Tag Archives: sugar

A must read for the food-conscious consumer … Salt Sugar Fat by Michael Moss

FoodFacts.com wanted to let our community know about a powerful new book titled Salt Sugar Fat by Michael Moss. We’re sure that the food-conscious consumers in our own network will find it a fascinating read.

The author is a Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter for The New York Times. In this important new book, Michael Moss explores how food and beverage companies are using salt, sugar and fat to addict consumers to their products so that we keep right on purchasing and eating them. His book links the rise of the processed food industry to the obesity epidemic plaguing our nation.

The average American is currently eating triple the amount of cheese that was consumed in 1970. We’re eating 70 pounds of sugar every day. And we’re consuming 8500 mg of salt daily (that’s double the recommended amount). That salt is coming directly from processed food products – not the salt we’re adding to our meals at the table. Currently one of every three adults and one of every five children is clinically obese. 26 million Americans have diabetes.

Michael Moss believes he understands how we arrived at this critical point in our nation’s health and in Salt Sugar Fat, he’s explaining it all. You’ll find examples from some of the most profitable food companies in existence like Kraft, Coca-Cola, Kellogg and Cargill. And he’s included the research to back it up.

The author takes the reader to the food labs where scientists calculate the “bliss point” for sugary beverages and enhance the “mouthfeel” of fats. He unearths the marketing techniques used to redirect consumers from the health risks of products, specifically focusing on the use of specific phrases and words to mislead the consumer into believing that there are actually health benefits connected to products that contain ingredients that are unhealthy. And he even speaks with company executives who confess that companies could never produce truly healthy alternatives to products that are currently available for purchase. Michael Moss brings to light the idea that the processed food industry could not exist without salt, sugar and fat.

FoodFacts.com understands the concerns of our community when it comes to the foods they purchase for themselves and their families. We know you seek to provide the healthiest choices in the products you purchase. This is an important read.

Find out more about the book here: http://www.stonehearthnewsletters.com/how-companies-use-salt-sugar-and-fat-to-addict-us/fat/?goback=.gde_2739521_member_208498208

GMOs: Beet Sugar vs. Cane Sugar

Here at Food Facts, we’re very concerned about GMOs (or genetically engineered food, or genetically modified organisms or genetically modified food – take your pick of terminology). We’re always posting information on our Facebook page and always keeping an eye out to the news.
Tonight, we’d like to bring up the subject of sugar as an ingredient.

Sometimes we think that sugar, in general, has gotten a bad reputation. It’s certainly not something we want to eat too much of, but it may fall into that “not bad in moderation” category for most of us – unless of course, you need to watch your sugar intake for health reasons. But those health reasons aren’t really limited to what we already understand – diabetes and hypoglycemia.

What about if you’re watching your intake of GMO ingredients for your health???? Sugar really becomes more complicated with the subject matter in mind.
What’s the difference between cane sugar and beet sugar? Cane sugar doesn’t seem to be a genetically modified crop – while beet sugar does check in as a heavily modified crop (95% of sugar beets planted in the U.S. are GMO).

Scientifically, there doesn’t seem to be a difference – at least not right now. We’ve been publishing links to articles that talk about the downsides of GMOs that are being proven over time. And – just to reinforce the notion – Food Facts is here to help consumers determine what is best for their nutritional needs, so we’re not “backing” any idea or product … we just want you to know what you’re buying. But when an ingredient like sugar becomes a question mark for consumers, we’re really concerned.

Sugar (in some form or another) is in everything that’s packaged from the grocery store. And even in some products that might not appear “packaged” to the consumer even though they are (read packaged apple slices or packaged fruit in the fresh fruit section).

Bottom line, if you are concerned about GMOs and the ingredient list just reads “sugar”, it could very well be (and probably is) beet sugar – and since 95% of the sugar beet crop in the U.S. is estimated to be GMO, there’s a problem there. Look for labels that talk about cane sugar and you can feel better. At least for now…

Added Sugar All Around

 

Photo from Forbes

FoodFacts.com would like to explore added sugar today.

Last week, on our Facebook page, we highlighted clever marketing ploys employed by companies to sell food. One of the most common things we found in those products, however, was added sugar. So while people may think they’re buying healthy when purchasing foods they find have no sugar in it, they might not be purchasing products that are as healthy as they might think.

The fact of the matter is that added sugars can be very hard to spot in food labels, so consumers may not actually know they are purchasing products with added sugar.

While manufacturers are required to state the total amount of sugar per serving on all products in the Nutrition Facts Panel, they are not required to state how much of that sugar is in fact added sugar. Quite the loophole, isn’t it?

