Tag Archives: nutrition data

More bacon … this time from Taco Bell with the Bacon Club Chalupa

pdp-Bacon-Club-Chalupa-2015Did you know that a chalupa is described as a tostada platter? It is a Mexican specialty of south-central Mexico, including the states of Puebla,Guerrero and Oaxaca. Chalupas nad is made by pressing a thin layer of masa dough around the outside of a small mold, in the process creating a concave container resembling the boat of the same name, and then deep frying the result to produce crisp, shallow corn cups.

If you’re a Taco Bell fan, odds are you didn’t know that because the Taco Bell Chalupa doesn’t remotely resemble that description. And their Bacon Club Chalupa doesn’t resemble anything remotely Mexican.

Welcome the Bacon Club Chalupa back to the menu. Bacon. Again. We’ve been reporting on waaaay too many fast food items featuring bacon. We’re guessing this is supposed to be like a Mexican club sandwich.

FoodFacts.com looked a little further into it and discovered the following significant information:

Nutrition Facts:
Calories:                  470
Fat:                           29 grams
Saturated Fat:        6 grams
Sodium :                 870 mg

Fat and salt are abundant here. While good old American club sandwiches sound like fresh, healthy meal choices when you’re sitting in a diner, they most often contain the same abundance of fat and salt. Mimicking them in a Mexican reincarnation certainly doesn’t do anyone any favors.
Here’s what it takes to make a Bacon Club Chalupa:

Chalupa Shell: Enriched wheat flour, malted barley flour, water, soybean oil, yeast, sugar, vital wheat gluten, contains 1% or less of, salt, corn syrup solids, oat fiber, dough conditioners (sodium stearoyl lactylate, mono and di-glycerides), baking powder, soy protein isolate, enzymes, calcium propionate (P). Prepared in canola oil. Contains: Wheat, Soy, Fire Grilled Chicken: Chicken, water, seasoning (maltodextrin, dried garlic, salt, spices, natural flavor, carrageenan, dried onion, disodium inosinate & guanylate, citric acid, caramel color (C), garlic powder, onion powder), modified food starch, sodium phosphates, salt., Tomatoes: Fresh tomatoes., Avocado Ranch Sauce: Soybean oil, buttermilk, water, avocado, vinegar, enzyme modified egg yolk, garlic juice, sugar, salt, garlic powder, onion powder, spices, natural flavor, lactic acid, lemon and lime juice concentrate, disodium inosinate, potassium sorbate and sodium benzoate (P), propylene glycol alginate, xanthan gum, calcium disodium EDTA (PF), blue 1 (C). Contains: Milk, Eggs, Bacon: Bacon cured with water, salt, sugar, sodium phosphates, sodium erythorbate, flavor (including smoke flavor), sodum nitrite (P)., Iceberg Lettuce: Fresh iceberg lettuce, Three Cheese Blend: Part skim mozzerella cheese, cheddar cheese, Monterey pepper jack cheeese (cultured pasteurized milk, salt, enzymes, water, cream, sodium citrate, jalapeno peppers, salt, sodium phosphate, lactic acid, sorbic Acid (P)), anti-caking agent. Contains: Milk

With far too many controversial ingredients, this option from Taco Bell isn’t the best idea for anyone. We’d really love to see Taco Bell rethink their some of their product introductions. Perhaps if they concentrated more on better ingredients and staying true to their original theme, we’d find better options here. This just isn’t appealing. Sorry, Taco Bell.

http://www.tacobell.com/food/menuitem/Bacon-Club-Chalupa

How about some Baconater Fries to go with that Baconater?

Wendy's_logo_2012.svgWho knows, maybe someday Wendy’s will find a way to offer a Baconater Coke. Or maybe a Baconater Frosty.

Seriously, Wendy’s is doubling down on the bacon with the introduction of Baconater Fries. This can’t be good folks. It doesn’t take the FoodFacts.com database to figure that out. All we need to do is read the name and we can make certain assumptions. Too much fat. Too much salt. Nasty ingredients. Let’s see if we’re right.

Nutrition Facts:
Calories:                          490
Fat:                                   28 grams
Saturated Fat:                9 grams
Sodium:                          550 mg

These fries pack on the calories, fat and sodium. And they’re simply a meal component, not a meal by themselves. Based on that idea alone, these fries are a bad idea.

So what’s inside these French fries slathered in cheese sauce and bacon?

