Tag Archives: nutrition data

A better choice from McDonald’s … the Artisan Grilled Chicken Sandwich

h-mcdonalds-Artisan-Grilled-Chicken-SandwichDid we really just say that?

We’re as surprised as you are. In keeping with FoodFacts.com long-standing philosophy of giving credit where it’s due no matter who, we really felt like we had to post about this sandwich.

Is it perfect? No. But it’s miles ahead of anything else we’ve seen coming from McDonald’s. We’d even go as far as saying that if you’re in a pinch, with no other choices around, you can actually eat this.

The McDonald’s website description of the Artisan Grilled Chicken Sandwich reads “100% grilled chicken breast filet seasoned to perfection with ingredients like salt, garlic and parsley – seared in our kitchens, no preservatives added. Crisp leaf lettuce, fresh tomato, and a vinaigrette dressing. All atop our delectable artisan roll.” After further exploration, here’s what we found:

Nutrition Facts
Calories:                      360
Fat:                               6 grams
Saturated Fat:            1.5 grams
Sodium:                       930 mg

It is higher in sodium than we’d like. Compared to other chicken sandwiches on their menu, however, this sandwich is lower in calories, fat and saturated fat. For fast food, this isn’t a terrible nutritional profile.

Let’s move on to the ingredients:

ARTISAN GRILLED CHICKEN FILET Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breast with Rib Meat, Water, Salt, Vegetable Starch, Sugar, Garlic Powder, Lemon Juice Concentrate, Honey, Onion Powder, Dried Vinegar, Natural Flavor (Plant Source), Baking Soda. Prepared with Canola Oil/Olive Oil Blend and Herb Seasoning (Sugar, Garlic Powder, Salt, Lemon Juice Concentrate, Parsley, Onion Powder, Dried Honey, Citric Acid, Spice, Dried Vinegar, Natural Flavor [Plant Source]). ARTISAN ROLL Wheat Flour or Enriched Flour (Wheat Flour or Bleached Wheat Flour, Niacin, Iron, Thiamine Mononitrate, Riboflavin, Folic Acid), Malted Barley Flour, Water, Sugar, Yeast, Palm Oil, Wheat Gluten, Dextrose, Salt, Contains 2% or less: Natural Flavors (Plant Source), Corn Flour, Soybean Oil, Calcium Sulfate, Mono- and Diglycerides, Sodium Stearoyl Lactylate, Monocalcium Phosphate, Ascorbic Acid, Enzymes, Calcium Propionate (Preservative), Vegetable Proteins (Pea, Potato, Rice), Sunflower Oil, Turmeric, Paprika, Corn Starch, Wheat Starch, Acetic Acid.
CONTAINS: WHEAT, TOMATO SLICE, LEAF LETTUCE, VINAIGRETTE SAUCE Soybean Oil, Cider Vinegar, Water, Garlic, Chicken Broth, Contains Less Than 2%: Natural Flavor (Plant Source), Salt, Sugar, Honey, Xanthan Gum, Carrot Juice Concentrate.

Like we said, it isn’t perfect. Natural Flavor appears three times on the ingredient list. But that’s the only controversial item here. For McDonald’s that’s a major accomplishment. And while we’re still not running out to our nearest location to pick one up, even FoodFacts.com has to admit that they finally managed to add a menu item that won’t get an F in our Health Score system.

Now if McDonald’s could just address the remainder of the problems on their menu, we’d all be a lot happier with them.

http://www.mcdonalds.com/us/en/food/product_nutrition.chickenfish.2196.artisan-grilled-chicken-sandwich.html

Eating junk food for just 5 days can wreak havoc on your metabolism

dv1554016Millions of people who eat an otherwise healthy diet go through short periods of time where they allow themselves the pleasure of eating junk food. Vacations are usually the biggest reason. Traveling by car to a destination for many hours can lead to quick stops for food — fast food, processed food, packaged food. Once reaching a destination, it’s entirely likely that folks will indulge in foods prepared with large amounts of butter and fat. They are on vacation, after all. As soon as they get back to real life, their diets switch back to the healthy foods they normally consume. Can’t hurt, right?

