Tag Archives: food ingredients

“Hidden” Chemicals In Apples


Let’s pretend there is an apple in front of you. Can you tell us how many nutrients are in it? We’ll give you a moment to think about this. How many nutrients was everyone able to come up with? 20? 100? Try nearly 400. That’s how many phytochemicals have been found in a whole, fresh, clean apple, according to the Handbook of Phytochemical Constituents of Generally Regarded as Safe (GRAS) Herbs. This gives new meaning to the adage “an apple a day keeps the doctor away.”

Here at FoodFacts we like to stress the importance of eating whole, fresh foods. They give you proper nutrition that’s beneficial to your health. For example, studies have shown that nutrients in apples have been linked to a reduced risk of heart disease, brain cell damage, and certain cancers. Furthermore, according to research in the Journal of Nutrition, some nutrients in apples work better together than separately. Meaning that, while science has the capability to isolate each nutrient and turn it into 400 different supplements, eating just one apple is far better ( not to mention easier) for our health. These are just the nutrients we know about in an apple. We all know the food industry is constantly changing and emerging research will shed more light into the positive health benefits of foods we already knew were good for us, but never understood why.

As a FoodFacts reader, we are sure you have noticed front of label health claims on packaged food products. The latest over- priced product on the market may claim to have high amounts of every nutrient known to man. There may even be big, bold statements that link single nutrients to positive health benefits and so on. While those claims may have truth to them, we ask ourselves – is a product high in one nutrient good for us if it comes with the added sugar and/or manmade ingredients you struggle to pronounce the name of? Do we want to risk our health and well being by introducing items into our body that it does not recognize? Can we find all the nutrients in an apple in a s supplement, or even apple juice? We could waste time trying or we could take the simple approach and eat a delicious, good for you, nutrient packed apple. Whole foods for our whole bodies – a simple, straight forward approach that can keep us healthy for years to come.

Is that really fat free?

 


FoodFacts
knows that reading (and understanding) a foods nutrition label is key to a healthy diet – whether you are counting your calories, increasing your fiber or watching fat intake. After what seems like way too long, you may have finally found your holy grail of healthy foods to replace a high fat, high calorie favorite. Low and behold, a product that is fat free! Before you rejoice, keep reading.

…The ingredients list that is. The ingredients list will give you a better picture of the nutrients in your food. So is there an item on the ingredients list that didn’t end up on the nutrition panel? If you happen to notice “mono and diglycerides” on the list – these are fats. They carry the same amount of energy per gram (9) as a triglyceride (3 fatty acids and a glycerol), yet the food item in question has “0 calories,” and “0 fat.”

Two things are at play here. Number 1 is the definition of a fat. The FDA requires fats to be listed as triglycerides, which mono and diglycerides are not. Number 2 are the labeling laws – if a product has less than 5 calories or less than 0.5g fat per serving , it can be listed as “0.” As an example, let’s say we have cooking spray X that is listed as having “0 calories” and “0 fat” per 1/3 second spray ( I’m not sure about you guys, but we don’t stop spraying at .33 seconds, nor can we operate a stop watch and spray at the same time, but that is our short coming). Further reading shows one of the first ingredients are mono and diglycerides aka oils, aka fats, that are magically fat free. Since we don’t live in a magical world where somehow fat has become fat free, let’s assume that one serving contains 5 calories of fat. That means one seconds worth of spraying has given us 15 calories and approximately 1.7 grams of fat. Let’s say you sprayed for 5 seconds. That would run you 75 calories and 8.3 grams of fat. That is, sadly, not as fat free as the nutrition panel suggests.

However, FoodFacts understands that if we are watching what we eat and we do our homework, then we have a better idea of what we are putting into our bodies. And bravo to us, since that is not always easy!

“But the label says no trans fat, so it’s fine” … exploring a modern myth

On the FoodFacts Facebook page this week, we’ve looked at products containing Partially Hydrogenated Vegetable Oil and Partially Hydrogenated Canola Oil, There are at least a few more “Partially Hydrogenated” oil substances to delve into in terms of food ingredients. But as we looked more closely at the subject, we realized that this is a very important topic for this blog.

We feel very strongly about education and even though trans fat is something you always hear about, we think, perhaps, we all need to be reminded of exactly how it is, or isn’t, being regulated. And that all depends on how you look at it.

