Tag Archives: nutritional information

Limiting fish consumption during pregnancy may become a thing of the past

iStock_000007358619SmallOver the years, being pregnant has become decidedly more complicated. The list of limitations for pregnant women seems to continually grow. In past generations, women were advised to simply eat good, healthy food. As the decades passed, women were instructed to cut alcohol out of their diets, stop dying their hair, limit their caffeine intake and reduce or eliminate any fish known to contain mercury. While it’s certainly restrictive to incorporate dietary and lifestyle changes during pregnancy, no one would argue about the value of expectant mothers doing everything they can to ensure the healthy development of their children.

Fish are one of the highest items on the list of foodstuffs to avoid if you are pregnant, due to the developmental problems thought to be associated with mercury exposure. However, a new study – published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition- suggests that the developmental benefits conferred by the mother consuming fish while pregnant may offset the mercury-related risks.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and international agencies are in the process of revising guidelines concerning fish consumption in an attempt to better reflect the nutritional benefits of fish.

Currently, the FDA recommend that pregnant women should eat fish no more than twice a week. The reason for limiting fish consumption is because much of the mercury in the environment ends up in the world’s oceans, so fish contain small amounts of the chemical.

Although a link between consumption of fish and childhood developmental problems has never been conclusively proved, experts have previously been concerned about the consequences of elevated mercury levels in pregnant women.

However, fish contain many beneficial nutrients. For example, their fatty acids are essential for good brain development.

A partnership between the University of Rochester Medical Center, NY, Ulster University in Belfast, UK, and the Republic of Seychelles Ministry of Health and Ministry of Education yielded the Seychelles Child Development Study – one of the longest and largest population studies of its kind.

As the 89,000 residents of the Seychelles islands in the Indian Ocean consume approximately 10 times as much fish in their diet as people in the US or Europe, the region was considered to be an ideal location for measuring the public health impact of low-level mercury exposure over a long period.

More than 1,500 mothers and children participated in the study. The development of the children was assessed using a variety of communication skills, behavior and motor skills tests. The tests started at 20 months after birth and the children were followed into their 20s. Hair samples were also collected from the mothers while they were pregnant so that the team could measure levels of prenatal mercury exposure.

Prenatal mercury exposure was not linked with lower test scores, the researchers found. As the children were followed into adulthood, it was established that there was no association between consumption of fish among pregnant mothers and impaired neurological development in their offspring.

Levels of polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) were also measured in the women while pregnant. The researchers found that the children of mothers with higher levels of the omega-3 (n3) fatty acid found in fish performed better on some tests.

Another PUFA, n6, which comes from meats and cooking oils, is more prevalent in the US and Europe than it is in regions like the Seychelles. However, n6 is known to promote inflammation – unlike n3, which has anti-inflammatory properties.

In the study, the children of mothers with higher levels of n6 were found to perform less well on the motor skills tests than children with higher levels of n3. This finding supports a theory among some scientists that n3 counteracts the inflammatory effects of mercury.

Philip Davidson, PhD, the principal investigator of the Seychelles Child Development Study, a professor emeritus at the University of Rochester and senior author of the study, says:

“It appears that the relationship between fish nutrients and mercury may be far more complex than previously appreciated. These findings indicate that there may be an optimal balance between the different inflammatory properties of fatty acids that promote fetal development and that these mechanisms warrant further study.”

Fish-loving expectant moms should hold on though. FoodFacts.com wants to remind everyone that while this study certainly holds promise for a new standard for fish consumption during pregnancy, there’s not quite enough information to change things just yet.

http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/288530.php

Should you eat or drink that orange?

orange-juiceChoose the fruit, you’d say! That’s the general advice, since juices are stripped of the fiber – which most us don’t get enough of — in whole fruit. And let’s face it: Most juice contains a lot of sugar, which most of us consume too much of.

To determine if that is true, a research team of German and Saudi scientists analyzed a batch of fresh navel oranges in three forms: peeled segments, a puree and as both fresh-squeezed and pasteurized juice. As outlined in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, the researchers saw no difference in the levels of vitamin C and carotenoids, while levels of flavonoids did vary. However, when they changed their experiment to better mimic digestion, more carotenoids and flavonoids were released via OJ than via the fruit.

In fact, they found that the release of carotenoids was two to three times higher in the liquid form than the fruit (11 percent versus 28 percent for fresh and almost 40 percent in pasteurized juice). The flavonoids were five times higher too.