It takes surprisingly few days of a mac-and-cheese-rich diet to do some really bad things to your metabolism. Just five days on a diet full of processed food was enough to alter a body’s healthy response to food, finds a small new study published in the journal Obesity.
Researchers wanted to look at how skeletal muscles adapt when we pound our bodies with fatty processed foods, so they took 12 healthy college-aged men and put them on an eating regimen designed by the researchers, including an initial control diet. Those on the fatty diet ate 55% of their calories came from fat—and about 18% of their total calories came from saturated fat. That’s a lot more saturated fat than most Americans eat, no matter how bad their diet. The control diet was about 30% fat.

“When we were toying around with what diet we were going to use, we looked at things like gift certificates for McDonald’s,” says Matthew W. Hulver, PhD, department head of Human Nutrition, Food and Exercise at Virginia Tech. “But a McDonald’s diet isn’t even saturated enough compared to what we fed the people in our study.”

They settled on a Westernized diet topped with butter, featuring foods like macaroni and cheese, ham and cheese sandwiches with mayonnaise and butter, and fatty microwavable meals. The researchers took muscle biopsies from the men before and after the high-fat feeding. The researchers formulated the fatty diets to be identical in calories to the control.
When researchers looked at specific gene targets, the effects on metabolism were dramatic.

“The normal response to a meal was essentially either blunted or just not there after five days of high-fat feeding,” Hulver says. Before going on a work-week’s worth of a fatty diet, when the men ate a normal meal they saw big increases in oxidative targets four hours after eating. That response was obliterated after the five-day fat infusion. And under normal eating conditions, the biopsied muscle used glucose as an energy source by oxidizing glucose. “That was essentially wiped out after,” he says. “We were surprised how robust the effects were just with five days.”

While their overall insulin sensitivity didn’t change in the short time frame, the findings suggest that longer exposure to a diet of this kind might lead to insulin resistance down the line.
If five days of fat is enough to mess with metabolism, the chronic effects raise interesting questions, Hulver says. “Our question is: does this prime the body? When you go into a period where you are overconsuming calories, would individuals who have a chronic high fat diet be predisposed to weight gain?”

Hulver says he doesn’t know the answer yet, but his lab’s future studies hope to find out.

FoodFacts.com wants to emphasize that this study wasn’t about weight gain. It was about the health effects of eating bad food. Health effects that were evident after just five days. Your healthy lifestyle is so important for your body. While we understand that this study doesn’t tell us what happened after these individuals returned to eating their normal diets, it does clearly underscore that junk food is junk for your body and your body responds in kind. The perfect diet may be unattainable, but our continued efforts to consume what’s best is the optimal goal. The optimal outcome is good health and longevity. Let’s strive for that and remember that we are, in fact, feeding our bodies every time we put food in our mouths.

http://time.com/3821475/junk-food-diet-metabolism/

The counterintuitive effect of diet soda: belly fat

article-0-0EE9B85F00000578-823_634x425There are people out there who know that soda is bad for them. They love it though. They reason that if they aren’t drinking soda every day or limiting their consumption to one can each day, they’re limiting the harmful effects that are associated with it. Even better, they think, if they’re only drinking diet soda. After all, it’s a diet product. It contains less sugar and no calories. If there aren’t any calories in diet soda, it can’t be associated with obesity the way that sugary drinks have been.

FoodFacts.com would agree that this is a seemingly logical thought process. We have to remind ourselves, though, that we’re applying a seemingly logical thought process to a chemical concoction with zero nutritional benefits. Logic may, as they say, fly right out the window. There’s a study out that seems to open that window up for all of us.

Researchers examined data taken periodically for nearly 10 years from 749 Mexican-Americans and European-Americans ages 65 and older in the San Antonio Longitudinal Study of Aging (known by the fine acronym SALSA).

They determined that daily and occasional diet soda drinkers gained nearly three times as much belly fat as non-drinkers, after they ruled out other factors such as age, exercise and smoking. The diet soda drinkers added an average of 2.11 centimeters (.83 inches) to their waist circumferences, while the non-drinkers added .77 centimeters (.3 inches). Daily consumers gained a striking 3.04 centimeters (1.19 inches).

Men, European Americans, people with a body mass index greater than 30 and people who did not have diabetes fared the worst.

