Tag Archives: nutritional information

Burger King’s A.1. Hearty Mozzarella Cheeseburger … a flame grilled fast food problem

A1_Hearty_Mozzarella_detailSome new fast food offerings are easy to identify as bad choices simply by their name.
FoodFacts.com puts the new Burger King A.1. Hearty Mozzarella Cheeseburger squarely in that category. There’s very little way to imagine that this could be remotely passable as a “less bad” fast food option.

It gets worse when you read the description on their website: “Features two ¼ lb. savory flame-grilled beef patties, topped with thick-cut smoked bacon, melted Mozzarella cheese, fresh chopped lettuce, crisp cut onions, and featuring savory A.1.®Thick & Hearty sauce, all on a warm, toasted, brioche-style bun.” Bacon, mozzarella, A1 sauce, brioche style bun. FoodFacts.com could easily be reading: controversial ingredients, extra fat and calories, controversial ingredients, controversial ingredients.

Let’s find out what’s in there:

Nutrition Facts:
Calories:                      800
Fat:                               48 grams
Saturated Fat:            21 grams
Sodium:                      1420 mg.

That’s a lot of calories, fat, saturated fat and sodium for one burger. We didn’t even get to the fries yet – which will most certainly push the sodium content of this meal well over the daily recommended intake. It’s pretty bad.

What do the ingredients look like?

BRIOCHE-STYLE BUN: Unbleached Enriched Flour (Wheat Flour, Malted Barley Flour, Niacin, Reduced Iron, Thiamin Mononitrate, Riboflavin, Folic Acid), Water, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Yeast, Dried Honey Blend (Cane Refinery Syrup and Honey), Soybean Oil, Contains 2% or less of each of the following: Salt, Wheat Gluten, Dextrose, Monocalcium Phosphate, Calcium Sulfate, Natural Flavors, Monoglycerides, Ascorbic Acid, Enzymes, Sunflower Oil, Vegetable Proteins, Wheat Maltodextrins, Calcium Phosphate, Wheat Dextrose, Corn Starch, Soy Lecithin, Soy Flour, Calcium propionate (to retard spoilage). HAMBURGER PATTIES : 100% USDA inspected Ground Beef (Fire-Grilled), THICK SLICED BACON: Cured with Water, Salt, Sugar, Sodium Phosphate, Sodium Erythorbate, Sodium Nitrite. MOZZARELLA CHEESE SLICED (PROCESSED): Cultured Milk, Skim Milk, Water, Cream, Whey, Sodium Citrate, Salt, Sorbic Acid (Preservative), Natural Flavor, Enzymes, Soy Lecithin, A.1.® STEAK SAUCE: Tomato Puree (Water, Tomato Paste), High Fructose Corn Syrup, Vinegar, Corn Syrup, Salt, Raisin Paste, Orange Puree, Spice, Xanthan Gum, Dried Onions, Dried Garlic, Caramel Color., Lettuce, Onion

While FoodFats.com can understand that this new burger might sound good to some, we’re really unhappy with the nutrition facts and the ingredient list certainly leaves something to be desired.

It’s summertime. Get out and fire up a grill. Choose some healthy toppings for your burger. Change it up with turkey or chicken. You’ll be doing your body a healthy favor. We’re also positive it will taste a lot better, too.

http://www.bk.com/menu-item/1-hearty-mozzarella-cheeseburger

Only at Taco Bell … the new Mountain Dew Sangrita Blast

Dew_Sangrita_FtnIt’s only at Taco Bell. Honestly, that’s too much as it is. This new drink is that special.

Take a look at the image on the Taco Bell site. It’s red soda. Hence the “Sangrita” reference we suppose. And all we can say is please don’t drink this.

