Tag Archives: food facts

Dunkin’s newest summertime treat … the Frozen Oreo Coffee Coolatta

1398160875255It had to happen sooner or later, after all there are Oreos featured in hundreds of different products. Ice cream, ice cream cake, pudding, cheesecake, cereal, cake frosting … Oreos are everywhere. So it shouldn’t come as a surprise that Dunkin Donuts latest Coolatta features the Oreo.

On the Dunkin website, the new Coolatta flavor is promoted as “The Best of Both Worlds. The perfect blend of everything that’s delicious in the world. Our signature Frozen Coffee flavor with delicious OREO® cookie pieces mixed in. Just what your taste buds ordered.” O.k. maybe it’s what someone’s taste buds ordered, but what about someone’s healthy lifestyle?

Let’s find out.

Right away, it’s easy to notice that the nutrition facts for the new Dunkin Frozen Coffee Oreo Coolatta leave a lot to be desired. The facts listed are for the medium size of the beverage (the most common size sold for frozen drinks). It’s also for the skim milk version, because we’re being kind.

Calories:           440
Fat:                   4.5 g
Sugar:              83 g

That’s right, 83 grams of sugar in the medium-sized drink — or to be more specific 20.75 teaspoons of sugar in just one Frozen Coffee Oreo Coolatta. Imagine that for a moment if you will; someone adding 20.75 teaspoons of sugar into a 24 ounce beverage. That’s almost a teaspoon of sugar per ounce. A bit much for us.

Here are the ingredients:

Frozen Coffee Base: Water, Frozen Coffee Concentrate (Water, Sugar, Coffee Extract, Caramel Color, Natural and Artificial Flavor); Skim Milk; Oreo® Chocolate Base Cake Cookie Crumbs: Unbleached Enriched Flour (Wheat Flour, Niacin, Reduced Iron, Thiamin Mononitrate, Riboflavin, Folic Acid), Sugar, Canola Oil, Cocoa processed with alkali, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Leavening (Baking Soda and/or Calcium Phosphate), Salt, Soy Lecithin, Chocolate, Vanillin (an Artificial Flavor).

So for 440 calories, we would be enjoying caramel color, natural and artificial flavors and some high fructose corn syrup.

FoodFacts.com can definitely find a better use for 440 calories during any given day. So for us, this is one of many Oreo-laden treats in which we won’t be indulging.

http://www.dunkindonuts.com/content/dunkindonuts/en/menu/beverages/frozenbeverages/coffee1/oreo_frozen_coffee_coolatta.html?DRP_FLAVOR=Oreo&DRP_SIZE=Medium&DRP_DAIRY=Skim+Milk

How about some chicken with your salt? While concerns about salt intake are on the rise, so is the sodium content of KFC meals

kfc-chicken-mealWe consume too much sodium. That’s not exactly big news. We hear about it fairly consistently. You would think that with all that news, it might make sense to find that food manufacturers and fast food chains are lowering the amount of sodium in their products and menu items. Not so, apparently.

With an increased concern about the role high sodium levels play in high blood pressure, kidney disease and other health issues, a number of restaurant chains have been attempting to cut back on the salt in recent years. A new review of meals from 17 of the nation’s most popular fast food and family eateries shows that most chains are slowly reducing the amounts of sodium in their food (though it’s still very high), while a small number of others have actually gone the other direction.

A new survey from the Center for Science in the Public Interest looks at a total of 136 meals from the 17 restaurant chains to see whether the sodium levels in those meals changed between 2009 and 2013.

While there is no hard-and-fast number on recommended sodium intake, both the American Heart Association and the Centers for Disease Control say that 1,500mg a day is a good number for those looking to avoid high blood pressure.

The CSPI study found that 79% of the adult meals surveyed were still above that 1,500mg line, with seven meals — mostly from family restaurants — containing more than three days’ worth of sodium.

In general, sodium levels have fallen, but not by much. According to the CSPI, the overall sodium reduction between 2009 and 2013 was only 6%, or 1.5% per year. Kids’ meals only dropped by 2.6% during the four-year period, and much of that was due to restaurants replacing french fries with fruit options.

The biggest names in fast food are also responsible for the biggest reductions in sodium. All of the meals surveyed at Burger King, McDonald’s, Subway, Pizza Hut, and Taco Bell demonstrated some level of sodium reduction.

Of that group, Subway’s efforts to cut salt were the most effective, reducing sodium levels nearly 28%, followed by Burger King at 27%. BK’s cheeseburger kids’ meal had the most substantial decrease in sodium (44%), going from 1,200mg to 840mg.