You don’t want belly fat (visceral fat in technical terms), especially as you reach your later years, when it is associated with greater incidence of mortality, cardiovascular disease, Type 2 diabetes and insulin resistance. High waist circumference is also one component of metabolic syndrome, a cluster of risk factors that also includes high triglycerides, blood pressure and blood glucose.

“This is a more vulnerable population,” Sharon Fowler, an adjunct assistant professor in the Department of Medicine at the University of Texas Health Science Center in San Antonio and lead author of the study said in an interview. According to one study, about a fifth of the U.S. population consumed some form of diet drink on any given day in 2009-2010, and 11 percent of those people drank 16 ounces or more.

A couple of caveats here that are worth mentioning: There is considerable debate over the impact of diet soda and artificial sweeteners, with various studies showing conflicting results. (Another Fowler study in 2008 showed significant increases in body mass index among diet soda drinkers.)

This study, because of the way it was designed, could not prove cause and effect; it showed an association between drinking diet soda and increases in waist circumference. Most strangely, the data revealed no relationship between consumption of regular, sugary soda and waist circumference growth, which Fowler acknowledged would have been expected.

In a statement, the American Beverage Association, said that “previous research, including human clinical trials, supports that diet beverages are an effective tool as part of an overall weight management plan. Numerous studies have repeatedly demonstrated the benefits of diet beverages – as well as low calorie sweeteners, which are in thousands of foods and beverages – in helping to reduce calorie intake.”

The Calorie Control Council, which represents producers of no- and low-calorie foods and beverages, also urged that the study “be treated with caution” due to some limitations. The organization noted that older people tend to lose muscle mass and gain waist circumference as a result of aging and contended that some important information on Mexican-American lifestyles, diet records and family histories were not available to the researchers.

Nevertheless, she said, there are a number of possible explanations for the findings. A psychological one may be that regular diet soda drinkers conclude (as I have) that they are saving calories by not consuming sugary drinks and let themselves go overboard on other foods.

“There can be underestimation of the impact of other foods,” she said. “People can give themselves extra permission to eat. They also can just do bad calorie math.”

Based on other research, she said, the sweeteners and/or the acid in diet soda may have an impact on gut bacteria, the ability to handle sugar from other food and drink or the part of the brain that signals us to stop eating.

With so much uncertain, Fowler said, a safe path is to drink water, milk, 100 percent fruit juice, tea and coffee – perhaps adding a tiny bit of sugar or fruit juice for added sweetness in some.

Personally, most diet soda drinkers we know aren’t drinking it in order to give themselves permission to eat more food. Many don’t like the flavor of sugared sodas. Others feel like the zero calorie count fits into their already existing dietary plan. Most aren’t thinking that a savings of a few hundred calories opens them up to increasing their food consumption. We’re more likely to agree with the acids in diet soda or the artificial sweeteners having an impact on gut bacteria. That makes more sense from our perspective, especially when it comes to the chemical profile of diet soda.

We know sometimes that iced cold, bubbly diet soda would hit the spot. We also know that you can make a better decision in the moment. Iced cold water or iced tea will quench your thirst without chemicals — or belly fat.

http://www.delawareonline.com/story/news/health/2015/03/30/diet-soda-may-lead-belly-fat-age/70644966/

Stressed out? Chronic stress may lead to the over-consumption of sugar

drinks(1)We live in a stressed-out society. There’s no way around it. We are surrounded by a stress-inducing environment. Our 24-hour news cycle, concerns about the economy and the security of our jobs, over-scheduled schedules, and little-to-no downtime certainly predispose us all to stress. Even our children are more stressed out than they used to be — highly scheduled with tremendous demands from school and homework. It’s difficult, at best, to avoid stress in our current world. Unfortunately new research is connecting stress and sugar consumption. Turns out sugar-sweetened beverages may unfortunately be acting as the ultimate comfort food, helping us deal with stressful environments and situations.

Drinking sugar-sweetened beverages can suppress the hormone cortisol and stress responses in the brain, but diet beverages sweetened with aspartame do not have the same effect, according to a new study published in the Endocrine Society’s Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism.

