products, changes the texture of foods, and sometimes adds a “spicy” flavor. Would you want the same ingredients listed on your cleaning products also listed on the foods you eat?

A possible positive for this sandwich, there is a lot of protein, about 25 grams. Also, because of the 2 beef patties, the Big Mac also provides 25% of your daily value for iron. However, you also get 1,040mg sodium, 29g total fat, 10g saturated fat, and 75mg cholesterol. This sandwich is also 540 calories, 260 of these calories are just from fat alone.

McDonald’s Grilled Chicken Chipotle BBQ Snack Wrap

A few years ago, McDonald’s introduced snack wraps to their long-chain of restaurants. These snack wraps are considered the “healthy” quick items to grab during the day that can help hold you over until dinner time.

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This Grilled Chicken Chipotle BBQ Snack Wrap from McDonald’s is about half the size of the quintessential Big Mac, but lists more ingredients. Due to the fact these snack wraps are marketed to be the healthy options, one would think it would have fewer, and simpler ingredients. However, one of the ingredients that stick out most is sodium metabisulfite. This substance is commonly used as a disinfectant in home brewing and winemaking to sterilize process equipment. In this snack wrap, it is a food additive that helps to preserve the product over a period of time.

Sodium metabisulfite has also been shown to cause allergic reaction within the respiratory system to those who are sensitive to sulfites. The acceptable daily intake is about 0.7mg per kg of body weight. However, the amount is not specified in this product, so those who are sensitive to sulfites may want to be extra careful.

McDonald’s Large French Fries

McDonald’s french fries are a staple at the thousands of restaurants. Commonly, most people visit the drive-thru just to order a side of fries. Although they may taste good, and be somewhat fulfilling for many consumers, the list of ingredients is a turn-off for some.

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For those that may not be as familiar with the chemistry behind hydrogenated fats, it is basically a process to convert monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats to the less-healthy saturated fats. This is done because changing the level of saturation, also changes a products physical properties. The more saturated the product, the better it bakes or cooks.

These McDonald’s French fries include hydrogenated oils so that the product maintains its form during the frying process. However, this process increases the amount of total fat and saturated fat in the product. These French fries contain about 18% of the daily value for saturated fat, and 38% of the daily value for total fat, which are pretty high numbers.

Another ingredient in this product is dimethylpolysiloxane, an anti-foaming agent. McDonald’s reported that this compound is used in a matter of safety, to prevent the oil on both the fries and chicken nuggets from foaming. This chemical is a type of silicone-polymer that is commonly used in hair shampoos, lubricating oils, contact lenses, medical devices, and so on. If more people knew about this ingredient, would it still be such a huge seller?

McDonald’s M&M McFlurry

The McDonald’s McFlurry came into production around the late 90’s. This was an instant hit with consumers because it beat the ordinary vanilla soft-serve they had originally offered. Snickers, M&Ms, Oreo, and other flavors have been featured in McFlurry items to increase sales of these popular desserts. Not only are there candies and cookies, but also a long list of ingredients that some may consider controversial. Among these ingredients are 10 different food colorings, and also carrageenan.

mcflurry

Food colorings have been reported to increase hyperactive behavior in children diagnosed with ADHD. Although clinical studies have shown mixed results in this matter, many parents believe that food colorings eliminated from the diet improve their children’s behavior. The McFlurry is equipped with Yellow 5 Lake, Red 40 Lake, Blue 1 Lake, Yellow 6 Lake, Blue 2 Lake, Yellow 5, Red 40, Blue 1, Yellow 6, and Blue 2.

Carrageenan has raised eyebrows in recent years because many people believe it causes certain health implications. Results from studies have shown that rats, monkeys, and guinea pigs consuming a certain amount of carrageenan may not only obtain ulcerations in the GI tract, but also GI cancer. Current studies are also examining the relationship between carrageenan consumption and inflammatory bowel disease and also Crohn’s Disease.

(FoodFacts.com)

Artificial Sweeteners

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Artificial Sweeteners

A major topic among Foodfacts.com readers and foodies alike are the amounts of artificial sweeteners in processed foods, and their possibly damaging properties. Diet sodas, juices, breakfast foods, and thousands of other products contain aspartame, sucralose, saccharin, neotame, or acesulfame potassium. These five artificial sweeteners have been tested and approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration as food additives.