Cheddar Cheese Sauce: Water, Cheddar Cheese (pasteurized milk, cheese culture, salt, enzymes), Milk, Cream Cheese Spread (pasteurized milk and cream, cheese culture, salt, carob bean gum), Modified Cornstarch, Non Fat Dry Milk, Soybean Oil, Palm Oil, Whey, Sodium Phosphate, Cream, Cheese Culture, Milk Fat, Parmesan Cheese (pasteurized part-skim milk, cheese cultures, salt, enzyme), Butter, Salt And Sea Salt, Sodium Alginate, Carob Bean Gum, Mono & Diglycerides, Annatto And Apocarotenal (for color), Lactic Acid. CONTAINS: MILK. Natural-Cut Fries: Potatoes, Vegetable Oil (contains one or more of the following oils: canola, soybean, cottonseed, sunflower, corn), Dextrose, Sodium Acid Pyrophosphate (to maintain natural color). Cooked in Soybean Oil, Vegetable Oil (may contain one or more of the following: canola, corn, cottonseed), Hydrogenated Soybean Oil, Natural Flavor, Citric Acid (preservative), Dimethylpolysiloxane (anti-foaming agent). Cooked in the same oil as menu items that contain Wheat, Egg, and Fish (where available). Seasoned with Sea Salt. Cheddar Cheese, Shredded: Cultured Pasteurized Milk, Salt, Enzymes, Annatto Color, Potato Starch and Powdered Cellulose (to prevent caking), Natamycin (natural mold inhibitor). CONTAINS: MILK. Applewood Smoked Bacon: Pork Cured With: Water, Salt, Sugar, Sodium Phosphates, Sodium Eryhthobate, Sodium Nitrite.

Not the recipe for french fries we like to see. That’s an awful lot of ingredients for one order of fries. Baconater French Fries aren’t a healthy choice. If you pair them up with a Baconater Burger, you’ve got quite a recipe for unhealthy effects happening. It’s definitely not something we’ll be eating.

https://www.wendys.com/en-us/nutrition-info

New sugar consumption recommendations out of England may be worth taking a look at for other nations

Added-fructose-is-key-driver-of-type-2-diabetes-warn-experts_strict_xxlIt appears that the U.S. isn’t the only country with an excessive sweet tooth. New recommendations have been introduced recommending another significant reduction in sugar consumption for the British population.

• Adults and children should get no more than 5%, down from the previous 10%, of their energy intake from ‘free’ sugars – this is equivalent to 5-7 teaspoons of sugar

• Sugar-sweetened beverages should be drunk as infrequently as possible by both adults and children

• The recommended fibre intake should increase to 30g per day (equivalent to about a quarter more than the old guidelines)

That’s a big change – so what happens next? And how is this linked to cancer anyway?

Importantly, there isn’t conclusive evidence that sugar itself causes cancer cells to grow or spread (despite persistent myths that claim there is). But what is crystal clear is that eating more sugary food and drink increases total energy intake, which can lead to being overweight or obese – the biggest preventable cause of cancer after smoking. Being overweight and not having a healthy, balanced diet causes 49,100 extra cases of cancer every year.

The UK consumes too much sugar. The National Diet and Nutrition Survey shows that every age group exceeded even the previous guidelines – that people should get no more than 10% of their energy intake from free sugars. This is a particular problem for teenagers, who appear to get more than 15% of their energy intake from free sugars – three times the new guideline.

The new guidelines also reaffirm a definition for ‘free sugars’, which until now has not been a well-understood term. The Committee recommends that free sugars are defined as both sugars which are added to food by the cook, customer, or manufacturer (sugars like glucose and fructose), and sugars naturally present in products like honey, syrups and unsweetened fruit juices.

Halving the recommended maximum level of sugar intake is a clear statement that the Committee agrees with the evidence that reducing the amount of sugar in our diets can have clear benefits for a person’s health.

FoodFacts.com knows that the whole world has a sweet tooth. We also know that it’s growing increasingly difficult for anyone to do anything about reducing their sugar intake while still relying on processed, prepared products. It’s the same story everywhere. The only remedy is cooking real food with fresh, whole ingredients in our own kitchens. When we take control of our diets, we take control of our health.

http://medicalxpress.com/news/2015-07-health-england-halving-sugar-consumption.html

Can obesity be reversed?