“This is the first evidence that high sugar – but not aspartame – consumption may relieve stress in humans,” said one of the study’s authors, Kevin D. Laugero, PhD, of the University of California, Davis, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Research Service. “The concern is psychological or emotional stress could trigger the habitual overconsumption of sugar and amplify sugar’s detrimental health effects, including obesity.”

About 35 percent of adults and nearly 17 percent of children nationwide are obese, according to the Society’s Endocrine Facts & Figures report. Sugary drinks such as soda and juice have been linked to this problem. Half of the U.S. population consumes sugar-sweetened drinks on any given day, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The parallel-arm, double-masked diet intervention study examined the effects of consuming sugar- and aspartame-sweetened beverages on a group of 19 women between the ages of 18 and 40. The researchers assigned eight women to consume aspartame-sweetened beverages, and 11 to drink sugar-sweetened beverages. For a 12-day period, the women drank one of the assigned beverages at breakfast, lunch and dinner. The participants were instructed not to consumer other sugar-sweetened drinks, including fruit juice.

For 3.5 days prior to and after the study, the women consumed a standardized low-sugar diet and stayed at the UC Davis Clinical and Translational Science Center’s Clinical Research Center.

Before and after the 12-day experimental period, the women underwent functional MRI screenings after performing math tests to gauge the brain’s stress response. The participants also provided saliva samples to measure levels of cortisol – a hormone made by the adrenal glands that is essential for the body’s response to stress.

The researchers found women who drank sugar-sweetened beverages during the study had a diminished cortisol response to the math test, compared to women who were assigned to consume aspartame-sweetened beverages. In addition, the women who consumed sugar-sweetened beverages exhibited more activity in the hippocampus – a part of the brain that is involved in memory and is sensitive to stress – than the women who drank aspartame-sweetened beverages.

The hippocampus typically is less active when the body is under stress. When the study participants drank sugar-sweetened beverages, this response was inhibited. The findings offer new clues that help explain how sugar positively reinforces the temptation to eat comfort food when a person is stressed, Laugero said.

“The results suggest differences in dietary habits may explain why some people underreact to stressful situations and others overreact,” he said. “Although it may be tempting to suppress feelings of stress, a normal reaction to stress is important to good health. Research has linked over- and under-reactivity in neural and endocrine stress systems to poor mental and physical health.”

The urge to comfort ourselves during stressful situations is a common one. Exercise relieves stress and helps us cope so much better than turning to sugary foods and drinks. One helps us stay healthy and the other works against us. FoodFacts.com wants us all to keep this in mind, as our world and our lives become more complicated. Our health really does depend on it.

http://www.newswise.com/articles/sugar-sweetened-beverages-suppress-the-body-s-stress-response

When is a fresh cracked egg not exactly a fresh cracked egg?

7288777_GWhen it comes from McDonald’s, of course.

As part of their transparency campaign, McDonald’s included a call to action on their website. It reads “Do we use fresh cracked eggs?” Unfortunately, FoodFacts.com found that when you click on it, it brings you to the nutrition facts and ingredients for the McMuffin. USDA Fresh Grade A Eggs are listed as the ingredients.

Perhaps that’s enough to satisfy some. But you need to keep reading to the section prefaced with the words “Prepared with.” Let’s take a look:

Prepared with Liquid Margarine: Liquid Soybean Oil and Hydrogenated Cottonseed and Soybean Oils, Water, Partially Hydrogenated Soybean Oil, Salt, Soy Lecithin, Mono and Diglycerides, Sodium Benzoate and Potassium Sorbate (Preservatives), Artificial Flavor, Citric Acid, Vitamin A Palmitate, Beta Carotene (Color).

We’re pretty sure that when any member of our community prepares eggs at home, those eggs are being prepared with butter. This “liquid margarine” McDonald’s is using is certainly compromising the integrity of those fresh cracked eggs. This “liquid margarine” is adding some unfortunate ingredients to your meal — partially hydrogenated oil, sodium benzoate and artificial flavor. Why does the preparation of fresh cracked eggs require artificial flavor? If they’re attempting to mimic the flavor of butter, it would be easier and healthier to use actual butter. The eggs themselves have enough flavor to carry themselves.

This isn’t liquid margarine. It’s a combination of oils with other ingredients that try to fool consumers into thinking it’s butter. This ingredient is ruining the integrity of any eggs they use.