So why focus on added sugar? Well, the American Heart Association (AHA) recommends that people cut back on added sugar, due to the increase in obesity and heart disease. The AHA suggests no more than 100 calories per day (roughly 6 teaspoons or 24 grams) of added sugar for most women, and 150 calories (9 teaspoons of 36 grams) for most men. All added sugars are all a source of extra calories, no matter what name they go by. According to the Mayo Clinic website, Americans typically consume about 355 calories of added sugar per day. That’s about three times the recommended amount!

Some names of added sugars are common and well-known, such as high-fructose corn syrup, brown sugar, honey and molasses. But others are not… Here’s a list of some of the names for added sugar that you might just see on the food labels of your favorite foods.

-         Agave necter

-         Cane crystals

-         Cane sugar

-         Corn sweetener

-         Corn syrup

-         Crystalline fructose

-         Dextrose

-         Evaporated cane juice

-         Fructose

-         Fruit juice concentrates

-         Glucose

-         Invert Sugar

-         Lactose

-         Maltose

-         Malt syrup

-         Raw sugar

-         Sucrose

-         Sugar

-         Syrup

Did you know about these? How much of it surprises you?

Have a happy and healthy weekend, from FoodFacts.com!

Do you REALLY know how much sugar is in your food?

FoodFacts.com just recently discovered this, and we figured we would share it.

Thank you Cousin Marilyn for sending in this information!

4.2 grams = 1 teaspoonful of sugar = 1 cube.

**Each cube is a teaspoonful.**

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As always, wishing you the best from FoodFacts.com!

Who’s got the highest scores in the sugar ratings?

Foodfacts was not surprised to learn in a report released from the Environmental Working Group, we’ve discovered that many of the breakfast cereals are kids are eating could be reasonably marketed as desserts based on the amount of sugar per serving they contain.

America likes cereal. Moms and Dads like it. You pour it in a bowl, pour milk over it and you have breakfast. And most cereals try to make you feel good with claims like “Whole Grains”, “Natural” and other “healthy euphemisms”.

And our kids like cereals. They have funny commercials with memorable characters, brightly colored boxes with more memorable characters and sometimes, there’s even a surprise hiding in the box. But there’s an even better reason kids like cereals. They taste good. Actually, they taste sweet. They  taste so sweet, our kids probably don’t even think they’re having breakfast. It might as well be dessert.

Some of the products in the study contain as much sugar per serving than a piece of candy of a Twinkie. Here’s a list of the cereals who get the highest scores in the sugar ratings and should be receiving the lowest scores from Moms and Dads everywhere:

1. Kellogg’s Honey Smacks—55% sugar

2. Post Golden Crisp—51.9% sugar

3. Kellogg’s Fruit Loops Marshmallow—48.3% sugar

4. Quaker Oats Captain Crunch’s OOPS! All Berries—46.9% sugar

5. Quaker Oats Captain Crunch Original—44.4% sugar

6. Quaker Oats Oh’s—44.4% sugar

7. Kellogg’s Smorz—43.3% sugar

8. Kellogg’s Apple Jacks —42.9% sugar

9. Quaker Oats Captain Crunch’s Crunch Berries—42.3% sugar

10. Kellogg’s Fruit Loops Original—41.4% sugar

While it’s difficult to help our kids drown out the loud voice-overs from cereal commercials, there are things that have been able to keep the fun in breakfast while keeping the sugar out.

Make oatmeal together: Oatmeal is a pretty quick breakfast. Children love helping adults cook and measuring out the oatmeal and getting it into the pot can involve your child in the cooking process. Sliced bananas, an assortment of berries, raisins and other fruits can be fun mix-ins for oatmeal.

Add some dried fruit to the cereal you like: “Doctor” your healthier cereal with some sweet things that are better for your kids.

Prepare a “fun” looking breakfast: Breakfast smoothies and parfaits look like fun and can be much healthier than the traditional kids breakfast offenders.

FoodFacts hopes that information like this is continually put in front of the public. If we can all have a better understanding of how are kids SHOULD NOT be eating, we’ll have a better chance of having the food companies produce real foods that we can feel comfortable with our children consuming.

Potato Chips that cause Cancer?

Potato Chips
Foodfacts.com works to bring our followers the latest in food news and research. We’ve gone over the recent discovery of arsenic in apple juice, sucralose in our drinking water, and hair in our peanut butter! One recent and popular topic we’ve been hearing a lot about is Acrylamide; a chemical which is formed from sugars and an amino acid during cooking at high temperatures! Read more to find out which foods contain this chemical!