On the opposite end of the survey are those popular eateries where sodium levels actually went up.

While Wendy’s and Sonic were each able to reduce the sodium on 50% of their surveyed meals, increases in other menu items resulted in a net increases in sodium of 2.7% and 1.3%, respectively.

But that was nothing compared to KFC, which only reduced sodium on 14% of one of its seven meals in the CSPI survey. While the reduction for that particular meal was significant (22%), four of the six other meals had double-digit percentage increases in sodium, resulting in a whopping 12.4% net sodium increase for the chicken chain.

The biggest single meal sodium increase also came from KFC, where the kids’ meal with a grilled chicken drumstick, corn on the cob, string cheese, and Capri Sun juice drink resulted in a 52% increase from the 2009 version of the meal. The not-horrible news is that the sodium level for this meal is still under the 1,200mg daily intake figure recommended for children.

The FDA puts no limits on sodium content in food, which some public health advocates believe is a mistake. The CSPI points to the restaurant industry’s slow and inconsistent efforts to reduce sodium as evidence that regulation is needed.

“For far too long, the FDA has relied on a voluntary, wait-and-see approach when it comes to reducing sodium in packaged and restaurant food,” said CSPI executive director Michael F. Jacobson. “If chains like KFC, Jack in the Box, and Red Lobster are actually raising sodium levels in some meals, FDA’s current approach clearly isn’t working.”

According to this fascinating survey, You can consume an entire day’s worth of sodium in one KFC fast food meal. That’s just too much for FoodFacts.com. And it should be too much for millions of consumers as well. We’re not exactly sure how many of those millions think to find out about the sodium content of their food choices at KFC before they sit down for their meal. We are pretty certain that all of them leave much thirstier than they were before they walked through the doors — not to mention a higher risk for a whole host of health issues.

http://consumerist.com/2014/07/02/while-other-restaurant-chains-cut-down-on-sodium-kfc-meals-have-been-getting-saltier/

Could drinking soda raise your risk of breast cancer?

Woman in cinema. Beautiful young woman drinking soda while sitting at the cinemaSoda consumption is back in the news. This time, though, that news is reporting on much more than how sugar consumption is linked to the obesity crisis, diabetes and heart disease (as if those problems weren’t enough). FoodFacts.com didn’t actually need any further convincing that soda is an unnecessary beverage — too much sugar, too many bad ingredients and no nutritional benefits whatsoever have left us with a bad taste in our mouths.

Sugary drinks are notorious for their health hazards, and unfortunately, Americans are nowhere close to giving them up. A 2012 Gallup poll found that 48 percent of Americans surveyed drank soda on a daily basis. Of the 48 percent who consumed soda daily, the average intake of the beverage is 2.6 glasses a day.

And if you think a lack of awareness is to blame, then think again! A study from the Yale Rudd Center for Food Policy & Obesity, Center for Science in the Public Interest, and Interlex Communications found that most Americans know that drinking soda is bad for you.

Now, researchers have found yet another troubling association with soda consumption: a higher risk of breast cancer in women. Specifically, the scientists discovered that the more sugary drinks a woman consumed, the more density her breasts would have. Breast density is a well-known risk factor for breast cancer, since there is less fatty tissue and more cells that are at risk of becoming cancerous.

“Among all women, those who had a sugary drink intake of more than three servings per week had a mean of 29.6 percent in breast density, but those who did not drink this type of drink had a mean of 26.2 percent in breast density,” said the lead author of the study, Dr. Caroline Diorio from Laval University in Quebec. “An increase of about 3 percent in breast density is not negligible in terms of breast cancer risk. By comparison, it has been shown that healthy women at high risk of developing breast cancer who received (the breast cancer drug) tamoxifen for four-and-a-half years had a reduction of 6.4 percent in breast density, and it has been observed that tamoxifen can reduce the risk of breast cancer by 30 to 50 percent in high-risk women.”

So in addition to all the other valid concerns surrounding soda, this new association with breast cancer is certainly an eye-opening one. While we understand that soda sales have dropped, we know that millions of consumers are still consuming these beverages — and consuming them in excess. We do hope that research like this makes its way into the consciousness of those consumers and that they take it seriously.

http://wallstcheatsheet.com/life/breast-cancer-and-4-other-health-issues-linked-to-drinking-soda.html/

McDonald’s burger declared the worst in America according to a new Consumer Reports Survey

McDonalds Sales.JPEG-054a3We know that the majority of fast food burgers aren’t exactly what we’d call healthy. Too many calories, too much fat, and a variety of bad ingredients makes the staple of American fast food a less than desirable choice for consumers. But what do you think would happen if you asked consumers to rank the fast food burgers? Do you think there might be some surprises?