Don’t be fooled. McDonald’s “Liquid Margarine” IS an ingredient in your morning eggs. While they’re trying to sway consumers into the idea that it’s not an ingredient — as evidenced by the separation of the “Prepared with” line. Those 14 other ingredients are actually in those fresh cracked eggs.

Is McDonald’s being transparent here? FoodFacts.com doesn’t think so.

http://www.mcdonalds.com/us/en/food/product_nutrition.breakfast.46.egg-mcmuffin.html

Pretzel rolls on a roll … Dunkin’s new Pretzel Roll Chicken Sandwich

1426143986252Pretzel rolls are one of the newest fast food trends.  After making it big at Wendy’s, Dunkin Donuts is the latest fast food chains to add a pretzel roll sandwich to their menu.

So, if you like pretzel roll sandwiches you may be interested in how the new Dunkin version stacks up for your dietary requirements.  Let’s take a look at what you can expect.

Nutrition Facts:

Calories:                          640
Fat:                                   25 grams
Saturated Fat:                8 grams
Cholesterol:                    70 mg
Sodium:                          1560 grams

That’s quite a chicken sandwich!  If we didn’t know any better, FoodFacts.com might think these were the nutrition facts for a fast food burger.   At 65% of your daily recommended allowance for sodium, this is one especially salty sandwich.  So even before we take a good look at the ingredients, we’re not off to a good start with this one!

Here are the ingredients:

Pretzel Roll: Roll: Enriched Wheat Flour (Wheat Flour, Malted Barley Flour, Niacin, Iron, Thiamin Mononitrate, Riboflavin, Folic Acid),Water, Sugar, Nonfat Dry Milk, Yeast, Palm Oil, Salt, Dough Conditioner (Wheat Flour, DATEM, Contains 2% or less of: Soybean Oil, Enzymes, Ascorbic Acid, L-Cysteine Hydrochloride, Azodicarbonamide), Wheat Gluten, Shelf Life Extender (Wheat Flour, Monoglycerides, Wheat Gluten, Corn Syrup Solids, Contains 2% or less of: Silicon Dioxide to prevent caking, Soybean Oil, Enzymes, Calcium Sulfate, Salt), Natural Pretzel Flavor (Glycerin, Natural Flavor, Water), Calcium Propionate (Preservative), Azodicarbonamide, Ascorbic Acid; Contains traces of Egg; Lye solution is applied as Surface Finishing Agent, Soy Lecithin added as a Processing Aid; Topping: Pretzel Salt; Chicken: Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breast with Rib Meat, Water, Seasoning (Sugar, Maltodextrin, Salt, Yeast Extract, Spice, Onion Powder, Spice Extractives, Citric Acid, Natural Flavors), Isolated Soy Protein with less than 2% of: Soy Lecithin, Sodium Phosphates. BREADED WITH: Wheat Flour, Sugar, Salt, Leavening (Sodium Acid Pyrophosphate, Sodium Bicarbonate), Dextrose, Spice, Yellow Corn Flour, Spice Extractive, Extractives of Paprika and Turmeric. BATTERED WITH: Water, Wheat Flour, Yellow Corn Flour, Sugar, Modified Corn Starch, Leavening (Sodium Acid Pyrophosphate, Sodium Bicarbonate), Salt, Dextrose, Extractives of Paprika and Turmeric, Spice. PREDUSTED WITH: Wheat Flour, Modified Wheat Starch, Sugar, Wheat Gluten, Salt and Leavening (Sodium Acid Pyrophosphate, Sodium Bicarbonate). Breading Set In Vegetable Oil (Soy and/or Corn and/or Rice Oil); Sliced White Cheddar Cheese: Pasteurized Milk, Cheese Culture, Salt, Enzymes; Bacon: Pork, cured with: Water, Sugar, Salt, Sodium Phosphate, Smoke Flavoring, Sodium Erythorbate, Sodium Nitrite; Honey Mustard Sauce: Sugar, Cider Vinegar, Mustard, Water, Contains less than 2% of: Honey, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Vegetable Oil (Soybean and/or Canola), Salt, Molasses, Spice, Paprika (Color).