While the study’s results are in line with other research that found that nutrients in fruits and vegetables can be more available when the produce is chopped, mashed or juiced, nutritionists caution against assuming that this study and others be taken as gospel. They point out that determining what nutrients exist does not determine which nutrients are better absorbed in the human body combined with what other substances. For instance, research has shown that people absorb more beta-carotene from tomatoes with olive oil added, and that cooking broccoli for too long can destroy its antioxidants.

Likewise, how the OJ is made can influence results. Buying a large carton (with sugar added) versus squeezing it oneself can have an impact. Furthermore, store-bought fruit juice often contains almost as much concentrated fructose as a soft drink. Besides health issues from the glucose, juice can also be less filling so people drink more, which can mean more calories are often consumed.

According to experts in food science and nutrition, drinking fresh-squeezed glasses of OJ and such also can spike blood sugar levels faster and higher than one experiences from eating whole fruit. In addition, a study linked regular juice consumption to an increased risk of diabetes and other studies have shown an impact on teeth.

While the answers do not support a definite conclusion as to whether the juice is as healthy as the orange, or a similar determination for other fruits, experts encourage that any servings of fruit are better than having none. To get the fiber from the pulp, they recommend choosing versions of things like OJ that have pulp added. In addition, they recommend keeping track of the sugars in fruit juices and keeping the sugar intake below five percent of one’s daily consumption.

So it’s complicated. FoodFacts.com would have to agree that any fruit in any form is better than no fruit at all. While juice has certainly received plenty of thumbs down in the last few years because of sugar content, orange juice is still made from oranges … not chemicals.

http://guardianlv.com/2015/01/is-the-juice-as-healthy-as-the-orange/

Coffee may help you avoid skin cancer

Coffee cup - cup of coffee 2 with clipping pathIf you’re one of the millions of people who just can’t get their morning started without a great cup of coffee, this blog post may be especially meaningful for you!

New research is beginning to show us that there might be many benefits to drinking this favorite bean-based hot beverage. Aside from a morning pick-me-up, according to new research from Yale University and the National Cancer Institute at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), drinking coffee everyday could reduce your for malignant melanoma skin cancer.

More than 5 million people in the United States are affected by skin cancer each and every year, according to the Skin Cancer Foundation. Melanoma, the most deadly form of skin cancer, claims approximately one life every hour. However, despite being the most rare form of skin cancer, melanoma accounts for the majority of skin cancer related deaths. Eighty-six percent of melanoma skin cancer can be attributed directly to exposure from ultraviolet radiation from the sun.

But, if you are a coffee drinker, your chances of developing a malignant melanoma are reduced, according to lead researcher Erikka Loftfield. Loftfield and her team evaluated over 400,000 study participants over an average of 10.5 years, comparing the rates of melanoma to the frequency of foods. At the end of the study, the team of researchers determined that the more caffeinated coffee an individual drank each day, the lower their risk for developing malignant melanoma. For example, drinking four cups of coffee each day was enough to lower the risk by an incredible 20 percent.

“Higher coffee intake was associated with a modest decrease in risk of melanoma in this large US cohort study,” Loftfield says. “Additional investigations of coffee intake and its constituents, particularly caffeine, with melanoma are warranted…Because of its melanoma’s) high disease burden, lifestyle modifications with even modest protective effects may have a meaningful impact on melanoma morbidity.”

Loftfield emphasized that while there is a benefit to drinking coffee in regards to malignant melanoma, it should not be used as an excuse to go out in the sun without the proper protection.

“The most important thing that individuals can do to reduce their risk of melanoma is to reduce sun and UV radiation exposure,” Loftfield says.

Scientists continue to find more and more evidence that coffee may not be an unhealthy as originally believed. There is also substantial data available showing that coffee can reduce the risk of dying from scarring of the liver, lower the risk of type 2 diabetes and prostate cancer, and reduce the risk of tinnitus.

However, because of the adverse reactions some people have to the stimulant, it is important that you discuss with your doctor the benefits and the drawbacks of adding coffee to your daily routine before you make your next stop at the local coffee shop.