Some major fast-food chains – McDonald’s, KFC, Taco Bell – may find the latest Consumer Reports fast-food survey hard to swallow.

According to the survey, released on Wednesday, more than 30,000 Consumer Reports subscribers say these restaurants’ signature items are the worst in their categories: McDonald’s has the worst burger; KFC has the worst chicken; and Taco Bell has the worst burrito.

Consumer Reports surveyed 32,405 subscribers about their experiences at 65 fast-food and fast-casual chains. This is what they were asked: “On a scale of  1 to 10, from least delicious to most delicious you’ve ever eaten, how would you rate the taste” of their signature dishes?

Habit Burger Grill, In-n-Out and Five Guys Burgers received the highest rating for their burgers, 8.1, 8.0 and 7.9 respectively. Meanwhile, McDonald’s scored a paltry 5.8 rating.

McDonald’s has been busy changing its menu in an effort to attract more customers. But despite the novelty items the company promoted in 2013 – Fish McBites in February, McWraps in March, Mighty Wings in September, etc. – the company’s U.S. sales dropped 0.2 percent last year.

During a conference call with investors, McDonald’s chief financial officer Peter Bensen said the company “probably did things a little bit too quickly” in terms of introducing those new menu items. The constant changes and bold experiments with the menu put pressure to the restaurants’ kitchens,which sometimes took too long to fill orders. But new items introduced this year will be welcomed by the chain’s new kitchen equipment. Prep tables will be replaced with larger surfaces that are able to hold more sauces and ingredients.

In 2014, Bensen said, the company will “refocus the core,” including tried-and-true favorites such as the Big Mac, Chicken McNuggets and the Quarter Pounder, as well as breakfast.

Research shows Americans are spending $683.4 billion a year dining out, and they are also demanding better food quality and greater variety from restaurants to make sure their money is well spent.

When deciding where to dine, consumers are giving more consideration to food quality, according to the Consumer Reports survey. The restaurant’s location is less important than it was in 2011, when the group last conducted the survey. Diners today are more willing to go out of their way and find tasty meals that can be customized.

“Fast-casual dining in places like Chipotle and Panda Express lets the consumer guide the staff to prepare their meal just the way they like it,” Darren Tristano, executive vice president of Technomic, a food-service consulting firm, said in the report.

While many of the traditional chains have lagged in offering higher-quality ingredients, he said, some food chains — including Chipotle, Noodles & Company and Panera — have been offering meat raised without using antibiotics in animal feed, a feature that attracts consumers searching for healthier options.

FoodFacts.com has to wonder whether or not bad food is catching up with the king of fast food. Sales are dropping. Over 30,000 Consumer Reports subscribers have let the world know that McDonald’s burgers taste about as good as their nutrition facts and ingredient lists reflect. While Panera and Chipotle may not be our favorite eateries, we can still agree with those subscribers who have stated that the food from those fast-casual establishments is fresher and tastes better than a McDonald’s hamburger. McDonald’s still serves up millions of burgers every day. Consumer opinions create change. We can only hope change will start with this survey.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/business/wp/2014/07/02/consumer-reports-mcdonalds-burger-ranked-worst-in-the-u-s/

FDA petitioned to order warnings on energy drink labels

Energy DrinksJust last week we posted about the untimely death of a 16 year old girl that has been linked to energy drinks. FoodFacts.com consistently posts about reports regarding the dangers of these drinks that remain unregulated and far too popular among the teenage population. The problems aren’t small and the needs are big. There’s far too little education regarding energy drinks among the population at large. Too much caffeine, too many other ingredients with stimulant properties and too much marketing to teens … we have a problem and regulation seems to be slow in coming.

A consumer advocacy group on Wednesday asked the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to add a safety warning on energy drinks because the caffeine-charged beverages have been linked to 17 deaths since October 2012.

No study has proven that energy drinks directly caused these deaths, but 34 people died in the United States in the last decade after drinking 5-Hour Energy, Monster or Rockstar beverages, according to the Center for Science in the Public Interest.

More than 50 people also were hospitalized for high blood pressure, convulsions and heart attacks after consuming energy drinks. The drinks, which are especially popular with teens, typically contain guarana, taurine and caffeine.

“I don’t think anybody knows what (these chemicals in energy drinks) do,” said Michael F. Jacobson, executive director of CSPI, which calculated the numbers using data it obtained from the FDA. “It’s not clear what their risks are.”

The FDA said it has been studying the drinks for several years and is evaluating the deaths. “This does not necessarily mean that the energy drink caused the death,” an FDA spokesperson said. “Frequently there are other complicating factors, such as existing disease or medications the person may have been taking.”