However, heavy debates continue over some of these sweeteners as to whether or not they are truly safe. Despite their assistance in rising obesity numbers, increased cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and tooth decay; markets are still pushing these low-calorie additives to make huge profits. Below is a brief history of some of these controversial sugar substitutions. What do you think of these sweeteners??

Saccharin also known as “Sweet n’ Low”
Saccharin was unintentionally discovered in 1879 by Johns Hopkins University Scientists trying to concoct a miracle drug. What these scientists found was that this non-nutritive coal-tar derivative was approximately 300 times sweeter than that of sugar. Just a few short years later saccharin was being widely used as a food additive in most processed and canned foods.

In 1907, under the Pure Food and Drug Act, a top food safety agent for the USDA investigated saccharin as a possibly illegal substitution of a valuable ingredient. President at the time, Theodore Roosevelt, opposed this idea and stated, “Anybody who says saccharin is injurious to health is an idiot.” A few short days later, this top food safety agent opposing saccharin was released from his position with the USDA.

In 1970, saccharin was presented with a warning label after studies found that this non-nutritive sweetener was causing tumor-growth in bladders of rodents. However, these labels were lifted from saccharin in the early 2000s after scientists frantically justified that rodents may have different pH, calcium, and protein levels in their urine which may lead to bladder cancer with or without saccharin. In late 2010, the Environmental Protection Agency removed saccharin from their long list of hazardous substances, deeming it a safe product.

Aspartame also known as “NutraSweet/Equal”
Coincidentally, aspartame was also unintentionally discovered in 1965 when scientist, James Schlatter, was trying to discover a preventative ulcer drug. As Schlatter was mixing amino acids, asparatic acid and phenylalanine, he decided to taste the product. After realizing its immediate sweetness, he realized he may have struck gold with this accidental product. This was the day that aspartame was first discovered as the next low-calorie artificial sweetener.

Aspartame underwent several trials and tests before a pharmaceutical company, GD Searle & Co decided to manufacture the product. After the popularity of saccharin was slowly on the downfall due to lab results showing bladder cancer in rats, Schlatter and GD Searle decided to petition for FDA’s approval of aspartame, hoping to release their product into the sugar-crazed market.

The scientist and GD Searle included lab results within their petition, proving safety and validity of their product. Around 1974, the FDA approved aspartame as a food additive, but only for certain foods. However, after further speculation, the FDA later found deficiencies in GD Searle’s operations and practices, requiring aspartame to undergo more vigorous testing and clinical trials, before once again receiving approval.

For years now aspartame has gone through various clinical trials and lab testing to validate its safety for human consumption. A study was done by Olney in 1996 regarding the safety of aspartame. This study suggested that the introduction of aspartame into the United States consumer market in 1975, to 1992, was associated with an increased number of subjects diagnosed with brain tumors. This caused a major damper for manufacturers as people now feared what would occur if they continued to eat and drink products loaded with this sweetener. What was once deemed a “miracle sugar” quickly became a “cancer sugar.”

In 2006, the National Cancer Institute conducted a study with approximately half a million people to determine the mentioned link between cancer and aspartame. The study compared subjects that consumed beverages with aspartame, with subjects that did not. Results showed that increased levels of consumption of this sweetener had no positive association with any lymphomas, leukemia, or brain cancers in men and women. Aspartame is still approved by the FDA, and since 1996, is now allowed to be used in all foods.

Sucralose also known as “Splenda”
Sucralose was created in 1976 by a major British-based agribusiness, Tate & Lyle. One of their tests involved a chlorinated sugar compound. Scientist, Shashikant Phadnis, decided after creating the product to taste it, and discovered it was exceptionally sweet. It was immediately patent in 1976 by Tate & Lyle.

Sucralose (or Splenda) was first approved to be used as a food additive in Canada in 1991. Soon after, Australia, New Zealand, the United States, and the European Union followed. As of 2008, Splenda has been approved in over 80 countries. This product is deemed safe by a number of organizations including the FDA, Joint Food & Agriculture Organization, and Center for Science in the Public Interest. According to the Canadian Diabetes Association, the amount of sucralose that may be consumed over a person’s lifetime without any adverse effects is 9mg/kg/day.

The Food and Drug Administration has reviewed hundreds of clinical trials involving both animals and humans that show no harmful long-term results of the consumption of sucralose. However, adverse events reported by consumers include enlarged liver & kidneys, thymus shrinkage, nausea, vomiting, headache, and weight loss.

What are your thoughts on these sweeteners?