Tag Archives: food

Eating Whole Grains Is Great For Your Health

I’ve long been a fan of whole grains.  Eating whole grains helps you stay fuller longer making you significantly less likely to constantly eat.  Your body takes longer to digest the whole grains.  Look for the whole grain seal on bread, cereal, oats, etc. and make sure you are eating your whole grains!

Whole Grains Each Day Linked to Longer Life

Eating a diet rich in whole grains may reduce your risk of dying early, a new meta-analysis finds.

No Copyright Infringement Intended

People who reported eating at least three servings of whole grains daily were 20 percent less likely to die early from any cause compared with people who reported eating less than one serving a day, the researchers found. The analysis included 14 previous studies; all of the studies were at least six years long, and many were more than 10 years long.

The researchers also looked at specific causes of death. They found that eating three servings of whole grains a day was associated with a 25 percent lower risk of death from heart disease, and a 14 percent lower risk of death from cancer, compared with eating one serving or less of whole grains daily. 

The U.S. Dietary Guidelines recommend eating three or more servings of whole grains each day.  However, Americans eat, on average, less than one serving a day, according to the study, published today (June 13) in the journal Circulation.

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Indeed, “these findings lend further support to the U.S. government’s current Dietary Guidelines for Americans, which suggest high consumption of whole grains to facilitate disease prevention,” Dr. Qi Sun, an assistant professor of nutrition at the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston, and the senior author on the study, said in a statement.

The studies in the meta-analysis included a total of more than 786,000 people. There were nearly 98,000 deaths in all of the studies, including more than 23,000 from heart disease and more than 37,000 from cancer.

“Multiple individual studies consistently revealed a reduced risk of death among people who consumed more whole grains,” Sun told Live Science.

Moreover, each serving, or 0.5 ounces (16 grams), of whole grains a day was associated with a 7 percent reduction in a person’s risk of death from any cause, a 9 percent reduction in a person’s risk of death from heart disease and a 5 percent reduction in a person’s risk of death from cancer, the meta-analysis found.

The researchers noted that the types of whole grains people ate varied from study to study. However, in the U.S., more than 70 percent of whole grains that people eat come from breads and cereal grains, which include oatmeal, rice and barley, according to the study. 

This is not the first study to suggest whole grains have health benefits, nor is it the first meta-analysis to do so.

Two previous meta-analyses, for example, found that whole grains were associated with lower blood sugar levels, lower cholesterol levels and lower amounts of body fat, the researchers wrote.

A number of compounds found in whole grains could contribute to the foods’ effects on health, the researchers wrote. Fiber, for example, may lower cholesterol and help people feel fuller so they eat fewer calories. Magnesium may help improve insulin sensitivity and lower blood pressure. And other minerals and antioxidants may help fight oxidative stress, they said.

Based on the new findings, “health care providers should unanimously recommend whole grain consumption to the general population, as well as patients with certain diseases, to help achieve better health and perhaps reduce death,” Sun said.

In addition, whole grains should replace refined carbohydrates in a person’s diet, because these carbohydrates have been shown to have negative health effects, the researchers wrote.

(via Live Science via Yahoo! News)

Cinco de Mayo 2-Layer Nachos with Avocado Cilantro Sauce

 

Who doesn’t love nachos?  Enjoy Cinco de Mayo!

NPNachos1

Nachos

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Time: 20 min (active) + 1 hour (inactive)
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Print

Ingredients
  • 1 14 ounce bag tortilla chips
  • 1 pound ground meat (turkey or beef)
  • 1 packet taco seasoning
  • 1 Medium Onion
  • 1 handful kale
  • 1 10 ounce can diced tomatoes
  • 1 10 ounce bag of shredded cheese (taco or mexican blend)
  • 1 clove garlic, minced

Avocado Cilantro Sauce

  • 1/2 bunch cilantro
  • 1 lime
  • 1 avocado
  • 8 ounces sour cream
Directions
  1. Chop onions and saute in olive oil.
  2. Add meat, stir.  Once meat is brown add water and taco seasoning. Remove from heat once cooked.
  3. Place tortilla chips on a cooking sheet, making sure the bottom of the pan is completely covered.
  4. Add a layer of seasoned meat followed by tomatoes, and cheese.
  5. Repeat steps 3 and 4.
  6. Cover cookie sheet with aluminum foil and bake at 350 degrees F for ~20 minutes.
  7. While nachos are baking, peel and pit avocado, then place cilantro, sour cream and juice from 1 lime into a blender.  Blend until smooth.
  8. Remove foil and place kale over nachos and drizzle avocado cilantro sauce over.
  9. Enjoy!

This is a really easy recipe to make!  You can add or take away ingredients as you please.  For example, add black beans, jalepenos, mushrooms, corn, etc.  You can serve with basic sour cream and/or salsa, or eat as is.  Wash it down with your favorite beverage!