What exactly is Acrylamide, and how is it formed?
The FDA defines acrylamide as:
Acrylamide is a chemical that can form in some foods during high-temperature cooking processes, such as frying, roasting, and baking. Acrylamide in food forms from sugars and the amino acid asparagine that are naturally present in food; it does not come from food packaging or the environment.

Where else could we find Acrylamide?
This chemical compound is used in many industrial processes, which include the production of paper, dyes, plastics, grouts, and cosmetics. It is also used in the treatment of drinking water and waste-water, including sewage.

How long has Acrylamide been around?
This chemical has most likely been in our food supply for many, many years. However, scientists only discovered this chemical in our foods in April 2002 after a series of testing. Since then, they have been trying to determine the long-term effects, and possible solutions for this issue.

What types of high-temperature cooking cause Acrylamide formation?
Frying, roasting, broiling, and baking are methods likely to cause the formation of acrylamide. Boiling and steaming don’t typically cause the formation of acrylamide.
Ore-Ida French Fries at blog.foodfacts.com!
What foods are likely to have this chemical? Why?

Potato products (such as chips and french fries), grain products, and coffee. Acrylamide is less likely to form in dairy, meat, and fish products. These items all have larger amounts of the amino acid, asparagine, which causes the formation when combined with sugars.

What health implications are associated with acrylamide consumption?

The National Toxicology Program (NTP) and the International Agency for Research on Cancer consider acrylamide to be a “probable human carcinogen,” based on studies in laboratory animals given acrylamide in drinking water. However, toxicology studies have shown differences in acrylamide absorption rates between humans and rodents. (National Cancer Institute)

What is the FDA doing regarding acrylamide in food?
So far the FDA has developed an action plan regarding the issue of acrylamide in foods. They have setup meeting with the Food Advisory Committee, and subcommittees to gather input on the acrylamide program. Peer-reviewed research articles have been published to spread awareness on the issue, along with continually doing new research. Finally, consumer assessments are being prepared to evaluate exposure to this chemical. (FDA)
Potatoes at blog.foodfacts.com!
How to lookout for Acrylamide:
Since acrylamide is formed chemically during the cooking process, you will not find it alongside other ingredients on product labels. What we recommend is that you complete some research concerning which foods tested for the highest amounts of this chemical. As we have learned so far, potato products, grains, and coffee have the largest amounts of the amino acid asparagine. Also, we would like to note that acrylamide can be formed in both organic, and non-organic foods.

We’ll update you on more news regarding acrylamide as it comes through!

(Foodfacts.com)

A Miracle Fruit?

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Foodfacts.com recently came across this article in TIME magazine regarding a “miracle fruit” that changes sour into sweet. How? Read below to learn more!

If you have any foodie friends, you’ve probably heard of miracle fruit (Synsepalum dulcificum), a native West African berry that looks like a cranberry, but acts like a psychedelic for your taste buds.

Eat the miracle fruit on its own and it doesn’t taste like much of anything. But let the juices coat your mouth, then consume sour foods — like lemons, limes, goat cheese, beer, vinegar, pickles — and a remarkable thing happens: they all taste sweet.
“Beer tastes like sweet juice. Lemon tastes like sweet orange,” Keiko Abe of the University of Tokyo told Discovery News.

The fruit’s effect lasts for an hour, and like other trippy experiences, it’s more fun to do it in groups. So adventuresome eaters seek out “flavor tripping parties” during which people pop a berry, then gorge on all manner of sour foods. Guinness beer tastes like chocolate. Tabasco sauce tastes like “hot doughnut glaze,” as one flavor tripper was quoted as saying in this story in the New York Times.

This week, Abe reported the key to miracle fruit’s magic. To figure it out, Abe’s research team used cell cultures to test human taste receptors at various pHs. According to Discovery News:

The key ingredient in the fruit, a protein known as miraculin, binds strongly to the sweet taste receptors on our tongues, Abe reported, but it does not activate the receptors at neutral pH.

When acid is introduced, the miraculin protein changes shape in such a way that it turns on the sweet receptors it is bound to, creating a sensation of ultra-sweet without affecting the other flavors in the food.

After the acidic food is swallowed, miraculin returns to the inactive shape, but it remains bound to the sweet receptor for up to an hour, ready to receive a new acid trigger. The strong binding explains the molecule’s lasting effect.

Abe said the sweet-making power of miraculin was stronger than nearly all other known sweeteners. Given that it’s calorie-free, of course there has been no shortage of interest in developing it into a commercially usable sweetener. Perhaps it will be in Japan, where the production of a purified miraculin extract is currently being sought. As for the U.S., however, a 1974 ruling by the Food and Drug Administration banned the sale of an extract.

