Tag Archives: yogurt

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!

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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.

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.

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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.
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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.
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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.

High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS)

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A corn-derived sweetener representing more than 40 percent of all caloric sweeteners in the supermarket. In 2005, there were 59 pounds produced per capita. The liquid sweetener is created by a complex process that involves breaking down cornstarch with enzymes, and the result is a roughly 50/50 mix of fructose and glucose.

FOUND IN Although about two-thirds of the HFCS consumed in the United States is in beverages, it can be found in every grocery aisle in products such as ice cream, chips, cookies, cereal, bread, ketchup, jam, canned fruits, yogurt, barbecue sauce, frozen dinners, and so on.

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW Since around 1980, the US obesity rate has risen proportionately to the increase in HFCS, and Americans are now consuming at least 200 calories of the sweetener each day. Some researchers argue that the body metabolizes HFCS differently, making it easier to store as fat, but this theory has not been proven.

5 Healthy Snacks that will give you energy

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Some snacks enhance energy levels, while others leave us feeling depleted. The key to choosing a satisfying snack that will give you energy to burn is understanding how certain foods fuel energy.

Not all calories are equal. High-calorie processed foods can certainly provide a quick boost, but the result is fleeting and inevitably followed by a low period when blood sugar plummets. Energy-efficient snacks, on the other hand, balance high-quality calories with the nutrients needed to convert calories into enduring energy.

If that’s not enough to appeal to your appetite, consider this: Increased energy naturally improves your mood. Try these five energy-enhancing snacks for a happy high.

1. Almonds
Almonds are packed with a potent combination of energy-enriching nutrients, including manganese, vitamin E, magnesium, tryptophan, copper, vitamin B2 (riboflavin), and phosphorus. Magnesium has been called a miracle mineral because of its multifunctional capabilities: In addition to being an essential part of more than 300 biological processes, magnesium aids in the production of energy, supports the immune system, improves sleep patterns, relaxes muscles, relieves stress and anxiety, and boosts mood.

The protein and fiber in almonds stabilizes blood sugar and slows digestion, which helps regulate energy, so you have steady reserves over time. Healthy fats like the kind found in almonds have been found to curb appetite and prevent overeating that can result in weight gain and its accompanying feelings of fatigue. The fat and fiber in almonds also contribute a feeling of satiety that helps prevent mindless snacking. For these reasons, almonds and other nuts are frequently recommended as part of a healthy diet for people looking to lose weight.

Rev it up: Spread almond butter on whole-grain crackers, or combine a handful of raw almonds with unsweetened dried fruit for a satisfying snack full of fiber and protein.

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2. Yogurt
Yogurt is full of calcium, phosphorus, protein, tryptophan, molybdenum, and zinc. It’s also a great source of vitamins B2 (riboflavin), B5 (pantothenic acid), and B12 (cobalamin). Thanks to its liquid-like state, the nutrients in yogurt are assimilated quickly and easily during digestion, which means you get an immediate boost of energy. Yogurt’s high protein content means that energy also has staying power.

Protein-rich snacks like yogurt can even pump up your probability for ditching the pounds. Since protein takes time to digest, you’ll feel satisfied for longer — which means less snacking and fewer calorie splurges throughout the day.

Yogurt also supplies the brain with tyrosine, an amino acid that boosts blood levels of the neurotransmitters dopamine and norepinephrine, resulting in a mood and mental boost. In a number of studies, tyrosine has also been effective at fighting fatigue.

Rev it up: Control your sugar intake by opting for unsweetened yogurt, and up the energy ante by adding chopped walnuts or ground flaxseed — both will add protein and omega-3 fatty acids for extended energy. Sweeten to taste with a drizzle of raw honey or pure maple syrup.

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3. Pineapple
Pineapple is one of summer’s most popular fruits simply because it’s so delicious. But if you want more reasons, look no further: A rich source of manganese, vitamin C, vitamin B1 (thiamin), copper, fiber, and vitamin B6, this juicy fruit is a super snack for fueling energy.

Thanks to high levels of naturally occurring sugar (fructose), dietary fiber, and water, fresh pineapple is nature’s equivalent of a kick in the pants. The carbohydrate-rich fructose breaks down quickly for an immediate energy boost, while the fiber slows digestion for long-lasting results. Pineapple’s energy-extending capabilities don’t stop there: Manganese and thiamin are both essential in energy production and help metabolize carbohydrates. And the vitamin B6 in pineapple plays a part in converting tryptophan into serotonin in the brain for a natural mood booster.

In terms of energy, digestion is one of the costliest bodily functions. The good news: Pineapple contains bromelain, which contains a number of enzymes that help improve digestion. In addition, eating fluid-filled foods like pineapple can help prevent dehydration, one of the most common culprits of zapped energy. Water is necessary for every bodily function, including converting calories into energy, and even a slight dip in fluids leads to physical and mental fatigue.

Rev it up: Pair pineapple with protein-rich yogurt or nonfat cottage cheese. The combination of carbs and protein is ideal for stable and enduring energy.

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4. Whole wheat snacks
Whole grains — especially whole wheat — are full of essential nutrients that energize both body and brain, including fiber; manganese; magnesium; iron; protein; carbohydrates; and vitamins B1, B2, and B3. Whole wheat is loaded with energizing B vitamins, which fight fatigue, maintain energy levels, stabilize blood sugar, improve sleep patterns, coordinate nerve and muscle activity, and boost mood.

