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Fed Up DocumentaryWhat are your plans for May 9th? If your Friday night is free, you may want to check your local movie theater listings to see when you can catch a showing of the new documentary ‘Fed Up.’

In Super Size Me, Americans learned about the health risks of McDonald’s. In Food, Inc.,we saw the nutritional and environmental devastation brought on by industrial agriculture. Now, a new documentary promises to lay bare what Dr. David Kessler, a former Food and Drug Administration commissioner, calls “one of the greatest public health epidemics of our time”: junk food and the obesity crisis.

Produced and narrated by none other than Katie Couric, one of the most mainstream voices in American media, Fed Up appears to be a broadside against the sugar industry. In the new trailer, even First Lady Michelle Obama’s exercise-first approach to childhood weight issues is subtly mocked. Commenters ranging from Bill Clinton and Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, to Michael Pollan and Mark Bittman help build the argument that the obesity crisis was brought on by greedy junk food companies, permissive federal legislation and subsidies, and a government that tells us that systemic weight gain is all our fault.

The documentary looks at the decline in American health over the past 30 years, positing that the dietary guidelines first issued by the United States Department of Agriculture—and heavily influenced by the food industry—in the 1980s marked the beginning of the deterioration. In the ensuing years, Fed Up argues, government and industry have both contributed to creating the American diet that has led to skyrocketing rates in obesity and type 2 diabetes, among other health problems.

The “dirty little secret” of the food industry, the doc’s press kit reads, is that “only 30% of people suffering from diet-related diseases are actually obese; while 70% of us—even those of us who look thin and trim on the outside—are facing the same consequences, fighting the same medical battles as the obese among us.”

The combative approach, combined with Couric’s familiarity and talking heads such as Bill Clinton, has the film blog Indiewire asking, in a headline, “Will ‘Fed Up’ Be the Last Straw for the American Food Industry?”

“The tragedy, her film argues, is that the pervasiveness of the food industry and the misinformation it disseminates has stacked all the odds against them,” Indiewire’s Robert Cameron Fowler continues. “Personal responsibility and freedom of choice has always been Big Food’s counter to accusations of public endangerment, but if the American people has been so intricately misled, where is the personal freedom to make the right decision for one’s health?”

“The government is subsidizing the obesity epidemic,” Michael Pollan says in the trailer.

“Junk food companies are acting very much like tobacco companies did 30 years ago,” commented Mark Bittman, also in the trailer.

Seems to leave us with the question, “Are our food choices really our own?” While FoodFacts.com has certainly commented on many of the players in “Big Food,” and on the vague and hazy approval processes for food ingredients and nutritional recommendations coming out of the U.S. government, we do have to wonder how many consumers are familiar with these concepts. We hope that this new documentary can drive those messages to a much larger audience. The subject matter certainly deserves to be an important topic of conversation for the masses.

http://www.takepart.com/video/2014/04/15/fed-up-trailer?cmpid=tp-ptnr-100days

Posted in Fed Up, obesity, Obesity Crisis, Obesity in America | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Healthy Fat ConsumptionAs we all await the FDA’s decision on trans fat in our food supply here in the U.S., a new study has revealed that the worldwide consumption of healthier fats has increased in the last two decades. While there’s certainly good news in that finding, the same study also finds that the intake of harmful fats has basically remained the same.

Researchers analyzed data on consumption of fats and oils in 266 countries between 1990 and 2010. During that time, overall intake of omega-6, seafood omega-3 and plant omega-3 rose, while consumption of saturated fat, dietary cholesterol and trans fat remained stable.

The Harvard School of Public Health-led study was written on behalf of the Global Burden of Diseases Nutrition and Chronic Diseases Expert Group. It was published online April 15 in the BMJ and appears in the April 19 print issue.

Saturated fats can be found in foods such as high-fat cheeses, high-fat meat cuts, cream and whole-fat milk, ice cream products, and palm and coconut oils, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which recommends cutting back on saturated fats.