(TIME)

Packaging words to learn and lookout for!

Foodfacts.com understands that many consumers may often be fooled by certain terms, symbols, or words present on food packaging. This article should help to clarify any confusion regarding your foods and how the impact your health!

kids-cereals1
1. Flavored
Both natural and artificial flavors are actually made in laboratories. But natural flavorings are isolated from a natural source, whereas artificial flavorings are not. However, natural flavors are not necessarily healthier than artificial. According to Scientific American, the natural flavor of coconut is not from an actual coconut, as one might expect, but from the bark of a tree in Malaysia. The process of extracting the bark kills the tree and drives up the price of the product when an artificial flavoring could be made more cheaply and more safely in a laboratory. That natural strawberry flavor you love? It could be made from a “natural” bacterial protein. Mmmm!

2. Drink and cocktail
The FDA requires that the amount of juice be labeled on a package when it claims to contain juice. The words drink and cocktail should have you checking the label for percentages and hidden sugars. But beware: even a product labeled 100 percent juice could be a mixture of cheaper juices, like apple juice and white grape juice.

3. Pure
100 percent pure products such as orange juice can be doctored with flavor packs for aroma and taste similar to those used by perfume companies. By now we all know about the use of flavor packs added back to fresh-squeezed orange juice like Tropicana and Minute Maid.

4. Nectar
The word nectar sounds Garden of Eden pure, but according to the FDA it’s just a fancy name for “not completely juice.” The FDA writes: “The term ‘nectar’ is generally accepted as the common or usual name in the U.S. and in international trade for a diluted juice beverage that contains fruit juice or puree, water, and may contain sweeteners.” The ingredient list of Kern’s, a popular brand of peach nectar, contains high fructose corn syrup before peach puree.

5. Spread

Anything that uses the word spread, is not 100 percent derived from its main ingredient. Skippy Reduced Fat peanut butter is a spread because it contains ingredients that make it different than traditional peanut butter. When something is called a spread, look at the ingredients to see if there is anything in there you don’t want.

6. Good source of fiber

If it doesn’t look like fiber, it may not function like fiber. Products that are pumped full of polydextrose and inulin are not proven to have the same benefits of fruits, vegetables, and beans, foods naturally high in fiber. For true fiber-based benefit add some fruit to your yogurt.

7. Cholesterol free
Any product that is not derived from an animal source is cholesterol free. Companies add this to packaging to create the illusion of health. The product is not necessarily unhealthy, but you should see if there is something they are trying to distract you from–e.g., corn syrup or partially hydrogenated oils.

8. Fat free
PAM cooking spray and I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter spray are fat free if used in the super miniscule and near impossible serving sizes recommended. PAM must be sprayed for ¼ of a second and the small I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter spray bottle contains over 1,000 servings! Even then it’s not fat free it’s just below the amount that the FDA requires to be identified on labels.

9. Sugar free
This designation means free of sucrose not other sugar alcohols that carry calories from carbohydrates but are not technically sugar. Sugar alcohols are not calorie free. They contain 1.5-3 calories per gram versus 4 calories per gram for sugar. Also, certain sugar alcohols can cause digestion issues.

10. Trademarks

Dannon yogurt is the only company allowed to use the bacteria in yogurt called bifidus regularis because the company created its own strain of a common yogurt bacterial strain and trademarked the name. Lactobacillus acidophilus thrives in all yogurts with active cultures. Although Activa is promoted as assisting in digestion and elimination, all yogurts, and some cheeses, with this bacteria will do the same thing.

11. Health claims
Could a probiotic straw give immunity protection to a child? Are Cheerios a substitute for cholesterol-lowering drugs? The FDA doesn’t think so. Foods are not authorized to treat diseases. Be suspicious of any food label that claims to be the next wonder drug.

Sucralose in our drinking water???

water-faucet-glass

Foodfacts.com works to find all the latest news and research pertaining to the food we eat, and water we drink. We just recently came across this article which we think many of you would be interested in, regarding a recent study determining that sucralose has been found in 19 different water treatment plants in the US. Read below to learn more!

If you’ve been diligently avoiding the consumption of chemical sweeteners like sucralose, you may be alarmed to learn that researchers have found sucralose lurking in the drinking water supply of more than 28 million Americans.

A recent study tested water samples from 19 water treatment plants in the United States serving more than 28 million people. Researchers analyzed the samples for the artificial sweetener sucralose. Samples tested positive for sucralose in the source water of 15 out of 19 plants. Furthermore, treatment failed to remove the sucralose from the drinking water: sucralose was also found in the finished drinking water from 13 out of 19 plants.

