April 12, 2012
By Anthony Gucciardi
“Not all food you find in health food stores is actually healthy. Read the labels.” –KTRN
Is sugar the last ingredient that has not been slammed by health conscious activists? Numerous crusades have been waged against GMOs (genetically modified organisms), aspartame, high-fructose corn syrup and trans fat, but where does sugar reside in the equation? Excess sugar consumption, which has now become an ‘average’ amount of sugar consumption for many families, has been linked to everything from DNA damage to excessive cancer growth — so where is the anti-sugar movement?
Some scientists and health experts are certainly declaring a health crisis over a large-scale ‘sugar epidemic’, but are you truly aware of how much sugar you intake on a daily basis? Even if you are consuming many health foods that are really free of other toxic offenders, chances are they may be containing a whopping amount of sugar — or at least enough ‘small’ amounts to set you over the edge throughout your daily nutritional intake. It is recommended you eat less than 16 grams of sugar per day (from natural sources) — even less if you are suffering from a serious health condition. A Twinkie has 18 grams of sugar in the processed form, and exceeds the daily sugar maximum in one health-threatening serving.
But what about health foods? Many contain just about as much or more than 18 grams, and it’s important to know which. Here are 4 health foods with more sugar than a Twinkie:
You may be consuming yogurt in order to take in some beneficial probiotics, but the truth of the matter is that yogurt is oftentimes loaded with sugar — it can even be added in larger amounts by the manufacturer. The natural amount of sugar is about 12 grams of sugar per 6-ounce serving, which is below the daily allotment. One 6-ounce container of fruit-flavored yogurt, however, can contain 32 grams of sugar, which is way more than the daily recommended amount.
In order to avoid a high sugar content, look for high quality organic Greek yogurt (or avoid dairy altogether).
2. Tomato Sauce
Tomato sauce can be used for a number of different food items, but the amount in which it is used often exceeds the designated serving size. While the intended serving size is about half of a cup, many individuals use the entire cup for pasta or other meals. Many brands contain 11 or 12 grams per serving, which means a full cup can exceed 22 grams of sugar on average — more than a Twinkie.
February 6, 2012
By Mike Barrett
“While these three ingredients should be a no brainier to avoid – it’s still helpful to be reminded now and again.” –KTRN
It isn’t terribly difficult to begin a new life in your own bubble of healthy eating. So then why do people often put off much needed changes in their diet? It is usually a combination of not knowing how to shift into a healthy diet and experiencing feelings of being overwhelmed because there is so much to learn. By focusing on omitting one harmful food item or ingredient from you diet at a time you will more easily transition towards the healthy lifestyle you strive for, and the process will be very easy.
1. Sugar | A Toxic Consumption
Avoid sugar, especially while in the form of high-fructose corn syrup. Sugar is currently a rather large problem growing at a steady and rapid pace, so much so that scientists are declaring a health crisis over the widespread over-consumption of sugar. Americans alone are consuming 475 calories worth of added sugars daily on average, which equates to about 30 teaspoons of sugar. The consumption of sugar is largely fueling cancer and obesity rates while also playing a role in rising rates of heart disease and diabetes. Sugar in the form of high-fructose corn syrup is especially damaging to your health, as it is heavily processed and often contains toxic mercury. Try to avoid high-fructose corn syrup completely while also limiting sugar consumption more and more each day.
2. Artificial Sweeteners Lurking In Your Food
Avoid aspartame. Aspartame is an artificial sweetener and excitotoxin commonly found in diet sodas. An excitotoxin is named for its ability to ‘excite’ the cells of the body into overproducing a particular chemical, thus burning them out prematurely. This sweetener possesses detrimental cancerous effects and should be avoided. One study involved feeding 48 mice diet soda and resulted in up to 67 percent of all female rats developed tumors roughly the size of golf balls or larger. Sold as Nutrasweet and Equal, aspartame has been shown to lead to many forms of neurological diseases as well as cancer. What’s more, the substance is created using genetically modified bacteria.
October 31, 2011
By Ethan A. Huff
If you were to ask any random person on the street today if trans fats are bad for health, he or she would most likely respond in the affirmative. But a new study out of the University of Alberta (UA) in Canada clarifies a common misunderstanding about trans fats — natural, health-promoting, ruminant trans fats are far different from the synthetic, health-destroying, industrial trans fats found in many processed foods.