If you visit the Pepsico website, you’ll find that you can choose a custom size in order to determine the nutrition facts. FoodFacts.com quickly figured out that this was the way Pepsico could have consumers believe that this new beverage isn’t so bad. Unfortunately, most folks in a fast food restaurant aren’t drinking 8 ou. Beverages. So for the purpose of this post, we’ve customized our nutrition facts for the Mountain Dew Sangrita Blast to a 16 ou. Beverage with 25% ice in our cup.
Nutrition Facts:
Calories:                 190
Fat:                          0 grams
Sugar:                     53 grams

In every 16 ou. cup, you’ll find 13 and a quarter teaspoons of sugar. But FoodFacts.com knew that it couldn’t end there. There’s more to discover about the Mountain Dew Sangrita Blast. And it certainly has everything to do with what meets the eye. Anytime we see an oddly colored food or beverage, we can pretty much count on the idea that we are not going to like the ingredient list. And we certainly weren’t wrong about that here.

CARBONATED WATER, HIGH FRUCTOSE CORN SYRUP, CITRIC ACID, NATURAL AND ARTIFICIAL FLAVOR, SODIUM CITRATE, GUM ARABIC, CAFFEINE, RED 40, SODIUM BENZOATE (PRESERVES FRESHNESS), POTASSIUM SORBATE (PRESERVES FRESHNESS), CALCIUM DISODIUM EDTA (TO PROTECT FLAVOR),GLYCEROL ESTER OF ROSIN, SUCROSE ACETATE ISOBUTYRATE, BLUE 1

Red 40 and Blue 1 are what you’re seeing in that image. They’re accompanied by high fructose corn syrup, natural and artificial flavor, sodium benzoate, calcium disodium EDTA and caffeine.

The world did not need a brand new chemical concoction to ingest … especially not one with over 13 teaspoons of sugar. Needless to say, we won’t be going near this.

http://www.pepsicobeveragefacts.com/home/product?formula=F0000002029&form=FTN&size=8

New York City proposes new sodium rules for restaurants

image3Salt is in the news often these days. And even if you don’t have any apparent reasons to be careful of your sodium intake, it’s probably a good idea to become more salt sensitive. It’s definitely a culprit in health problems that can “sneak up on you.” Honestly, we’re all eating too much salt, even if we don’t know we are.

And that’s where New York City comes in. New York is no stranger to proposing regulations surrounding food and beverages. New York City has banned trans fats at restaurants, posted calorie counts on menus and tried, unsuccessfully, to limit the size of sodas. Now the city is taking aim at a new edible adversary: sodium.

Under a plan to be presented by the de Blasio administration on Wednesday, many chain restaurants would have to post a warning label on the menu beside any dish that has more than 2,300 milligrams of sodium, the daily limit recommended by many nutritionists.

The amount is akin to a teaspoon of salt, and foods that contain it — like a half-rack of ribs at T.G.I. Fridays (2,420 milligrams), or the chicken fajitas at Applebee’s (4,800 milligrams) — would be denoted by a small icon of a saltshaker.

The measure, which requires approval by the Board of Health, could take effect as soon as December. It is the first foray by Mayor Bill de Blasio into the kind of high-profile public health policies championed by his predecessor, Michael R. Bloomberg.

“It’s quite difficult for consumers to understand which products might have too much sodium in them,” said Dr. Sonia Angell, a deputy commissioner at the city’s Health Department, who pointed to links between high sodium intake and a greater risk of heart disease and high blood pressure.

Attempts by the city to regulate New Yorkers’ eating habits have often been resisted by restaurant groups, which call such rules onerous and an infringement on consumer rights. Mr. de Blasio’s sodium proposal was no exception.

“Restaurants in New York City are already heavily regulated at every level,” said Melissa Fleischut, president of the New York State Restaurant Association. Pointing to various federal and local rules, she added, “The composition of menus may soon have more warning labels than food products.”

If passed, the proposal, which was reported by The Associated Press, would affect mainly restaurants with 15 establishments or more in New York City, along with some movie theaters and ballpark concession stands. Officials said about 10 percent of menu items would require labels.