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E-Commerce: Convenience Built on a Mountain of Cardboard

Have you ever thought of the environmental impacts of your online shopping?  You may (or may not) be buying all natural and organic products online to decrease the use of toxic chemicals and your environmental impact, but you still have an impact!  The old cliché fits here: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle!

By MATT RICHTEL–Februay 16, 2016

Ruchit Garg, a Silicon Valley entrepreneur, says that he worries that something isn’t right with his Internet shopping habit. With each new delivery to his doorstep — sometimes several in a day — he faces the source of his guilt and frustration: another cardboard box.

Then, when he opens the shipment, he is often confronted with a Russian nesting doll’s worth of boxes inside boxes to protect his electronics, deodorant, clothing or groceries. Mr. Garg dutifully recycles, but he shared his concerns recently on Twitter.

A handful of scientists and policy makers are circling the same question, grappling with the long-term environmental effect of an economy that runs increasingly on gotta-have-it-now gratification. This cycle leads consumers to expect that even their modest wants can be satisfied like urgent needs, and not always feel so great about it.

The new arms race for Internet retailers is speed, making the old Federal Express commercial, “When it absolutely, positively has to be there overnight,” seem as quaint as delivery by horse and buggy. Amazon boasted in a news release in December about its “fastest order delivered to date” — a Miami customer’s craving for a four-pack of Starbucks vanilla frappuccino was sated in 10 minutes flat.

In 10 major regions, Google Express delivers in a little less than two hours from dozens of stores — including toys, drugs, hardware and pet supplies. Postmates, a San Francisco start-up, promises deliveries in less than an hour. It dropped off nearly one million packages in December.

Over all, the $350 billion e-commerce industry has doubled in the last five years, with Amazon setting the pace. Its Prime membership service has grown to more than 50 million subscribers, by one estimate. (And its new faster service, Prime Now, can “get customers pretty much anything in minutes,” its website says).

Uber calls its new UberRush service “your on-demand delivery fleet”; Jet Delivery offers “white glove” service in less than two hours; Instacart can deliver groceries to your door in less than an hour.

The environmental cost can include the additional cardboard — 35.4 million tons of containerboard were produced in 2014 in the United States, with e-commerce companies among the fastest-growing users — and the emissions from increasingly personalized freight services.

“There’s a whole fleet of trucks circulating through neighborhoods nonstop,” said Dan Sperling, the founding director of the Institute of Transportation Studies at the University of California, Davis, and the transportation expert on the California Air Resources Board. He also is overseeing a new statewide task force of trucking companies and government officials trying to reduce overall emissions from freight deliveries, including for e-commerce.

Dr. Sperling said that consumers shared as much responsibility for the environmental cost of the deliveries as the companies that provided the speedy services.

“From a sustainability perspective, we’re heading in the wrong direction,” he said.

But measuring the effect of the cardboard economy is more difficult.

E-commerce was responsible for much of the 35.4 million tons of containerboard produced in 2014 in the United States. Credit Jim Wilson/The New York Times

There are possible trade-offs, for example. As people shop more online, they might use their cars less. And delivery services have immense incentive to find the most efficient routes, keeping their fuel costs and emissions down. For its part, Amazon said that delivering to consumers straight from huge warehouses cuts down the need to distribute to thousands of stores.

So far, though, shoppers appear to be ordering online while still driving to brick-and-mortar stores at least as much as in the past, according to Dr. Sperling and other academics. One recent study explored the environmental effect of Internet shopping in Newark, Del., and found that a rise in e-commerce in recent years by local residents corresponded to more trucks on the road and an increase in greenhouse emissions.

Ardeshi Faghri, a professor of civil engineering at the University of Delaware, said the increase of various emissions — which he estimated at 20 percent from 2001 to 2011 — “could be due to a multitude of reasons, but we think that online shopping and more delivery trucks are really one of the primary reasons.”

“Online shopping has not helped the environment,” he said. “It has made it worse.”

Other scholars say that, at least for now, online shopping appears to be complementing brick-and-mortar shopping, not replacing it.

“People who shop online also like to see and feel things,” said Cara Wang, an associate professor at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute who studies transportation issues and has written a paper about habits of online shoppers. “And they have to return things.”

Dr. Wang and other researchers say the demand for instant delivery, in particular, creates challenges for trucking companies trying to be efficient. Instead of taking big truckloads to single retailers they now make more scattershot deliveries.

Many drivers deliver just one item. This is often the case for Postmates, which has a fleet of 15,000 freelance drivers signed up to make deliveries of whatever the customer orders — an Uber-like service, but for deliveries. The cost typically starts at $5, and a 9 percent service fee applied to the cost of the item. (The company says it also has about 5,000 deliverers who go on bike or foot in dense urban areas).


Ruchit Garg and his 3-year-old son with produce ordered online through Google. Credit Jim Wilson/The New York Times

And the push for speed from marketers gives shoppers little incentive to wait.

