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Category Archives: Food Label

Soft Drinks Hit Health Hard (Part 2)

Soft drink

Picture from: http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/experts-concerned-about-the-amount-of-soft-drink-were-consuming/story-e6frg6n6-1226500270601

 

Last week I asked the question, “should soft drinks be considered unhealthy”? I’ll let you answer for yourself. No matter what “soft” drink you imbibe today, it is likely filled with ingredients that you do not know is lurking in the recipe. Today, the main ingredient (about 90%) of the beverage is carbonated water. Five to 10% of its content is high fructose corn syrup, sugar or non-calorie sweetener, acid (lowers blood PH) and other additives gums, pectins, caffeine, flavors, colors, and preservatives like BHA.

WARNING: The information below may contain material that is alarming but definitely worth reading. The information gives you a better understanding of why it is important to understand what ingredients you actually put into your body.

How can soda affect your health and weight?

1. Citric acid and phosphoric acid affect blood PH and natural stomach acid secretions interfering with digestion, increasing risk of kidney stones, yeast overgrowth and bowel disease and leaching calcium from bone (especially teeth, spine, pelvis) causing weak bones and mineral imbalances.

2. Caffeine is a diuretic that can facilitate vitamin/mineral depletion, dehydration, fertility issues, sleep problems, anxiety, irritability, and depression.

3. High fructose corn syrup and excess sugar leads to excess calories, increased weight and blood sugar problems like diabetes. Research studies also support a link with the following health hazards:

a. Pancreatic cancer: University of Minnesota conducted a study with individuals who drank approximately two regular sodas/day. The conclusion was that there was an 87% higher chance of having cancer than those who drank beverages without sugar/corn syrup.

b. Diabetes and heart disease: At the American heart association’s Cardiovascular Disease Epidemiology and Prevention Annual Cardiology Conference there was a presentation by a professor from the University of California, San Francisco who made the association of approximately 200,000 new cases of diabetes and heart disease/year with soda drinkers.

c. Immune system: sugar has also been shown to lower the immune system due to damage of white blood cells.

4. Artificial sweeteners can lead to eating more because they do not provide the calories to signal to your body that it is satisfying your hunger. They breakdown to methanol and formaldehyde affecting the immune and nervous system and may even be involved in destroying brain neurons leading to headaches/migraines, nausea, abdominal pain, fatigue with an inability to fall asleep. Other associated symptoms include vision problems, anxiety attacks, depression, and asthma/chest tightness. Recently diet soda, like regular soda, was linked to a 50 percent higher risk of metabolic syndrome — a cluster of risk factors such as excessive fat around the waist, low levels of “good” cholesterol, high blood pressure and other symptoms.

5. Sodium benzoate can throw off electrolyte balance. It is a preservative in many foods. The combination of sodium benzoate and vitamin C (ascorbic acid) in soda can react to form benzene. The major health effects of benzene include damage to bone marrow and decreases in red blood cells, leading to anemia. It can cause damage to DNA. Damage to DNA will contribute to aging and nerve diseases like Parkinson’s. Benzene is known to lead to cancer in both animals and humans.

6. Caramel color may suppress the immune system and has been linked to increase blood pressure.

All these potential harmful effects of drinking a “soft” beverage seems kinda extreme when in actuality most of what you are drinking is water. If you are thirsty stick with water and flavor it yourself. Tea (hot or iced), V-8 or homemade lemonade are also good options.  Any questions about what you are really eating and drinking, let me know and we can decipher it together.

 

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Nutrition Labels, Help!

Eating healthy ain’t as easy as it sounds. And I’m not just talking about the abundance of sinful indulgences, desserts and snack foods… Many of the foods we choose are not as healthy as they may seem.  Many consumers are oblivious to what they are actually eating.

Reading labels helps us make better food choices.  Yet, label reading is perplexing at best. To assist in increasing the ease of label reading, the FDA has proposed bringing “important” information from the back of a package and listing it on the front (Front of Package Nutrition Labeling, FOPNL). The CDC published a study, “Evaluation of Consumer Understanding of Different Front-of-Package Nutrition Labels, 2010–2011″,  evaluating the effectiveness of FOPNL. The study tested 4 different types of labels that focus on calories, saturated fat, sugar and sodium, check out the images, http://www.cdc.gov/pcd/issues/2012/12_0015.htm. The labels used in the study improved healthier food choices when compared with products that did not use FOPNL.