Researchers determined that current water treatment methods fail to effectively remove sucralose from our water supply, leaving millions of Americans to unknowingly consume this artificial sweetener every single day.

Why is Sucralose in Our Drinking Water?

When a person ingests sucralose, a large percentage of it is not broken down and is instead excreted as waste. This waste goes through the water treatment plant, where the sucralose remains intact and goes on to become part of our drinking water supply.

Because sucralose has become one of the most widely used artificial sweeteners in commercial soft drinks and snack foods, it is no wonder that it is making an appearance in our drinking water. If sucralose consumption continues to rise, it stands to reason that everyone drinking public water will be ingesting more of this chemical sweetener as well – whether they want to or not.

Sucralose is Not Safe for Consumption

The public should be aware that the majority of the studies on the safety of sucralose are funded by the creators of the most popular sucralose product on the market. The conflict of interest is obvious and the results of these studies are clearly biased in favor of sucralose.

Independent studies aren’t nearly so positive. Questions about the negative impact sucralose has on male fertility, red blood cell count, kidney health, gut flora balance and body weight are serious concerns generated from the results of these studies. Many researchers and health experts are convinced that sucralose should never have been deemed safe for human consumption.

Common sense dictates that any chemically-processed food is unfit for human consumption. The fact that these substances are now running rampant through our water supply is an atrocity that violates our right to choose what we put into our own bodies.

(NaturalNews.com)

What exactly is in the McDonald’s Deluxe Breakfast?

3-mcdonalds-deluxe-breakfast

Foodfacts.com realizes that millions of people start out their mornings reading from the breakfast menu at a local McDonald’s. Their daily options range from oatmeal to english muffins, to sausage and egg McMuffins, to pancakes, and more. However, some may have difficulties choosing exactly which item they want, and these may be the consumers that opt for the “deluxe” breakfast; a little bit of it all.
blog.foodfacts.com
Scrambled Eggs: They’re yellow, fluffy, warm, and even appealing to some. However, McDonald’s scrambled eggs may be the most disturbing item found on their large menu. Filled with controversial ingredients which includes sodium benzoate, artificial colors, and partially hydrogenated oils, these scrambled eggs are far from ideal to start off the day. Although eggs have been shown to increase HDL cholesterol (to reduce risk of cardiovascular disease), these eggs are loaded with trans fats from partially hydrogenated oils which promote the bad LDL cholesterol.
mcdonalds_sausage_mcgriddle
Sausage Patties: McDonald’s loves to include their famous breakfast sausage into many of their entrees. The good news, it actually contains pork; the bad news, it includes about 12 other things that could be harmful to your health. BHA and BHT are harmful additives, and The Department of Health and Human Services says BHA is “reasonably anticipated to be a human carcinogen.” Even though BHT has been found to be less harmful, some animal studies have shown it has been linked to cancers. Yet the FDA deems it as generally safe for consumption. These patties also contain monosodium glutamate (MSG), caramel color (which also has been linked to cancer), and corn syrup solids. Many would refer to these sausage patties as “cancer patties.”
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Biscuit: Many normally prepare biscuits at home using a handful of ingredients. At McDonald’s biscuits are made with about 50 ingredients to preserve their freshness while sitting around in the restaurant during breakfast hours. Some of these ingredients include sodium aluminum phosphate, modified cellulose, partially hydrogenated oils, liquid margarine, sodium benzoate, and natural flavors. It’s a good sign that a food may not be a real food when you can’t pronounce or understand 99% of the ingredients.
mcdonalds-hash-browns
Hash browns: You can’t have a “deluxe” breakfast without some hash browns. In this case, it’s a thin potato patty which often leaves your fingers feeling slick with grease. They come in thin paper sleeves and don’t exactly taste like potatoes, but it says they are, so I guess it is then? While they do obviously contain potato, they’re also filled with preservatives, sodium, and fat which you can feel lining your arteries as you continue to digest. And lest we forget, these potato patties include TBHQ. Although deemed safe by the FDA, certain studies have shown that high doses of TBHQ are not only carcinogenic, but may also cause damage to DNA and promote growth of tumors.
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Hot Cakes: Or what we may commonly refer to as “pancakes,” McDonald’s hot cakes are the centerpiece of their deluxe meal. However, they’re not made by pan. In fact, they’re often microwaved at these restaurants after they receive large frozen shipments of these hot cakes from manufacturing centers. How they’re made, we’re not quite sure, but we do know what’s in them. High fructose corn syrup, artificial colors, TBHQ, and a load of preservatives grace the ingredients list, among other things. Of course we can’t forget, the fountain of syrup that comes along the side.

The damage of the deluxe meal:
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