FoodFacts.com loves getting good news like this! Your morning coffee may be doing more for you than kickstarting your day. The list of possible health benefits from coffee continues to grow … which may just give some of us a good reason to grab just one more cup!

http://www.sciencetimes.com/articles/2880/20150125/your-cup-of-joe-could-prevent-skin-cancer.htm

Baskin-Robbins’ new Icing on the Cake flavor … we’re not sure this is actually ice cream

landingPortraitConesHave your cake and lick it too. Cake flavored ice cream with cake pieces, frosting bits, and candy confetti ribbon.

That’s how Baskin-Robbins is promoting its new Icing on the Cake flavor on their website.

We’ve got to be honest with you. FoodFacts.com isn’t really certain that this can actually be classified as ice cream. We don’t know that we’ve encountered an ice cream product that contains 72 ingredients. Some of the most interesting flavors of ice cream available don’t contain anything close to 72 ingredients.

Here they are, in all there not-so-glorious glory:

Cream, Nonfat Milk, Confetti Swirl Ribbon [Powdered Sugar (Sugar, Corn Starch), Peanut Oil, Maltodextrin, Nonpareils (Sugar, Corn Starch, Confectioner's Glaze, Yellow 5, Carnauba Wax, Red 3, Blue 1, Red 40, Yellow 6, Blue 2), White Coating (Sugar, Partially Hydrogenated Palm Kernel and Palm Oils, Reduced Mineral Whey Powder, Whole Milk Powder, Nonfat Dry Milk, Soy Lecithin as an Emulsifier, Salt), Stabilizer (Mono and Diglycerides, Hydrogenated Soybean Oil, Tocopherol, Ascorbic Acid, Citric Acid as an Antioxidant, Soy Lecithin as an Emulsifier), Salt], Sugar, Cake Pieces (Unbleached Wheat Flour, Sugar, Palm Oil, Water, Nonfat Milk Powder, Salt, Natural Flavors), Frosted Cookie Freckles [Sugar, Coconut Oil, Buttermilk Powder, Natural Flavor, Titanium Dioxide (Color), Artificial Colors (Yellow 6 Lake, Yellow 5 Lake, Blue 1 Lake), Soy Lecithin as an Emulsifier], Vanilla Cream Flavored Base [Sugar, Water, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Modified Corn Starch, Titanium Dioxide (Color), Salt, Natural and Artificial Flavor, Potassium Sorbate (Preservative)], Corn Syrup, Whey Powder, Emulsifier/Stabilizer Blend (Cellulose Gum, Mono and Diglycerides, Guar Gum, Carrageenan, Polysorbate 80), Natural Flavors.

22 of these ingredients are controversial — about 30% of the total ingredients are items we really don’t want to be eating. And two of them stand out above and beyond the others.

The use of confectioner’s glaze is especially unappealing. For those who are not clear on what confectioner’s glaze is — it’s actually shellac (commonly used to varnish wood surfaces). Shellac is actually a chemical secreted by female lac bugs (Laccifer lacca), a type of “scale insect.” They create shellac in order to form sheltering tunnels as they travel along the outside of trees. It is extracted for industrial use by scraping bark, bugs and tunnels off of trees in Asian forests and into canvas tubes. The tubes are then heated over a flame until the shellac melts and seeps out of the canvas, after which it is dried into flakes for sale. Before use in food or as varnish, the shellac must be re-dissolved in denatured alcohol.
The second one we take serious issue with is carnuba wax. That’s the same wax that’s used in car wax and shoe polish. And in Icing on the Cake, we get to eat it.

Is this really ice cream? We’re not so sure.

So, Baskin-Robbins, we’d really rather not have our cake and lick it too. It’s kind of toxic. Sorry.

https://www.baskinrobbins.com/content/baskinrobbins/en/products/icecream/flavors.html?popupurl=/content/baskinrobbins/en/products/icecream/flavors/icingonthecakeicecream.html

Wendy’s drops soda from kids meals … sort of, but not really

WendysKidMealSorry Wendy’s. FoodFacts.com is really not trying to minimize your efforts to offer healthier options to consumers. But it’s true … a kids meal without a soda is still a kids meal. It’s still full of calories, fat and sodium, not to mention ingredients your average child can’t pronounce and doesn’t need. Plus, you really didn’t remove it, you just stopped promoting it.

Wendy’s is the latest fast-food chain to remove the soda option from kids’ meal menus.

That means when parents drive through a pick-up window, they won’t see soda as an option on the menu board, but if they decide to order one, they won’t be turned down.

