Tag Archives: saturated fats

Breakfast on the Go

Inevitably, many of our Foodfacts.com followers frequently visit a drive-thru at a McDonald’s, Burger King, or any other fast food restaurant. Does this mean they’re bad people? No. Everyone is allowed to eat the foods that they choose. Plus, for some people it’s simply easier to stop by a fast-food window and pick up a quick meal. However, we would like to help in educating consumers to find the healthier options.

It seems that breakfast is the time of day that gets the least amount of attention by most. Many people skip breakfast all together. It’s normally those who frown upon this idea that resort to quick and accessible fast foods. Below are a few suggestions of items you could order and transform to healthier options.

Try this:
McDonald’s Fruit & Maple Oatmeal is 290 calories with 4.5g Fat, 160mg sodium, 32g sugar, and 57g of carbohydrate. Not exactly an ideal breakfast in most people’s eyes. However, the good news is you can order this oatmeal plain. Without the sugar, cream, and fruit blend you not only rid this product of most the controversial ingredients, but you also take away a hefty portion of the sugar. Instead, try adding a few nuts from home and cinnamon for taste.

Instead of this:
McDonald’s Sausage Burrito is about 300 calories, which some may choose as an appropriate calorie level for their first meal of the day. What you may not know is that this “burrito” contains about a dozen controversial ingredients. Among them are monosodium glutamate, BHA, hydrogenated cottonseed oil, and more. The scrambled eggs alone in this product should divert your attention from ordering this morning item. McDonald’s scrambled eggs are known for being quite unhealthy, so try checking the nutrition facts before choosing your first meal of the day.

Try this:
The Chick-Fil-A Yogurt Parfait contains 3g fat, 10mg cholesterol, 60mg sodium, and 35g of sugar. Although the sugar is a bit high, you could order this item without the added berries, which are probably contained in a sugar mixture to add sweetness. This yogurt parfait is also 6g of protein. By adding a few nuts and fresh granola, you could boost the protein and also add healthy fats. However, only add about a handful because nuts are higher in calories.

Instead of this:
The Chick-Fil-A breakfast chicken biscuit is 440 calories of saturated fat, cholesterol and sodium. About half a day’s worth of sodium is in this “morning” sandwich. Although this chicken sandwich has only a handful of controversial ingredients, compared to those with near a hundred, it may be too much sodium and fat to handle in the morning. This is the type of sandwich that will literally have you feeling gross after indulging.

Try this:
Burger King’s side salad without dressing can be a good breakfast if you have some creativity. Without the fattening dressings, these salads are good bases to add your favorite fruits like cranberries, and blueberries, and throw in some healthy nuts like walnuts and almonds. This will add the calories you need in the morning, and healthy fats to help give you energy. Also, if this isn’t filling enough, you could try the apple fries, but without the caramel sauce. There is no need for dessert toppings and high fructose corn syrup, especially in the morning.

Instead of this:
Burger King Double Ham and Sausage Croissanwich’ is approximately 570 calories. Included in this mountainous sandwich are two layers of scrambled egg “patties”, 2 slices of processed cheese, slices of ham, and a sausage patty. If this still sounds appetizing to you, think about the sodium, cholesterol, and fat that will negatively affect your health. About 68% the daily value of sodium, 80% the daily value of cholesterol, and 70% the daily value for saturated fat should be numbers that immediately make you switch to other options. The option to make this sandwich slightly healthier would be two remove everything, and keep the croissant, but you’re still paying 6 bucks for it.

Here is a video recently posted on ABC News that emphasizes how to order healthy options at fast food restaurants.

Interesterified Fat: A Controversial Replacement for Trans Fat

blog.foodfacts.com wants to make people more aware of what controversial food additives are being put into their foods. Today foodfacts.com looks into the controversial food additive Interesterified Fat. What is interesterified fat? Just as food manufacturers have started to remove them from their products, restaurants have been eliminating them from their menus, and government entities have begun to ban them, transfats have been replaced by a new kind of fat with a lengthy and unpronounceable name—INTERESTERIFIED FATS. While these fats may be interesting, the root word from which their name is derives is not INTEREST, but ESTER . Esters are organic compounds formed from an organic acid and an alcohol.

Interesterification is one of three main fat modification techniques. The other two techniques are fractionation and hydrogenation, which is the process used to produce transfats.

Interesterification is the process of rearranging the fatty acids in triglyceride molecules. Triglycerides form the basic structure of most fats and oils. They are composed of glycerol and three chains of fatty acids. Interesterified fats (IFs) are used in shortening for baked goods, fat for frying, in butter substitutes, such as soft margarine. The interesterification process maintains solid fat content at ambient temperatures while lowering the melting point of the fat.

Interestified Fat in Food
While consumers are being regularly informed by the food manufactures and restaurants that transfats are being removed from their menus, very little is being said about the fats that are replacing transfats. The class of interesterified fats provides one of the least expensive options for fats used in baking and frying. There are two types of interestification–one that uses chemical catalysts —usually metals or salts, and another that uses enzymic catalysts. Use of chemical catalysts is less expensive than use of enzymic catalysts, but the chemical catalysts require manufacturing steps to purify and deodorize the finished product.

Why should the consumer care about how fats are made? Interestingly, it appears that changing or re-arranging the molecules of fats or a combination of fats during the interesterification process may affect how the fats are metabolized in the human body. A recent joint study conducted in Malaysia and at Brandeis University indicated that not only did IFs depress beneficial HDL cholesterol, it appeared to raise blood glucose levels and decrease insulin production. Elevation of blood glucose and suppression of insulin production are precursors to diabetes. In addition, further elevation of blood glucose and reduction in insulin levels could be dangerous to those who are already have diabetes. Further studies are needed, but this study has raised real concerns about the use of IFs to replace transfats, especially if they are used widely and without the knowledge of consumers.