Spokespeople for Monster Beverage Corp, Rockstar Energy Drink and 5-Hour Energy were not immediately available for comment.

“Energy drinks are safe. They meet all the standards required by the federal regulators,” said Christopher Gindlesperger, a spokesman for the American Beverage Association.

CSPI also asked the FDA to lower the legally allotted amount of caffeine in energy drinks to 71 milligrams per 12 ounces — the amount permissible in colas.

In 2005, the group urged the FDA to introduce labels to sugar-rich drinks warning consumers of obesity. Two years prior, CSPI succeeded in a 10-year campaign to list data on trans fats on all Nutrition Facts labels.

If you’ve ever walked into a convenience store between the hours of 2:30 and 3:30 in the afternoon, you’ve undoubtedly encountered a flood of teens. That’s certainly not a bad thing. Teens are hungry after school and they have a new freedom they didn’t have before they were in high school. Unfortunately, if you’ve seen that flood of teenagers in the store, you’ve probably also noticed how many cans of energy drinks are being purchased. The concerns are serious and very real. We can’t repeat it enough. Talk to your teenagers. Be careful. Keep your kids safe.

http://www.foxnews.com/health/2014/06/26/consumer-group-wants-fda-to-order-warning-on-energy-drinks/

Fortified breakfast cereals — too much of a good thing?

cerealFor years, cereal manufacturers have been touting the fortification of their products with vitamins we need to stay healthy. Manufacturers are even fortifying the cereals you really don’t want your kids to eat. Apple Jacks, for instance, are fortified with 11 different essential vitamins. It appears now, though that young children who dig into a bowl of fortified breakfast cereal may be getting too much of a good thing.

A new report says that “millions of children are ingesting potentially unhealthy amounts” of vitamin A, zinc and niacin, with fortified breakfast cereals the leading source of the excessive intake because all three nutrients are added in amounts calculated for adults.

Outdated nutritional labeling rules and misleading marketing by food manufacturers who use high fortification levels to make their products appear more nutritious fuel this potential risk, according to the report by the Environmental Working Group(EWG), a Washington, D.C.-based health research and advocacy organization.

Although the Food and Drug Administration is currently updating nutrition facts labels that appear on most food packages, none of its proposed changes address the issue of over-consumption of fortified micronutrients, or that the recommended percent daily values for nutrition content that appear on the labels are based on adults,, says Renée Sharp, EWG’s director of research.

Only “a tiny, tiny percentage” of cereal packages carry nutrition labels that list age-specific daily values, Sharp says. “That’s misleading to parents and is contributing to the problem.”

The daily values for most vitamins and minerals that appear on nutrition facts labels were set by the FDA in 1968 and haven’t updated, she says, making them “wildly out-of-sync” with currently recommended levels deemed safe by the Institute of Medicine, a branch of the National Academy of Sciences.

Getting adequate amounts of all three nutrients is needed to maintain health and prevent disease, but the report says that routinely ingesting too much vitamin A can, over time, lead to health issues such as liver damage and skeletal abnormalities. . High zinc intakes can impair copper absorption and negatively affect red and white blood cells and immune function, and consuming too much niacin can cause short-term symptoms such as rash, nausea and vomiting, the report says.

When combining food intake and vitamin supplements, the report calculates that more than 10 million American children are getting too much vitamin A; more than 13 million get excessive too much zinc; and nearly 5 million get too much niacin.

EWG’s analysis of nutrition facts labels for 1,556 breakfast cereals and 1,025 snack and energy bars identified:

•114 cereals fortified with 30% or more of the adult daily value ( or recommended level of intake) for vitamin A, zinc and/or niacin.

•27 snack and energy bars fortified with 50% or more of the adult daily value for at least one of the three nutrients.

•23 cereals with added fortification of one or more of the nutrients in amounts “much greater” than the levels deemed safe for children age 8 and younger by the Institute of Medicine, a branch of the National Academy of Sciences.

Cereals with the highest added nutrient levels include national brands such as Kellogg’s Product 19 and General Mills Total Raisin Brain, as well as store brands from Food Lion, Safeway and Stop & Shop.

In a statement, Kellogg spokesperson Kris Charles says, “The report ignores a great deal of the nutrition science and consumption data showing that without fortification of foods such as ready-to-eat cereals, many children would not get enough vitamins & minerals in their diets. Less than 2 percent of all cereals assessed by EWG made their “Top 23″ list and the vast majority of these are adult-oriented cereals not regularly consumed by children.”
The FDA, in a statement, said that proposed daily values for infants (7-12 months) and young children (1-3 years) are being considered, but not for 4-8 year olds “because they consume the same foods as the general population” and the FDA “is not aware of foods that are sold specifically for this age group.”