First let’s make this point. Any oil listed as a food ingredient that begins with the phrase “partially hydrogenated” signifies the presence of trans fat in the food product it’s included in. It is impossible for the use of any partially hydrogenated oil not to result in a certain amount of trans fat. It doesn’t matter what type of oil is undergoing the process … vegetable, canola, sunflower, cottonseed – it all results in the same thing.

So here’s a random (and partial) ingredient list:
Citric Acid, Glycerol, Corn Syrup High Fructose, Potassium Sorbate, Flavoring Natural, Wheat Flour, Wheat Whole, BHT, Caramel Color, Corn Syrup, Barley Malted Syrup, Corn Syrup Malted, Niacinamide (Vitamin aB), Canola Oil Partially Hydrogenated, Sunflower Oil Partially Hydrogenated, Iron Reduced,  Salt, Vitamin A (Retinol Palmitate), Vitamin B6, Whey, Zinc Oxide, Flavor(s) Natural & Artificial, Folic Acid (Vitamin aB), Riboflavin (Vitamin B2), Thiamine Mononitrate (Vitamin B1), Vitamin B12, Vitamin D

And here’s that ingredient list’s corresponding nutrition label:
You’ll note that the Trans Fat line reads 0 grams.

It’s within FDA requirements. The product hasn’t lied, they haven’t made a mistake and they haven’t been mislabeled. But the product still contains trans fat – even though it says it doesn’t.

According to the FDA, any product whose trans fat level falls below .5 grams per serving can list itself as having NO trans fat. Maybe that doesn’t sound like it’s a big deal, but it really can be and it’s really something we should all pay attention to.

There is no RDA for trans fat in the United States. In fact, all we’ve heard is that we should consume as little trans fat per day as possible. It’s just downright bad for us … trans fats add to weight gain and obesity problems, they help clog arteries, increasing the risk of heart attack and stroke. There’s even research that points to the contribution of trans fats to the risk of diabetes.

Let’s assume that you have one serving of 5 different food products marked 0 g. trans fat per day. Let’s also assume that each of those servings actually contains .45 g of trans fat. You just consumed 2.25 g of a fat that has no determined level of safety!

The labeling of trans fat is regulated … sort of. Anything over .5 g per serving has to be noted on the nutrition label and anything below that counts as a 0.

Since it’s only a “sort of” regulation, it leads us to determine that until things change, we need to regulate ourselves. Any additional trans fat is unhealthy.

FoodFacts.com wants to keep you focused on your healthy lifestyle. Be a savvy consumer and be able to identify the myriad of products that contain trans fat. Keep reading, but make sure you’re reading more than nutrition labels. You need to read ingredient lists and keep your attention on the words “Partially Hydrogenated”. That’s the key to determining whether or not the product you’re considering actually contains trans fat.

Sucralose in our drinking water???

water-faucet-glass

Foodfacts.com works to find all the latest news and research pertaining to the food we eat, and water we drink. We just recently came across this article which we think many of you would be interested in, regarding a recent study determining that sucralose has been found in 19 different water treatment plants in the US. Read below to learn more!

If you’ve been diligently avoiding the consumption of chemical sweeteners like sucralose, you may be alarmed to learn that researchers have found sucralose lurking in the drinking water supply of more than 28 million Americans.

A recent study tested water samples from 19 water treatment plants in the United States serving more than 28 million people. Researchers analyzed the samples for the artificial sweetener sucralose. Samples tested positive for sucralose in the source water of 15 out of 19 plants. Furthermore, treatment failed to remove the sucralose from the drinking water: sucralose was also found in the finished drinking water from 13 out of 19 plants.

Researchers determined that current water treatment methods fail to effectively remove sucralose from our water supply, leaving millions of Americans to unknowingly consume this artificial sweetener every single day.

Why is Sucralose in Our Drinking Water?

When a person ingests sucralose, a large percentage of it is not broken down and is instead excreted as waste. This waste goes through the water treatment plant, where the sucralose remains intact and goes on to become part of our drinking water supply.

Because sucralose has become one of the most widely used artificial sweeteners in commercial soft drinks and snack foods, it is no wonder that it is making an appearance in our drinking water. If sucralose consumption continues to rise, it stands to reason that everyone drinking public water will be ingesting more of this chemical sweetener as well – whether they want to or not.