A special ingredient list indeed.  The coveted pretzel roll features the same ingredient other fast food chains have committed to removing from their products — azodicarbonamide.  Then we have something called “Natural Pretzel Flavoring”, more azodicarbonamide, more natural flavors and some high fructose corn syrup.

Yet another fast food chicken option that really isn’t a better choice than a burger.  There are still so many fast food consumers who think that ordering a chicken sandwich really is healthier, when it’s really not.  The Dunkin Donuts Pretzel Roll Chicken Sandwich is just like most of the chicken sandwich options available throughout the vast fast food empire masquerading as a better choice.  Trust us, it’s not.

 

http://www.dunkindonuts.com/content/dunkindonuts/en/menu/food/sandwiches/Bakery_Sandwiches/pretzel_roll_chicken_sandwich.html

 

Low-quality carbohydrate consumption linked to weight gain

950341751Losing weight is a difficult proposition for many. It’s also been complicated by the myriad of concepts applying to weight loss that permeate our culture. We’re sure you’ve heard just about all of them — no-carb, low-carb, gluten free, nutritional cleansing, the cabbage soup diet, calorie counting, low-sugar, no-sugar. We could go on and on. The thing is, they don’t always work. And even when they do, folks who’ve been on them would probably tell you they put the weight right back on after they finished. Is there an answer to this? Why is it so difficult for people to achieve long-term weight loss?

A study from the Friedman School of Nutrition Science & Police from the Tufts University led the research concerning the correlation of glycemic index and long term weight. Prior studies proved the association of glycemic index and diabetes but this is the first time long-term weight showed in the equation.

The researchers analyzed 16 years of follow ups from over 120,000 men and women in the continental United States. They particularly observed the types of protein consumed by the participants and its relation to weight gain or loss.

They concluded two things in their search. First thing is that increased consumption of seafood, yoghurt, nuts, skinless chicken and yoghurt has a strong correlation with weight loss. While, increased consumption of red meat- especially processed meat is strongly related to weight gain.

Consumption of dairy products, low-fat or full-fat, did not really affect their weights.

“The fat content of dairy products did not seem to be important for weight gain. In fact, when people consumed more low-fat dairy products, they actually increased their consumption of carbs, which may promote weight gain. This suggests that people compensate, over years, for the lower calories in low-fat dairy by increasing their carb intake”, explained author Dr. Jessica Smith from Friedman.

Variations with food combinations are also expounded. Research suggests that increased consumption of red meat as well as foods with high GL will more likely lead to weight gain than increased red meat consumption while eating more vegetables instead.

Increased consumption of nuts, fishes and other foods that promotes weight loss while eating high-quality carbs with less GL will probably enhance the weight loss effect but increased consumption of low quality carbs with higher GL will still lead to weight gain even if there’s an increased portions of nuts and fishes.

As have mentioned earlier, dairy and poultry products did not seem to affect the weight but research showed that there will still be weight gain if there’s an increased consumption of low-quality carbs.

Researchers recommend more nuts, fishes and other protein-rich foods while avoiding low quality carbs that can be seen from starches, grains and sugars.
Let’s have a short FoodFacts.com refresher course in carbs. Carbohydrates are in just about everything we eat. Low quality carbohydrates are often referred to as simple carbs. They contain smaller molecules of sugar that are easily absorbed by your body. The energy is stored as glycogen in our cells and if not used immediately they are converted into fat. These are generally found in processed foods — things like candy and desserts, sugary cereals, sodas and other sugary beverages and refined breads. These products, and others like them, fall higher on the glycemic index than quality carbs like whole grain breads, unprocessed whole grain cereals, green vegetables and fresh fruits.

We can see again that fresh whole foods are the healthiest, most beneficial dietary choices we can make. As often as possible, preparing foods in our own kitchens gives us the best opportunity for optimal health.

http://www.dailytimesgazette.com/study-finds-low-quality-carbs-culprit-weight-gain/4454/

For women, exposure to pesticides increases the risk of heart disease

epa-to-Even if you’re eating an organic diet, pesticides are sneaking their way into your body. They’re in the environment and, in some areas, unavoidable. In this world of genetically modified crops that are pesticide resistant, their use in agriculture isn’t going away. New research is revealing that even pesticides that have been banned but remain the environment are having real health effects — especially for women.

