‘Organic Water’ is a Thing Now
In rather comical news, a German bottled water company, BioKristall, has gotten the official approval to market itself as organic water. Yes, you read that correctly, organic water. Read Grist’s comical take on this news.
Twinkies for Breakfast? Kids’ Cereals Fail Industry’s own Lame Nutrition Guidelines
The Environmental Working Group, most known for their sunscreen reports and the Dirty Dozen list, just put out a report on the amount of sugar in many popular breakfast cereals. In this blog post, Michele Simon writes, “Kellogg’s Honey Smacks, at nearly 56 percent sugar by weight, won the top prize, packing more sugar (20 grams per cup) than a Hostess Twinkie.” Is it really any wonder our kids have a weight problem? Parents, please read this article and realize that MOST breakfast cereals should be treated like dessert. Read the full story on Appetite for Profit.
The Ultimate Olive Oil Guide
There has been a bit of a brouhaha over olive oil as of late. Put this one down on the if it is good for me, food producers will come in and create a crappy version of it to make more money and confuse consumers page. Olive oil has consistently been touted as the ultimate healthy oil and the demand for the oil has created a slew of sub-par products. Governments in the US and Europe are trying to create/reform olive oil standards, but with mixed success. Nutritionist and food activist, Andy Bellatti, tries to set the record straight and educates consumers so we can all shop EVOO smart. Read the full story on Small Bites.
Is your breakfast cereal “natural” or “organic?” Think there is not much difference between the two? You’re not alone. Fancy marketing campaigns specifically designed to trick consumers into believing that these two terms essentially mean the same thing are in play every time you see a cereal box. But the true difference between “natural” and “organic” is huge and one organization took up the challenge of exposing this practice.
A just-released report from The Cornucopia Institute found many breakfast cereals bearing the label “natural” to be loaded with pesticides, genetically modified organisms (GMOs), and ingredients processed with unnatural chemicals. To be clear, the report was not looking at cereals such as Lucky Charms or Pops, but rather brands like Kashi, Barbara’s and Annie’s Homegrown; cereals and granola which are specifically marketed as health-conscious and “natural.” In Cereal Crimes: How “Natural” Claims Deceive Consumers and Undermine the Organic Label—A Look Down the Cereal and Granola Aisle, the analysis looked at over 45 “natural” cereal brands to determine how natural they really were. They also tested the products for the presence of GMOs. The results of the GMO tests were especially surprising. Even several brands enrolled in the Non-GMO Project contained genetically engineered (GE) ingredients.
While scrolling through my wall today, I stumbled upon this infographic from visualeconomics that Dr. La Puma posted on his Facebook page. I love checking out food related infographics and found this particular one interesting. Let’s see, we eat more fats & oils than chicken, more sugar & corn sweeteners than red meat, and crazy amounts of dairy (631 lbs per year if you combine cheese & dairy). The total amount of fruits and vegetables (688 lbs) looks decent, although I wish I could see a stat on what percentage of that number is fresh vs. heavily processed (aka. Campbell’s canned vegetable soup and the 29 lbs of potatoes in our french fries). I’m not entirely sure what “beverage milks” means. Does it include chocolate milk or is it just non-dairy “milks” such as almond, hemp, soy, etc., or all of the above?
What really caught by eye, though, was the section down below that shows the average American consumes 24 POUNDS of artificial sweeteners per year. 24 pounds? That’s about what my daughter weighed when she was 2 years old (and coincidentally, the size of the average giraffe heart…fun fact). If you think you’re not consuming artificial sweeteners, think again. They are hiding everywhere. It’s the saccharin in your iced tea, the aspartame in your diet soda, and the sucralose in that ice cream bar. Even your chewing gum has been infiltrated as it’s virtually impossible to walk into a grocery store and buy a pack without artificial sweeteners. These innocuous powders also lurk in diet foods, products marketed to diabetics, and all sorts of no-sugar treats. Even Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf uses artificial sweeteners in their “no sugar” beverages (I honestly thought that they were made without any sweetener until I actually asked). If you want to reduce your intake, start by reading labels. Once you spot these guys, make the commitment to try a new brand that doesn’t contain artificial sweeteners, make it yourself, or better yet, give it up altogether. Can’t quit yet? Yes, you over there drinking your Diet Coke. Start by reducing your intake until you can break the habit altogether.