Sucralose is Not Safe for Consumption

The public should be aware that the majority of the studies on the safety of sucralose are funded by the creators of the most popular sucralose product on the market. The conflict of interest is obvious and the results of these studies are clearly biased in favor of sucralose.

Independent studies aren’t nearly so positive. Questions about the negative impact sucralose has on male fertility, red blood cell count, kidney health, gut flora balance and body weight are serious concerns generated from the results of these studies. Many researchers and health experts are convinced that sucralose should never have been deemed safe for human consumption.

Common sense dictates that any chemically-processed food is unfit for human consumption. The fact that these substances are now running rampant through our water supply is an atrocity that violates our right to choose what we put into our own bodies.

(NaturalNews.com)

What Fish Oil Does for Your Health

salmon

Foodfacts.com looks into the benefits of having Fish Oil in your diet. Found in fatty fish or supplements, fish oil can work wonders, from preventing inflammatory diseases to reducing the stroke risk in people with heart disease. There’s a good reason why the American Heart Association recommends that most people eat fish — particularly fatty fish — at least twice a week for heart health. Fatty fish has high levels of omega-3 fatty acids, which are essential nutrients that the body can’t make on its own.

Research has shown that fish oil offers many health benefits, but the strongest evidence points to fish oil benefits for heart health. Fish oil has been shown to:

Lower triglycerides — fats which are unhealthy in high levels (its role in high cholesterol, however, is unclear)
Cut the number of strokes in people with heart disease
Prevent heart disease
Slow the build-up of atherosclerotic plaques, also called hardening of the arteries
Slightly reduce blood pressure

More Fish Oil Benefits: Reducing Inflammation

Because most of the benefits of fish oil come from omega-3’s anti-inflammatory properties, says clinical nutritionist Stella Metsovas, BS, CN, of Laguna Beach, Ca., fish oil may play a role in treating and preventing inflammatory conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, ulcerative colitis, and osteoporosis.

“Inflammatory conditions like rheumatoid arthritis and osteoporosis are especially fascinating to me because current [treatment] methods [for example, calcium supplementation] are not as promising as once expected,” Metsovas says.


More Fish Oil Benefits: What Else It May Do

While fish has long had a reputation as a brain food, recent studies have shown that fish oil may specifically help with:

Depression
Attention deficit disorder
Infant eye-brain development
Alzheimer’s disease
Schizophrenia
Bipolar disorder
Other brain disorders
Some studies are investigating the role that fish oil may play in preventing weight loss caused by cancer drugs, reducing the growth of colon cancer cells, and lowering rejection rates for heart and kidney transplant patients. Still others are looking at fish oil to help with dry eyes, glaucoma, and age-related macular degeneration, which can cause blindness.

Fish Oil: Fish or Supplement?

Your body doesn’t make omega-3s. To get the amount you need, you have to eat foods that have omega-3s or take supplements. Besides fatty fish, omega-3s are found in some nut oils (English walnuts) and vegetable oils, such as canola, flaxseed and linseed, olive, and soybean. Fish oil has two essential fatty acids, eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), while vegetable and nut sources contain the fatty acid alpha-linolenic acid (ALA). Some studies suggest that the benefits of EPA and DHA are greater than those of ALA.

“Although I might get some flak from vegetarians and vegans, the best sources of omega-3s are animal-based,” Metsovas says. Food sources include omega-3 enriched egg yolks, fatty fish, krill oil, and grass-fed beef. She recommends 1 gram of fatty acids per day. A 3.5-ounce serving of fish has about that amount.

Like most nutritionists, Metsovas recommends eating fish rather than taking supplements. When that’s not possible, she says, look for high-quality fish oils that offer concentrated sources of omega-3s per capsule.

Check with your doctor before taking higher doses of fish oil — more than 3 grams a day. People on anti-clotting drugs should take extra care, as fish oil can cause excessive bleeding.

Fish Oil: Watch for the Mercury

A problem with eating fish is that it can contain high levels of mercury and other environmental contaminants such as polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs). The solution may be to choose fish by its size.

Smaller fish, such as sardines, tend to accumulate fewer toxins because they are lower on the food chain. Avoid larger fish such as shark or swordfish because the bigger the fish, the more mercury it can have.

Also, shellfish, salmon, or catfish may be lower in mercury. If you’re thinking of eating fish from local lakes, rivers, or streams, first check if any advisories about mercury levels or contaminants have been issued.