“Why select one week if I can get it in one hour?” asked Miguel Jaller, an assistant professor at U.C. Davis who studies urban freight patterns.

Such is the case for Monica Rohleder, who admits to using Amazon Prime so much that “my husband jokes we keep Amazon in business.”

Ms. Rohleder, who lives in Los Angeles and works at a public relations firm, said she liked overnight delivery, but “within a couple of hours is best” because she is busy with work and her two young children. So she often does not order something until it’s urgent. “There’s the immediate gratification of getting something and checking it off your list,” she said.

One afternoon she received six boxes, from Amazon and Nordstrom, for a Hawaii trip, including bathing suits, workout clothes and coloring books. Some of the clothes did not fit, so she returned them.

She thinks more about the cardboard that comes into her house than the truck emissions, she said. “It’s embarrassing,” she added of her mass of weekly recycling.

Dennis Colley, the president of the Fibre Box Association — the trade group for the corrugated paper, or cardboard, industry — estimated that the use of boxes for e-commerce was growing faster than most other market segments. However, he emphasized the industry’s efforts to be environmentally conscious, and that 90 percent of corrugated packaging were recycled.

Amazon is aware of the cardboard issue. Since 2009, it has received 33 million comments, ratings and photographs about its packaging as part of its “packaging feedback program.” Amazon said it used that feedback to make sure that cardboard box size was consistent with the size of the product. It also works with manufacturers to send some products without additional cardboard packaging, said Craig Berman, a company spokesman.

Though recycling can make consumers think they are helping the environment, the process has its own costs, including the emissions from shipping it to recycling centers, which use a lot of energy and water. Don Fullerton, a professor of finance and an expert in economics and the environment at the University of Illinois, said one possible solution would be to make the retailers responsible for taking back the boxes. That would create incentives for them to come up with solutions for less packaging.

“And maybe not put a box inside a box inside a box,” he said

Robert Reed, a spokesman for Recology, San Francisco’s main recycling processor, which collects 100 tons of cardboard every day, has a simpler solution: “Slow down consumption,” he said. “Slow down.”

(via New York Times)

The Parmesan Cheese You Sprinkle on Your Penne Could Be Wood

Color me shocked! …Not! Is it that surprising that the “parmesan cheese” you buy from Kraft/Walmart/etc. that does not need to be refrigerated is not authentic parmesan? Nope. At least it is just cellulose, which is relatively harmless! This article reminds me of the claims about faje olive oil about 2 years ago.  This shines a bright light on the disparity between providing quality and creating/increasing revenue. Labels are often misleading, which is why many consumers are so confused when it comes to making food and beauty choices.  On another note, sit and ask yourself about how a product is made, thinking of the human, environmental, and economic input and outputs.

By Lydia Mulvany–February 16, 2016

No Copyright Infringement Intended

Acting on a tip, agents of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration paid a surprise visit to a cheese factory in rural Pennsylvania on a cold November day in 2012.

They found what they were looking for: evidence that Castle Cheese Inc. was doctoring its 100 percent real parmesan with cut-rate substitutes and such fillers as wood pulp and distributing it to some of the country’s biggest grocery chains.

via Yahoo Finance.

The cheese police are on the case.  One might be tempted to think of this as a ripped-from-the-headlines episode of “NYPD Bleu,” except that the FDA wasn’t playing. Some grated Parmesan suppliers have been mislabeling products by filling them with too much cellulose, a common anti-clumping agent made from wood pulp, or using cheaper cheddar, instead of real Romano. Someone had to pay. Castle President Michelle Myrter is scheduled to plead guilty this month to criminal charges. She faces up to a year in prison and a $100,000 fine.

German brewers protect their reputations with Reinheitsgebot, a series of purity laws first drawn up 500 years ago, and Champagne makers prohibit most vineyards outside their turf from using the name. Now the full force of the U.S. government has been brought to bear defending the authenticity of grated hard Italian cheeses. Which is good news for Neil Schuman.

For years, Schuman has been a one-man Reinheitsgebot, insisting that the fragrant granules Americans sprinkle on their pizza and penne ought to be the real thing; if not, the label should say so.

The stakes are 100 percent real for him. Schuman’s Fairfield, New Jersey-based company, Arthur Schuman Inc., is the biggest seller of hard Italian cheeses in the U.S., with 33 percent of the domestic market. He estimates that 20 percent of U.S. production — worth $375 million in sales — is mislabeled.

“The tipping point was grated cheese, where less than 40 percent of the product was actually a cheese product,” Schuman said. “Consumers are innocent, and they’re not getting what they bargained for. And that’s just wrong.”

How serious is the problem? Bloomberg News had store-bought grated cheese tested for wood-pulp content by an independent laboratory.