Still, many fast-food staples would escape the labeling threshold, like a Whopper with cheese at Burger King (1,260 milligrams of sodium) or KFC’s chicken potpie (1,970 milligrams).

“It’s a rather conservative choice of benchmark,” said Michael Jacobson, executive director of the Center for Science in the Public Interest, a nutrition group. “It seems pretty generous to the restaurant industry: Up to a whole day’s worth of sodium, and you don’t have to put an icon on your menu,” Mr. Jacobson said. But, he added, “Hopefully it will guide people away from these kinds of meals.”

This is not the first time that a New York City mayor has taken on salty foods. Mr. Bloomberg introduced the National Salt Reduction Initiative to encourage chains to lower the amount of sodium in their products voluntarily.

By the end of this year, Mr. Bloomberg’s effort to print calorie counts on menus is going national: The Food and Drug Administration is to require calorie counts in national restaurant chains, movie theaters and pizza parlors.

Those rules could pose a legal wrinkle for the city’s sodium plan, since states and localities would be forbidden to add their own nutrition labels to places covered under federal rules. City officials said their plan would pass muster because the saltshaker functions as a “warning label,” not a nutritional one.

There are a few things that FoodFacts.com takes issue with – like someone saying that soon there will be more warning labels than food items listed on menus. Here’s a thought. Perhaps restaurants should commit to preparing and serving foods with livable sodium levels. Then they wouldn’t have to “litter” their menus with small salt shaker images. The health of consumers should be a significant concern for all kinds of restaurants – fast food, fast casual, and sit down establishments alike. Consumers are responsible for the popularity and profitability of all of them. You’d think they’d be more concerned about helping consumers stay healthy, and able and capable of patronizing their locations for years to come. Until they are, it’s probably a good idea to use those images of salt shakers on their menus (not just in New York City, but everyplace else as well) so we know what we’re eating.

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/06/10/nyregion/de-blasio-administration-wants-high-sodium-warnings-on-menus.html?_r=1

Really good food news: more chocolate, less heart disease

CS79798816FoodFacts.com is well aware that healthy eating is often associated with the idea of “getting used to something.” In other words, healthy foods sometimes require a learning curve … kale chips, anyone? Sometimes, those of us who pursue healthy lifestyles are rewarded from the heavens. Dark chocolate is actually good for your body.

A surprising number of studies have found that dark chocolate can reduce the risk of death from a heart attack, decrease blood pressure and help those with chronic fatigue syndrome.

The question for many chocolate lovers has been at what point are you having too much of a good thing. That is, is there an optimal “dose” for chocolate eating?

A new study published in the journal Heart on Monday looked at the effect of diet on long-term health. It involved 25,000 volunteers and found that the answer to how much chocolate can be good for you is – a lot. Study participants in the high consumption group – those who ate 15 to 100 grams of chocolate a day in the form of everything from Mars bars to hot cocoa – had lower heart disease and stroke risk than those who did not consume the confection.

A hundred grams is equivalent to about two classic Hershey’s bars or – if you’re going fancy – five Godiva truffles. In terms of calories you’re looking at 500-535. To put that into perspective, the Department of Agriculture recommends men consume 2,000 to 3,000 calories a day depending on their height, body composition and whether they are sedentary or active.

This association in the study was valid even after researchers adjusted for a wide range of risk factors, such as age, smoking, alcohol consumption, physical activity and other dietary variables.

“The main message is that you don’t need to worry too much if you are only moderately eating chocolate,” Phyo Myint, a professor at the School of Medicine at the University of Aberdeen and one of the study’s lead authors, said in an interview.

Higher levels of consumption were associated with a large number of other positives in the study: lower BMI, waist:hip ratio, systolic blood pressure, inflammatory proteins. As compared with those who ate no chocolate, those who ate high amounts saw a 11 percent lower risk of cardiovascular disease and 25 percent lower risk of associated death.