Global saturated fat intake averaged 9.4 percent in 2010, but there were wide variations between countries, ranging from 2.3 percent to 27.5 percent, the new study found.
The highest levels of saturated fat consumption were in Samoa, Kiribati and other palm-oil producing island nations, along with Sri Lanka, Romania and Malaysia. The lowest intake was in Bangladesh, Nepal, Bolivia, Bhutan and Pakistan, according to a Harvard news release.

Naturally occurring trans fats are found in smaller amounts in dairy products and fatty parts of meat. Americans continue to consume high levels of artificial trans fat in fried foods, savory snacks, frozen pizzas, cake, cookies, pie, margarine and spreads, frosting and coffee creamers, according to the CDC, which also recommends reducing trans fat intake.

Global trans fat intake was 1.4 percent and ranged from 0.2 percent to 6.5 percent among countries, the new study found. Worldwide cholesterol intake was 228 milligrams (mg) per day, but ranged from 97 mg to 440 mg per day.

The CDC recommends that people get most of their dietary fat, including omega-6s and omega-3s, from sources such as nuts, vegetable oils and fish.

In the study, intake of seafood omega-3s was 163 mg per day worldwide, but varied from 5 mg to 3,886 mg per day among countries, researchers found. Higher levels of intake were in Maldives, Barbados, the Seychelles, Iceland, Malaysia, Thailand, Denmark, South Korea and Japan.

Very low levels of seafood-omega-3s intake were found in sub-Saharan Africa, North Africa, some Asian regions and the Middle East. These regions have 3 billion adults and account for nearly 67 percent of the world’s adult population, the news release noted.

In most nations and regions, men and women had similar intake levels of fats and oils. Women generally consumed slightly more saturated fat and plant omega-3s than men. Younger people generally consumed more trans fats, while older people typically consumed more dietary cholesterol and seafood omega-3 fats, the study found.
It’s believed that poor diet is the leading modifiable cause of poor health worldwide. By 2020, poor diet will likely play a role in about 75 percent of all deaths from chronic diseases such as cancer, heart disease, obesity and type 2 diabetes, according to the news release.

There are some eye-opening statements here. The importance of a healthy diet is undeniable. FoodFacts.com is always encouraging our community to cook whole, fresh foods in their own kitchens and to be aware of the nutrition facts and ingredients of the foods they include in their diets. It’s astounding to read that about 75% of disease related deaths may be associated with diet in just a few short years. It is our hope that future reports like this will not only find increases in the consumption of healthy fats, but also a reduction in the consumption of the fats we need to avoid.

http://health.usnews.com/health-news/articles/2014/04/18/more-people-worldwide-eating-healthy-fats-study-finds

Posted in Healthy Diet, healthy eating, Healthy Fats, Healthy Habits, Healthy Lifestyle | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Sunshine Burger's Southwest Veggie BurgerWe spend plenty of time here at FoodFacts.com reporting on foods that we would classify as less than healthy. Ingredients, calories, fat, sodium content and added sugars are things we encourage discussion about every day. While education and awareness are our mission, it’s important to make note of the better products out there. There may be less news available about them, they are out there. In the midst of pointing out what we may want to avoid eating, it’s always helpful to point out products we can happily consider.

Every year, Prevention magazine publishes a list of the 100 Cleanest Packaged Food Products available. And this year, Sunshine Burger’s Black Bean Southwest Veggie Burger has received accolades as one of those products. We thought this was worth a blog spotlight because Sunshine Burgers are very well rated on our site.

Sunshine Burgers specializes in vegetarian patties. Their products are free from animal products, wheat, soy, peanuts, tree nuts and corn. Cole Jones, General Manager of Sunshine Burger and Specialty Food, said the honor demonstrates the producer’s commitment to producing clean food products, free from genetically modified ingredients.

“Sunshine Burger is dedicated to providing food that is healthful and wholesome and starts with using, real certified organic, non-GMO ingredients in all our burgers,” he said.