Pesticide exposure, not obesity alone, can contribute to increased cardiovascular disease risk and inflammation in premenopausal women, according to a new study published in the Endocrine Society’s Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism.

The study looked at the effects of exposure to polychlorinated pesticides such as DDT. Although DDT was banned in many countries in the 1970s, it remains widespread in the environment and food supply.

DDT was one of the first recognized endocrine-disrupting chemicals, according to the introductory guide to endocrine-disrupting chemicals published by the Endocrine Society and IPEN. DDT and related pesticides are known as environmental estrogens because they can mimic and interfere with the function of the hormone estrogen. Research has found DDT exposure is linked to birth defects, reduced fertility and increased risk of Type 2 diabetes.

“After the body breaks down DDT along with similar pesticides, chemical remnants called metabolites accumulate in women’s fat tissue,” said one of the study’s authors, Diana Teixeira, PhD student of the Faculty of Medicine, University of Porto in Porto, Portugal. “When higher amounts of these environmental estrogens collect in the fat tissue, it can compromise the protective effect the body’s natural estrogen has on a premenopausal woman’s heart health. This leaves women at increased risk of developing cardiovascular disease and inflammation.”

The study analyzed the amount of endocrine-disrupting chemicals in fat tissue and blood samples from 121 obese women who underwent bariatric surgery at S. João Hospital in Porto. Among the participants, 73 were classified as premenopausal and 48 were postmenopausal. The researchers tested the participants’ fasting blood glucose and cholesterol. Using the Framingham risk score, the researchers assessed the women’s 10-year risk of developing cardiovascular disease.

Researchers found that among premenopausal women, women with higher concentrations of environmental estrogens in their visceral fat tissue from the belly were more likely to have higher average blood sugar levels. Among premenopausal women, those with higher levels of environmental estrogens in their blood tended to have more inflammation and faced a greater risk of cardiovascular disease on the Framingham scale.

“Our findings show that endocrine-disrupting chemicals tend to aggravate complications of obesity, including inflammation and cardiovascular disease risk, in premenopausal women,” Teixeira said. “Measuring environmental estrogen levels may help physicians identify women who are at risk of developing cardiovascular and metabolic disease so they can take preventative action.”

FoodFacts.com often finds research like this to be a wake up call to industry. Instead of finding ways to reduce the use of pesticides, manufacturers found a way to make crops resistant to pesticides. You can’t genetically modify people to be resistant though. And, ultimately, people will pay that price. While we can’t avoid environmental estrogen, we can take a stand and advocate for our own health and the health of women worldwide.

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/04/150408131329.htm

Eat eggs and reduce your risk of type 2 diabetes

egg1Does anyone remember the “no tat” craze during the 1990s? The grocery store shelves were lined with non-fat products — non-fat cheese, fat-free ice cream, fat-free cookies — even fat free bologna. Statistically, America actually got fatter while this was going on … all the time believing that we were doing the best thing for our health.

One of the biggest taboos during the fat-free era were eggs, or more specifically egg yolks. That’s when the egg white trend started. Long after most of those fat-free products disappeared from the grocery shelves, or at least took a back seat to lower fat or full fat items, the trend against whole fresh eggs continued. It did die down slowly but surely as new research and advice found that whole egg consumption (in moderation) is actually healthy. Today there’s more research showing more health benefits from the incredible, edible egg.

Type 2 diabetes is becoming increasingly widespread throughout the world. Research has shown that lifestyle habits, such as exercise and nutrition, play a crucial role in the development of the disease. In some studies, high-cholesterol diets have been associated with disturbances in glucose metabolism and risk of type 2 diabetes. In contrast, in some experimental studies, the consumption of eggs has led to improved glucose balance, among other things. However, there is no experimental data available on the effects of egg consumption on the incidence of type 2 diabetes. In population-based studies, too, the association between egg consumption and type 2 diabetes has been investigated only scarcely, and the findings have been inconclusive. Egg consumption has either been associated with an elevated risk, or no association has been found.