The agency added that it is proposing lowering daily intakes for these nutrients for the revamped food labels.

The evidence that millions of children are exceeding the safe upper levels for some nutrients “is fairly good and traceable to excessive marketing-driven fortification,” says Susan Roberts, a professor of nutrition at Tufts University, who was not involved in the EWG report. “But right now we don’t have a lot of evidence that it is creating massive health problems. Rather, I would say it is unnecessary, not health-promoting, and in some individual cases may be causing toxic problems.”

To help reduce the amount of vitamin A, zinc and niacin that kids consume, EWG says parents should limit the fortified cereals and other foods kids eat to those that contain no more than 20% to 25% of the adult daily value for each of the nutrients.

Just about every cereal we know of includes a notation that the nutrition facts listed apply to a typical 2000 calorie-a-day diet for the average adult. According to the report, Cocoa Krispies when eaten with milk provides 30% of the adult intake of Vitamin A — the upper acceptable limit for 8-year-olds.

FoodFacts.com certainly agrees this offers a new perspective on breakfast cereals — most of which are fortified. It’s interesting to learn that what consumers have always thought of as a good thing might just be a little too good after all.

http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2014/06/24/cereals-fortified-childrens-health/11103783/

Lawsuit against Chobani claims it’s not really Greek yogurt and is misleading consumers about nutrition

Chobani_AP2Lawsuits against food manufacturers have been in the news constantly over the last few years. Manufacturers have removed “All Natural” claims from their labels more than a few times because of disgruntled consumers discovering that those claims really weren’t the truth. FoodFacts.com has always felt that the voices of consumers do eventually motivate postive changes in the food industry. And those lawsuits certainly have been motivational for many manufacturers. The latest lawsuit we’ve been reading about is something we want to call to your attention because it may stir up some different feelings.

According to the New York Post, Barry Stoltz and Allan Chang are suing Chobani, alleging that the companies falsely represent their product by hiding the amount of sugar in their yogurt and by calling it “Greek.” Chobani Greek Yogurt is about as nutritious as eating a fudge ice cream bar,the lawsuit claims.

The 48-page suit, which accuses the best-selling brand of deceiving consumers about its health benefits, sounds more like a Jerry Seinfeld routine.

But its irony is unintentional.

“There is nothing ‘Greek’ about the products,” the complaint says. “None of the products sold in the U.S. are made in Greece or made by Greek nationals.”

“The name of the brand itself is not Greek,” noting that it is derived from the Turkish word “chobani,” which means shepherd, and the company’s founder is Turkish.

The suit contends Chobani products contain about 16 grams of sugar, virtually the same sweetness as a Nestlé Fudge ice cream bar.

Chobani allegedly creates further confusion for consumers by prominently displaying a “0%” on the label “without providing any context as to what the 0% represents,” the suit alleges.

The plaintiffs — Barry Stoltz of Scarsdale and Allan Chang of Queens — filed the class-action suit in Brooklyn Federal Court and are seeking unspecified monetary damages for apparently being tricked into thinking that 0%, which actually means it’s nonfat, refers to zero calories or sugar.

“With deceptive packaging and marketing, consumers are deceived into thinking that junk food can be a healthy alternative,” said lawyer C.K. Lee of Manhattan, who filed the suit.

Chobani, based in upstate Norwich, said a similar lawsuit had been tossed in California. The company said it is “committed to using only natural ingredients.”

It also schooled Stoltz and Chang on where Chobani is made.

“Much like English muffins and French fries, our fans understand Greek yogurt to be a product description about how we authentically make our yogurt and not about where we make our yogurt in upstate New York and Idaho,” the company said in a statement.

FoodFacts.com was thrilled to see Subway move to eliminate azodicarbonamide from its breads and rolls because consumers made their voices heard. We were equally happy about Gatorade removing brominated vegetable oil from their products that previously contained the controversial ingredient. We applauded Kashi removing the “all natural” claims from their products because of a lawsuit. It is certainly true that consumers would feel misled by claims that are obviously untrue.

Have to admit though, that none of us here at FoodFacts.com ever considered the possibility that ANY of the mainstream brands of Greek yogurt are actually manufactured in Greece by Greek nationals — unless of course we’re talking about imported products, which we’re not. We’re pretty positive that the overwhelming majority of consumers understand that what we’re talking about are products manufactured in the Greek style of yogurt preparation.