In many countries, including in the US, there is no differentiation made between natural and industrial trans fats — they are all labeled in the same ingredient category on food packaging, and are all considered harmful. And researchers allege that this error needs to be changed, noting that people can actually benefit from the consumption of natural trans fats.
Spencer Proctor, a researcher in the Department of Agricultural, Food and Nutritional Science and director of the Metabolic and Cardiovascular Diseases Laboratory at UA, and his colleagues arrived at this conclusion after conducting an in-depth review of different types of trans fats. They found that ruminant trans fats found in meat and dairy products have a vastly different fatty acid profile than industrial trans fats like hydrogenated vegetable oil.
The natural trans fats found in organic, pasture-based animal meat and dairy products can actually help reduce the risk of developing cardiovascular disease and cancer, while industrial trans fats found in various processed foods lead to conditions like high cholesterol and coronary heart disease.
“A change in how trans fat information is presented on nutrition labels would be a huge step forward,” said Proctor. “Right now, in Canada and the US, a substantial portion of natural trans fats content is included in the nutrition label trans fats calculation, which is misleading for the consumer. We need a reset in our approach to reflect what the new science is telling us.”
The study confirms what a previous one published by Flora Wang, another UA researcher, found back in 2008 — far from harmful, natural trans fats actually help to reduce the risk of obesity, metabolic syndrome, heart disease, and diabetes
October 18, 2011
By Dan Levine
Ads for General Mills fruit snacks mislead customers into thinking products like its Fruit Roll-Ups are healthy, when they actually lack significant amounts of real, natural fruit, according to a new lawsuit.
The proposed class action complaint against General Mills was filed on Friday.
General Mills fruit snacks are marketed as healthy, but their trans fat and added sugars make selling them “little better than giving candy to children,” the lawsuit said.
General Mills representative Kris Patton said the company had not yet been served with the lawsuit.
“We stand behind our products – and we stand behind the accuracy of the labeling of those products,” Patton said in an email.
The suit against General Mills was filed on behalf of a California consumer on Friday by attorneys from nutrition advocacy group Center for Science in the Public Interest.
The case in U.S. District Court, Northern District of California is Annie Lam, on behalf of herself and all others similarly situated v. General Mills Inc., 11-5056.
April 16, 20010
by Emma Wilkinson
Trans-fats – solid fats found in margarines, cakes and fast food – are banned in some countries.
An editorial in the British Medical Journal said 7,000 deaths a year could be prevented by a 1% reduction in consumption.
But the Food Standards Agency said the UK’s low average consumption made a complete ban unnecessary.
In January this year, the UK Faculty of Public Health called for the consumption of trans-fats (also know as trans fatty acids) to be virtually eliminated.
It says that although trans-fats make up 1% of the average UK adult food energy intake – below the 2% advised as a dangerous level – there are sections of the population where intake is far higher and these groups are being put at risk.
In the BMJ article, doctors from Harvard Medical School backed this view and said bans in Denmark and New York City had effectively eliminated trans-fats, without reducing food availability, taste, or affordability.
Many studies have shown harmful effects of trans-fats on heart health.
They are used to extend shelf-life but have no nutritional value and, like saturated fats, they raise blood cholesterol levels which increase the risk of coronary heart disease.
The BMJ article also points out there is no evidence that such legislation leads to harm from increased use of saturated fats.
The doctors wrote that based on current disease rates, a strategy to reduce consumption of trans-fats by even 1% of total energy intake would be expected to prevent 11,000 heart attacks and 7,000 deaths annually in England alone.
Commenting on the article, Professor Alan Maryon-Davis, president of the UK Faculty of Public Health, said: “There are great differences in the amount of trans-fats consumed by different people and we are particularly concerned about young people and those with little disposable income who eat a lot of this type of food.
“This is a major health inequalities issue.”
In 2007, the Food Standards Agency carried out a review of trans-fats and concluded UK consumption was lower than countries such as the US and that voluntary action from food manufacturers had been highly successful.
They said current UK average consumption “was not a concern”.