Is this a step in the right direction? Maybe. But, why not increase the size of the ingredient section and put that in the front of the package? There are just certain ingredients that you should not consume.  Here they are:

http://valerieberkowitz.wordpress.com/2012/02/05/secret-ingredients-are-not-a-secret/ and

http://valerieberkowitz.wordpress.com/2012/02/13/no-more-secret-ingredients/.

Why not, take the effort and campaign money and steer the consumer to items that do not have labels, real foods like fresh vegetables and fruits?

The FOPNL certainly can work in favor of selectively focusing on certain health buzz words like calories but if food is processed and there are more than one serving to a package and the calories are low because non-nutritive artificial sweeteners are added, it is deceptive because although calories and sugar are low, so is nutritional value.

When foods with high nutritional value are consumed like avocado or coconut, higher calories and fat are consumed but also higher fiber, vitamins and minerals. Feeding on high fat healthful foods provide the nutrients that make your body work and the nourishment that keep your blood sugar stable and appetite in control.

If you read a label as it is proposed by the FDA, your choice will not focus on healthful foods to eat more of but what to stay away from which leaves you somewhat up in the air as to what is a healthy food choice. It also gives food companies a way to divert you from the most important part of  a label, the ingredients section.

Learn how to read a label and what really counts when making healthier food options, http://www.amazon.com/The-Stubborn-Fat-Fix-Metabolic/dp/B003GAN094.

I do not need research results to sway my practical opinion. I believe that consumers are smart and understand that if you want a low-calorie food eating non-starchy vegetables gives you the most nutrient bang for the calorie “buck”. If you are in denial and think a 100 calorie processed snack pack is going to make you healthier and weigh less over the long-term, I have a bridge to sell you.

Do not be fooled by FOPNL. Use your common sense to make healthier food choices.

Any alternative ideas that can help the FDA?

 
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Posted by on May 1, 2013 in Food Label

 

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Real Milk May Become Extinct As It Competes With Sugary Sports Drinks!

A glass of milk Français : Un verre de lait

A glass of milk Français : Un verre de lait (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

If you are a regular reader of my blog, you understand that there are many well-intentioned and not so well-intentioned people making a disaster out of our food supply simply because they make a judgement call and take away our rights to decide whether food shall remain as g-d created it or if it should be altered without your knowledge.

What am I rambling about? Milk as we know it and other dairy products, may become extinct if the dairy industry gets its way. I think the key word in all this is “industry”. This time it is the milk industry but for the same seemingly practical reasons as many other businesses, like Monsanto and  Cargill, that leave a path of devastation everywhere, http://www.greenamerica.org/programs/responsibleshopper/industry/agribusiness.cfm.

The diary industry’s position is:

  1. Gain a larger share of the market by competing with diet soda and sports drinks (Ca-ching the money will roll in faster than they can count it. You guys are going in the wrong direction if you are interested in keeping dairy healthy). 
  2. Children do not drink milk because of the label stating it is “reduced calorie” therefore it should not be there. (“What, if any, data are available on children’s purchase habits with regard to flavored milks labeled as “reduced calorie flavored milk,” “no sugar added,” “less sugar,” etc?” but my question, why not just stop selling the product if it is not selling? It sells because moms by low-fat.. but, good try.)
  3. Help solve the obesity epidemic that plagues the world (Please explain why again, I must have missed the purpose?) 

Dairy lobbyists, have been petitioning the Food and Drug Administration for the past 4 years to change the “official” definition of milk and other dairy products (sweetened condensed milk, non-fat dry milk, non-fat dry milk fortified with vitamins A and D, evaporated milk, dry cream, heavy cream, light cream, light whipping cream, sour cream, acidified sour cream, eggnog, half-and-half, yogurt, low-fat yogurt, and non-fat yogurt). The petition asks that “the standards of identity” for these products “be amended to provide for the use of any safe and suitable sweetener in the optional ingredients” and if so it will not be necessary to label the milk as “reduced calorie”  In other words, they will take milk and add “suitable” sweeteners. Who is defining “suitable”? 

The “industry” believes a label on the front of the product stating the change is unnecessary and should not be required because currently sugar is added to milk without labeling it. Well thanks for the information and maybe just maybe, change the law to make it necessary to add this information to the label. Oops, that might just affect the bottom line negatively, we better not do that. No thought in helping an epidemic with this one. Are you surprised?