Cellulose is a safe additive, and an acceptable level is 2 percent to 4 percent, according to Dean Sommer, a cheese technologist at the Center for Dairy Research in Madison, Wisconsin. Essential Everyday 100% Grated Parmesan Cheese, from Jewel-Osco, was 8.8 percent cellulose, while Wal-Mart Stores Inc.’s Great Value 100% Grated Parmesan Cheese registered 7.8 percent, according to test results. Whole Foods 365 brand didn’t list cellulose as an ingredient on the label, but still tested at 0.3 percent. Kraft had 3.8 percent.

“We remain committed to the quality of our products,” Michael Mullen, a Kraft Heinz Co. spokesman, said in an e-mail. John Forrest Ales, a Wal-Mart spokesman, said he questioned the reliability of testing a single sample and that Wal-Mart’s “compliance team is looking into these findings.”

Jewel-Osco is also investigating, spokeswoman Mary Frances Trucco said in an e-mail. “We pride ourselves on the quality of products we deliver for our customers,” Trucco said.

“We strongly believe that there is no cellulose present,” Blaire Kniffin, a Whole Foods Market Inc. spokeswoman, said in an e-mail, adding that it could have been a false positive. “But we are investigating this matter.”

According to the FDA’s report on Castle, obtained through the Freedom of Information Act, “no parmesan cheese was used to manufacture” the Market Pantry brand 100% grated Parmesan Cheese, sold at Target Corp. stores, and Always Save Grated Parmesan Cheese and Best Choice 100% Grated Parmesan Cheese, sold by Associated Wholesale Grocers Inc., which along with its subsidiaries supplies 3,400 retail stores in 30 states. Instead, there was a mixture of Swiss, mozzarella, white cheddar and cellulose, according to the FDA.

Castle has never been an authorized Target vendor, according to Target spokeswoman Molly Snyder. “We are investigating the information provided in the report,” she said in an e-mail. Jeff Pedersen, an executive vice president of Associated Wholesale Grocers, had no comment.

DairiConcepts, a Springfield, Missouri-based cheese maker that’s a subsidiary of Dairy Farmers of America, said on its website that in a test of 28 brands, only one-third of label claims about protein levels in grated parmesan were accurate. The company blamed fillers such as cellulose.

Until recently, there was little incentive to follow labeling rules. Criminal cases are rare. That’s because the FDA, which enforces the country’s food laws, prioritizes health hazards, said John Spink, director of the Food Fraud Initiative at Michigan State University. But civil lawsuits abound. A Jan. 29 complaint accuses McDonald’s Corp. of selling pure mozzarella sticks that contain starch, considered a filler, a claim the company denies.

Cheese makers commit adulteration because it saves money.

Marty Wilson, chief executive officer of New York-based Sugar Foods, which buys cheese from Schuman and supplies major pizza chains with to-go packets of parmesan, said whenever his contracts come up for renewal, competitors peddling ersatz cheeses surface. And he has lost business to them. “We’re constantly battling cheap imitators across all of our product lines,” Wilson said.

Bob Greco of Cheese Merchants of America said competitors hawking bastardized products have underbid him by as much as 30 percent. “The bad guys win and the rule-followers lose,” Greco said.

The FDA regulates what can legally be called Parmesan or Romano according to standards established in the 1950s to ensure that manufacturers wouldn’t sell cheeses wildly different in composition.

Americans love their hard Italian cheeses. Last year, U.S. Parmesan output rose 11 percent from 2014 to around 336 million pounds, while Romano production grew 20 percent, to 54 million pounds, according to U.S. Department of Agriculture data.

Italian producers, however, aren’t loving it as much. The Parmigiano Reggiano Consortium, a trade group based in Rome, asked the European Union in December to protect its manufacturers against U.S. companies that were using the names of their cheeses and Italian flags on their packaging. “A deceit” is how the organization’s president, Giuseppe Alai, characterized Americans’ use of Italian names and symbols.

Of all the popular cheeses in the U.S., the hard Italian varieties are the most likely to have fillers because of their expense. Parmesan wheels sit in curing rooms for months, losing moisture, which results in a smaller yield than other cheeses offer. While 100 pounds of milk might produce 10 pounds of cheddar, it makes only eight pounds of Parmesan. That two-pound difference means millions of dollars to manufacturers, according to Sommer.

Slippery Rock, Pennsylvania-based Castle produced mainly imitation cheeses for nearly 30 years. The company, whose factory was adorned with crenelated battlements and curved archways to look like a medieval castle, had $19 million in sales in 2013.

The trouble started in 2010 when it began making what it called 100 percent grated Parmesan. A plant manager designed flawed recipes, and after Castle fired him in 2012, he alerted the FDA, the company said in a December 2012 letter to the agency, obtained through the FOIA.

The FDA accused Castle Cheese of marketing as real grated Parmesan what was in fact a mixture of imitation cheese and trimmings of Swiss, white cheddar, Havarti and mozzarella. After the probe, Castle stopped production of the problematic cheeses and dumped inventories. The company filed for bankruptcy in 2014.