The fast-food chain is the most recent to cave to pressure from children’s health advocacy groups. McDonald’s made a similar commitment to drop soda from Happy Meals in 2013, after partnering with the Alliance for a Healthier Generation, a group aimed at fighting childhood obesity.

The Center for Science in Public Interest released a statement Thursday saying that Wendy’s was removing the soda option from menu boards and kids’ meals.

The statement said they hoped Wendy’s would also offer healthier choices including, “whole grain rolls, offering more fruit and vegetable options, reducing sodium across the menu, and dropping Frostys from the children’s menu.”

Unlike some fast-food chains, Wendy’s default drink choice was never soda, Bob Bertini, a spokesman for Wendy’s said in an e-mail to USA TODAY Network.

“When ordering a kids’ meal, the customer is asked what beverage they prefer,” Bertini wrote. “The change is the kids’ meal beverage options which are shown on our menu boards.”

Bertini says the fast-food company began displaying images of “healthful beverage options,” including 1% white or chocolate milk, bottled water and 100% juice.

He says the kids’ meal soft drink option no longer appears on the chain’s menu boards, inside the restaurants, at the pick-up windows or on the mobile app in the U.S. and Canada.

While soda is no longer the default drink, it still remains one of the most profitable items for fast-food chains like McDonald’s and Wendy’s, according to Jesse Bragg, media director for Corporate Accountability International.

Bragg says nothing will be solved until the marketing practices that draw kids to fast food is curbed.

“It’s incredibly difficult to enforce on a local level in the fast food industry,” Bragg said.

For children’s health advocates the battle is far from over. In the soda wars, other restaurants such as Subway, Arby’s and Chipotle do not offer soda on the kids’ menu.

But, one of the giants is still left standing — Burger King.
“Two down, one to go,” says Howell Wechsler, chief executive officer of Alliance for a Healthier Generation.

An email statement from Burger King said the company is, “currently in the process of analyzing the removal of fountain drinks from our kids’ menu boards.”

So to clarify this “change” even more — you CAN still get a soda with a kids meal at Wendy’s. The soda is simply not being promoted on the menu boards. Nearest we can tell, that’s not much of a change. It’s not like consumers are actually being told in the store that they can no longer order a soda with the kids meal. THAT would be a change. Taking the image of the soda out of the pretty picture of the kids meal and leaving the word soda out of the kids meal description on the menu board … not so much.

http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation-now/2015/01/15/wendys-drops-soda-kids-meal-fast-food/21814699/

New study debunks the concept of healthy obesity

obesity-460_784309cIn the last few weeks FoodFacts.com posted information from a study that claimed that for certain people obesity might not have long-term health implications. The concept of “healthy obesity” has become an actual theory among some researchers and some in the general population.

But now a new study shows that the idea may be quite misleading, since over time, healthy obesity often devolves into unhealthy obesity, and the markers of health naturally worsen over time. So “healthy obesity” may not be a steady state at all – it may just be a phase that will likely deteriorate in the future.

The researchers, from University College London, looked at data over a period of 20 years – longer than any study on healthy obesity had tracked health previously. Their first group consisted of 2500 people, 66 of whom were said to be “healthy obese,” based on their metabolic profiles, which included analyses of high-density lipoprotein (“good”) cholesterol, blood pressure, fasting glucose or use of diabetes medication, triglyceride (blood fats) levels, and insulin resistance.

Of those who started out in the “healthy obese” category, over the next two decades, more than half had moved into the “unhealthy obese” category – and just 6% had lost enough weight to move into the healthy non-obese category.

The researchers then looked at a larger group of participants, consisting of 389 “healthy obese.” After 10 years, 35% had become “unhealthy obese”; after 15 years, it had risen to 38%, and to 48% after 20 years. Just 10% of the original healthy obese had lost the weight to become “healthy non-obese” after 20 years. Which prompted the authors to suggest that the “natural course of healthy obesity is progression to metabolic deterioration.”

In other words, for most people, healthy obesity is just a phase that will likely give way to unhealthy obesity in the future.

This is not the first study to suggest that healthy obesity is somewhat of a myth, at least for most people. Earlier research had found that obesity of any kind, healthy or unhealthy, increases the risk of heart disease, diabetes, cancer, and early death. What’s more, even shorter-term studies than the current one have shown that the good metabolic markers of the healthy obese do tend to deteriorate with time. “A few previous studies,” author Joshua Bell tells me, “using shorter follow-up times showed about one-third of healthy obese adults progress to unhealthy obesity. And our study with at least 10 years longer follow-up, indicates that this tendency gets stronger with time, with about half making this transition after 20 years….These results indicate that healthy obesity is often just a phase.”