3829063385_8e46d16540_oMany different initiatives have been undertaken to attempt to reverse obesity in affected individuals, up to and including bariatric surgery. The recent classification of obesity as a disease has encouraged research and study into effective treatments for the condition. Can obese people turn their situation around, losing weight and keeping it off?

Casting aspersions on the effectiveness of current weight management programs focused on dieting and exercise, it has been found that chances of obese people recovering normal body weight are very slim, shows research.

The chance of an obese person attaining normal body weight is one in 210 for men and one in 124 for women, increasing to one in 1,290 for men and one in 677 for women with severe obesity, the findings showed.

“Once an adult becomes obese, it is very unlikely that they will return to a healthy body weight,” said study’s first author Alison Fildes from the University College London.

The findings suggest that current weight management programs focused on dieting and exercise are not effective in tackling obesity at population level.

The research tracked the weight of 278,982 participants (129,194 men and 149,788) women using electronic health records from 2004 to 2014.

The study, published in the American Journal of Public Health, looked at the probability of obese patients attaining normal weight or a five percent reduction in body weight.

Patients who received bariatric surgery were excluded from the study.

The annual chance of obese patients achieving five percent weight loss was one in 12 for men and one in 10 for women.

For those people who achieved five percent weight loss, 53 percent regained this weight within two years and 78 percent had regained the weight within five years.

Overall, only 1,283 men and 2,245 women with a body mass index (BMI) of 30-35 reached their normal body weight, equivalent to an annual probability of one in 210 for men and one in 124 for women.

For those with a BMI above 40, the odds increased to one in 1,290 for men and one in 677 for women with severe obesity.

Weight cycling, with both increases and decreases in body weight, was also observed in more than a third of patients.

“This evidence suggests the current system is not working for the vast majority of obese patients,” Fildes said.

Finding out what will work for the majority of patients suffering from obesity is still the task at hand. FoodFacts.com fully supports the continuation of this important research. While the odds don’t look great today, we can only assume that with more research and study, we’ll discovered a combination of medication and lifestyle changes that will have a significant impact on the lives of obese men and women, and help us avoid obesity in future generations.

http://zeenews.india.com/news/health/health-news/most-obese-people-likely-to-stay-fat_1632507.html

Possibly the best tasting heart healthy food that exists … eat more chocolate for a healthier heart!

chocEating up to 100 g of chocolate every day is linked to lowered heart disease and stroke risk, finds research published online in the journal Heart.

There doesn’t seem to be any evidence for cutting out chocolate to lower the risk of cardiovascular disease, conclude the researchers.

They base their findings on almost 21,000 adults taking part in the EPIC-Norfolk study, which is tracking the impact of diet on the long term health of 25,000 men and women in Norfolk, England, using food frequency and lifestyle questionnaires.

The researchers also carried out a systematic review of the available international published evidence on the links between chocolate and cardiovascular disease, involving almost 158,000 people–including the EPIC study participants.

The EPIC-Norfolk participants (9214 men and 11 737 women) were monitored for an average of almost 12 years, during which time 3013 (14%) people experienced either an episode of fatal or non-fatal coronary heart disease or stroke.

Around one in five (20%) participants said they did not eat any chocolate, but among the others, daily consumption averaged 7 g, with some eating up to 100 g.

Higher levels of consumption were associated with younger age and lower weight (BMI), waist: hip ratio, systolic blood pressure, inflammatory proteins, diabetes and more regular physical activity –all of which add up to a favourable cardiovascular disease risk profile.

Eating more chocolate was also associated with higher energy intake and a diet containing more fat and carbs and less protein and alcohol.

The calculations showed that compared with those who ate no chocolate higher intake was linked to an 11% lower risk of cardiovascular disease and a 25% lower risk of associated death.

It was also associated with a 9% lower risk of hospital admission or death as a result of coronary heart disease, after taking account of dietary factors.

And among the 16,000 people whose inflammatory protein (CRP) level had been measured, those eating the most chocolate seemed to have an 18% lower risk than those who ate the least.

The highest chocolate intake was similarly associated with a 23% lower risk of stroke, even after taking account of other potential risk factors.

Of nine relevant studies included in the systematic review, five studies each assessed coronary heart disease and stroke outcome, and they found a significantly lower risk of both conditions associated with regular chocolate consumption.

And it was linked to a 25% lower risk of any episode of cardiovascular disease and a 45% lower risk of associated death.

This is an observational study so no definitive conclusions about cause and effect can be drawn. And the researchers point out that food frequency questionnaires do involve a certain amount of recall bias and underestimation of items eaten.