As far as the sugar content is concerned, we have to be honest here, 16 grams (while certainly higher than we’d like) is actually right in the ballpark for most mainstream brands. If you’ve been reading nutrition labels for yogurts, you probably know this already.

We’ve posted about this lawsuit for your consideration. Is this a reasonable claim?

FoodFacts.com would really like for consumers to use careful consideration before filing any lawsuit against food manufacturers. Please don’t get us wrong, legal claims are a great tool to change what is actually wrong with how food manufacturers market products. We just want to make sure they’re used to do just that. We’re really not so sure this particular lawsuit fits that bill. What do you think?

http://www.foxnews.com/leisure/2014/06/24/greek-yogurt-giants-chobani-and-fage-facing-lawsuits-over-sugar-and-greekness/
http://www.nydailynews.com/life-style/health/chobani-yogurt-greek-deceives-customers-lawsuit-article-1.1836844

Misleading healthy eating concepts food marketers love and nutrition experts don’t

ExpertsWe know that food manufacturers routinely use language to convey health benefits of products that may or may not actually be there. We’ve covered plenty of information about food marketing that hopefully helps us all be more aware of some of the words manufacturers are using to create healthier images for their products. But it goes beyond words … marketers exploit healthy eating concepts every day, shaping our opinions and our purchases.

A recent Huffington Post article gives new perspective into what nutrition experts are especially sensitive to on food labels — and want all of us to be sensitive to as well. FoodFacts.com thinks their insights are well worth sharing.

“There is so much nutrition misinformation out there,” says Appetite for Health’s Julie Upton, MS, RD, CSSD, “and add on the fact that marketers often use ‘health halo’ descriptors to sell products, it’s no wonder Americans are confused about what’s really healthy to eat.”
To help clear up some of the confusion, a group of nutrition experts were asked to dish on the healthy eating concepts we’re most commonly misusing. Here are eight of the worst offenders.

“Detox”

“If I could erase one word from the dietary dictionary it would be ‘detox’. The idea that certain foods or nutrients will speed up or enhance your body’s detoxification process is just silly. The best way to help your body get the toxins out is to put fewer in.”

–Monica Reinagel, MS, LDN, CNS, HuffPost blogger and author of Nutrition Diva’s Secrets for A Healthy Diet

“Good” Foods And “Bad” Foods

“I don’t like saying there are good foods and bad foods — it’s so judgmental! I’m not saying French fries aren’t loaded with calories, fat and sodium, or ice cream isn’t rich in calories, fat and sugar, but saying they’re ‘bad’ foods invokes guilt on those who enjoy these comfort foods. Eating and enjoying food — even foods that aren’t the most nutritious — shouldn’t ever be done with guilt or shame. Eating should be one of the great pleasures of life! And if you learn to eat with pleasure, you may even feel more satisfied with less food.”

–Elisa Zied, MS, RDN, CDN, author of Younger Next Week

“Clean”

“Everything is all about ‘clean’ foods, a ‘clean’ diet, but there is absolutely no definition of what ‘clean eating’ means. Many athletes refer to ‘clean’ as eating natural, wholesome, real foods and fewer processed options. I think that makes sense, but I don’t know why we need to call it ‘clean’ instead of healthy eating. I’m starting to see marketers say their processed products are made with “clean” ingredients, so to me this is just a meaningless term. I think, ‘You’ve been had!’ when I hear friends use the term.”

–Julie Upton, MS, RD, CSSD, Appetite for Health

“I shy away from the term ‘clean eating’. I appreciate that people use the term to describe eating plans that include high-quality, unprocessed foods and perhaps organic and locally-grown foods, and I applaud their efforts to eat nutritious foods. But I have a hard time with the clean-eating label because it makes me think that if you’re not eating ‘clean’ then you’re eating ‘dirty.’ Also, clean eating doesn’t necessarily equal a balanced diet. As much as I’ve tried to embrace the clean eating term, I sense some shame in it. For example, people may feel bad that they can’t ‘eat clean,’ because the cost is prohibitive or it’s inconvenient. And I sometimes get the idea that die-hard clean eaters look down on people who don’t eat the same way, and that they use the term to define themselves rather than their eating. I’d love it if we could ditch the eating labels and try to eat the fewest processed foods possible as part of a balanced diet we can afford and live with in the long-run.”

–Elizabeth M. Ward, RD, author of MyPlate for Moms, How to Feed Yourself & Your Family Better

“Low-Carb”

“The one that gets to me the most is when people tell me they eat ‘low-carb’, or [say] ‘I don’t eat sugar.’ I always ask, ‘What does that mean for you?’ I constantly find myself explaining that carbs are in multiple food groups. There are grams of carbohydrates (a.k.a. sugar) in bread and bread products and fruits, but also in other foods that you may not think of as having grams of carbs, like unsweetened yogurt and vegetables. Once I explain the basics of food science, the ‘low-carb’ proclamation that so many claim to adhere to is not accurate.”

