Tag Archives | Processed Food

Doctors Dissected Chicken Nuggets

This image is not in any way illustrative of the story, nor is it meant to imply McDonalds as one of the restaurants in diShazo's research.

This image is not in any way illustrative of the story, nor is it meant to imply McDonalds as one of the restaurants in deShazo’s research.

Dr. Richard deShazo of the University of Mississippi Medical Center recently dissected a couple of chicken nuggets from two “national fast-food chain restaurants” and discovered that they’re practically all fat and other gruesome stuff. Incidentally – and I mean totally incidentally – I used to work across the street from UMMC. They have a McDonalds in the pediatric wing of the hospital. I know because of my own shameful McNugget craving. Thankfully I ditched that stuff when I decided to get healthy. I’m not saying that McDonalds is one of the two restaurants in the study, though. Just an interesting factoid…. ahem.

Via The Atlantic:

“I was floored. I was astounded,” deShazo said of the moment he looked at a chicken nugget under a microscope.

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Here’s How U.S. Food Items Are Labeled Overseas

Supermarket shoppers in other countries are informed that American processed foods contain GMOs and artificial coloring dyes linked to childhood hyperactivity. Why aren’t we told this? Food Babe writes:

The NY Times verified that this is in fact a real label on US Kraft Mac & Cheese sold in the UK.

We know that Kraft does not label, distribute or export the US version of Mac & Cheese officially. (To echo my quote in The NY Times, I find it extremely bizarre that Kraft had no knowledge of their products being sold and widely available in one of the largest retailers in the world (Tesco) and are trying to pass this off as a black market supply.)

Kraft customer service confirmed use of GMOs in their products. Given all the public statements that Kraft has made to the media about this label, they have not attempted to refute their product “May Cause Adverse Effects On Activity And Attention In Children.”

warning label

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Study Links Processed Salt To Autoimmune Diseases

processed foods

Are processed foods disrupting our immune systems? Via True Activist:

The modern diet of processed foods could be to blame for a sharp increase in autoimmune diseases such as multiple sclerosis, alopecia, asthma and eczema.

A team of scientists from Yale University in the U.S and the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg, in Germany, say junk food diets could be partly to blame. “This study is the first to indicate that excess refined and processed salt may be one of the environmental factors driving the increased incidence of autoimmune diseases,” they said.

The team from Yale University studied the role of T helper cells in the body. These activate and ‘help’ other cells to fight dangerous pathogens such as bacteria or viruses and battle infections. A subset of these cells – known as Th17 cells – also play an important role in the development of autoimmune diseases.

In their study, scientists discovered that exposing these cells in a lab to a table salt solution made them act more ‘aggressively.’ They found that mice fed a diet high in refined salts saw a dramatic increase in the number of Th17 cells in their nervous systems that promoted inflammation.

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What Are ‘Natural’ Foods?

Marion Nestle, NYU’s food guru, explains at her blog, Food Politics:

FoodNavigator.com has issued a collection of its recent articles on “natural” and processing. At issue is the meaning of “natural,” which many people perceive as equivalent to organic or healthy. As I’ve said before, it isn’t.

Rainbow of food natural food colors

Natural has no regulatory meaning. The FDA merely says (note obfuscating double negatives):

From a food science perspective, it is difficult to define a food product that is ‘natural’ because the food has probably been processed and is no longer the product of the earth.

That said, FDA has not developed a definition for use of the term natural or its derivatives. However, the agency has not objected to the use of the term if the food does not contain added color, artificial flavors, or synthetic substances.

One thing is clear: “natural” sells food products.

Selling processed foods in a whole food world?

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A Tax On Unhealthy Foods?

Source: New York Times

Source: New York Times

The New York Times‘ Mark Bittman proposes a tax on junk food. What do you think – is he right?

What will it take to get Americans to change our eating habits? The need is indisputable, since heart disease, diabetes and cancer are all in large part caused by the Standard American Diet. (Yes, it’s SAD.)

Though experts increasingly recommend a diet high in plants and low in animal products and processed foods, ours is quite the opposite, and there’s little disagreement that changing it could improve our health and save tens of millions of lives.