Victoria Taylor, senior heart health dietician at the British Heart Foundation, said UK voluntary measures by the food industry had achieved significant reductions in the amount of trans-fats in food.
“This is good progress but we still need to do more to make sure that the industrially produced trans-fats don’t creep back into our nation’s diets.”
Barbara Gallani, director of food safety and science at the Food and Drink Federation, said: “We agree that it is important to maintain a healthily balanced diet in which trans-fats are consumed within the safe levels recommended by the FSA and that is why artificial trans-fats have been virtually eliminated from processed foods in the UK.”
March 29, 2010
By E. Huff
A British heart surgeon has issued a call for a ban on butter, citing excessive consumption of saturated fats which he believes has rapidly increased the number of heart disease cases in the Great Britain. Dr. Shyam Kolvekar expressed concern that people as young as 30 years old are now getting heart bypass surgery, an issue that he believes could be remedied by switching from butter to margarine or other “healthy” spreads.
Roughly 90 percent of British children eat too much saturated fat according to a U.K. diet survey. Eighty-eight percent of adult men and 83 percent of adult women also consume too much, averaging 20 percent over the recommended maximum. Some researchers believe that saturated fat contributes to high cholesterol and artery blockage.
Dr. Kolvekar’s plea against using butter comes at the same time that other British health organizations are calling for a ban on trans-fats. Margarine, one of Dr. Kolvekar’s recommended alternatives to butter, is most often comprised of trans-fatty hydrogenated oils which are linked to the very same diseases that he believes are being caused by butter.
Nevertheless, Dr. Kolvekar believes that banning butter would reduce average daily fat intake by at least eight grams. Since buttered toast is a British breakfast staple, he is promoting the use of alternative spreads to replace butter. He also suggests avoiding foods like cheese and red meat which stay solid at room temperature.
According to Dr. Kolvekar and others, simple dietary changes can go a long way in preventing some of the serious diseases that he believes are caused by saturated fat. The Guideline Daily Amount (GDA) of saturated fat in the U.K. is 30 grams for men and 20 grams for women and exceeding these levels is relatively easy. Simple changes like drinking reduced fat milk and skipping the butter can help people to stay below these levels.
Not all studies point to saturated fat as the culprit in heart disease, however. Trans-fats are known to wreak havoc on the body, leading to high cholesterol, heart disease, diabetes and other serious problems. This is why several countries including Canada and Switzerland have banned trans-fats from food.
Not all saturated fats are harmful, either: some studies indicate that certain saturated fats are necessary in order to maintain health. High rates of heart disease were not common until refined, hydrogenated oils came on the scene, indicating that these artificial food additives are to blame.
March 11, 2010
By Arun Kristian Das
Some New York City chefs and restaurant owners are taking aim at a bill introduced in the New York Legislature that, if passed, would ban the use of salt in restaurant cooking.
“No owner or operator of a restaurant in this state shall use salt in any form in the preparation of any food for consumption by customers of such restaurant, including food prepared to be consumed on the premises of such restaurant or off of such premises,” the bill, A. 10129 , states in part.
The legislation, which Assemblyman Felix Ortiz , D-Brooklyn, introduced on March 5, would fine restaurants $1,000 for each violation.
“The consumer needs to make their own health choices. Just as doctors and the occasional visit to a hospital can’t truly control how a person chooses to maintain their health, neither can chefs nor the occasional visit to a restaurant,” said Jeff Nathan, the executive chef and co-owner of Abigael’s on Broadway. “Modifying trans fats and sodium intake needs to be home based for optimal health. Regulating restaurants will not solve this health issue.”
Nathan is part of the group My Food My Choice , which calls itself a coalition of chefs, restaurant owners, and consumers, called the proposed law “absurd” in a press release issued on its Facebook page.
Ortiz has said the salt ban would allow restaurant patrons to decide how salty they want their meals to be.
“In this way, consumers have more control over the amount of sodium they intake, and are given the option to exercise healthier diets and healthier lifestyles,” Ortiz said, according to a Nation’s Restaurant News report.
But many chefs and restaurant owners said they are tired of politicians dictating what they can serve and what people can eat. They have opposed the city’s anti-sodium and anti-transfat campaigns.