Reverse causation–whereby those with a higher cardiovascular disease risk profile eat less chocolate and foods containing it than those who are healthier–may also help to explain the results, they say.

Nevertheless, they add: “Cumulative evidence suggests that higher chocolate intake is associated with a lower risk of future cardiovascular events.”

And they point out that as milk chocolate, which is considered to be less ‘healthy’ than dark chocolate, was more frequently eaten by the EPIC-Norfolk participants, the beneficial health effects may extend to this type of chocolate too.

“This may indicate that not only flavonoids, but also other compounds, possibly related to milk constituents, such as calcium and fatty acids, may provide an explanation for the observed association,” they suggest.

And they conclude: “There does not appear to be any evidence to say that chocolate should be avoided in those who are concerned about cardiovascular risk.”

FoodFacts.com knows that there are so many in our community who will love this idea. An indulgence that actually does something good for the heart … now, perhaps someone can find something heart healthy about ice cream (doubtful, we know, but we can dream.)

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/06/150615191518.htm

Cap’n Crunch Berries Delights at Taco Bell … Where do they come up with this stuff anyway?

pdp-capt-crunch-delightsThey really don’t look delightful to us here at FoodFacts.com. And for the life of us we really can’t imagine why anyone thought these limited edition snack bites were a good idea. The idea of a pastry filled with sweet milk icing and then rolled in crushed Cap’n Crunch Berries cereal seems to be a stretch for the fast food imagination. And not necessarily a welcome one, either.

Cap’n Crunch Berries Delights look to be a few inches in diameter each and come in packs of 2, 4 and 12. They’re also a really vibrant shade of red when you open them up. That never leaves us feeling particularly comfortable about eating something. Honestly, they look like overly sweet, highly processed small food disasters. Let’s take a look inside:

Nutrition Facts:
Calories:                                    330 (4 bites)
Fat:                                             22 grams
Saturated Fat:                          4.5 grams
Sugars:                                      14 grams

Ingredients: Dough and filling: Sugar, nonfat milk, margarine, evaporated milk, sweetened condensed milk, enriched bleached wheat flour, water, vegetable shortening (palm and soybean oils), eggs, yeast, dough conditioners (mono- and diglycerides, sodium alginate, sodium stearoyl lactylate), natural flavors, salt, Red 40 (C), enzyme. Cereal Coating: Corn flour, sugar, oat flour, brown sugar, coconut oil, salt, sodium nitrate, natural and artificial flavor, strawberry juice concentrate, malic acid, reduced iron, niacinamide, zinc oxide, vitamin B2 (riboflavin), BHT (P), vitamin B6 (pyridoxine hydrochloride), vitamin B1 (thiamin mononitrate), folic acid, yellow 5 & 6 (C), Red 40 (C), Blue 1 (C). Contains: Wheat, Milk, Eggs, Soy

There’s really no good reason to eat these. They’re a too-bright, neon color for a reason. They serve no nutritional purpose. They don’t even appear to be an actual dessert. Just small balls of sugar and controversial ingredients.

While we honestly don’t understand the attraction here, if you’re ever in a Taco Bell and you feel yourself drawn to the Cap’n Crunch Berry Delights, we hope you’ll remember this blog post and stay far away!

http://www.tacobell.com/food/sides/Capn-Crunch-Delights

Dunkin’s new Tropical Mango Smoothie … a great way to beat the heat?

1435117835051Summer is in full swing here in the U.S. Depending on where you live, mid-July can bring 100 degree temperatures and the kind of humidity that can make walking to your car feel like walking around inside a steam room. FoodFacts.com knows that at this time of year so many of us are looking for ways to cool down and beat the heat.

To try and help us do that, Dunkin Donuts has just introduced their new Tropical Mango Smoothie. Just the use of the word smoothie conveys the idea of a healthier beverage. That may have been true a while back, but these days you really never know what’s going on with any new food or beverage introduction until you take a closer look. So let’s explore the Tropical Mango Smoothie.

Nutrition Facts
Calories:                 260
Fat:                          2 grams
Saturated Fat:       1 gram
Sugar:                     50 grams

There are 12.5 teaspoons of sugar in the small size (that’s the only one available on the website for nutrition facts). Cooling down doesn’t mean we need to load up on sugar and this smoothie really goes overboard with sweetness. Now let’s see what Dunkin has chosen to include in the smoothie recipe.