Here are the facts for the Sunshine Burger Black Bean Southwest Veggie Burger:

Calories:           240
Fat:                   12 g
Sodium:            240 mg

Ingredients: Sunflower Seeds Ground Raw ( Organic ), Rice Brown ( Organic ), Carrot(s) ( Organic ),Bean(s) Black ( Organic ), Pepper(s) Bell ( Organic ), Cilantro ( Organic ), Garlic (Organic),Pepper(s) Jalapeno(s) ( Organic ), Cumin Seed Ground ( Organic ), Onion(s) ( Organic ), Sea Salt

A little good news about food products is a nice change for all of us! We’ll highlight other winners of the 2014 Prevention Clean Food Awards. Education and awareness shouldn’t just be about products we shouldn’t reach for on our grocery shelves. We need to know about what we should be reaching for as well!

http://www.prevention.com/food/smart-shopping/100-cleanest-packaged-food-awards-2014-dinner

Posted in Healthy Diet, healthy eating, Healthy Habits, Healthy Lifestyle, Prevention Clean Food Awards, Sunshine Veggie Burgers | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Manufacturers Introduce More Free From Food Products as Consumers Avoid More IngredientsFor well over a decade, FoodFacts.com has been educating consumers about what’s really in the food products they purchase. We’ve helped thousands of people avoid the ingredients to which they are allergic or sensitive. In addition, we’ve helped alert consumers to the ingredients that are considered controversial for a variety of health reasons. We like to think we started a trend!

There’s been a growing awareness among consumers all over the country regarding food ingredients and how they affect our health and well being. As that awareness has increased, so have consumer voices. In a revealing new report, we’re learning that those voices are truly being heard.

Though shunning specific foods or ingredients is not a new phenomenon, today food avoidance has become a way of life for tens of millions of American consumers of all ages and is increasingly impacting the product trajectory of the U.S. food and beverage industry, according to “Food Formulation Trends: Ingredients Consumers Avoid,” a report by market research publisher Packaged Facts.

For some consumers, avoiding certain foods and ingredients is a matter of life and death due to allergies and sensitivities or specific health problems, such as celiac disease, diabetes, or lactose intolerance. However,” free from” food products are increasing in popularity among consumers without any specific mandatory medical motives or religious dietary restrictions. In the absence of a specific health condition the decision to opt for “free from” products — fat-free, sugar-free, salt-free, gluten-free, and so on — can be viewed as a lifestyle choice by consumers who increasingly place a high priority on healthy living. Packaged Facts’ research reveals that the rate of U.S. consumers who claim they are watching their diet remained at an average of 52% between 2006 and 2013, compared to only 28% of Americans in 2004.

“Consumers avoid certain foods or food ingredients for preventive health reasons that may be for their own personal health, the health of their children, and, among pregnant women, as a factor in prenatal health,” says Packaged Facts research director David Sprinkle. “This is not about dealing with specific allergies but rather a matter of optimizing health and also about seeking to create a quality of life based on eliminating negatives, with the point being not to make oneself sick.”

Food manufacturers, recognizing the opportunity to appeal to concerned consumers who also tend to be trendsetters for other consumers, are extremely accommodating to this shift toward food avoidances, reformulating products to eliminate those ingredients that are being shunned. Of course, food manufacturers have been reformulating their products for decades, especially products in which the fat, sugar, or salt contents needed to be reduced or eliminated in order to appeal to more health-conscious consumers. But there remains an opportunity for major food and beverage companies to become more active in producing “free from” products.

Recently we’ve seen major companies such as General Mills increasingly becoming involved in providing products that appeal to food avoiders, but specialty marketers still lead the way in producing “free-from” foods and beverages. Retailers are also increasingly engaged in providing private label versions of “free-from” products for food avoiders.