“Chefs would be handcuffed in their food preparation, and many are already in open rebellion over this legislation,” said Orit Sklar, of My Food My Choice. “Ortiz and fellow anti-salt zealot Mayor Michael Bloomberg of New York City seek to undermine the food and restaurant business in the entire state.”
The American Heart Association encourages Americans to reduce their sodium intake and has advocated the reduction of sodium used by food manufacturers and restaurants by 50 percent over a 10-year period.
November 10, 2009
by: Mike Adams, the Health Ranger, NaturalNews Editor
Of all the poisons in the food supply, trans fats are perhaps the most frequently overlooked. They’re hidden in all sorts of foods, from crackers and baked goods to breakfast cereals. And thanks to intentionally deceptive FDA-approved labeling laws, food products that contain sizable amounts of trans fatty acids can still declare “trans fats free” right on their labels (this clever trick involves reducing serving sizes until the trans fat level drops to 0.5 grams per serving, at which point the FDA says companies can just “round down” to zero).
But just how damaging are trans fats, really? Here, we’ve gathered an important collection of information that helps answer that question. Read this before you take another bite of a cookie, cracker or other baked food item. Keep trans fats out of your body and you’ll be far healthier and more mentally alert!
The true dangers of trans fats
Shortening consists of almost one-fifth trans fats, and some brands of margarine contain almost one-fourth trans fats. The oils used to cook French fries and fried chicken in the United States consist of about 40 percent trans fats, and the amount increases when the cooking oil is heated. Trans fats now account for about 7.5 percent of the fat calories consumed in the United States, and the average American eats nearly five pounds of trans fats each year.
- Stop Prediabetes Now: The Ultimate Plan to Lose Weight and Prevent Diabetes by Jack Challem
The downside for consumers is the dangerous trans fats that are formed with hydrogenation. The ingestion of partially hydrogenated vegetable oils and the trans fats that are formed with this process has been linked to increases in cancer, heart disease, and many other chronic degenerative disorders. What is wrong with trans fats? Trans fats, formed during hydrogenation, are actually toxic substances for our cell membranes. When our cells contain an overabundance of trans fats, the cells become leaky and distorted. This can promote vitamin and mineral deficiencies.
- The Guide to Healthy Eating by M.D. David Brownstein
The amount of trans fats consumed daily in the United States varies tremendously from person to person. Trans fats are so common in processed foods that the average consumer does not know how much he or she is consuming. Trans fats have no cholesterol. Trans fats have no trace compounds that may be beneficial to health. Trans fats are very useful to the food industry and, if replaced, a proper substitute must be found. Suggestions have been made for partial replacements to keep their level low. Palm oil could be a good choice.
- The Trans Fats Dilemma and Natural Palm Oil by Gene A. Spiller
It is not always easy to make sense of the research on trans fats but here’s the short answer: if you can avoid trans fats, you should. These fatty acids may be only a small part of your total dietary fat, but small changes in your diet can add up to significant health benefits, and this is one change that is well worth making.
- What to Eat by Marion Nestle
Although the amount of trans fatty acids appearing in margarine and shortening has been reduced in the United States, these damaging fats are still found in many other foods such as bakery items and fast food products. Trans fats become a major part of American diets when the 30 pounds of French fries consumed per capita are factored into dietary analysis. Trans fats often hide on dietary labels as partially hydrogenated fats. Learn to read labels and avoid trans fats. Growing public awareness regarding the dangers imposed by trans fats has prompted a reduction in their consumption.
- Disease Prevention and Treatment by The Life Extension Editorial Staff
Given the overwhelming evidence of the link between trans fats and diseases like cancer, cardiovascular disease and diabetes – all of which will be discussed in more detail – you might wonder what sort of bizarre justification the FDA could come up with for protecting the food industry by not requiring the listing of trans fats on these nutrition facts labels years ago. Hold on to your seat, because here it is: The FDA has decided that since trans fats should be entirely avoided in the diets of all human beings, there is consequently no recommended daily allowance of trans fats.
- Grocery Warning: How to recognize and avoid the groceries that cause cancer, diabetes, heart disease, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and other common diseases by Mike Adams
Finally, in the United States, the FDA has ruled that, by 2006, all trans fats must be listed on food labels, thus allowing shoppers to make informed decisions about what they put in their bodies. Trans fats are often found in processed and convenience foods. Read labels carefully to avoid products containing them. If the ingredient list contains partially hydrogenated vegetable (or corn, soybean, or canola) oil or vegetable shortening, the product contains trans fats. Here are a few common culprits – they may surprise you.
