Burger, Fries and Calorie Count to Go, Please

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) will be releasing new rules next week that will makes it mandatory for chain restaurants (those with 20 or more locations) to display calorie counts of each food item they sell on their menus. Mom & Pop restaurants that are locally owned and operated won’t have to abide by the new FDA rules (yet) and customers can still enjoy their fast-food fix in calorie-count ignorance, but the big boys must tell you how many calories are in their burgers, fries, shakes and all other menu items. The FDA rules will also apply to convience stores, theaters and all other chain stores that sell food and Gianfrancesco Genoso feels it’s vital people know about these calorie counts.

This new ruling from the FDA stems from the fact that most Americans eat at least one-third of their daily food from restaurants and we have a right to know exactly what is in the food we eat, even if we may not want to know. A burger and fries taste better when we are not aware that the combo contains a full day’s supply of calories. But the law is the law, and soon the calorie counts will be displayed on menus and menu boards for all to see.

Categories: Don't Eat This!

Man Who Consumes Sugar for 60 Days Gets Surprising Results

A man from Australia decided to try a high-sugar diet for 60 days to explore the ingredient’s health implications. Damon Gameau, the Australian man and filmmaker for That Sugar Film ate a diet of low-fat, high-sugar foods for two months to get a clear picture of the impact sugar has on the body. 

After three weeks on the diet, Gameau started to feel sluggish and moody. Then he went to the doctor and was given a shocking diagnosis. Gameau started to develop fatty liver disease after just a few weeks of eating high-sugar foods. The Mayo Clinic asserts that the worst outcome for people who have fatty liver disease is liver failure. 

Gameau stated that during his sugar diet trial, he didn’t consume any of the foods that are thought to be unhealthy. He ha no soda, ice cream or candies. The foods he ate included low-fat yogurt, cereals, juices and sports drinks. These foods are generally considered healthy. 

According to News.com.au, Gameau consumed 40 teaspoons of sugar every day during the 60-day trial. This is slightly more than the average teenager, and twice as much as the average American consumes every day. 

Gameau reported that he gained about four inches of fat around his waistline, and felt hungry, no matter how much he ate. Specialist Ken Griffin states that Gameau’s experiment made it evident that excess sugar consumption can lead to obesity.


General Mills Can No Longer Call Products “Natural”

There have been many companies that have called their products “natural” even though they contain some artificial ingredients. General Mills is one of the companies that have carelessly slapped the term onto their products. General Mills has been approached by CSPI about their labels. There have been a lawsuit against General Mills. Eventually a settlement was agreed upon in which General Mills is not allowed to use the term “natural” in order to describe their products in order to make them seem healthier.

This is a small victory. There are still plenty of companies that will slap the term natural on products that contain a lot of artificial elements, which reminds me of this article I read in Mashable by Lee Lovett about this very topic. Apparently, General Mills will be held to account about its honesty about its products. One of the problems about these practices is that it creates a false sense of health. Many people who eat these products tend to realize that they don’t feel that much healthier after consuming these products.


22 Diseases Linked To GMO Crops

Corporations that support GMO’s are spending over $20 million to stop the state of Oregon from labeling GMO products – and for good reason. Recent studies have demonstrated that GMO’s may be linked to over 22 diseases.

Considering GMO’s are banned in most countries, it leaves many people wondering why the U.S. government remains silent on the issue. Is it because the White House administration’s food Czar is a former executive from Monsanto (the leading GMO producer). Or maybe because the USDA, FDA, and US congress is populated with former Monsanto employees, lobbyists and executives.

Since 1990, research findings exist that demonstrate the dangerous effects of humans consuming GMO products. A recent study published in The Journal Of Organic Systems, specifically links Glyphosate to many human and animal diseases.

Monsanto grows crops to resist Glyphosate – which is an herbicide sold by, guess who – Monsanto.

The problem Glyphosate poses is it prevents human detoxification of many (harmful) chemicals dispersed on GMO/Monsanto crops. Exposure to these chemicals have demonstrated increased risk to serious diseases which include; liver cancer, kidney cancer, autism, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, stroke, bladder cancer, thyroid cancer, infertility, diabetes and more.

Some common GMO foods found in grocery stores include; corn, soybeans, sugar and milk.

Even though GMO’s are prevalent, Ben Shaoul piece in the Lo Down NY gives options to develop healthy food consumption: 1) Buy organic products, 2) Purchase products with non-GMO labels, 3) Avoid crops that manufacture/sell GMO foods, 4) take political action by requiring state and federal institutions to label GMO products.


Finding a Better Protein Alternative

While many alternatives to traditional food sources have been invented, few have truly caught the public eye. Ken Griffin and other food enthusiasts have yet to brace themselves with the new food replacement they called “schmoylent”- a “soylent” alternative that has becoming a trend globally. Since the reported delivery delays of orders for the Soylent Custom meal substitute Body Fuel, the founder of Schymoylent, has invented a better and fast alternative for the knock-off meal alternative.