You also need to be careful about false claims, Metsovas says, regarding the actual purity and freshness of fish oil supplements. Recent studies suggest that many fish oils are prone to oxidation within a few days of processing. She says you should purchase high-quality fish oil that has added antioxidants, such as vitamin E, or a mixture of different forms of vitamin E, called mixed tocopherols, to make the oil less prone to breaking down and becoming rancid. Metsovas also says there is no standard definition of pharmaceutical-grade fish oil. Many companies will assign grades to their product to generate higher retail pricing.

Studies show fish oil has many good benefits, including promoting heart health and preventing inflammatory diseases. So eat fish often, and when you can’t, take fish oil supplements.

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.
.orbit

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

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

chick-fil-a-logo2

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

sugar
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?

Foodfacts.com Recall Alert! Taylor Farms Pacific, Inc. Recalls Grape Tomatoes Due to Salmonella Risk

tomatoes1
Foodfacts.com has learned that Taylor Farms Pacific, Inc. of Tracy, CA has been notified by grower Six L’s that a specific lot of grape tomatoes supplied to Taylor Farms Pacific may be contaminated with Salmonella. This product has been recalled by Six L’s.

This lot of grape tomatoes was used in the following products made by Taylor Farms Pacific for Albertsons, Raley’s, Safeway, Savemart, Sam’s Club, & Walmart and is being voluntarily recalled as a precautionary measure. No illnesses have been reported.

Salmonella is an organism which can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections in young children, frail or elderly people, and others with weakened immune systems. Healthy people may experience fever, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea (which may be bloody), and abdominal pain. In rare cases the organism can get into the bloodstream and cause more serious complications. For more information visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s website at www.cdc.gov1.

Albertsons:

Brand Product Description Size Package Use By UPC State
Albertson’s
Taylor Farms Seafood Salad
15 oz
Plastic tray
5/5/2011

AZ

Albertson’s
Taylor Farms Seafood Salad
15 oz
Plastic Tray
5/6/2011

AZ

Albertson’s
Taylor Farms Seafood Salad
15 oz
Plastic Tray
5/7/2011

AZ

Albertson’s
Taylor Farms Seafood Salad
15 oz
Plastic Tray
5/8/2011

AZ

Albertson’s
Taylor Farms Cobb Salad
14 oz
Plastic Tray
5/5/2011

AZ

Albertson’s
Taylor Farms Cobb Salad
14 oz
Plastic Tray
5/8/2011

AZ

Albertson’s
Italian Sub Pasta Salad
(sold at the Deli counter)
Varies

5/7/2011
10030223091148
OR

Raley’s:

Brand Product Description Size Packaging Use By UPC States
Raley’s
Raley’s Seafood Louie 6ct Salad
14 oz
Plastic tray
5/5/2011
46567504223
CA, NV

Raley’s
Raley’s Mediteranean 6 ct Salad
11.5 oz
Plastic Tray
5/4/2011
46567501192
CA, NV

Raley’s
Raley’s Mediteranean 6 ct Salad
11.5 oz
Plastic Tray
5/5/2011
46567501192
CA, NV

Raley’s
Raley’s Family size Green 6ct Salad
17 oz
Plastic Tray
5/5/2011
46567501222
CA, NV

Raley’s
Raley’s Tomato Caprese Salad
(Sold at the Deli Counter)
Varies

5/5/2011

CA, NV

Raley’s
Raley’sArtichoke& Vegetable Pasta Salad
(Sold at the Deli Counter)
Varies

5/5/2011

CA, NV

Raley’s
Raley’s Greek Quinoa Salad
(Sold at the Deli Counter)
Varies

5/5/2011

CA, NV

Raley’s
Raley’sMediteranean Orzo Salad
(Sold at the Deli Counter)
Varies

5/4/2011

CA, NV

Raley’s
Raley’sMediteranean Orzo Salad
(Sold at the Deli Counter)
Varies

5/5/2011

CA, NV

Raley’s
Raley’sMediteranean Orzo Salad
(Sold at the Deli Counter)
Varies

5/6/2011

CA, NV

Raley’s
Raley’sMediteranean Orzo Salad
(Sold at the Deli Counter)
Varies

5/7/2011

CA,NV

Raley’s
Raley’s Cobb
10 oz
Plastic Tray
5/4/2011
46567504230
CA,NV

Raley’s
Raley’s Classic Chef
11.5 oz
Plastic Tray
5/4/2011
4656750120
CA, NV

Safeway:

Brand Product Description Size Packaging Use By UPC States
Signature Café
BLT Salad with Chicken
12oz
Plastic Tray
4/30/2011-5/4/2011
21130-06325
AZ, OR, WA, NM,ID,MT

Signature Café
BLT Salad with Chicken
12oz
Plastic Tray
4/27/2011
21130-06325
Vons and Pavilions in California and Nevada

Signature Café
Caprese Salad with Crostini
8.25oz
Plastic Tray
4/30-2011-5/5/2011
21130-06582
OR, WA, AZ, NM,ID, MT

Signature Café
Caprese Salad with Crostini
8.25oz
Plastic Tray
4/30/2011-5/7/2011
21130-06582
WA, OR, AZ, CA, NM, NV (excluding Vons and Pavilions)

Signature Café
Caprese Salad with Crostini
8.25oz
Plastic Tray
4/27/2011
21130-06582
Vons and Pavilions in California and Nevada

Signature Café
Chef Salad
11oz
Plastic Tray
4/27/2011
21130-06252
CA, NV (excluding Vons and Pavilions)

Signature Café
Chef Salad
11oz
Plastic Tray
4/30/2011-5/4/2011
21130-06252
AZ, OR, CA, WA, NM, WA, ID, NV (excluding Vons and Pavilions)

Signature Café
Chef Salad
11oz
Plastic Tray
4/30/2011-5/5/2011
21130-06252
WA, CO, CA,AZ, OR, NM, ID, MT,NE, SD, WY(excluding Vons and Pavilions)

Signature Café
Chef Salad
11oz
Plastic Tray
4/30/2011-5/7/2011
21130-06252
OR, AZ, CA, NM, WA, NV (excluding Vons and Pavilions)

Signature Café
Chef Salad
11oz
Plastic Tray
4/27/2011
21130-06252
Vons and Pavilions in CA, NV

Signature Café
Cobb Salad
12oz
Plastic Tray
4/30/2011-5/2/2011
21130-06251
WA

Signature Café
Cobb Salad
12oz
Plastic Tray
4/30/2011-5/3/2011
21130-06251
WA, CO, AZ, OR, NM, ID, MT, NE, SD, WY

Signature Café
Cobb Salad
12oz
Plastic Tray
4/30/2011-5/4/2011
21130-06251
AZ, OR, CA, WA, NM, ID, MT (excluding Vons and Pavilions)

Signature Café
Cobb Salad
12oz
PlasticTray
4/27/2011
21130-06251
CA, NV (excluding Vons and Pavilions)

Signature Café
Cobb Salad
12oz
Plastic Tray
4/28/2011
21130-06251
CA, NV (excluding Vons and Pavilions)

Signature Café
Cobb Salad
12oz
Plastic Tray
4/27/2011
21130-06251
Vons and Pavilions in CA, NV

Signature Café
Cobb Salad
12oz
Plastic Tray
4/28/2011
21130-06251
Vons and Pavilions in CA, NV

Signature Café
Greek Salad
13.5oz
Plastic Tray
4/27/2011
21130-06257
CA, NV (excluding Vons and Pavilions)

Signature Café
Greek Salad
13.5oz
Plastic Tray
4/30/2011-5/3/2011
21130-06257
WA, OR,CO, AZ, NM, ID, MT, NE, SD, WY

Signature Café
Greek Salad
13.5oz
Plastic Tray
4/30/2011-5/4/2011
21130-06257
WA, AZ,OR, CA, NM,ID, MT, NV (excluding Vons and Pavilions)

Signature Café
Greek Salad
13.5oz
Plastic Tray
4/30/2011-5/5/2011
21130-06257
WA, CO, CA, AZ, NV, NE, NM, SD,WY, ID, MT, OR (excluding Vons and Pavilions)

Signature Café
Greek Salad
13.5oz
Plastic Tray
4/27/2011
21130-06257
Vons and Pavilions in CA, NV

Signature Café
Tomato Mozzarella Salad
(Sold at the Deli Counter)
Varies
Deli Counter
4/30/2011-5/5/2011
21256300000
CA, NV (excluding Vons and Pavilions)