- Creating and Maintaining Balance: A Woman’s Guide to Safe Natural Hormone Health by Holly Lucille
But hydrogenation has serious health consequences because it creates trans fats. Trans fats are polyunsaturated vegetable oils that have been processed to make them remain solid at room temperature. Trans fats also come from frying food in polyunsaturated vegetable oils, such as corn oil, sunflower oil, safflower oil, and soy oil, all of which are not bad for you until they are heated. As you may know, trans fats increase the level of bad LDL cholesterol in your bloodstream and lower your level of good HDL cholesterol.
- Spent: Revive: Stop Feeling Spent and Feel Great Again by Frank Lipman, Mollie Doyle
It has been suspected for some years that trans fats may be no better for us than saturated fats, but more evidence is emerging and it now seems that perhaps trans fats can actually be more damaging, for instance in the case of heart disease. It now appears, according to a very large American trial, that trans fats not only raise levels of LDL blood cholesterol (the “baddie”) but also lower levels of the “good” cholesterol, HDL. Trans fats are the only types of fat to do this – natural saturated fats, such as butter or cheese, may raise LDL levels but also raise HDL levels.
- The Food Bible by Judith Wills
They occur naturally at low levels in meat and dairy products, but most of the trans fats in the American diet are formed during a hydrogenation process that renders vegetable oils solid. Trans fatty acids inflict damage akin to the effects of saturated fats, except trans fats hit you with a double whammy – in addition to raising LDL levels, trans fats decrease your HDL levels at the same time. This is one reason many researchers consider trans fats to be a bigger bad boy than saturated fats.
- Food Synergy: Unleash Hundreds of Powerful Healing Food Combinations to Fight Disease and Live Well by Elaine Magee
Trans fats make the coronary arteries more rigid and contribute to the formation of blood clots, which can lead to heart attack or stroke. Trans fats also reduce HDL (“good”) cholesterol levels and increase LDL (“bad”) cholesterol. According to a study by Dr. Walter Willett, chairman of the department of nutrition at the Harvard School of Public Health, approximately 30,000 premature heart disease deaths each year can be attributed to the consumption of trans fats.
- Bottom Line’s Health Breakthroughs 2007 by Bottom Line Health
August 28, 2009
By David Gutierrez
FDA food labeling rules make it possible for consumers to exceed their maximum recommended daily intake of trans fats even if they eat only foods labeled “zero trans fats” per serving.
Trans fats, also known as hydrogenated oils, are synthetically produced by adding hydrogen atoms to unsaturated vegetable oils. Unlike natural unsaturated or saturated fats, trans fats have no nutritional value. They have been overwhelmingly shown to increase the risk of death from cardiovascular disease, such that several large cities and the state of California have banned their use in restaurants.
The fats are favored by food producers because they have a longer shelf life than natural fats. But growing consumer awareness over the dangers of trans fats has led more and more people to avoid them. According to a recent survey by Greenfield Online, 72 percent of U.S. residents read nutritional labels to make food purchasing decisions, and 61 percent believe that “zero trans fats” is the most important claim for a heart-healthy food.
Yet because the FDA allows nutrient content to be rounded to the nearest half gram, all food producers need to do to make a “zero trans fats” claim is set the serving size low enough that it contains no more than 0.49 grams of trans fats.
According to Steve Hughes, chief executive officer of Smart Balance, even consumers looking out for trans fats on nutritional labels “could exceed the daily limit before they even sit down to dinner.”
The FDA recommends a maximum daily trans fat intake of two grams.
Consumers can still avoid trans fats by reading ingredient labels. Any food that contains “hydrogenated” or “partially hydrogenated” oils actually contains trans fats, regardless of what it might say on the label or in the nutritional information box.
“The good news is Americans are making healthier food choices a priority and they clearly recognize the dangers of trans fat,” said dietitian Alyse Levine. “But unfortunately reading the fine print is necessary to ensure they’re not getting more trans fat and putting their health at greater risk than they bargained for.”