This report is such great news for consumers everywhere and it certainly makes us here at FoodFacts.com even more enthusiastic about our mission. More of us are taking ingredient lists seriously. Our voices are helping food manufacturers develop products that make more sense for millions of people committed to healthier lifestyles. There’s certainly more work to be done — but we’re thrilled that more manufacturers are introducing more “free from” products to satisfy the demands of food conscious consumers!

http://www.virtual-strategy.com/2014/04/02/food-avoiders-driving-increased-introduction-%E2%80%9Cfree-from%E2%80%9D-products-packaged-facts-report

Posted in Free From Products, healthy eating, Healthy Habits, Healthy Lifestyle, Ingredient Avoidance | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Taco Bell Breakfast A.M. Crunch Wrap BaconWe’ve been hearing about it for months and now it’s finally here. Taco Bell breakfast is being served from 7 a.m. to 11 a.m. every day of the week. As expected, the morning offerings all present a new twist on Mexican flavors. The new breakfast items bring Taco Bell in direct competition with McDonald’s and Burger King, both of whom own mornings in the fast food world.

So, will Taco Bell breakfasts present a serious alternative to the already established fast food leaders? FoodFacts.com isn’t really sure about that. The only thing we can be sure of right now is what you’ll actually be eating if you choose to sit down at Taco Bell for your morning meal.

We chose the A.M. Crunch Wrap with Bacon to focus on because it appears to be a Mexican interpretation of a traditional fast food breakfast sandwich. Just replace the biscuit, or the English muffin, or the bagel with a tortilla and add some creamy jalapeno sauce. While we’re pretty certain you won’t find the A.M. Crunch Wrap in Mexico, these are the American fast food wars. Let’s find out what the A.M. Crunch Wrap brings to the table.

Nutrition Facts:

Calories:      660
Fat:              41 g
Sodium:    1280 mg

Might as well have a burger for breakfast, don’t you think? A McDonald’s Egg McMuffin weighs in at 330 fewer calories, 29 fewer grams of fat and 460 fewer mg of sodium.

Let’s see what the ingredient list tells us:

Eggs (Eggs Whole, Flavors Butter [Soybeans Oil, Soybeans Oil Hydrogenated, Salt, Soy Lecithin, Flavoring Artificial and Natural, Beta Carotene, TBHQ, Citric Acid,Polydimethylsiloxane] , Contains 1% or less of the following: [Salt, Citric Acid, Peppers,Xanthan Gum, Guar Gum] ) , Hashbrowns (Potatoes, Canola Oil, Corn Oil, Cottonseed Oil,Palm Oil, Soybeans Oil, Sunflower Oil, Potatoes Dehydrated, Salt, Disodium Dihydrogen Pyrophosphate, Dextrose, Oil [Canola Oil High Oleic Low Linolenic, TBHQ,Polydimethylsiloxane] , Bacon Topping [Bacon Topping, Cured with Water] , Creamy Jalapeno Sauce [Soybeans Oil, Water, Vinegar, Peppers Jalapenos, Buttermilk, Sour Cream Powder,Eggs Yolks, Dextrose, Spices, Peppers Chili, Salt, Glucono Delta Lactone, Onions Dehydrated,Flavors Natural, Paprika, Sugar, Xanthan Gum, Lactic Acid, Disodium Guanylate, Disodium Inosinate, Citric Acid, Sorbic Acid, Propylene Glycol Alginate, Garlic Powder, Cocoa Powder,Calcium Disodium EDTA] , Tortillas [Wheat Enriched Bleached Flour, Water, Vegetables Shortening]

Plenty of controversial ingredients in that list, not to mention hidden MSG. Generally not our idea of an ideal morning meal.

If we want a Mexican-inspired breakfast, we’d prefer cracking some eggs, adding some jalapeno peppers with the appropriate herbs and scrambling them up in a pan in our kitchen. We’re pretty positive the flavors will be far better and we absolutely KNOW the ingredients will be too.

http://www.foodfacts.com/NutritionFacts/Specialties/Taco-Bell-AM-Crunch-Wrap–Bacon-1-crunchwrap/92161

Posted in fast food, Fast Food Breakfast Sandwich, taco bell, Taco Bell A.M. Crunch Wrap, Taco Bell Breakfast | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Homemade Easter Peeps, Healthier Easter Basket IdeasWe know you secretly love them even now as an adult. They’re probably one of the first things that come to mind when you hear the word Easter. And they undoubtedly bring to mind images of the Easter baskets of your childhood.