Some of the healthy obese participants in the current study did remain so over time – even after 20 years, about a third of the participants still had good metabolic profiles. “However,” says Bell, “the tendency for these adults to progress to unhealthy obesity gets stronger with time… Healthy obese adults tend to get worse, not better.”

The takeaway message may be that for most people, weight loss really is the best bet: Even though markers may look good now, they may not be in 10 or 20 years’ time. A small subset of people may be obese into old age, but for the majority, obesity is linked to greater risk of a number of chronic diseases and mortality over the long term.

“Adults of any size can take steps to improve health by avoiding processed foods and embedding physical activity into daily life,” says Bell. “This can reduce harmful visceral fat, build muscle, and reduce inflammation even if weight is not initially lost. Our results stress the need to take a long-term view of healthy obesity, as healthy obese adults tend to progress to ill-health over time. Healthy obesity is still a high-risk state – the harmful effects may just be delayed.”

We’re not surprised to see the release of new information that contradicts the most recent study regarding “healthy obesity.” It’s a controversial concept so it’s possible we’ll be hearing even more conflicting information. The healthiest response to obesity is reversing the condition. We don’t need more information to figure out that concept for ourselves.

http://www.forbes.com/sites/alicegwalton/2015/01/06/is-healthy-obesity-a-real-thing-not-likely-study-says/

We eat more junk food when we watch too much television. Surprised?

man-watching-tvProbably not. We all know the scenario. You’re sitting comfortably on the sofa. You turn on a favorite movie. It’s late at night. Suddenly you get a craving. Maybe it’s ice cream, or cookies, or chocolate, or chips. Whatever you’re chosen indulgence, it seems to make the movie better. And sadly, you probably don’t realize how much you’re eating while you’re concentrating on the movie plot.

According to a new study, the more hours we spend in front of the TV, the more likely we are to snack on junk food.

The research, conducted by Prof. Temple Northup of the Jack J. Valenti School of Communication at the University of Houston, TX, is published in The International Journal of Communication and Health.

This is not the first study to associate TV use with unhealthy eating. A 2014 study published in the journal Applied Physiology, Nutrition and Metabolism, for example, linked television viewing time to unhealthy dietary patterns among children aged 9-11.

In that study and others reporting similar findings, researchers say the results may be explained by the fact that TV watching is a sedentary activity, and that this encourages unhealthy eating.

But in his study, Prof. Northup sought to determine the psychological explanations for the link between TV use and increasing consumption of unhealthy foods.

“There was very little prior research on the psychological reasons this relationship might exist beyond that it’s a sedentary activity that encourages snacking,” he says. “I wanted to investigate underlying psychological reasons that this relationship might exist.”

To reach his findings, Prof. Northup conducted a cross-sectional survey on 591 participants of an average age of 22.

The survey was designed to gather information on participants’ overall television and news media usage and their nutritional knowledge. In addition, Prof. Northup assessed their “fatalistic views” toward eating healthily, which he told Medical News Today is “a general viewpoint that measures the extent to which you think you understand proper nutrition.”
Overall, the results of the survey revealed that the more time participants spent watching TV, the more likely they were to have an unhealthy diet.

What is more, those who watched more TV had a poorer understanding of nutrition and a more fatalistic view toward healthy eating, compared with participants who watched less TV. “In turn, those two items predicted snacking behaviors,” says Prof. Northup.

He believes the lack of nutritional knowledge among people who watch more TV may be explained by increased exposure to advertising of unhealthy foods.

“Within advertising, most foods are nutritionally deficient, while entertainment programming depicts characters frequently snacking on unhealthy foods and rarely eating a balanced meal,” he explains. “If these are the messages, those who watch a lot of them may become less able to determine what is healthy.”

He notes that, interestingly, participants who watched a lot of television news but not a lot of television overall had better nutritional knowledge than those who watched more general TV. Prof. Northup said that this may be because news media “typically focus their stories on trending topics – like what diet is best or what foods are healthy or unhealthy – rather than a broader context of healthy living.”