–Marjorie Nolan Cohn, MS, RD, CDN, ACSM-HFS, national spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics and author of Belly Fat Fix

“Gluten-Free”

“Many people who tout the wonders of going without gluten don’t even know what gluten is — and there is little evidence that those who do not have celiac disease (only a small percentage of the population) [or non-celiac gluten sensitivity] will benefit from a gluten-free diet.”

–Katherine Brooking MS, RD, Appetite for Health

“Fruit Has Too Much Sugar”

“While fruit does indeed contain natural sugar, it comes along with great nutrition, such as vitamin C and fiber. One of my favorite fruits is grapes. They are [around 100] calories for a cup and are loaded with antioxidants and vitamin K. It’s natural to enjoy sweet foods — so getting a natural sugar fix from fruit rather than candy is smart. Aim for two cups or two pieces of fruit per day.”

–Dawn Jackson Blatner, RDN, CSSD, LDN, HuffPost blogger and author of The Flexitarian Diet

“Breakfast Is The Most Important Meal Of The Day”

“NOT! All meals are important for different reasons. Each one plays a role in keeping you energized and at the top of your game.”

–Joy Bauer, MS, RDN, health and nutrition expert for the “Today” show and founder of Nourish Snacks

“Made With Simple Ingredients”

“This is popular with brands that say things like ‘made with ingredients you can see and pronounce.’ We all know what simple means, but ‘simple’ is now a marketing buzzword showing up on supermarket shelves. The ‘simple’ foods have a more wholesome look and may make you believe that you’re buying something that’s better for you and your family.

I’m all for foods with a single ingredient, like apples, bananas, broccoli, nuts, eggs, lean meats and fish, to name a few. They’re all as simple as foods can come and are loaded with nutrition and provide major health benefits. We’d all be healthier and live longer if we ate single-ingredient foods most of the time.

The new ‘simple’ foods I’m talking about are things like gourmet ice cream, cookies, candy, butter and other foods that may contain just a few ingredients. The problem is, those simple, all-natural ingredients don’t provide a nutritional punch. I’m talking about sugar, cream, salt and oil. There is no shortfall of these ‘simple’ ingredients in the typical American diet, so positioning them as a health bonus is just, well, bogus.”

Thanks for the great information, Huffington Post. And for the reminder that there are plenty of food trends that don’t begin with solid information from experts, but instead are the results of ideas that manufacturers want out there in the population at large. We’ve been hearing that breakfast is the most important meal of the day for decades. That may very well have come from a cereal manufacturer and it went viral before social media ever existed. Along with words and phrases like “all natural” and “whole grain,” let’s keep concepts like those noted here as well. We’ll all be happier and healthier eaters!

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/06/23/nutrition-misunderstood_n_5508695.html

Energy drinks … the news gets worse

Energy DrinksEnergy drinks have consistently been in the news over the past few years. They’re dangerous. And most aren’t regulated the way they should be because they’ve managed to fall into the “special” category of nutritional supplements. That categorization has helped manufacturers avoid conforming to the maximum caffeine content allowed in sodas and other beverages (71 mg. per 12 ou.). Energy drinks contain other stimulants in addition to caffeine. Ingredients like guarana seed extract and taurine are common in energy drinks and have stimulant properties. Emergency room visits that are linked to energy drinks are rampant. Deaths have been linked to the drinks, but no direct cause and effect has ever been established. What’s worse is that kids (especially teens) are consuming too many energy drinks far too often.

While we hate to be the bearer of more bad news on the subject, the report that follows deserves your attention.

A grieving Arizona mother is claiming that energy drinks were a major factor in the shocking death of her 16-year-old daughter.

Lanna Hamann was on vacation in Rocky Point, Mexico when her mother, Kris Hamann, received a call saying her daughter had died from a heart attack. Lanna was travelling with friends, who told Kris that the teen had been drinking energy drinks all day, rather than keeping hydrated with water.

On Saturday June 14, Lanna complained to the father of one of her friends that she was not feeling well, after a day drinking the energy drinks at the beach. Soon after, she suffered a heart attack and died.

In a tearful interview, Kris described the star softball athlete as having a “beautiful smile” and an “outgoing personality.”

“Obviously, this is something that could have happened anywhere, whether she was in Mexico or whether she was here in Arizona playing softball,” Kris said. “(Parents should) make sure they’re watching their kids. (Watch) what they’re drinking and (make sure) they’re drinking water instead of an energy drink.”