Of course, we’re talking about Peeps. Yellow Peeps. Blue Peeps. Green Peeps. Purple Peeps. Peeps shaped like ducks. Peeps shaped like bunnies. They were possibly the sweetest Easter treat of all.

Alas, if only Peeps were actually as good for us as the memories they evoke. To be honest, they’re pretty bad. Here’s the ingredient list:

Sugar, Corn Syrup, Gelatin, Contains less than 0.50.5% of Potassium Sorbate, Flavor(s) Artificial, Yellow 5, Carnauba Wax

O.k. Peeps are marshmallows, so we expect for them to contain a lot of sugar. Until you get past the fourth ingredient, Peeps are just a treat. Then we get to the artificial flavors and color. And the Carnauba wax — which we more commonly associate with polishing our cars, not food.

Can you still give your kids the pleasure of Easter Peeps without the bad ingredients? Can you still enjoy sneaking a Peep during the Easter season? FoodFacts.com thinks you can. Just make marshmallows!

Here’s what you’ll need:

1 cup water
3 tbsns gelatin
2 cups organic white sugar
Coconut oil
Natural food coloring (such as India Tree)

Here’s what you’ll do:

Place 1/2 cup of the water in a large bowl and sprinkle the gelatin evenly over it.. Let it sit for a few minutes.

Put the sugar and the other 1/2 cup of water in a small pot and bring to a boil while stirring.

Once the mixture is a rolling boil (or 242F with a candy thermometer), pour the hot sugar water mixture over the gelatin/water mixture and beat with an electric mixer for about 10 minutes until the combined mixture turns into marshmallow with peaks. Add food coloring in the amount required amount to achieve desired color while whipping the marshmallow mixture.

Pour the mixture into a 9X13 glass dish that has been coated with some coconut oil. Let it sit out for several hours until firm (about 12 hours).

Remove marshmallow from dish in one large piece and cut out desired peeps shapes small cookie cutters.

While we can’t exactly call them healthy, let’s remember they are a seasonal treat. A little holiday indulgence made with ingredients you know and trust is a far better alternative to the store bought tradition that includes some rather unsavory ingredients. Homemade Peeps in your Easter baskets help make sure you’ll know what’s really in your kids Easter treats.  You can even sneak a treat for yourself and feel a lot better about it!

Posted in Healthy Easter Basket Ideas, Healthy Habits, Healthy Holiday Habits, Healthy Holiday Recipes, Peeps | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Dunkin Donuts Ice Cream Flavored Iced CoffeeAccording to Dunkin Donuts, we’ll all be screaming for ice cream flavored iced coffee. What do you think? Does it sound like it’s worth screaming for?

Butter Pecan Swirl, Cookie Dough Swirl, and Jamoca Almond Fudge Swirl have joined the Dunkin Donuts iced coffee lineup. The new flavors are based on popular Baskin Robbins ice cream varieties. We’re pretty sure that everyone in our FoodFacts.com community knows our feelings about most of the Baskin Robbins ice cream flavors. So naturally, we wanted to do a little investigating about the new coffee flavors that take their names from those ice creams.

Let’s take a look …

Butter Pecan Swirl with skim milk
Calories:             180
Fat:                       0 g
Sugar:                  36 g

The nutrition facts are based on the addition of skim milk to a small sized Butter Pecan Swirl iced coffee. The small size contains 9 teaspoons of sugar. That’s a bit much for us.

Ingredients
Skim Milk; Brewed Espresso Coffee; Butter Pecan Flavored Swirl Syrup: Skim Milk, Sugar, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Water, Brown Sugar (Sugar, Molasses), Natural and Artificial Flavors, Caramel Color, Salt, Disodium Phosphate, Potassium Sorbate (Preservative); Caramel Flavored Swirl Syrup: Sweetened Condensed Nonfat Milk, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Sugar, Water, Brown Sugar, Caramel Color, Potassium Sorbate (Preservative), Natural Flavor, Salt.

Hmmmm ….

Cookie Dough Swirl
Calories:         170
Fat:                   6 g
Sugar:              24 g

The small size Cookie Dough Swirl contains a little less sugar, weighing in at 6 teaspoons.

