Tag Archives: food allergy

Mom vs. Dr. Pepper

Foodfacts.com helps the general public to learn the facts about the foods we eat. We live in an era of genetically modified foods, chemical additives, and various types of food allergies. Due to this, we feel it’s best that everyone looks closely at nutrition labels and ingredients to make sure our health and well-being are top priorities.

We appreciate it when we receive stories from our followers regarding situations with certain foods; asking us to share it with the rest of our audience to protect other consumers. Recently, we received an e-mail from a concerned parent:

Kari has a young 3 yr. old daughter that was diagnosed with a nightshade allergy just a few months ago. (For those who may not be familiar with nightshade produce, they include: tomatoes, potatoes, peppers, eggplants, etc.) Kari’s daughter attended a birthday party and took just one gulp of a Diet Dr. Pepper. What they noticed is that the little girl was experiencing a reaction thereafter, with her throat closing. Luckily, Kari is a smart mom and always carries medicine in case of a reaction, and her daughter was okay.
free-dr-pepper-coupon
The next day, Kari called the Dr. Pepper Corporation to see if she could speak to anyone and get more information on the product. Knowing if nightshades are in the product would help Kari find out if this is just another product to avoid, or if there is possibly a new allergy they are unaware of. However, the Dr. Pepper Corp. was not very helpful. They told this concerned mother that before they could disclose any information, her story would have to be presented to a board to get approval. A little over a month after her story was “reviewed” by the board, Kari received the verdict that her situation is not reason enough to give her the information as to whether this product contains nightshades.

Side Note: No one knows the exact flavor of Dr. Pepper. It is apparently a blend of 23 top-secret artificial and natural flavors. This formula is apparently SO top-secret, that not even a life-threatening situation could allow the company to answer one single question in regards to a child’s health.

When we learned about Kari’s situation, we decided to call Dr. Pepper ourselves. After a few minutes of being on hold, we received the same information as Kari, that the Dr. Pepper recipe is proprietary and we are unlikely to receive any information in regards to the ingredients. They suggested that anyone with a food allergen may want to avoid the products.

What does this mean for Kari’s daughter? This small 3 yr. old now has to undergo more series of scratch tests and blood drawls just to figure out if she has a new allergy. This easily could have been avoided if Dr. Pepper would have simply given her the information she needed. She’s not asking for a recipe, just if the product may or may not contain nightshades.

** If anyone does have a nightshade allergen, be sure to watch out for a variety of colas. Paprika, a common nightshade, is normally used for flavor in many soda products. This may cause a potential reaction. **

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!

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?

Healthy Oatmeal Recipe

Here is a healthy way to make Oatmeal, a very nutritious breakfast, from our friends at The Picky Eater. Tomorrow we will be talking about McDonald’s Oatmeal so take note of the nutrition differences:
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The Perfect Bowl of Oatmeal :)
I can sometimes be a creature of habit. When I was growing up, I pretty much had the same things for breakfast and lunch for like 15 YEARS. How crazy is that? It was always oatmeal in the morning and some sort of sandwich for lunch (usually PB&J!).

These days, I do like to mix it up a bit more – but I still LOVE my oatmeal And honestly, I think sometimes oatmeal gets a bad rap for being boring, or tasting bland or whatever – but the key is to just dress it up with your favorite fruits, nuts, granola, milk, etc – and it ends up being an amazing and wholesome meal! So here’s my take on the PERFECT bowl of oatmeal!

So first, of course – you need the Oats… There are tons of options out there for Oatmeal – there’s the instant kind, the Quaker (e.g. filled with sugar) kind, there’s the slow cooking kind, the multi-grain kind, etc. I really like to get the whole grain / multi-grain variety that has oats, wheat, rye and barley with no sugar added.

I just love the way it looks in the bowl Oatmeal is a nutritional powerhouse – with tons of soluble fiber & antioxidants. This variety is super hearty, filling, has only 130 calories per serving and 5g of fiber & protein each!

This version is also really easy to make – you just add 1 cup of water to 1/2 cup of oatmeal, microwave it for about 3-4 min and it turns out like this!

I just love how the oats get all fluffy and warm once they’re cooked! Now for the mix-ins – here are some of my favorites. First up – Blueberries!

Frozen blueberries are great because 1) They’re fresh year-round 2) They become all melty and warm in the oatmeal and 3) They never go bad! You can see them already defrosting just minutes after I put them on the oatmeal…

With a wonderful sweetness, antioxidants and fiber – you really can’t go wrong with this superfood! Once the blueberries are mixed in, I love adding in walnuts (another super food with omega 3s!)