Consuming large quantities of energy drinks can become dangerous.

“Blood pressure is going to rise. Heart rate is going to rise. Your muscles are going to start to contract,” said registered dietitian Abby Nevins. “So if you’re taking a bunch of 5 hour energies throughout the day, not hydrating with water, there is going to be a problem at the end of the day for sure.”

Nevins recommended a cup of coffee for consumers looking for that extra buzz, because coffee has more natural ingredients.

In the past few years, the Food and Drug Administration has received five different reports of people whose deaths have been at least partially blamed on energy drinks.

10 common side effects of excessive energy drink consumption, including heart palpitations, chest pain and respiratory distress. Studies have also found links between energy drink consumption and arrhythmia and high blood pressure. One recent study showed serious increases in heart contraction rates within an hour of drinking an energy beverage.

FoodFacts.com wants to express our deep sadness regarding this tragic situation. In addition, we want to caution those whose immediate reaction might be that consuming energy drinks without hydrating wasn’t intelligent on the part of a 16-year-old girl. There are plenty of less-than-intelligent decisions people of all ages make every day of the week. Most don’t result in a heart attack. The problem lies less with the teenager than with readily available, unregulated products that pose an extreme danger to our kids.

Whether or not they let us know it, kids actually do listen to adults. While none of us wanted another item to add to the already long list of things about which we need to caution our teens, we certainly have it. Talk to them about energy drinks and E.R. visits and deaths. Their lives are far too important to put in danger for a currently cool, quick pick-me-up. They really can live without it.

http://www.syracuse.com/news/index.ssf/2014/06/energy_drinks_blamed_in_16-year-old_girls_death_by_heart_attack.html

New report on a popular artificial sweetener isn’t very sweet

iStock_000022507322SmallArtificial sweeteners are exactly what their name infers. They’re chemically created, zero calorie versions of sugar. They can also be referred to as non-nutritive sweeteners — another very telling term. There is no nutritional value involved in artificial sweeteners. So what’s so bad about a substance that contains absolutely no calories that provides no nutritional value?

To begin with, artificial sweeteners have recently been linked with weight gain. Kind of counterintuitive, isn’t it? The very substance that’s supposed to help people with weight loss and weight control may not actually do what it’s intended to. That certainly hasn’t stopped anyone from opting for diet beverages and foods containing any number of different artificial sweeteners. Now there is more news that presents another problem with one of the more popular sweeteners consumers are using.

One of the active ingredients in a popular artificial sweetener could have the potential to limit the impact of therapeutic drugs, reduce the number and balance of beneficial bacteria in the gut and alter hormone secretion, according to an article published in Journal of Toxicology and Environmental Health, Part A: Current Issues.

Authored by Susan Schiffman and her colleagues, the article details an experiment involving a popular artificial sweetener, which is comprised of the high-potency sucralose (1.1%) and the fillers maltodextrin and glucose.

The study involved an experiment using Sprague-Dawley rats that were administered the artificial sweetener over a 12-week period. Following a bacterial analysis of the rats’ fecal samples and measurement of fecal pH, the article concluded that artificial sweetener resulted in various adverse effects in the rats, including:

-Reduction in beneficial fecal microflora
-Increased fecal pH
-Enhanced expression levels of P-gp, CYP3A4,and CYP2D1, which are known to limit the bioavailability of orally administered drugs

“At concentrations typically used in foods and drinks, sucralose suppresses beneficial bacteria in the gastrointestinal tract with less effect on pathogenic bacteria,” article co-author Susan Schiffman, Ph.D said. “Most consumers are unaware of these effects because no warning label appears on products containing sucralose.” Schiffman also said went onto saythat the change in balance of gastrointestinal bacteria has been associated with weight gain and obesity. At elevated levels, sucralose also damages DNA. These biological effects occur at the levels of sucralose currently approved by regulatory agencies for use in the food supply.

That’s not very good news for sucralose fans. While the effects observed in this report are accounted for in earlier materials, those earlier accounts claim that these effects can only be seen with the consumption of sucralose at higher levels than currently approved in products in our food supply. When you consider how sucralose is manufactured, the news may not be very surprising. Sucralose is produced by the “selective chlorination” of table sugar. One of the synonyms for chlorinate is bleach. Doesn’t sound like a process that should be used in the production of anything edible.

FoodFacts.com makes it appoint to avoid all artificial sweeteners, simply because they are just that. Artificial. Any product we consume should be actual food and not something created in a lab.

http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/releases/278366.php