A lawyer for Michelle Myrter and Castle Cheese didn’t respond to requests for comment. In the 2012 letter to the FDA, Castle said there was inadequate documentation, and the FDA could note only the potential that the products weren’t 100 percent pure.

Lauren E. Sucher, an FDA spokeswoman, said the agency couldn’t comment on pending legal cases. “The FDA takes economic fraud very seriously,” she said in an e-mail.

The FDA’s investigation may be the spark that changes things, said John Umhoefer, executive director of the Wisconsin Cheese Makers Association.

“The industry wants to be known for a wholesome, safe, honest product — it’s what’s kept the industry growing for 100 years,” he said. “The wholesomeness of dairy products is a treasured part of our story.”

—With assistance from Craig Giammona and Leslie Patton.

(via Bloomberg/Yahoo Finance)

Chobani Simply 100 vs. Dannon Light & Fit Greek vs. Yoplait Greek 100

Nature’s Pulchritude is kind of into ingredients. Okay, we are really into ingredients! I thought Chobani’s digs at Yoplait and Dannon were interesting and are a prime example of companies realizing that ingredients and associated perceived quality are a marketing strategy for companies. Of course, you cannot call out other companies if your ingredients are no better. Let’s see how these greek yogurts stack up! All flavors listed are for Peach. I am not affiliated with any brands in any way shape or form, have not received any compensation for this post!

Chobani Simply 100

Copyright Chobani

Nonfat Yogurt (Cultured Pasteurized Nonfat Milk, Live and Active Cultures: S. Thermophilus, L. Bulgaricus, L. Acidophilus, Bifidus and L. Casei), Peaches, Chicory Root Fiber, Water, Evaporated Cane Juice, Pectin, Natural Flavors, Locust Bean Gum, Guar Gum, Monk Fruit Extract, Stevia Leaf Extract, Fruit And Vegetable Juice Concentrate (For Color).

Nutrition Facts
Serving Size 5.3oz (150g)
Servings per Container 1
Amount per Serving %DV*
Calories 100 Calories from Fat 0
Total Fat 0g 0%
Saturated Fat 0g 0%
Trans Fat 0g-
Cholesterol 5mg 2%
Potassium 240mg 6%
Sodium 65mg 3%
Total Carbs 14g 5%
Dietary Fiber 5g 20%
Sugars 7g-
Protein 12g 24%
Vitamin A 0% · Vitamin C 0%
Calcium 15% · Iron 0%

About Chobani Simply 100® Blended Non-Fat Greek Yogurt

  • No artificial sweeteners
  • Only natural non-GMO ingredients
  • 75% less sugar than regular yogurt based on USDA data*
  • Excellent source of protein and fiber
  • Made with milk from cows not treated with artificial growth
  • hormones**

  • Includes probiotics and live cultures
  • No preservatives
  • Gluten free
  • Kosher certified
  • Vegetarian friendly
  • Less than 5% lactose

Ingredients
One of the first things I noticed about this product was that it was sweetened with Stevia extract. Chobani’s other product lines more or less only use evaporate cane juice. Stevia is used because it provides a sweet taste (150x sweeter than sugar) without the added calories. (Learn more about stevia). That also explains why it is the last ingredient. Pectin is a thickener, typically derived from fruit though it is not specified here. Locust Bean Gum and Guar Gum are also thickeners. Monk Fruit Extract is another “natural alternative to sugar” sweetener, that has a similar controversy around it like stevia. I don’t see a preservative listed, Chobani uses salt in their other products.

One drawback is Chobani claims the milk used in their yogurt is non-GMO, however, they are NOT certified by the Non-GMO Project, the most known non-GMO certification in the US. They are instead certified by a european certifier. This could be good or bad. Chobani could have gone with a european certifier (eurofins) because they are more rigorous than the non-GMO Project. Or, Chobani’s products may not meet non-GMO Project standards. Expect a post on this in the near future.

Nutrition
Overall this is good. High in fiber and protein, and much lower in sugar than Chobani’s other products.

Dannon Light & Fit Greek

Copyright Danone

Ingredients
Fructose. Typically naturally derived but not the best ingredient. Corn starch is a thickener. Malic acid is used to enhance flavor. Sucralose was specifically pointed out by Chobani. Sucralose,commonly referred to as Splenda, is a zero calorie sweetener that is 320-1,000 times sweeter than sucrose. Sucralose is the new alternative to aspartame another zero calorie sweetener that has received a significant amount of scrutiny. Sucralose is manufactured from Sucrose. Stevia and Monk Fruit Extracts are the “naturally derived” versions of Sucralose. Potassium Sorbate is a synthetically derived preservative that is commonly used in natural ingredients. Acesulfame Sorbate is another artificial zero calorie sweetener. This product very likely uses GMO milk and peaches.