Have you read:

http://valerieberkowitz.wordpress.com/2012/12/05/non-caloric-artificial-sweeteners-help-to-disprove-the-calorie-theory/

http://valerieberkowitz.wordpress.com/category/diet-soda/

http://valerieberkowitz.wordpress.com/2012/02/13/no-more-secret-ingredients/

http://www.avaaz.org/en/monsanto_vs_mother_earth_loc/?bNeKGdb&v=23911

http://www.doctoroz.com/videos/americas-dangerous-artificial-sweetener-addiction-pt-1

http://www.doctoroz.com/videos/problems-artificial-sweeteners-cause-bathroom-pt-2

http://www.doctoroz.com/videos/artificial-butter-linked-alzheimers

http://www.doctoroz.com/episode/should-artificial-sweeteners-be-allowed-milk-products

http://www.doctoroz.com/episode/should-artificial-sweeteners-be-allowed-milk-products?video=18245

Want to see the details on the petition, https://www.federalregister.gov/articles/2013/02/20/2013-03835/flavored-milk-petition-to-amend-the-standard-of-identity-for-milk-and-17-additional-dairy-products?

Stop the extinction of milk, Make your voice heard by joining the petition to keep hidden artificial sweeteners out of dairy products or call the FDA at (240) 402-2371. The deadline for public comments is May 21, 2013.

To make matters worse, the nutritionist in Dr. Oz’s interview is paid by the dairy industry and he is advocating for this petition because his patients “are not getting enough calcium”. Really, is this the only and best solution a nutritionist can come up with? Pump kids with artificial sweeteners despite what we know about them so we can grow the dairy industry like we did the grain and other food industries (they added high fructose corn syrup and trans fats…) and look we have all been guinea pigs paying the weight and health price while big business cashes in, now more?

Shame, shame, shame on anyone who is involved in this. Mr. Ayoob, you talk research about those who “use artificial sweeteners and make healthier choices”, that is some message you got there, what about others who use it as an excuse to eat more calorie laden foods? What about those who have reactions to these chemicals? No mention of both sides of the issue, What about the negative research found in regards to non-caloric sweeteners? I am furious. What ever happened to ethics?

Do you really want “the industry” to take our right to choose away? A simple call or signature will stop the extinction of milk as we know it and help stop the destruction of our food supply. Not having a voice is un-American.

 

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Why Do Dangerous Food Additives Exist?

คนไทย + Trans fat

คนไทย + Trans fat (Photo credit: veer66)

If you are eating foods because someone else is telling you it is ok, the FDA, commercial food industry, governmental organizations, etc..you may want to think twice. After reading this, you’ll want to be an educated food consumer on:

1.what your eating

2.where it comes from

3.how it is marketed and processed

According to http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/GettingHealthy/FatsAndOils/Fats101/Trans-Fats_UCM_301120_Article.jsp,“Trans fats are created in an industrial process that adds hydrogen to liquid vegetable oils to make them more solid.  Another name for trans fats is “partially hydrogenated oils.”  Look for them in the ingredient list on food packages”.

One of the most important question the site asks is  “Why did trans fats become so popular if they have such bad health effects?

The answer to the question…”Before 1990, very little was known about how trans fat can harm your health.  In the 1990s, research began identifying the adverse health effects of trans fats.”

Wow, this is powerful! For approximately 80 years we consumed trans fats before they started to study the health effects. The results from studies have not been favorable. Well trans fats are still in the food supply even though “Trans fats raise your bad (LDL) cholesterol levels and lower your good (HDL) cholesterol levels.  Eating trans fats increases your risk of developing heart disease and stroke.  It’s also associated with a higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes.”

A recent study has linked trans fats with aggressive behavior, http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/03/120313122504.htm.

Wonder what we will find out next????

Keep your eye on similar food ingredients,like fructose corn syrup, that are used to prolong shelf-life, improve eye appeal and increase sugar addiction. There are really so many more, http://www.gaianaturopathic.com/docs/Food_Additives.pdf.

What commercial food businesses do:

Add ingredients or make changes to the food without telling the consumer; wait to see if anyone complains, wait a few more years to do research on safety, roll out a marketing campaign to increase “chatter” on the lack of health issues the item is associated with and after so many years introduce a new ingredient that is just as bad to continue increasing revenue and keep the nation addicted to food.