INGREDIENTS: Water; Yogurt: Pasteurized and Cultured Skim Milk, Sugar, Cream, Nonfat Dry Milk, Stabilizer (Tapioca Starch, Carrageenan, Locust Bean Gum), Yogurt Cultures: Streptococcus salivarius subsp. thermophilus, Lactobacillus delbrueckii subsp. bulgaricus; Tropical Mango Flavored Concentrate: Water, Mango Puree Concentrate, Sugar, Passion Fruit Puree, Natural Flavors, Citric Acid, Ascorbic Acid, Yellow 5, Yellow 6; Diced Pineapple; Diced Peaches (Peaches, Ascorbic Acid, Citric Acid and Malic Acid to promote color retention); Liquid Cane Sugar: Pure Cane Sugar, Water, Potassium Sorbate (Preservative).

While the list isn’t overweighed with controversial ingredients, we really don’t like the idea that there are artificial colors included in the list. We’re don’t understand why it was necessary. There’s actual fruit in here – mango puree, passion fruit puree, pineapple and peaches. All of which are beautifully colored by nature. We’re assuming Dunkin didn’t think it would be yellow enough to be attractive to consumers, so including artificial color made sense. We just don’t think like that.

We’ll be turning to other cooling beverages this summer to keep ourselves from overheating. We still believe that iced water and freshly brewed iced tea are better options in the midst of rising temperatures. And if we want a smoothie, we can mix one up ourselves without Yellow 5 and Yellow 6. We’re sure we’ll like the resulting color just fine.

http://www.dunkindonuts.com/dunkindonuts/en/menu/beverages/frozenbeverages/coolatta/tropical_mango_smoothie.html

Only one in five Americans are eating their five a day

parsnip soup1There’s definitely a good reason why every adult remembers being sternly told to “eat your vegetables,” and why those same adults tell their children the same thing. Our bodies need fruits and vegetables. They’re an essential component to our good health. So FoodFacts.com was dismayed to read information today that clearly shows that not many of us have really gotten the message.

In every state in the U.S., fewer than one in five American adults are eating enough fruit and vegetables, new federal data shows.

In a report published July 9 using nationwide surveys that looked at produce intake in 2013, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) show that while states vary when it comes to fruit and vegetable consumption, they all could use improvement in the produce department. The U.S. Dietary Guidelines recommend that Americans consume 1.5 to two cups of fruit every day, along with two to three cups of vegetables. Fruits and vegetables add necessary dietary nutrients, which help maintain healthy body weight and keep health risks like heart disease, stroke and some cancers at bay, the CDC reports.

Even so, only 6% of people in Mississippi met government recommendations for vegetables, while 13% of people in California met them. Fruit didn’t fare much better. The most fruit-averse state was Tennessee, where only 8% of people met government recommendations, while in California, 18% of people met those recommendations.

The new data, published in the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, reveals that overall, only 13% of the survey respondents met the recommendations for fruit intake and only about 9% met the vegetable intake recommendations. Past research indicates that children in the U.S. are often not meeting produce requirements either, the study authors write.

“Substantial new efforts are needed to build consumer demand for fruits and vegetables through competitive pricing, placement, and promotion in child care, schools, grocery stores, communities, and worksites,” the study authors conclude.

We’ve always thought that the best thing about fruits and vegetables is the variety available to us. If you don’t find one palatable, there are others to try. Incorporating fruits and vegetables into a healthy diet is actually easier than removing or reducing your consumption of other foods. While it may take some thought and some experimentation, the addition of healthy fruits and vegetables into your daily meal planning can, in fact, present you with new flavor combinations and a better overall eating experience. Five a day (or seven as some have stated) doesn’t have to be a chore. Let’s all try to pay more attention to giving our bodies the healthy, clean and beneficial foods they deserve. A little extra thought can go a long way to getting your five a day!

http://time.com/3950253/fruits-vegetables-intake/

New report might have you rethinking your orange and grapefruit juice consumption

fresh-fruits-orange-lemon-grapefruit-cut-22077954-400x360For some people, breakfast isn’t breakfast without a cold glass of orange juice or grapefruit juice. It’s good for you and the flavor works particularly well with breakfast foods, so why not? It’s the same as having a serving of fruit with your breakfast, isn’t it. Recommendations have changed when it comes to juice. We first saw that happen with small children. FoodFacts.com remembers just a few short decades ago, juice was recommended for toddlers. Then, parents were told juice should be diluted with water. Today, it’s not really a recommendation at all. Sugar levels became big concerns and we learned that juice isn’t really a great substitute for whole fruit. Today we learned more about citrus juice consumption from a new study with potentially significant findings.