Nutrition
This product is high in protein, but has no fiber. Sugar is the same amount as Chobani Simply 100 (7 grams).

Yoplait Greek 100

Copyright Yoplait

Ingredients
Not much difference in this product than the Dannon Light & Fit Greek.

Nutrition
Yoplait Greek 100 is high in protein, though 4 grams less than Dannon & Chobani, with no fiber, and 9 grams of sugar, 2 grams more than Chobani and Dannon.

Nature’s Pulchritude’s Verdict: Chobani Simply 100 is head and shoulders above Dannon Light & Fit Greek & Yoplait Greek 100. The ingredients in Dannon and Yoplaits yogurts are standard across the mass produced food industry–filled with artificial and synthetic ingredients. Chobani clearly perceives their products to have better ingredients, though the jury is still out on Stevia extract and Monk Fruit extract. They may be naturally derived compared to sucralose and acesulfame sorbate but that does not mean they different on impact on the body. I recently tried the Simply 100 and it was pretty bland, it could have done without the 7 grams of sugar, assuming some of that sugar is not attributed to the peaches. This is coming from someone who eats plain Greek Yogurt, which is quite bland with less sugar.

I encourage you to read labels, and look beyond the nutritional facts. Artificial ingredients may not have fat and calories, but that does not mean it is good for you, better than products that use real ingredients, or most importantly that it is not negatively impacting your body!

Yogurt Companies Duel Over Artificial Ingredient Claims

Preservatives and artificial sweeteners are once again at the forefront of a debate over product quality and ingredients. By the way, the fact that companies are calling each other out about artificial ingredients as a marketing tool means that you the CONSUMER are helping to shift the market! The most interesting aspect of this case is over potassium sorbate, which has been featured in our preservative series. Potassium sorbate is considered safe by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in low concentrations. It is important to realize that natural ingredients can be just as harmful and artificial ingredients! Chobani had several instances of yogurt expiring (being liquidy) well prior to the expiration, so perhaps they should look at the efficacy of their own preservatives. That said, I do not and would not purchase the brands in question and was a frequent Chobani purchaser until I realized they may be used cow’s milk that have been feed GMO diets (they now claim their products are non-GMO yet they are not non-GMO project certified).

Chobani Ads Shift a Battle Out of the Yogurt Aisle and Into the Courts


A still from a Chobani ad. The company’s new campaign calls out rival yogurt companies for using artificial ingredients. CreditChobani 

(1/10/2016, By Stephanie Stromjam–A legal fight is brewing over Chobani’s new advertising campaign for its Simply 100 line of Greek yogurt.

The campaign, on television and social media and in newspapers, lists what Chobani says are the differences in ingredients in Simply 100 and low-calorie yogurts made by two competitors, Dannon and Yoplait.

The ads say that unlike Simply 100, Dannon Light & Fit Greek uses the artificial sweetener sucralose and Yoplait Greek 100 contains potassium sorbate as a preservative.

In one of Chobani’s television ads, which began airing on Jan. 6, a woman lounging next to a pool tosses a cup of Dannon Light & Fit into a used-towel receptacle with a disgusted look on her face.

Michael Neuwirth, a spokesman for Dannon, said in an email that Chobani’s ads were misleading and deceptive. “Like many reduced-calorie foods, Light & Fit Greek nonfat yogurt contains sucralose, an F.D.A.-approved ingredient that has been safely and widely used as a sweetener in foods for more than 15 years,” Mr. Neuwirth said.

Potassium sorbate is a common preservative. But Chobani’s ad campaign contends that it “is used to kill bugs.” Another Chobani commercial shows a young woman in a classic convertible reading the label on a tub of Yoplait Greek 100 and then tossing it out of the car.

Mike Siemienas, a spokesman for General Mills, which owns Yoplait, says that potassium sorbate is a salt used in small amounts in yogurt to prevent the growth of mold and yeast. “The statements made by Chobani in their latest attempt to sell more yogurt are entirely misleading, and we don’t think consumers appreciate that kind of approach,” Mr. Siemienas said in an email.

Consumers have become much more aware of the ingredients in their food over the last few years, sending food and restaurant companies scrambling to reformulate products. PepsiCo removed brominated vegetable oil from Gatorade after a teenager in Mississippi complained and pointed out that the ingredient — added to some citrus drinks to keep the fruit flavoring evenly distributed — was banned from use in foods in many other countries. Coca-Cola later followed suit. And the Campbell Soup Company is retooling its soups to get rid of ingredients like high-fructose corn syrup and artificial colors.

“This campaign is fundamentally about choice — the choice between natural ingredients versus artificial ingredients,” Peter McGuinness, chief marketing and brand officer at Chobani, said in a statement. “We’re empowering consumers with facts and information to help them make more informed decisions when they’re buying food for themselves and their families.”