The study also noted that more of the participants in the study ate milk chocolate versus dark chocolate which has long been considered healthier. This might suggest that beneficial health effects may apply to both, the researchers said.

“Our results are somewhat surprising since the expectation was that benefits of chocolate consumption would be mainly associated with dark chocolate rather than the commercially available products generally used in a British population which are high in sugar content and fat,” the study’s author wrote.

So what’s the theory behind how this works?

Myint explained that chocolate is full of flavonoid antioxidants and that previous studies have shown that intake of chocolate results in improved function of the endothelium, or inner lining of the blood vessels. Chocolate has also been shown to increase HDL or “good” cholesterol and decrease LDL or “bad” cholesterol.

He also said many chocolate bars that were probably consumed by study participants contained nuts which are known to be good for heart health.

While Myint said it seemed clear that there wasn’t a big risk to chocolate eating for the study participants, he said that the results of the study should be read with a few caveats. First, it looked at people ages 39 to 70 and nearly all the study participants were white. He also emphasized that in a sample size this large, there were also a number of participants who ate a lot of chocolate but did not see the same benefits as others.

“Indeed some people had worse outcomes when eating that amount of chocolate so the findings need to be taken with extreme caution,” he said.

While the study provides evidence that there’s no need to avoid chocolate in your diet to protect your cardiovascular health, it probably is too soon to run out and gorge on chocolate bars.

Charles Mueller, clinical assistant professor of nutrition at New York University’s Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development, points out that there’s no definitive conclusion about cause and effect and that it’s possible that chocolate eaters engage in other behaviors or eat other foods that are good for the heart.

“Cocoa beans are not unlike red peppers, green peppers and broccoli and stuff like that. They are full of phytochemicals that are good for you. But if you are overweight, and you are thinking of protecting yourself by eating chocolate you are being kind of silly. Chocolate is just one small element in a full range of a good diet,” Mueller said.

Once again, it appears that “chocolate happiness” goes beyond the general euphoria most people experience while eating it. Unlike the previously mentioned kale chips, there’s no learning curve here. With common sense and moderation, we can really enjoy chocolate understanding we’re actually doing something good for our bodies.

http://www.delawareonline.com/story/news/health/2015/06/21/study-chocolate-lower-risk-heart-disease/29085213/

Bye-bye trans fat: Food manufacturers have three years to remove partially hydrogenated oils from products

TransFats-CircledWe here at FoodFacts.com have been waiting patiently as the FDA reviews the non-existent pros and the many cons related to trans fat in our food supply. We’ve been rewarded for our patience.

Based on a thorough review of the scientific evidence, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration today finalized its determination that partially hydrogenated oils (PHOs), the primary dietary source of artificial trans fat in processed foods, are not “generally recognized as safe” or GRAS for use in human food. Food manufacturers will have three years to remove PHOs from products.

“The FDA’s action on this major source of artificial trans fat demonstrates the agency’s commitment to the heart health of all Americans,” said FDA’s Acting Commissioner Stephen Ostroff, M.D. “This action is expected to reduce coronary heart disease and prevent thousands of fatal heart attacks every year.”

This determination will significantly reduce the use of PHOs, the major source of artificial trans fats, in the food supply. In 2013, the FDA made a tentative determination that PHOs could no longer be considered GRAS and is finalizing that determination after considering public comments.|

Since 2006, manufacturers have been required to include trans fat content information on the Nutrition Facts label of foods. Between 2003 and 2012, the FDA estimates that consumer trans fat consumption decreased about 78 percent and that the labeling rule and industry reformulation of foods were key factors in informing healthier consumer choices and reducing trans fat in foods. While trans fat intake has significantly decreased, the current intake remains a public health concern. The Institute of Medicine recommends that consumption of trans fat be as low as possible while consuming a nutritionally-adequate diet.