Grapefruit and orange juices are breakfast staples for many of us. But consuming these in large amounts may be putting us at higher risk of melanoma – the deadliest form of skin cancer – according to a new study.

Published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, the study found people who consumed high amounts of whole grapefruit or orange juice were over a third more likely to develop melanoma, compared with those who consumed low amounts.

However, lead study author Dr. Shaowei Wu, of the Department of Dermatology at the Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University in Providence, RI, and colleagues stress that further research is needed before any changes are made to recommendations for orange and grapefruit consumption.

According to the American Cancer Society, 73,870 people in the US will be diagnosed with melanoma this year and 9,940 people will die from the cancer.

The primary risk factor for melanoma is exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun and indoor tanning devices, such as tanning beds and sun lamps.

Past research has suggested that tanning lotions containing psoralens – a group of naturally occurring substances called furocoumarins that are found in citrus fruits – may increase the risk of melanoma by sensitizing the skin to the effects of UV radiation.

For their study, Dr. Wu and colleagues set out to see whether consumption of citrus fruits may be associated with greater risk of melanoma.

The team analyzed data from 63,810 women who were part of the Nurses’ Health Study between 1984 and 2010, as well as 41,622 men who were part of the Health Professionals Follow-Up Study between 1986 and 2010.

All participants completed dietary questionnaires at least every 4 years, from which the researchers were able to gather information on their citrus fruit intake. In the study, a serving of citrus fruit was defined as the equivalent to one orange, half a grapefruit or one 6 oz glass of whole orange or grapefruit juice.

The participants also completed health questionnaires every 2 years, which detailed lifestyle factors – such as smoking status and physical activity levels – and medical history. Subjects with a history of cancer were excluded from analysis.

During the 24-26-year follow-up, 1,840 participants were diagnosed with melanoma.

The researchers found that the more servings of oranges, grapefruits or juices from these fruits that the participants consumed overall, the higher their risk of melanoma. Subjects who consumed a serving of these fruits or their juices at least 1.6 times a day, for example, were found to be at 36% higher melanoma risk.

On analyzing melanoma risk by consumption of individual citrus products, the researchers found that grapefruit juice and whole oranges were not independently associated with greater risk of the cancer.

Eating whole grapefruit, however, was strongly associated with high melanoma risk, and this risk was found to be independent of confounding factors, such as age, smoking status, alcohol and coffee intake, use ofvitamin C supplements and physical activity levels.

Individuals more susceptible to sunburn as a child or teenager and those who had higher exposure to direct sunlight were at highest risk of melanoma from whole grapefruit consumption, the researchers found.

Orange juice was also associated with greater melanoma risk, which the researchers say is most likely because consumption of this product was much higher than consumption of other citrus products.

Though Dr. Wu and colleagues did not investigate the mechanisms underlying the association between citrus fruit consumption and melanoma risk, they speculate that it may be because the fruits are rich in psoralens and furocoumarins, which are believed to make the skin more sensitive to the sun.

“These substances are potential carcinogens, as found in both mice and humans. Psoralens and furocoumarins interact with UV light to stimulate melanoma cells to proliferate,” explains Dr. Marianne Berwick, of the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque, in an editorial linked to the study.

However, the team notes no association was found between consumption of other foods rich in furocoumarins – such as celery and carrots – and increased risk of melanoma. But Dr. Wu says this is likely because people often cook these vegetables, and the heat reduces furocoumarin levels.

According to Dr. Gary Scwartz, expert at the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO), the findings from Dr. Wu and colleagues are “intriguing,” though he says it is far too soon to make any changes to recommendations regarding citrus fruit consumption.

Dr. Wu adds:

“While our findings suggest that people who consume large amounts of whole grapefruit or orange juice may be at increased risk for melanoma, we need much more research before any concrete recommendations can be made.

At this time, we don’t advise that people cut back on citrus – but those who consume a lot of grapefruit and/or orange juice should be particularly careful to avoid prolonged sun exposure.”

Dr. Berwick says this is a “potentially important” study, noting that citrus consumption is widely promoted for its health benefits. For example, past research has suggested grapefruit can aid weight loss and improve heart health.

However, she notes that at present, a “public overreaction” that may cause people to shun citrus fruits should be avoided.