The dietary habits of 2,332 men aged between 42 and 60 years were assessed at the baseline of the Kuopio Ischaemic Heart Disease Risk Factor Study, KIHD, at the University of Eastern Finland in 1984-1989. During a follow-up of 19.3 years, 432 men were diagnosed with type 2 diabetes.

The study found that egg consumption was associated with a lower risk of type 2 diabetes as well as with lower blood glucose levels. Men who ate approximately four eggs per week had a 37 per cent lower risk of type 2 diabetes than men who only ate approximately one egg per week. This association persisted even after possible confounding factors such as physical activity, body mass index, smoking and consumption of fruits and vegetables were taken into consideration. The consumption of more than four eggs did not bring any significant additional benefits.

A possible explanation is that unlike in many other populations, egg consumption in Finland is not strongly associated with unhealthy lifestyle habits such as smoking, low physical activity or consumption of processed meats. In addition to cholesterol, eggs contain many beneficial nutrients that can have an effect on, for example, glucose metabolism and low-grade inflammation, and thus lower the risk of type 2 diabetes. The study also suggests that the overall health effects of foods are difficult to anticipate based on an individual nutrient such as cholesterol alone. Indeed, instead of focusing on individual nutrients, nutrition research has increasingly focused on the health effects of whole foods and diets over the past few years.

Fresh eggs are real food. FoodFacts.com believes that focusing our diets as much as possible on fresh, whole foods benefits our health. More and more research is released almost daily testifying to the importance of our dietary habits. We strive for balance, moderation and nutritional quality in the foods we choose to consume. We hope you do, too!

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/04/150402081806.htm

Baskin Robbins Whaddaya Say Creme Brulee Ice Cream … what’s inside the unusual new flavor

baskin-robbins1We’re not big fans of Baskin Robbins ice cream. FoodFacts.com is positive when the original 31 flavors debuted, their ingredient lists looked nothing like they do today. And while the tremendous choices offered are a great selling point for the company, they do resemble the fast food version of ice cream. There are just too many questionable ingredients lurking in even the simplest flavor Baskin Robbins offers.

The newest flavor, however, is far from simple. Whaddaya Say Creme Brulee offers the taste of the popular dessert cold in a cone or cup. We’re not entirely sure there are any number of ice cream aficionados clamoring for a creme brulee flavor. But it’s here. Now let’s take a look at what’s actually inside it.

Nutrition Facts for a large 4 ounce serving:

Calories:                     260
Fat:                              11 grams
Saturated Fat:            7 grams
Cholesterol:               55 mg
Sugar:                         31 grams

Fairly average nutrition facts for ice cream. While the sugar content is a bit high, there’s nothing out of the ordinary here. Ice cream is a sweet treat best enjoyed in moderation. It’s made from milk, cream, eggs and sugar with chocolate, caramel, vanilla, nuts or fruits — to name just a few flavor additions that make ice cream so much fun to eat.

What’s used to create Whaddaya Say Creme Brulee?

Cream, Creme Brulee Ribbon (Sugar, Corn Syrup, Water, Caramel Color, Pectin, Natural Flavor, Vanilla Extract), Nonfat Milk, Creme Brulee Candy (Sugar, Corn Syrup), Sugar, Corn Syrup, Creme Brulee Flavored Base (Corn Syrup, Water, Brown Sugar, Caramel Color, Natural Flavor), French Custard Base [Sugar, Sugared Egg Yolk (Egg Yolks, Sugar), Water], Whey Powder, Stabilizer/Emulsifier Blend (Cellulose Gum, Mono and Diglycerides, Guar Gum, Carrageenan, Polysorbate 80).

There are some recognizable ice cream ingredients in here — cream, milk, sugar, egg yolk. But there’s also Caramel Color, Natural Flavor, Carrageenan and Polysorbate 80.

We never really considered turning the hot, creamy, sugary dessert that is creme brulee into an ice cream. Part of the fun of real creme brulee is breaking through the torched sugary crust on the top to reach the custard underneath. Can’t do that with ice cream. But what we really can’t do are those nasty ingredients we try hard to avoid.

Though somewhat less offensive than the ingredient lists of other Baskin Robbins flavors, we’re still saying no to Whaddaya Say Creme Brulee. Not happening here.

https://www.baskinrobbins.com/content/baskinrobbins/en/products/icecream/flavors.html