The answer:

Eliminate commercially packaged foods from your grocery list. We are guinea pigs and are not only paying out-of-pocket but are paying with our lives by compromising our health.

 

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No More “Secret” Ingredients

How to make caramel from sweetened condensed milk
High-fructose corn syrup for sale
English: A pile of plain M&M's candies.

Image via Wikipedia

Looking at these pictures may start your mouth-watering for any one of your favorite treats. But before you bite, check out last weeks blog, valerieberkowitz.wordpress.com/2012/02/05/secret-ingredients-are-not-a-secret/, and read on as I continue to open up a can of worms.

When you are eating your favorite treat and you focus on its appearance, I suggest you take a closer “look” and focus on the ingredient list to uncover the secrets in the foods you eat. What looks good on the outside may contain harmful dyes, preservatives and additives on the inside. Ingredients like hydrogenated oil, MSG, corn syrup, and the others I have mentioned here are dangerous villains when it comes to your weight and health.

Many commercially prepared processed foods contain deadly ingredients in order to prolong product shelf life, enhance eye appeal and mouth feel. Oh, and let’s not forget, increase the bottom for the food companies.

In fact, as good as the food looks on the outside is as bad as it is on the inside. For example, the pretty olors that draw you to a handful of M&M’s are made from petroleum and other toxic materials that are extremely hazardous to your health.

Here’s a short list of what is lurking in your pantry:

Caramel color (used in soda and many other products) sounds benign, as do all the other additives I am mentioning, but is made by heating sugar with ammonium and it has been linked with cancer.

Yellow dyes#5 and 6 are thought to invoke allergies and hypersensitivity/hyperactivity reactions, kidney and adrenal cancer and these ingredients are possibly contaminated with cancer causing materials.

Blue #2 has been linked to brain cancer.

BHA has been determined by The Dept of Health and Human Services as “reasonably anticipated to be a human carcinogen”.

Propyl gallate is likely to increase inflammation in those with asthma and cause skin and stomach issues.

Mycoprotein (or Quorn pronounced Kworn) is a high protein vegetarian food developed by the chemical manufacturer, ICI. It is produced by fermenting a fungus and culturing it in huge vats. “The company that makes Quorn has tried to describe the product as ‘mushroom in origin’, which is stretching the truth quite a bit and they have been taken to court over it in the USA“. The result, allergic reactions including vomiting and much more.

Despite the health effects, these products remain on the market! Why? How?

 
3 Comments

Posted by on February 13, 2012 in artificial colors, Food, Food Label, health

 

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Buyers Beware HFCS May Soon Be A Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing

Raw (unrefined, unbleached) sugar, bought at t...

Image via Wikipedia

High fructose corn syrup (HFCS) is used as an ingredient in almost every food you consume. For years it has slowly crept into our food supply. Now there is a lot of controversy over its effects on health.  Oh yes, we are all human guinea pigs!

58% of consumers are concerned about the link of high fructose corn syrup with diabetes, heart disease, obesity…It’s no wonder the Corn Refiners Association (The BIG GUYS behind HFCS: Cargill, Archer Daniels Midland, Tate and Lyle) petitioned the FDA to rename HFCS, “corn sugar”. See the Big Battle, consumerist.com/2011/04/big-sugar-sues-big-corn-over-corn-sugar-ad-campaign-for-hfcs.html

Now I’m not a fan of excess sugar in my food but I’d take real sugar cane over high fructose corn syrup any day. I suggest keeping sugar to a minimum by selecting fresh or frozen produce, but with this issue, I side with the sugar companies that are spending the big bucks to prevent the association of sugar with HFCS or its alias “corn sugar”. Huh, maybe they know something we don’t.

Even for those of us who believe HFCS may be harmful, unless you do a “kitchen” makeover, you have no control over what cheap products companies decide to use as ingredients for their products.  

This is a quick list of how to shop differently and make better food choices:

http://www.wikihow.com/Avoid-High-Fructose-Corn-Syrup

http://cleanerplateclub.wordpress.com/2007/06/20/take-the-high-fructose-corn-syrup-challenge/

http://parentingtips365.com/2010/01/19/how-to-remove-high-fructose-corn-syrup-from-your-diet/

So for all my label readers’ out there, if you are shopping one day and you see an item that does not contain HFCS, check again for the “Wolf in sheep’s clothing–corn sugar” just to make sure you are not fooled by the Corn Refiners Association.

 

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