Simple carbs like white bread and sweets provide a quick surge of energy, but the results are temporary. What’s more, the energy comes courtesy of a spike in blood sugar; once that subsides, you’ll feel depleted and fatigued. The complex carbohydrates in whole wheat, however, are absorbed more slowly, which translates into stable blood sugar levels for hours at a time and gradual, lasting energy.

Carbs are also full of tryptophan, the amino acid precursor to the feel-good chemical serotonin produced in the brain. Too much tryptophan can trigger a spike in serotonin that leads to drowsiness, though, so the key is to pick healthy carbohydrates such as whole grain toast, which is full of fiber, to slow digestion and regulate the flow of serotonin. That way, you’ll get a happy mood boost without the drowsiness.

Rev it up: Combining whole grains with protein is a classic energy-extending combination. Try whole-wheat crackers dipped in low-fat cottage cheese, or top whole wheat toast with your favorite sugar-free nut butter.

edamame

5. Edamame
Edamame, or boiled soybeans, are a great pick-me-up because they’re easy to make, easy to transport, and fun to eat right out of the shell. Soybeans are full of nutrients that contribute directly to a boost in energy as well as mood.

A single cup of edamame provides 116 percent of the recommended daily amount of tryptophan, which helps regulate appetite, enhance sleep, and improve mood — three factors that play a significant role in affecting energy levels. In the same serving, you’ll get 57 percent of the recommended amount of protein, 43 percent of your daily omega-3 fatty acids, 41 percent of fiber, and 49 percent of your daily iron — all important contributors to sustained energy.

Soybeans are also super-rich in molybdenum, an essential trace mineral that helps cells function properly, facilitates the use of iron reserves, aids in metabolizing fat and carbohydrates, enhances alertness, improves concentration, and helps balance blood sugar levels. All of these functions are crucially linked to the production and sustainability of energy. Molybdenum also helps prevent anemia, a common culprit of iron-deficiency-related fatigue.

Plus, soybeans are packed with folate, a natural mood booster that’s been shown to increase serotonin levels and improve symptoms of depression.

Rev it up: Combine half a cup of soybeans with equal parts shredded carrots, presoaked sea vegetables such as hijiki or wakame (two types of seaweed), and a tablespoon of rice wine vinegar for a savvy salad loaded with protein, fiber, minerals, and antioxidants. Optional: Top with a sprinkling of black sesame seeds.

Bananas and Yogurt: Good For The Whole Body

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Bananas and Yogurt | Foodfacts.com

Looking for a tasty, sustainable, quick breakfast, lunch or snack? Foodfacts.com research indicates that you might want to try bananas and yogurt for a healthy, hearty, nutritionally intense treat.

Bananas

They’re inexpensive, easy to purchase, soft and easy to chew, they ripen after being picked, and they’re packed with nutrients. The best part is — they taste fantastic. They’re sweet as candy, and they come in their own wrapper. Bananas contain folate, vitamins C and A and magnesium. They help reduce stress levels and increase serotonin levels.

Health perks: Bananas are loaded with potassium (422 milligrams), which is necessary for muscle contractions (including your heartbeat), transmission of nerve impulses and the delicate balance of fluids and electrolyte regulation. Diets rich in potassium blunt the adverse effects of salt and lower blood pressure (one in five Americans have high blood pressure).

In terms of stress relief, the potassium helps to relax muscles. There is a basic balancing act that goes on in the body between sodium and potassium. Sodium creates muscle contraction and potassium relaxes muscle, so together they help transport nutrients to the cells. Additionally, bananas contain tryptophan, a protein that converts to the neurotransmitter serotonin, which helps the body relax and enhances your mood. Bananas are also high in vitamin B6, which, according to research reported in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, helps facilitate the synthesis of serotonin from tryptophan.

One medium banana provides 422 mg of the 4,700 mg per day of potassium that the Institute of Medicine recommends for adults.

Nutritional information: (1 medium) 105 calories; 0.39 g fat; 27 g carbs; 3 g fiber; 1.29 g protein.

Yogurt

It’s packed with lean protein (nearly 30 percent of the recommended Daily Value), a strong, sustainable energy source known to help keep you fuller longer. In fact, a recent study published in the Journal of Nutrition found that eating protein in the morning affects feelings of fullness all day.

Additionally, yogurt has nearly 25 percent to 40 percent of your recommended Daily Value for calcium, which helps build strong bones. Research appearing in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition found that those who eat a breakfast including calcium are more likely to meet their necessary recommended daily calcium needs. About 1,000 to 1,200 mg of calcium are needed per day; however, most women do not meet these goals.

Finally, for those who are lactose intolerant, yogurt provides a double benefit: It has probiotic cultures that help digest lactose, and it has less than 50 percent the amount of lactose in milk.

Health perks: There are many reasons why yogurt has a reputation for being a healthy food. It improves digestion, prevents intestinal infection and reinforces your immune function. It’s packed with vitamins and minerals, such as calcium, potassium, riboflavin, magnesium and phosphate, and it’s low in fat.

Eating yogurt has been linked to lower blood pressure, a reduction in premenstrual syndrome symptoms, lower cholesterol and a reduction in certain kidney stones.

All yogurts are made with a starter culture (Lactobacillus bulgaricus and Streptococcus thermophilus) that aids digestion and has other health benefits, such as improved immune function.

Nutritional information: (Yogurt, plain, skim milk, 1 cup) 137 calories; 0.44 g fat; 18.82 g carbs; 14.04 g protein.

Source:  News-Sun-Sentinel.Com via Charles Stuart Platkin. Platkin is a nutrition and public health advocate and founder of DietDetective.com.

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