A day after the ads began running, Dannon sent a cease-and-desist letter to Chobani, demanding that it immediately stop the campaign. “These Simply 100 advertisements are false, misleading and deceptive, will deceive consumers, and have caused and will continue to cause immediate and irreparable injury to Dannon, as well as to consumers,” Marcella Ballard, a lawyer at Venable who represents the French company, wrote to Chobani’s general counsel.

Ms. Ballard said the ads violated the Lanham Act, a federal law that, among other things, protects companies from unfair competition and is often cited in cases contending false and misleading advertising. She also said the campaign violated New York State law.

On Friday, Chobani went to court seeking a decision that would allow it to continue the advertising campaign. The company argued that the information in the campaign on sucralose and potassium sorbate came directly from federal government websites.

Chobani asserts that the statements made in its ads “are true and accurate.”

(via The New York Times)

Lean Meat OK But Cut Sugar, New U.S. Dietary Guidelines Advise

It is about time there is a poli y addressing the e,tremely high levels of sugar consumed in this country. Have you e ery wo dered why there is no “percent daily value” of sugaron your favorite food label? The sugar lobby (also known as “Big Sugar”) doesn’t want you to know! 3000% daily value of sugar would make you think twice, no?

WASHINGTON (AP) — Some Americans may not have to cut back on eggs and salt as much as they once thought. And eating lean meat is still OK. But watch the added sugars — especially the sugary drinks.

The Obama administration’s new dietary guidelines, released Thursday, back off the strictest sodium rules included in the last version, while still asserting that Americans consume too much salt. The guidelines reverse previous guidance on the dangers of dietary cholesterol and add strict new advice on sugars.

via Associated Press/Yahoo!

After a backlash from the meat industry and Congress, the administration ignored several suggestions from a February report by an advisory committee of doctors and nutrition experts. That panel suggested calling for an environmentally friendly diet lower in red and processed meats and de-emphasized lean meats in its list of proteins that are part of a healthy diet.

But as in the previous years, the government still says lean meats are part of a healthy eating pattern.

Released every five years, the guidelines are intended to help Americans prevent disease and obesity. They inform everything from food package labels to subsidized school lunches to your doctor’s advice. And the main message hasn’t changed much over the years: Eat your fruits and vegetables. Whole grains and seafood, too. And keep sugar, fats and salt in moderation.

This year, one message the government wants to send is that people should figure out what type of healthy eating style works for them, while still hewing to the main recommendations. The Agriculture Department, which released the guidelines along with the Department of Health and Human Services, is also releasing a tweaked version of its healthy “My Plate” icon to include a new slogan: “My Wins.”

“Small changes can add up to big differences,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack.

One new recommendation is that added sugar should be 10 percent of daily calories. That’s about 200 calories a day, or about the amount in one 16-ounce sugary drink. The recommendation is part of a larger push to help consumers isolate added sugars from naturally occurring ones like those in fruit and milk. Added sugars generally add empty calories to the diet.

Sugar-sweetened beverages make up a large portion of those empty calories. According to the guidelines, sugary drinks comprise 47 percent of the added sugars that Americans eat every day.

Americans also need to lower salt intake, the government says. New figures from the Centers for Disease for Disease Control and Prevention show that around 90 percent of people eat too much. The average person eats 3,400 milligrams of sodium a day, and the guidelines say everyone should lower that amount to 2,300, or about a teaspoon.

Lowering sodium intake was the major push of the 2010 guidelines, and that document recommended that those most at risk of heart disease, or about half the population, lower their intake to 1,500. The new guidelines drop that lower amount as part of the top recommendations. Still, advice buried deeper in the guidelines says that those with hypertension and prehypertension could still benefit from a steeper reduction.

(via Associated Press/Yahoo!)

Major Food Chain Pulls Back on Local Ingredients

This is the second major E.coli outbreak that has plagued Chipotle in just 2 months, with several other food contamination cases in the last 6 months.  Chipotle’s position highlights are larger issue with sourcing of local produce and the incidence of bacteria and other microbes being present.  Chipotle’s reaction should be applauded though we will see if they will be able to shift back towards local ingredient sourcing once the problems are identified and addressed.

Julie Jargon (12/16/2015)–Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc. has touted its use of local ingredients and fresh produce to help differentiate it in a crowded fast-food market. Now a string of disease outbreaks is forcing the once-scrappy upstart to act more like the big chains it long has derided.

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Chipotle expects to lower its use of locally sourced ingredients and is centralizing the preparation of some vegetables as it seeks to shore up food safety following an E. coli outbreak that sickened 52 people in nine states and a norovirus episode in Boston. The burrito chain hopes the steps can help it regain consumers who have shunned its outlets, eroding sales.

Health officials haven’t been able to identify the source of the E. coli outbreak but say produce was the probable cause.