On considering the association between high TV usage and more fatalistic views toward nutrition, Prof. Northup says the link is not surprising given that viewers are presented with conflicting messages about food.

“After all, on the one hand, heavy users are told to eat a lot of sugary drinks and snacks, while on the other, they are told to avoid those snacks in favor of a variety of other foods,” he explains. “If all messages being presented conflict, it becomes hard to decipher exactly what should be followed. This could lead to the belief that it is just not possible to fully understand nutrition.”

Prof. Northup says his study results suggest the media is contributing to obesity:

“Based on these results, the media may be one piece of the obesity problem by sending messages to consumers that create fatalistic attitudes toward eating healthy as well as lowering overall nutritional knowledge.

These two variables in turn contribute to poor nutritional eating – a well-established cause of obesity.”

But there is something we can do that may stop us reaching for the junk food while watching TV: reduce the amount of unhealthy snacks in the house.

“If you know you’re prone to eating while watching TV, then it would be best to not have a lot of snacks like chips in the house, and instead have things like carrot sticks,” added Prof. Northup.

This interesting study offers a different view on snacking while viewing. FoodFacts.com is pretty certain, though, that we should all make an effort to reduce or eliminate the unhealthy snacks in our homes. Because, let’s face it, even the healthiest eaters can give into temptation when the living room turns into a movie theater and the concession counter is no further away than your own refrigerator!

http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/287768.php

Kids eat more fruit and vegetables when lunch is scheduled after recess

school-lunchWe keep hearing mixed results from the new school nutrition standards. But overall we do know that there’s still a lot of waste involved in school lunch — much of it being the fruits and vegetables we all want kids to be eating. We’re learning, though, that there is a way to make those fruits and vegetables more attractive to children.

Researchers from the Brigham Young University found that children are 45 percent more likely to eat their fruits and vegetables after recess.

In the study, the researchers studied 2,500 elementary-students from seven schools in Utah. They received fruits and vegetables at lunch as part of the National School Lunch Program. Three of seven schools were asked to move their recess periods to before lunch. The researchers then observed the garbage cans to see how much healthy stuff got thrown away.

They found that the kids ate 54% more fruits and vegetables when recess was before lunch. Additionally, in schools that made the swap, 45% more kids ate at least one serving of fruits and vegetables. They also found that these kids were also most unlikely to throw away their food. However, in schools that followed the traditional schedule of having lunch before recess, fruit and vegetable consumption actually dropped for the same time period.

Joseph Price, associate professor at the Brigham Young University and the lead author of the study, said, “Recess is a pretty big deal to kids. So if you make them choose between recess and vegetables, recess is going to win.”

The researchers explained that whenever lunch was scheduled first, kids usually threw away a great deal of their meal to have more time to play during the recess. However, setting recess before lunch made the kids hungry after their play. They also found that more kids were willing to eat extra servings of vegetables or fruits.

“Not only do kids eat more vegetables, but they throw less away. For a school trying to serve good fruits and vegetables, it’s encouraging to know you can get more in the tummy and less in the trash,” added Price.

The researchers added that apart from getting children to eat fruits and vegetables, switching recess and lunch schedules will also let schools and their districts save on costs, because there will be less wastage of food.

Less waste. More fruit and vegetable consumption. FoodFacts.com thinks recess before lunch might just be the way to go for all schools!

http://dailysciencejournal.com/lunch-recess-makes-kids-eat-fruits-vegetables/2747/

Dip in a bagel from Dunkin … the new Spinach Artichoke Supreme

bagel ddNew flavor combinations. Food manufacturers and fast food giants are always trying to come up with just the right marriage of flavors to get us really excited about a new product. They’re all trying to find the new sour cream and onion potato chip or cookies ‘n cream ice cream that will take off with consumers. Sometimes, though, FoodFacts.com doesn’t necessarily understand the new combinations. We don’t necessarily mind “out-of-the-box” pairings, but some of them aren’t simply “out-of-the-box,” they’re down-right puzzling.

For instance, we wouldn’t actually think to combine spinach artichoke dip with a bagel.

But Dunkin thought of it.

So here’s what you need to know about the new Dunkin Donuts Spinach Artichoke Supreme bagel.

Nutrition Facts

Calories:                          390
Fat:                                   6 grams
Sodium:                           840 mg

Oddly, the Spinach Artichoke Supreme bagel has one less gram of fat than their multigrain bagel — and only 40 more calories. We honestly find this puzzling.