Signature Café
Tomato Mozzarella Salad
(Sold at the Deli Counter)
Varies
Deli Counter
4/30/2011-5/6/2011
21256300000
CA, CO, NE,NM, SD,WY,NV

Signature Café
Tomato Mozzarella Salad
(Sold at the Deli Counter)
Varies
Deli Counter
4/30/2011-5/7/2011
21256300000
CA, CO, WA, NE, NM,SD, WY, NV

Signature Café
Tomato Mozzarella Salad
(Sold at the Deli Counter)
Varies
Deli Counter
4/30/2011-5/8/2011
21256300000
CO, WA, CA, NE, NM,SD, WY, NV

Signature Café
Tomato Mozzarella Salad
(Sold at the Deli Counter)
Varies
Deli Counter
4/30/2011-5/9/2011
21256300000
WA, Vons and Pavilions in CA, NV

Signature Café
Turkey Parmesan and Pasta Salad
(Sold at the Deli Counter)
Varies
Deli Counter
4/30/2011-5/7/2011
48205016601
OR, CA, WA, NV (excluding Vons and Pavilions)

Signature Café
Turkey Parmesan and Pasta Salad
(Sold at the Deli Counter)
Varies
Deli Counter
4/30/2011-5/8/2011
48205016601
CA, OR, AZ, WA, NV, NM

Savemart:

Brand Product Description Size Packaging Use by States
Savemart
Pacific Coast Cobb Salad
12.5 oz
Plastic Tray
5/7/2011
CA

Sam’s Club:

Brand Product Description Size Packaging Use by States
Sam’s
Sam’s Greek Orzo Pasta

2.5 lb
Plastic Tray
5/8/2011
CA

Sam’s
Sam’s Chicken BLT Spinach 2/4 Cnt Salad
1.5 lb
Plastic Tray
5/8/2011
CA

Wal-Mart:

Brand Product Description Size Packaging Use By UPC States
Wal-Mart
Marketside Seafood Salad
16.25 oz
Plastic Tray
5/4/2011
68113191702
WA,NM, UT

Wal-Mart
Marketside Seafood Salad
16.25 oz
Plastic Tray
5/6/2011
68113191702
NM, UT

Wal-Mart
Marketside Seafood Salad
16.25 oz
Plastic Tray
5/8/2011
68113191702
WA, NM,UT

Wal-Mart
Marketside TU Chef
6.75 oz
Plastic Tray
5/2/2011
68113138952
NV, UT,AZ

Wal-Mart
Marketside TU Cobb
5.25 oz
Plastic Tray
5/6/2011
68113145793
WA

Wal-Mart
Marketside Chef Salad
15.5 oz
Plastic Tray
5/2/2011
68113191697
NV

Wal-Mart
Marketside Chef Salad
15.5 oz
Plastic Tray
5/5/2011
68113191697
NV

Wal-Mart
Marketside Chef Salad
15.5 oz
Plastic Tray
5/6/2011
68113191697
NM,AZ,UT

Wal-Mart
Marketside Chef Salad
15.5 oz
Plastic Tray
5/7/2011
68113191697
WY,WA

Wal-Mart
Marketside Buffalo Salad
17 oz
Plastic Tray
5/7/2011
68113138805
WY

Wal-Mart
Asian Chicken Salad
17.25 oz
Plastic Tray
5/5/2011
68113138806
NV

Wal-Mart
Asian Chicken Salad
17.25 oz
Plastic Tray
5/3/2011
68113138806
AZ, NV

Wal-Mart
Asian Chicken Salad
17.25 oz
Plastic Tray
5/6/2011
68113138806
AZ

Wal-Mart
Marketside Ranch Cobb Salad
15 oz
Plastic Tray
5/6/2011
68113191699
NM, UT, AZ

Wal-Mart
Marketside Ranch Cobb Salad
15 oz
Plastic Tray
5/7/2011
68113191699
WY

Wal-Mart
Marketside Ranch Cobb Salad
15 oz
Plastic Tray
5/5/2011
68113191699
NV

These products should not be eaten. Customers may return them to the place of purchase for a full refund. Taylor Farms Pacific has notified the FDA and USDA of this voluntary recall.

Consumers with any questions may contact Taylor Farms Pacific directly at 209-835-6300 between the hours of 8am to 5pm PST, Monday through Friday, or visit the FDA and USDA websites.

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:
img_20101108_153919

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!