“For people who would be considered at high risk, the best course might be to advise individuals to use multiple sources of fruit and juice in the diet and to use sun protection, particularly if one is sun sensitive,” she adds. “There is clearly a need for replication of the study findings in a different population before modifying current dietary advice to the public.”

Dr. Wu and colleagues plan to conduct a study that involves measuring furocoumarin levels in blood samples of subjects who consume high levels of citrus fruits, in order to determine whether it is these substances that may drive greater melanoma risk.

This fascinating study linking citrus consumption to skin cancer risk can easily cause people to rethink their breakfast menu. We’re anxious to see the results of future research. In the meantime, apple juice is also a nice, crisp, cold accompaniment to any breakfast selection. We might want to try that!

http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/296087.php

Are full-service restaurants healthier choices than fast food chains? Not really.

Spanish_Eating_Out_070615Here at FoodFacts.com we spend a lot of time talking about how unhealthy fast food restaurants are. We talk about calorie and fat levels. We’re continually shocked by the amount of sodium packed into one hamburger. And we always want to stay far away from ingredient lists that could possibly double as science experiments.

Many people assume that any food that isn’t fast food has to be better for you. We’ll admit that it’s a logical assumption. A full-service restaurant has an actual chef. The food doesn’t arrive already prepared and frozen. It’s prepared in a real kitchen, and it’s fresh. That has to make a difference, right? Read on.

When Americans go out to eat, either at a fast-food outlet or a full-service restaurant, they consume, on average, about 200 more calories a day than when they stay home for meals, a new study reports. They also take in more fat, saturated fat, cholesterol and sodium than those who prepare and eat their meals at home.

These are the findings of University of Illinois kinesiology and community health professor Ruopeng An, who analyzed eight years of nationally representative data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, which is conducted by the National Center for Health Statistics. An looked at 2003-10 data collected from 18,098 adults living in the U.S.

His analysis, reported in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, revealed that eating at a restaurant is comparable to — or in some cases less healthy than — eating at a fast-food outlet. While people who eat at restaurants tend to take in more healthy nutrients — including certain vitamins, potassium and omega-3 fatty acids — than those who eat at home or at a fast-food outlet, the restaurant diners also consume substantially more sodium and cholesterol — two nutrients that Americans generally eat in excess, even at home.

“People who ate at full-service restaurants consumed significantly more cholesterol per day than people who ate at home,” An said. “This extra intake of cholesterol, about 58 milligrams per day, accounts for 20 percent of the recommended upper bound of total cholesterol intake of 300 milligrams per day.”

Those who ate at fast-food outlets also took in extra cholesterol, but only about 10 milligrams more than those who ate at home.
Fast-food and restaurant diners consumed about 10 grams more total fat, and 3.49 grams and 2.46 grams, respectively, more saturated fat than those who dined at home.

“The American Heart Association recommends limiting the amount of saturated fats one eats to less than 5 to 6 percent of one’s total daily calories,” An said. “That means that if one needs about 2,000 calories a day, less than 120 calories, or 13 grams, should come from saturated fats.”

Eating at a fast-food outlet adds about 300 milligrams of sodium to one’s daily intake, and restaurant dining boosts sodium intake by 412 milligrams per day, on average, An said. Recommendations for sodium intake vary between 1,500 and 2,300 milligrams per day, but Americans already consume more than 3,100 milligrams of sodium at home, he found.

“The additional sodium is even more worrisome because the average daily sodium intake among Americans is already so far above the recommended upper limit, posing a significant public health concern, such as hypertension and heart disease,” he said.

“These findings reveal that eating at a full-service restaurant is not necessarily healthier than eating at a fast-food outlet,” An said. “In fact, you may be at higher risk of overeating in a full-service restaurant than when eating fast-food. My advice to those hoping to consume a healthy diet and not overeat is that it is healthier to prepare your own foods, and to avoid eating outside the home whenever possible.”

The conclusion emphasizes what FoodFacts.com has been saying for years. Fresh, whole foods prepared in your own home kitchen are the healthiest option for all of us. As we become busier and busier in a world that becomes increasingly more sophisticated and complicated, it is so important for us all to carve out time every day focusing on ourselves. We’ve already got the hang of that in some areas. Folks who go to the gym, for instance, do that pretty successfully. But we’ve got to commit to time to prepare meals, as well. We’ll all be better off for the effort.

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/07/150701123350.htm