Ingredients
Brewed 100% Arabica Coffee; Cookie Dough Flavored Swirl Syrup: Sweetened Condensed Skim Milk (Skim Milk, Sugar), High Fructose Corn Syrup, Sugar, Water, Brown Sugar, Natural and Artificial Flavors, Salt, Potassium Sorbate (Preservative); Light Cream: Milk, Cream, Disodium Phosphate (Stabilizer), Sodium Citrate (Stabilizer).
A little less bad …

Jamoca Almond Fudge Swirl
Calories:         170
Fat:                   6 g
Sugar:              23 g

The small size Jamoca Almond Fudge Swirl is the “best” option for added sugars with a little less than 6 teaspoons.

Ingredients
Brewed 100% Arabica Coffee; Jamoca® Almond Fudge Flavored Swirl Syrup: High Fructose Corn Syrup, Sugar, Water, Cocoa processed with alkali, Natural and Artificial Flavor, Potassium Sorbate (Preservative), Salt; Light Cream: Milk, Cream, Disodium Phosphate (Stabilizer), Sodium Citrate (Stabilizer).

Are you screaming for ice cream flavored iced coffee yet? We’re not. While the flavors sound like fun, they’re just not worth the added sugars and bad ingredients. We think we prefer quieter coffee.

http://www.dunkindonuts.com/content/dunkindonuts/en/menu/beverages/icedbeverages/coffee0/iced_coffee.html?DRP_SWEET=None&DRP_FLAVOR=Butter+Pecan+Swirl&DRP_SIZE=Small&DRP_BLEND=Original&DRP_DAIRY=Skim+Milk

Posted in Dunkin Donuts, Dunkin Donuts Butter Pecan Swirl Iced Coffee, Dunkin Donuts Cookie Dough Swirl Iced Coffee, Dunkin Donuts Jamoca Almond Fudge Swirl Iced Coffee | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Cost of Childhood ObesityWhile there has been some good news recently regarding the obesity crisis, there’s still a long way to go. With about one in every three children and teens in the U.S. either overweight or obese, there are many health concerns related to childhood obesity. This life-altering condition is a burden for the millions of children affected by it, both emotionally and physically.

Now, we’re learning more details about the financial burden as well.

For the first time, the costs of the condition, called “one of the most serious public health challenges of the 21st century” by the World Health Organization, have been quantified by researchers. The findings are shocking: The epidemic has an estimated $19,000 price tag per child.

The cost analysis was led by researchers at the Duke Global Health Institute and Duke-NUS Graduate Medical School in Singapore, who measured direct medical costs, such as doctors’ visits and medication. Additional costs, such as lost productivity due to obesity, were not included.

The figure becomes more frightening when the number of obese children in the U.S. is taken into account: Lifetime medical costs for 10-year-olds alone reach $14 billion.
With this new research, the incentive to reduce childhood obesity comes with economic benefits in addition to health, said Eric Andrew Finkelstein, the lead author of the study.
“These estimates provide the financial consequences of inaction and the potential medical savings from obesity prevention efforts that successfully reduce or delay obesity onset,” he said.

Though the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released numbers last year touting a surprising 43 percent drop in obesity rates among two- to five-year-olds in the last decade, they don’t take into account the bigger picture. Obesity rates still go up as children age. The condition is also associated with premature death later in life and remains a global epidemic.

FoodFacts.com tries to keep our community up to date with news and research regarding the obesity crisis. As we said, there’s still so much work to do. As our children’s caregivers, it’s up to us to begin healthy habits for them right from the start. Fresh, real foods and plenty of activity should help to set them up for a healthier life that doesn’t include the emotional, physical and financial problems connected with obesity.

http://www.takepart.com/article/2014/04/12/childhood-obesity-epidemic-costing-almost-20000-child

Posted in Childhood Nutrition, Childhood Obesity, children, obesity, Obesity Crisis, Obesity in America | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

National Read Your Labels Day
Thanks Citizens for Health! The second annual National Read Your Labels Day is upon us. FoodFacts.com wants to help spread the word helping to encourage Americans to get the 4-1-1 on what’s in their foods and beverages!