“Studies show that diet and nutrition play a key role in preventing chronic health problems, such as cardiovascular disease and today’s action goes hand in hand with other FDA initiatives to improve the health of Americans, including updating the nutrition facts label,” said Susan Mayne, Ph.D., director of the FDA’s Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition. “This determination is based on extensive research into the effects of PHOs, as well as input from all stakeholders received during the public comment period.”

The FDA has set a compliance period of three years. This will allow companies to either reformulate products without PHOs and/or petition the FDA to permit specific uses of PHOs. Following the compliance period, no PHOs can be added to human food unless they are otherwise approved by the FDA.

The FDA encourages consumers seeking to reduce trans fat intake to check a food’s ingredient list for partially hydrogenated oils to determine whether or not a product contains PHOs. Currently, foods are allowed to be labeled as having “0″ grams trans fat if they contain less than 0.5 grams of trans fat per serving, including PHOs, the primary dietary source of artificial trans fat in processed foods.

Many companies have already been working to remove PHOs from processed foods and the FDA anticipates that many may eliminate them ahead of the three-year compliance date.

While many food manufacturers have already begun the removal of partially hydrogenated oils from foods, many others have not. PHOs have certainly received the negative publicity and attention that would spur manufacturers to act. But a quick review of ingredient lists of processed foods tells us that there were companies that remained unconvinced that the FDA would take this action – even if it did take them a while. Time’s up.

It would be difficult to believe that in 2015 it’s impossible for any food manufacturer to find a replacement for PHOs that will not affect the quality, texture and flavor of their products. As a matter of fact, FoodFacts.com might venture to say that healthier options could actually improve product quality. It might cost the manufacturer a little more money, not simply for production and purchasing but research as well. At the end of the process, we’ll all be better off and the food manufacturers will be doing their part to ensure that the consumers they rely on for their profits actually live longer, healthy lives (and continue to be able to make product purchases). Funny, we don’t think they’d put up much of a fight if they thought about it in those terms. Do you?

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/06/150616160256.htm

Pretzels and eggs for breakfast

1432222288095We’ll admit it. FoodFacts.com really doesn’t get the allure of the pretzel roll. It’s obvious, though, that we’re in the minority on this issue. Everywhere you look, there’s a fast food or fast casual chain introducing a sandwich on a pretzel roll. We’ve actually even seen delis offering sandwiches on pretzel rolls. It’s a thing. And it looks like it’s a thing that’s here to stay.

Considering that statement, it makes perfect sense that Dunkin Donuts is now offering a breakfast sandwich on a pretzel roll. Kind of like having pretzels and eggs for breakfast. Sort of.

If the idea sounds appealing to you, we’re sure you want to know exactly what you’re eating before you decide to indulge. So let’s take a look inside the new Bacon, Egg and Cheese Pretzel Roll Sandwich from Dunkin.

Nutrition Facts:
Calories:                       400 calories
Fat:                                13 grams
Saturated Fat:              6 grams
Sodium:                        1110 mg

46% of your daily sodium in one sandwich. So it’s a little on the salty side. Other than that, it’s a pretty typical breakfast sandwich.

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; Fried Egg: Egg Whites, Water, Egg Yolks, Modified Corn Starch, Natural Sauteed Flavor (Soybean Oil, Medium Chain Triglycerides, Natural Flavor), Salt, Artificial Butter Flavor (Propylene Glycol, Artificial Flavor), Xanthan Gum, Citric Acid, Coarse Ground Black Pepper; Cheese: American Cheese (Milk, Cheese Cultures, Salt, Enzymes), Water, Dry Cream, Milkfat, Sodium Citrate, Salt, Sorbic Acid (Preservative), Annatto and Oleoresin Paprika Color (if colored), Soy Lecithin (non-sticking agent); Bacon: Pork, cured with: Water, Sugar, Salt, Sodium Phosphate, Smoke Flavoring, Sodium Erythorbate, Sodium Nitrite.

Maybe there’s a good reason that FoodFacts.com hasn’t been able to get behind the pretzel roll band wagon. Maybe we’re just really intuitive around here. That’s a pretty bad ingredient list.