At an investor conference in New York last week, Steve Ells, founder and co-chief executive of Chipotle, described the chain’s new practice of dicing, sanitizing and hermetically sealing tomatoes, cilantro and lettuce in a central kitchen where they are tested for microbes and then shipped to restaurants.

Mr. Ells said the extra steps don’t change the quality of the ingredients and that whole avocados and jalapeños will continue to be brought into the restaurants. The new techniques minimize the number of people and surfaces coming into contact with the ingredients.

“You could bring fresh cilantro right out of the field into the restaurant and wash it there. I don’t think that would be any better than washing the cilantro in the commissary,” Mr. Ells told investors. “And if dried properly and then sealed in the bags, it’s a delicious product.”

Chipotle said it has long used pre-washed cilantro in its restaurants.

Mr. Ells apologized for the outbreaks on NBC’s “Today” show last week and said Chipotle is trying to make sure they don’t happen again. “I’m sorry for the people who got sick. They are having a tough time, and I feel terrible about that,” he said.

Chipotle had moved away from centralized produce preparation for taste reasons. For many years, the Denver company chopped and washed tomatoes in a Chicago kitchen and shipped them to restaurants in bags. Last year, it began chopping them at its restaurants in dicing machines, because executives said they tasted better when prepared on-site.

“They are still the same tomatoes, they are simply cut, washed and packaged before they get to our restaurants,” Chipotle spokesman Chris Arnold said. “Any difference in taste would be slight, if even perceptible,”  

“Produce is the leading vehicle of single-source food-borne outbreaks in the U.S. Even if the contaminant was something else, like a spice, they still need to get it right with produce,” said Michael Doyle, director of the Center for Food Safety at the University of Georgia.

Chipotle has experienced five disease outbreaks since July, including a salmonella outbreak involving tomatoes that sickened 64 people in Minnesota.

The company has warned its fourth-quarter earnings would fall well below analyst forecasts and its same-store sales would drop 8% to 11% because of the incidents.

It isn’t clear which restaurants may be benefiting as Chipotle loses customers. A spokeswoman for restaurant-consulting firm Technomic Inc. said direct Chipotle competitors such as Qdoba Mexican Grill or Moe’s Southwest Grill may benefit, but upscale burger chains like Smashburger that offer fresh, made-to-order foods also tend to attract similar customers and may get a sales lift.

Melissa Arnoff, a senior vice president at crisis-management firm Levick, said Chipotle’s safer practices might actually create a new problem for the company by turning off customers who like watching their food being prepared in front of them. “Hermetically sealed tomatoes are 180-degrees from the image they want to portray,” she said.

 

“Our commitments to better ingredients—including meat raised without antibiotics, pasture-raised dairy, and local and organically grown produce—have not changed. None of the plans and programs we are putting in place call for diminishing the quality of ingredients we use,” Mr. Arnold said.

Though there is no evidence that Chipotle’s multistate E. coli outbreak originated with a local supplier—and it likely didn’t, given that people from Oregon to New York got sick—, some smaller farmers Chipotle has long praised may be unable to keep supplying the chain if they can’t implement the kind of sophisticated pathogen testing it now is requiring.

Chipotle, which has nearly 2,000 restaurants, has talked up its local growers ever since it began the sourcing program in 2008. By 2010, the company said it was buying more than 50% of at least one ingredient locally throughout the country, although it initially referred to “local” ingredients as those sourced from within about 200 miles of its restaurants and now defines as local those grown within 350 miles.

Until last week, Chipotle hadn’t disclosed the percentage of its produce that is locally grown, but Mr. Ells told investors that the total amount of locally grown produce Chipotle buys in a given year amounts to just about 10%—a figure that is likely to decrease, Mr. Arnold said.

The spate of disease outbreaks marks something of a comeuppance for a company that has satirized so-called factory farms in its marketing, criticizing their mechanized growing practices, as well as fast-food chains for using preservatives. In October, Chipotle produced a fake commercial in which a customer walks into a fictitious restaurant chain named “Cheapotle,” where she finds a slew of artificial ingredients going into her food.

Choosing how to communicate its food-safety changes poses a dilemma for the company that wants to assure customers that its food is safe without alienating those who share its “food with integrity” ideals. 

Executives recently told investors that they will wait until the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention declares an end to the E. coli outbreak before launching an ad campaign about Chipotle’s food-safety steps.

Until that happens, once-loyal customer Sergio Pereira won’t return.

“With all the food poisonings there, I haven’t been to a Chipotle in the last three months and I won’t let anyone in my family go, either,” said Mr. Pereira, the 54-year-old president of Quill.com, a division of Staples Inc. He added that if Chipotle told customers they are sanitizing produce off-site, it would help give him the confidence to return, but that he still wants to know more.

“The company needs to rebuild trust and they need to tell people that they’ve made very concrete changes,” he said.

(via The Wall Street Journal @Yahoo! News)