On this day, Citizens for Health wants everyone to open their kitchen cabinets and read the labels of the food products they’ve purchased. They’re especially interested in folks taking note of the ten additives they’d like us all to avoid. Here’s their list:

1. High Fructose Corn Syrup
2. Aspartame
3. Hydrolyzed Protein
4. Autolyzed Yeast
5. Monosodium Glutame
6. Potassium Bromate
7. Brominated Vegetable Oil
8. BHA and BHT
9. Trans Fats
10. Artificial Colors

If we highlighted those in orange, we’d be reading a few ingredient lists we can think of on the FoodFacts.com website. We’d probably add a few more items to the list, but it’s a great place to begin. If consumers became aware of these ingredients, we’d find progress in the fight against obesity, type 2 diabetes, heart disease and cancer.

Jim Turner, who chairs Citizens for Health said, “We sponsored the first ‘Read Your Labels Day’ this last April to help Americans to be aware of how many chemicals are used in processed foods and beverages. The response was tremendous. We had stories on TV stations around the country, and the news was covered by major grocery publications. Even some of the biggest supermarkets, including Whole Food Markets, hosted ‘Read Your Labels Day’ events in their stores. We’re expecting an even bigger success in 2014.”

While many shoppers scan the nutrition labels on packages looking for such things as saturated fats or sodium content, an independent study published in 2011 by the food and beverage research group Mintel reported that less than half of consumers surveyed read the ingredients labels on the foods they purchased in supermarkets.

“The majority of us don’t check the list of ingredients on food package labels,” added Turner. “The big food manufacturers are counting on this. If we don’t read or understand the ingredients in their products, they can put pretty much whatever they want to into our food.”

Intelligent consumers cause changes to occur. There have been small victories in the recent past. Subway is removing azodicarbonamide from their breads. Kraft is removing artificial colors from some of their Macaroni and Cheese products. Gatorade removed brominated vegetable oil from some of their sports drinks. Consumer voices count.

But in order for us to have a voice, we need to know the ingredients being used in the foods we consume and understand why we shouldn’t be consuming them. That starts with reading the ingredient lists on every single product we purchase. Reading about those ingredients on FoodFacts.com helps put in perspective the idea that certain ingredients really aren’t fit for consumption. Chemicals belong in labs, not human bodies.

This Friday, open your cabinets. Read some labels. Decide which ingredients are best left alone. Oh, then don’t forget to make some noise and let food manufacturers know that you’re not satisfied with the ingredients they are choosing to include in your food. Happy National Ready Your Labels Day everyone!

http://foodidentitytheft.com/

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McDonald's Bacon Clubhouse BurgerHave you heard about the new McDonald’s Bacon Clubhouse Burger? If you Google the new burger, you’ll see that the big news here is that this is the only burger besides the Big Mac that features the “special sauce” that graces its big brother burger. It appears that people are excited about the use of the Big Mac “special sauce” on a sandwich that isn’t the Big Mac.

The Bacon Clubhouse Burger is attempting to appeal to a more sophisticated audience, though. It also features an artisan roll, smoked applewood bacon, carmelized grilled onions, leaf lettuce and Angus seasoning.

Just what does that cosmopolitan burger description really get us, though? Time to go under the bun with FoodFacts.com as we investigate what’s really in this new McDonald’s creation.

Let’s start with the nutrition facts:

Calories:                 720
Fat:                          40 g
Saturated Fat:           15 g
Sodium:                1470 mg
Sugar:                      14 g

Let’s just say that, believe it or not, the Big Mac is actually a better nutritional choice than the Bacon Clubhouse Burger. Obviously that’s not saying much. This burger contains 180 additional calories, 11 extra grams of fat, 5 more grams of saturated fat, 430 mg of additional sodium and 5 more grams of sugar than the Big Mac. Not exactly a healthy meal — and we didn’t even add fries to it yet!