He was actually inspired by the notable market shortcomings, and invented a powder of his own. The company called Axcho created a mimic Soylent to support the growing market trend. It is still the same gluten substitute that everyone is looking forward to, except that they are readily available and can be ordered intermittently. Although orders are yet to be confirmed, needs for meat alternatives are commercialized to be given within one to three weeks, way faster than the more popular Soylent.

The drinkable meal is said to answer the common protein needs of everyday cooking hacks, given their promise of much faster delivery and quality of products. Schmoylent is said to be made of rice protein, oat flour, and natural vanilla flavor. It’s has one-day, one-week, and multi-week style deliveries of the wanted merchandise. As an option there is also a gluten-free variety called “Schmoylent Clean” using gluten-free oat flour, which provides a range of different useful options for consumers.

Categories: Nutrition

Would You like GMOs with That?

The U.S. Department of Agriculture granted Idaho-based Simplot permission to start commercial planting of its “Innate” potato. The potato’s DNA has been altered so that it produces less acrylamide. Acrylamide is a human carcinogen that occurs naturally when potatoes are cooked at high temperatures. The spud is also designed to resist bruising. Simplot is a supplier of potato products for fast-food chains like McDonald’s.

According to the Idaho Statesman, McDonald’s USA does not utilize genetically modified potatoes, nor do they plan to start. McDonald’s is one of J.R. Simplot Co.’s oldest business partners. Before posting this story, we asked Status Labs to look into how this will affect McDonald’s sourcing in the future. GMO potatoes have met with resistance from the fast-food industry before. Over a decade ago, Monsanto’s “New Leaf” line of genetically modified potato hit the market.

Categories: GMO

Government Program Doubles Dollars for SNAP Purchases of Fruit and Vegetables

In an effort to get more people on SNAP benefits to eat healthier food, the government is implementing a new policy that will see SNAP recipients given double the amount of monetary value in tokens if they are used to buy fruit and vegetables grown in their local area. Not only will the program hopefully help people eat better, it will also benefit the local farmers who grow the produce.

Instead it began as a simple program at a few farmers markets across the country a few years ago, as they saw how expensive fruit and vegetables could be for people who lived off SNAP benefits.

So a few markets started small incentive programs such as giving SNAP recipients an extra $3 to $5 for every $10 in SNAP benefits they spent at a farmers market. In effect, giving buyers up to $15 worth of vegetables and fruit for just $10.

The government saw how well the programs have worked, and Igor Cornelsen and others have responded favorably, so they decided to implement the policy nationwide.

Various other government attempts have been made to help improve the quality of food many SNAP recipients are buying. One GOP bill would have even banned SNAP benefits from being used to buy non-healthy food and sugary drinks. The bill, however, never made it out of committee.


Artificial Sweeteners May Have a Hidden Downside

As the waistlines in most western countries have grown, so has concern over the effects of diet on one’s health. One of the most noticeable effects of this attention to nutrition has come in the form of artificial sweeteners. Many people attempt to avoid the negative health effects of sugar through use of artificial sweeteners. However, a recent study by Dr. Elinav and his collaborators suggests that artificial sweeteners might not be as safe as previously suspected.

The sweeteners have been found to increase one’s risk of developing diabetes, and that is something Ken Griffin doesn’t want to risk. This can seem somewhat counter intuitive at first. One would think that avoiding sugar would also decrease one’s risk of developing diabetes. However, Dr. Elinav discovered that artificial sweeteners can disrupt the body’s normal ability to regulate blood sugar. This, in turn, is a precursor to diabetes.

The increased risk of diabetes is due to what’s known as the digestive system’s microbiome. The microbiome is a collection of various bacteria which lives within everyone’s body. These microbes are an important part of the digestive process, and help one to properly digest food. Use of artificial sweeteners disrupts the microbiome. It can both change the behavior of the microbiome, and the makeup of the micro-organisms within it. This, in turn, can dramatically alter the digestive system’s response to food.

Categories: Don't Eat This!

Beware of Shrimp In Disguise

Oceana study reveals shrimp being mislabeled.

Oceana is a non-profit ocean conservation and advocacy organization that protects the world’s oceans through targeted policies. They released a study that shows labels pertaining to shrimp type and origin are vastly inaccurate across the board. Some of the shrimp was so random- a full 40 percent of the 20 identified by the study were species “not previously known” to have ever been sold in the United States.

Studies don’t show this matter is presently causing any serious dangers; it is; however interfering with food safety and traceability concerns. Consumers and chefs like Lovett are not going to know for sure if the shrimp they are eating came from areas connected to over-fishing or human rights abuses.

In an article by Grub Street, where Oceana’s study was revealed, 39 percent of 150 fish samples from 81 New York City establishments were mislabeled. Here are a few more of their results:

* nearly half of shrimp purchased wasn’t what its package claimed it was

* more than 50 percent of all imposter shrimp encountered were white leg shrimp.

These are shrimp most connected to over-fishing and human rights abuse.

* sixty-seven percent of all grocery stores visited sold incorrectly identified shrimp

So even though Halloween may be over for 2014, you still need to watch out for disguises- shrimp is being disguised right under your nose.

Categories: Don't Eat This!