Now – oatmeal has to be creamy and flavorful, and slightly sweet. The final three mix-ins are: Honey (yum!), Almond Milk (I like unsweetened almond breeze – see pic below), and Cinnamon (this adds a wonderful nutty flavor and goes soo well with the honey!)

Stir it all together, and your perfect bowl of oatmeal is complete! When it’s all done, it adds up to about 250-300 calories – the perfect breakfast!

Tada! We are ready to eat! I love how the oatmeal turns a bluish color as the blueberries melt into it I totally had this for breakfast today.. and yesterday… and the day before … haha – looks like I’m still a creature of habit! What does your perfect bowl of oatmeal look like? I’d love to hear from you!

Dealing With Food Allergies During The Holidays

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Our blog of the day comes from a mother who has a son that suffers from multiple food allergies. In this blog she gives some tips on how to deal with food
allergies during holidays and family functions.

“Holiday gatherings almost always center around food, folks, and fun, with a huge emphasis on food! That’s great except when you or, one of your children,
has food allergies. It can lead to some awkward times and hurt feelings. Since my main goal for my family is to live a thriving life, in spite of allergies, one thing I have to do is to plan ahead!

This past year Thanksgiving was at my house, so the planning and meal prepping was all done by my family, and we are getting more and more used to cooking dairy and egg free, all though we certainly haven’t arrived! But eating over at someone else’s can be no problem
with a little planning ahead.

First, figure out your game plan. Where are you going? Grandma’s? Cousin Eddie’s? George’s next door? How aware and adaptable are they in regards to food
allergies? I ask because some people are more than accommodating and will be happy to include things that are “safe” for you or your little one to eat. And
some people will look at you cluelessly when you even talk about allergies. You mean you can’t have milk? Only not cow’s milk? Is there another kind of milk?
Get out, they can make milk from nuts, is that even real? And who would drink it? You know what I mean!

Anyway, depending on the severity of the allergies, if the host/hostess is willing to cook something new, have a few recipes ready that you’d like to suggest. If your allergies are so severe and you don’t want to
risk a reaction from cross contamination, tell them your dilemma, and ask how they’d feel about you bringing your own food. Now I don’t mean a full course meal for everyone, just pack what YOU would need to eat for the meal. Or if that would be too awkward, make up a couple of recipes for you to share with everyone. This not only ensures you will have something you know is safe for you
to eat, but then you can also watch their surprised faces when you tell them that the delicious, creamy, pumpkin pie you made is, in fact, dairy/egg free.

I actually had someone say to me once, at a gathering, “I thought when you said that dessert you made was dairy free and egg free it would probably mean taste free, too. I was really surprised to find out how good it really was!” It was good to get feedback from someone on a new recipe, and it also opened the door
for me to talk about my son’s food allergies, raising awareness about it.

With all that being said, remember the best laid plans can go awry. Something I try and do when we go to a gathering and I’m not sure how it will go, is bring
snacks just, in case, there is nothing for my son to eat. Something quick and easy to grab and bring to gatherings are fruit and vegetable trays that are
already prepared (discard the calorie laden, milk infested dips that are usually included, though), this also, always insures there is something he likes, that
is safe to eat! ”

To read more of her blogs go to:

http://www.thrivinglifewithallergies.blogspot.com/

Under Development: New Test for Food Allergies

New Test for Food Allergies | Foodfacts.com

New Test for Food Allergies | Foodfacts.com

The Foodfacts.com Blog discovered an interesting article that is worth passing along. Apparently, current methods of testing people for food allergies are not particularly precise, leaving many people to falsely think that they have a condition that they really don’t. MIT chemical engineer Christopher Love is working on a new test based on cytokines that may prove out to be substantially faster and more reliable. Continue reading

High Cost of Food Allergy

High Cost of Food Allergy | Foodfacts.com

High Cost of Food Allergy | Foodfacts.com

Aside from the additional costs that families dealing with food allergies have to incur, another financial challenge comes in the form of opportunity loss. More often than not, half of what would ordinarily be a two-income household will have to give up his or her career in order to closely monitor a child suffering from dangerous allergies – or at the very least to cut back on working hours. Continue reading

Learn About Food Allergy In Your Children

Food Allergy In Your Children | Foodfacts.com

Food Allergy In Your Children | Foodfacts.com

Foodfacts.com Blog research shows that there are about five to eight percent of young children who is inflicted with food allergy.  A food allergy is an immunologic reaction of the body when an individual is hypersensitive to a particular food protein. Continue reading