What about the ingredients? We’re sure you can guess, but here they are:

QUARTER POUND 100% BEEF PATTY  Ingredients: 100% Pure USDA Inspected Beef; No Fillers, No Extenders. Prepared With Grill Seasoning (Salt, Black Pepper). *Based On The Weight Before Cooking 4 Oz. (113.4g) ARTISAN ROLL Ingredients: Wheat Flour or Enriched Flour (Wheat Flour or Bleached Wheat Flour, Niacin, Iron, Thiamine Mononitrate, Riboflavin, Folic Acid), Malted Barley Flour, Water, Sugar, Yeast, Palm Oil, Wheat Gluten, Dextrose, Salt, Contains 2% or less: Natural Flavors (Plant Source), Corn Flour, Soybean Oil, Calcium Sulfate, Mono- and Diglycerides, Sodium Stearoyl Lactylate, Monocalcium Phosphate, Ascorbic Acid, Enzymes, Calcium Propionate (Preservative), Vegetable Proteins (Pea, Potato, Rice), Sunflower Oil, Turmeric, Paprika, Corn Starch, Wheat Starch, Acetic Acid. TOMATO SLICE THICK CUT APPLEWOOD SMOKED BACON Ingredients: Pork Bellies Cured with Water, Salt, Sugar, Natural Smoke Flavor (Plant Source), Sodium Phosphate, Sodium Erythorbate, Sodium Nitrite. CARAMELIZED GRILLED ONIONS Ingredients: Slivered Onions Prepared in Onion Reduction Sauce (Palm, Soybean and/or Cottonseed Oil, Salt, Sugar, Caramelized Sugar, Onion Powder, Maltodextrin, Natural Flavors [Plant Source], Spice). BIG MAC SAUCE Ingredients: Soybean Oil, Pickle Relish (Diced Pickles, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Sugar, Vinegar, Corn Syrup, Salt, Calcium Chloride, Xanthan Gum, Potassium Sorbate [Preservative], Spice Extractives, Polysorbate 80), Distilled Vinegar, Water, Egg Yolks, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Onion Powder, Mustard Seed, Salt, Spices, Propylene Glycol Alginate, Sodium Benzoate (Preservative), Mustard Bran, Sugar, Garlic Powder, Vegetable Protein (Hydrolyzed Corn, Soy and Wheat), Caramel Color, Extractives of Paprika, Soy Lecithin, Turmeric (Color), Calcium Disodium EDTA (Protect Flavor). PASTEURIZED PROCESS WHITE CHEDDAR CHEESE Ingredients: Milk, Water, Cheese Culture, Cream, Sodium Citrate, Contains 2% or less of: Salt, Citric Acid, Sorbic Acid (Preservative), May Contain One or More of: Sodium Phosphate, Sodium Pyrophosphate, Sodium Hexametaphosphate, Enzymes, Acetic Acid, Soy Lecithin (Added for Slice Separation). LEAF LETTUCE ANGUS SEASONING Ingredients: Salt, Sugar, Onion Powder, Natural (Animal and Plant Sources) and Artificial Flavors, Spice, Maltodextrin, Autolyzed Yeast Extract, Dried Beef Broth, Dextrose, Garlic Powder, Worcestershire Sauce Powder (Distilled Vinegar, Molasses, Corn Syrup, Salt, Caramel Color, Garlic Powder, Sugar, Spices, Tamarind, Natural Flavor [Fruit Source]), Spice Extractives, Beef Fat, Caramel Color, Annatto and Turmeric (Color).

We counted. That’s about 17 ingredients we don’t want to eat all in one burger. Please make sure you read the ingredients in the Big Mac sauce carefully. This is the sauce consumers are making such a big fuss over. They’re happy it’s making an appearance on another burger. We’re not.

The McDonald’s Bacon Clubhouse Burger isn’t deserving of the buzz surrounding its introduction. It’s just another fast food monstrosity with too many calories, too much fat, too much sodium and too many bad ingredients.

http://www.mcdonalds.com/us/en/food/product_nutrition.sandwiches.1360.bacon-clubhouse-burger.html

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