And — not inconsequential during the current struggle over deficits and spending — a sane diet could save tens if not hundreds of billions of dollars in health care costs.

Yet the food industry appears incapable of marketing healthier foods. And whether its leaders are confused or just stalling doesn’t matter, because the fixes are not really their problem.

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Chemicals in Fast Food Wrappers Show Up in Human Blood

Microwave popcorn bad. Photo: Howcheng (CC)

Microwave popcorn bag. Photo: Howcheng (CC)

From Environment News Service:

Chemicals used to keep grease from leaking through fast food wrappers and microwave popcorn bags are migrating into food, being ingested by people and showing up as contaminants in blood, according to new research at the University of Toronto.

The contaminants are perfluoroalkyls, stable, synthetic chemicals that repel oil, grease, and water. They are used in surface protection products such as carpet and clothing treatments and coating for paper and cardboard packaging.

Earlier research by University of Toronto environmental chemists Scott Mabury and Jessica D’eon, established in 2007 that the wrappers are a source of these chemicals in human blood. Their new study shows that perfluorinated chemicals can migrate from wrappers into food.

The specific chemicals studied are polyfluoroalkyl phosphate esters, or PAPs, breakdown products of the perfluorinated carboxylic acids, or PFCAs, which are used in coating the food wrappers.

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Ben & Jerrys Is Not ‘All Natural’

I recently crossed Häagen-Dazs off my list of favorite ice creams due to its use of rBGH milk. In this disinfo story we quoted author John Robbins:

Ben & Jerry’s gets all their milk from dairies that have pledged not to inject their cows with genetically engineered bovine growth hormone (rBGH). Why, then, can’t Haagen Dazs, Breyers and Baskin-Robbins do the same?

OK, so there was still Ben & Jerry’s which is fairly easy to find, at least where I live. But wait, now it turns out that some of their ice cream isn’t natural after all! Story from NPR:

Indie ice cream pioneer Ben & Jerry’s will be dropping the phrase “All Natural” from some of its ice cream and frozen yogurt cartons, it announced today.

Ben_and_jerry_logo.svg

The flavors containing alkalized cocoa, corn syrup, and partially hydrogenated soybean oil particularly irked the folks over at the Center for the Science in the Public Interest, who had asked the company to stop using “all natural” claims last month in a letter to parent company Unilever.

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High Fructose Corn Syrup Changes Name To ‘Corn Sugar’

Who are they kidding? It’s not sugar and it’s not natural! From Fast Company’s Co.Design:

Cast as an evil, oozing harbinger of obesity and diabetes, sales of high fructose corn syrup have seen a downward spiral as companies swap the over-processed sweetener for healthier-sounding ingredients. So what’s the solution for the industry, according to the Corn Refiners Association? Change the name. To “corn sugar.” And presto! What was once a scary sounding goo becomes more natural-sounding, just as sweet and pure as cane sugar.

A new Web site and campaign rebranding HFCS as the innocuous term was launched today in the hopes that they will get FDA approval to change the name on food labeling. Over at CornSugar.com, ads and imagery of a maze mowed through corn fields symbolizes the path of misdirected customers confused by current labeling systems, as quotes from dietitians float helpfully above. (The Corn Refiners Association also own Corn.org and the icky-sounding SweetSurprise.com.)

[A brand-new ad, touting the subtle rebranding]

“This seems to be a last-ditch attempt to…

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Winning The Battle Against High Fructose Corn Syrup

Ban HFCSFor once, some good news in the fight against the poster child for processed food, High Fructose Corn Syrup, in the New York Times:

For much of 2009, Michael Locascio, an executive at ConAgra Foods, watched with concern as the bad news about high-fructose corn syrup kept coming.

In January, there were studies showing that samples of the sweetener contained the toxic metal mercury. Then came a popular Facebook page that was critical of the syrup. By year-end, there were about a dozen spoofs on YouTube mocking efforts by makers of high-fructose corn syrup to show that science is on their side.

But it was pleading comments like this one, from a devoted ConAgra customer, that finally persuaded Mr. Locascio, president of the meal enhancers category at ConAgra, to take action: “Hunt’s is by far the best ketchup ever, but please start making a variety without the high-fructose corn syrup,” wrote Jennifer from New Hampshire.

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