Check out the infographic down below for details and tell us what you find significant.
Source: Visual Economics
Have you ever sat down and watched a half hour of children’s programming? How many ads do you see marketed specifically towards children? Between Ronald McDonald, the Keebler Elves, Captain Crunch and Tony the Tiger, there is no shortage of cartoon mascots tantalizing our children with visions of sugary and colorful delights.
According to a newly formed inter-agency Working Group (FTC, FDA, CDC, USDA), the food industry spends more than $1.6 BILLION each year to promote junk foods to our kids (foods high in calories, low in nutrition). They find every possible way to reach your kids using TV, the internet, video games, social media, movies, and even marketing in schools. Here is a shocking statistic:
Cookies and cakes, pizza, and soda/energy/sports drinks are the top sources of calories in the diets of children 2 through 18. Chips and french fries comprise half of all the vegetables kids eat.
Since when are french fries and chips vegetables? It’s no wonder that one in three children will be overweight or obese putting them at risk for diabetes, high blood pressure, asthma and other diseases.
Yesterday, this Working Group released a set of proposed principles for the food industry to use when marketing food to children. The proposal is designed to “encourage children, through advertising and marketing, to choose foods that make a meaningful contribution to a healthful diet; and contain limited amounts of nutrients that have a negative impact on health or weight…”
Overview of the Proposal:
The basic premise is our government is trying to get the food industry to market healthy foods to kids instead of junk food.
Blueberries are used in hundreds of foods including cereal, bagels, pastries, breakfast bars and muffins. You see those little sweet, purplish-blue globs as you eat these foods and assume it must contain actual blueberries, right? As this video reports, the answer is probably not. More likely, you are eating a mixture of partially hydrogenated oils, starches, blue #1, blue #2, red #40, and artificial flavorings which create a fake blueberry.
As an avid ingredient reader, even I was surprised to see this blatant of a lie on food packaging of hundreds of foods. Watch this video from Mike Adams, The Health Ranger, of Natural News, to see the expose on the use of fake blueberries in foods.
To see how the food manufactures responded to this report, click for the Fox News story.
Names: E412, Gyamopsis Tetragonolobus, Gum Guar, Guar Flour, Guaran
Description: Extracted from the guar bean; made with the ground up guar seeds. Used as a thickener, binder, and stabilizer in a variety of foods. The guar bean plants are mainly grown in India and Pakistan. Also used as a bulk laxative.
Found In: baked goods, cereal, fruit drinks, frozen fruit, cheese spread, dressing, jelly and preserves, yogurt, kefir, sauces, ice cream
Possible Health Effects: If consumed in large quantities or without enough water, may swell and cause throat blockage. As with many fiber products, may cause flatulence and abdominal cramping…read more on Guar Gum.
Copyright August 8, 2010 Be Food Smart
Happy New Year! Today’s ingredient is an artificial coloring which has been linked to headaches, skin rashes, hives and hyperactivity in children. Skip the mint chip ice cream and go for vanilla next time!
Names: FD&C Yellow No.5, Y4, E102
Found In: candy, soft drinks, cereal, gelatin desserts, baked goods, ice cream, pudding, snack foods, energy drinks, flavored chips, jam, yogurt, pickles, dessert powders, custard
Description: This lemon yellow dye is derived from coal tar. It’s used for yellow, but can be mixed with other colors such as Brilliant Blue to create shades of green. The FDA requires that Yellow No. 5 be specifically identified on the ingredient line because some people are very sensitive to it. Due to several studies on children and hyperactivity, the European Union requires food containing this colorant to have a label which states: “may have an adverse effect on activity in children” (see full report for link). Also see Food, Drug & Cosmetic Colors (FD&C).
Possible Health Effects: Serious allergic reactions can occur in those with sensitivities to aspirin. Other effects include: asthma, hives, headache, skin…read more on Tartrazine.
Related Ingredient: FD&C Blue #1
Copyright August 8, 2010 Be Food Smart