The Spinach Artichoke Supreme is a savory, cheesy bagel. That should probably translate into more fat and substantially more calories than what is supposedly its healthier counterpart. But it doesn’t. So that can only lead us to believe that the new bagel’s ingredient list is probably not something we’re going to find appealing. Let’s take a look:

Bagel: Enriched Wheat Flour (Wheat Flour, Niacin, Reduced Iron, Thiamin Mononitrate, Riboflavin, Folic Acid), Water, Sugar, Malt Extract, Degermed Yellow Corn Meal, Yeast, Salt, Natural Ferment Flavor (Cultured Wheat and Wheat Malt Flours, Vinegar, Salt), Molasses, Dough Conditioner (Malted Barley Flour, Enzymes, Dextrose), Soy (Trace); Topping: Monterey Jack Cheese (Pasteurized Milk, Cheese Culture, Salt, Enzymes), Spinach, Artichokes, Low Moisture Part-Skim Mozzarella Cheese (Pasteurized Milk, Cheese Culture, Salt, Enzymes), Cheddar Cheese (Pasteurized Milk, Cheese Culture, Salt, Enzymes), Garlic, Water, Parmesan Cheese (Milk, Cheese Culture, Salt, Enzymes), Medium Asiago Cheese (Pasteurized Milk, Cheese Culture, Salt, Enzymes), Contains less than 2% of: Cream, Skim Milk, Salt, Modified Potato Starch, Methylcellulose, Butter (Pasteurized Cream, Salt), Sodium Phosphate, Potassium Sorbate (Preservative), Lemon Juice Concentrate, Sugar, Garlic Powder, Glutamic Acid, Sodium Citrate, Natural Parmesan Cheese Flavor, Xanthan Gum.

That list carries a surprisingly large number of ingredients for a bagel. If you look closely, you’ll notice that it carries plenty of hidden MSG and preservatives. And that someone thought that after including all that cheese in the bagel, it was also necessary to add something referred to as Natural Parmesan Cheese Flavor to the product.

We don’t really see how this is breakfast. The idea of slathering this with butter or cream cheese doesn’t make much sense to us. It’s spinach artichoke dip baked into a bagel. It’s not screaming for our traditional additions to breakfast baked goods. So it’s already not working for us. We’re also not happy with the nutrition facts or the ingredient list.

All in all, we’ll save the dip for snacking and leave it out of our bagels. It’s much less complicated that way.

http://www.dunkindonuts.com/content/dunkindonuts/en/menu/food/bakery/bagels/bagels.html?DRP_FLAVOR=Spinach+Artichoke+Supreme+Bagel

For a limited time only, McDonald’s brings reading back to Happy Meals

Happy-MealCan books make fast food more appealing to parents? McDonald’s thinks there’s a possibility. There was a time when McDonald’s was including a book with the Happy Meal instead of a toy. And they’ve brought it back for a limited time. Unfortunately, the meal is remaining the same.

McDonald’s is bringing back books in its Happy Meals. Until January 22, children’s Happy Meals will come with books and an activity in place of the more familiar plastic toy.

The company has partnered with the nonprofit Reading is Fundamental and HarperCollins for the book giveaway. Kids can get one of four books (none, unfortunately, by Dr. Seuss).

The titles that will be showing up with the Happy Meal are “If You Give a Mouse a Cookie” by Laura Numeroff, illustrated by Felicia Bond; “Big Nate: In a Class by Himself” by Lincoln Peirce; “Pete the Cat and His Magic Sunglasses” by Kimberly and James Dean and “Flat Stanley Goes Camping” by Jeff Brown, illustrated by Macky Pamintuan.

In a statement, Julie Wenger, senior director of U.S. marketing at McDonald’s, said the project is “part of a broader book strategy to combine the fun of the Happy Meal and support of our partners to inspire more family reading time.”

The companies plan to distribute 17 million books during the promotional period.

FoodFacts.com is all for promoting reading to kids. But we’re also all for promoting healthy eating for kids. We’re not necessarily sure that the inclusion of a book with a bad meal will make parents believe that the meal is a good choice for their children. We’d like to suggest making the kids lunch at home and taking them to storytime at the library instead. Much better option!

http://www.latimes.com/books/jacketcopy/la-et-jc-mcdonalds-happy-meals-with-books-20150108-story.html