We don’t want pretzels with our eggs.  Can you blame us?

 

http://www.dunkindonuts.com/dunkindonuts/en/menu/food/sandwiches/breakfastsandwiches/bacon_egg_cheese_pretzel.html

 

Ice cream for the greater good from Ben & Jerry’s

Save Our SwirledPolitically correct ice cream. Ice cream with a cause. Socially conscious ice cream. Ben & Jerry’s may have defined a new category of our favorite sweet treat with Save Our Swirled.

The Ben & Jerry’s website describes the new flavor as follows: “It’s a swirled-class flavor you can’t resist, & a climate change message you can’t ignore.” Save Our Swirled boasts Raspberry Ice Cream with Marshmallow & Raspberry Swirls & Dark & White Fudge Ice Cream Cones. Sounds pretty decadent. And it may just be the first ice cream with a message. Save Our Swirled invites you to join the AVAAZ climate movement, and sign a petition that calls on world leaders to tackle climate change at the upcoming summit in Paris with the goal of working towards 100% Clean Energy by 2050.

FoodFacts.com can get behind the ice cream with a cause concept — can’t we all? It’s a tremendous idea. But what’s this new Save Our Swirled flavor all about anyway? Let’s take a look.

Every half cup serving of Save Our Swirled, carries these nutrition facts:

Calories:                            250
Fat:                                    12 grams
Saturated Fat:                  8 grams
Sugar:                               27 grams

Fairly typical ice cream nutrition facts. Nothing out of the ordinary here. A bit high in sugar, but it is ice cream — a small indulgence every now and again. But let’s find out what’s really in there.

CREAM, SKIM MILK, WATER, LIQUID SUGAR (SUGAR, WATER), CORN SYRUP, SUGAR, RED RASPBERRY PUREE, COCONUT OIL, EGG YOLKS, DRIED CANE SYRUP, RED RASPBERRY JUICE CONCENTRATE, COCOA (PROCESSED WITH ALKALI), EGG WHITES, NATURAL FLAVORS, PECTIN, VEGETABLE JUICE (COLOR), XANTHAN GUM, GUAR GUM, COCOA, MILK, SOY LECITHIN, SALT, VANILLA EXTRACT, CARRAGEENAN.

It’s not perfect yet. We’ve still got carrageenan listed as the last ingredient. We’ve certainly seen worse though and do want to point out that most of the ingredients used aren’t controversial.

So if you’re craving social consciousness and you’re looking for a treat, Ben & Jerry’s Saved Our Swirled may be the way to go. Just don’t eat the whole pint in one sitting. We’re looking to solve the world’s problems, not add to them!

http://www.benjerry.com/flavors/save-our-swirled-ice-cream

DASH diet expands with lean pork as a substitute for chicken or fish

pilafIf you know anyone following the DASH diet for blood pressure control, or if you are yourself, you may be able to add lean pork to your diet as a substitute for chicken or fish as part of your healthy eating style, according to research from Purdue University.

‘This study supports that the DASH diet can include lean, unprocessed red meats in the appropriate serving sizes,’ said Wayne Campbell, a professor of nutrition science.

The study, which compared lean, unprocessed pork with chicken and fish as the predominant protein source in a DASH-style diet, is published online in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. The research is funded by the National Pork Board, the National Institutes of Health’s Indiana Clinical and Translational Sciences Institute and Clinical Research Center, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

This study applies only to cuts of unprocessed lean pork, such as tenderloin and fresh, uncured ham trimmed of visible fat. Each serving size was three ounces. These findings should not be extrapolated to other pork products with higher fat and salt content, Campbell said.

The effectiveness of the DASH diet, which stands for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension, limits red meat to reduce total and saturated fat as well as sodium. The DASH diet is often recommended to reduce blood pressure and is focused on the increased consumption of fruits and vegetables, whole-grains, low-fat dairy, nuts, poultry and fish, while reducing fats, red meats, including pork, and added sugars.

Many cuts of red meat, including beef or pork tenderloin and fresh ham, meet the USDA guidelines for lean, which is less than 10 grams total fat and less than 4.5 grams of saturated fat per 100 grams. Extra lean is less than 5 grams total fat and less than two grams saturated fat per 100 grams.

‘If people have to rely only on fish and chicken their diet choices can be limited, and our findings support that lean pork may be a viable option for people who are consuming a DASH diet without compromising the effectiveness of the diet plan,’ said Drew Sayer, a doctoral student in nutrition science and a co-author on the study.

Hypertension, which is high blood pressure, is a risk factor for cardiovascular and kidney disease. About 30 percent of American adults live with hypertension and 65 percent of those 60 years and older have high blood pressure.

The 19 participants in the study had elevated high blood pressure and their average age was 61.

‘The people in the study were at risk for hypertension, and they represent the 60 percent of Americans with prehypertension who are on the road to clinically high blood pressure,’ said Sayer.

The study’s participants consumed a DASH-style diet for two, six-week periods, and they either ate lean pork or chicken and fish as the main protein source. They had a four-week break then consumed the alternate meat. Blood pressures were taken throughout the study, including at the beginning of each six-week period and at the end of the study.

Pre- and post-intervention manual and 24-hour blood pressures were not different between either DASH option of pork or chicken and fish. Consumption of these DASH-style diets for six weeks reduced all measures of blood pressure with no differences in responses between DASH with chicken and fish and DASH with pork.

FoodFacts.com is a fan.  The DASH diet offers a non-medicated approach to lowering blood pressure. It’s great for the heart. It lowers cholesterol. It takes off weight. And it has nothing to do with anything except food. Like it’s medicine. There’s that old saying from Hippocrates again. “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.” In action.

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/06/150611114409.htm

Can milk proteins protect us from cardiovascular disease?

Milk-proteins-may-protect-against-cardiovascular-diseaseDrink your milk, it’s good for your bones and your teeth. How many times did you hear that when you were growing up? We’d bet it was pretty often. Then there were the tag lines … “Got Milk?”. “Milk, it does a body good.” Today we found out that milk proteins may do a body more good than previously thought.

The Maillard reaction is a chemical reaction between amino acids and reducing sugars that results in browned foods like seared steaks and toasted bread. When proteins and sugars are mixed together and heated, new chemical compounds are formed. Some are responsible for new flavors and some, according to a new study published in the Journal of Dairy Science®, may protect us against cardiovascular disease.

Researchers at the R&D Center, Seoul Dairy Cooperative, the College of Life Science & Biotechnology, Korea University, and the BK21 Plus Graduate Program, Department of Animal Science and Institute Agricultural Science & Technology, Chonbuk National University in South Korea, have determined that dietary compounds formed in milk-based products lowered serum total and low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol levels and triglycerides in mice. These compounds also protected against acute pulmonary thromboembolism as well as aspirin, but without the possible bleeding consequences often observed in aspirin therapy.

Whey protein concentrate and sodium caseinate were heated with lactose to form whey-protein Maillard reaction products (wMRP). Lactic acid bacteria were then used to produce fermented MRPs (f-MRP). Sodium caseinate alone was also reacted to form Maillard-reacted sodium caseinate (cMRP) and further fermented to f-cMRP.

To determine antithrombotic effects, 60 mice were divided into four treatment groups of 15. Group 1 received phosphate buffered saline (PBS) (negative control), group 2 received aspirin (positive control), group 3 received wMRP, and group 4 received f-MRP in addition to a normal diet. Assessment of antioxidant activity and cholesterol reduction effect of fermented cMRP was done with another group of 60 mice fed various diets with and without f-cMRP.

“This is the first report describing the verification for the impacts of MRPs and their fermented product in cardiovascular risk using animal model,” explained lead investigator Younghoon Kim, PhD, of the Department of Animal Science, Chonbuk National University, Republic of Korea, “In addition, our findings represent a real advance in the area of milk proteins and indicate that f-cMRP and cMRP could be recommended for use as potential antioxidants and cardioprotective ingredients for various functional, pharmaceutical, and dairy applications.”

Matt Lucy, PhD, Editor-in-Chief, Journal of Dairy Science, and Professor of Animal Science, University of Missouri, added, “We are beginning to understand that dairy products provide benefits to human health beyond the traditional nutrients. This study performed in laboratory animals demonstrates the potential for milk proteins found in naturally fermented foods to improve human cardiovascular health.”

FoodFacts.com likes the idea that we’re expanding our definitions of hearty healthy foods. Strong, healthy hearts are a great goal for everyone and understanding how our diets can help us achieve that goal is empowering for us all.

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/06/150611144053.htm

American kids aren’t getting enough hydration

Girl-drinking-water-homepageThe human body needs water to function. We can actually survive for a longer period of time without food than we can without water. It’s such a simple thing and something we can easily take for granted in our daily diets. What are you drinking every day? What are our kids drinking? Surprisingly, for our kids there may not be enough water on the beverage menu.

More than half of all children and adolescents in the U.S. are not getting enough hydration–probably because they’re not drinking enough water–a situation that could have significant repercussions for their physical health and their cognitive and emotional functioning, according to the first national study of its kind from Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

The study also found racial/ethnic and gender gaps in hydration status. Black children and adolescents were at higher risk of inadequate hydration than whites; boys were at higher risk than girls.

The study appears online June 11, 2015 in the American Journal of Public Health.

“These findings are significant because they highlight a potential health issue that has not been given a whole lot of attention in the past,” said lead author Erica Kenney, a postdoctoral research fellow in the Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences at Harvard Chan School. “Even though for most of these kids this is not an immediate, dramatic health threat, this is an issue that could really be reducing quality of life and well-being for many, many children and youth.”

Drinking enough water is essential for physiological processes such as circulation, metabolism, temperature regulation, and waste removal. Although excessive dehydration is associated with serious health problems, even mild dehydration can cause issues, including headaches, irritability, poorer physical performance, and reduced cognitive functioning.

The researchers looked at data from 2009-2012 on more than 4,000 children and adolescents aged 6 to 19 years who participated in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, a study of the health of U.S. children and adults conducted each year by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. They used urine osmolality–a measure of how concentrated a person’s urine is–to determine whether or not participants were adequately hydrated.

They found that a little more than half of all children and adolescents weren’t getting enough hydration. Boys were 76% more likely than girls, and non-Hispanic blacks were 34% more likely than non-Hispanic whites, to be inadequately hydrated.

Notably, nearly a quarter of the children and adolescents in the study reported drinking no plain water at all.

“The good news is that this is a public health problem with a simple solution,” said senior author Steven Gortmaker, professor of the practice of health sociology. “If we can focus on helping children drink more water–a low-cost, no-calorie beverage–we can improve their hydration status, which may allow many children to feel better throughout the day and do better in school.”

Nearly one quarter of the kids included in this study were not drinking any plain water at all. That’s an incredible statement. It begs a serious question. What are they drinking? Unfortunately, we probably all know the answers … sodas and other sugary drinks. Beverages we’d all be better off not drinking appear to be replacing essential hydration for far too many kids.

FoodFacts.com wants us all to remind ourselves that while we’re figuring out the healthiest diets we can feed our children — devising ways we can sneak vegetables into meals creatively, avoiding artificial colors and other ingredients we know are detrimental to their health and unnecessary in their diets and ensuring that they’re getting the nutrients that will help them grow and flourish — let’s not forget about their beverages. Let’s remember the importance of hydration to the growth and development of our children. Our diets aren’t just about the foods we eat. We need to drink healthy too.

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/06/150611174200.htm