Tag Archives: food industry

Do You Know What You Just Put in Your Mouth? Author Patrick Di Justo Tells Reddit the Truth about Processed Junk Food

chemical-foods

Patrick Di Justo, author of “This is What You Just Put in Your Mouth” took to reddit last week to answer readers’ questions about the very same topic.

Di Justo wrote a column in everyone’s favorite science publication, Wired magazine, where he broke down the ingredients in common household products, explaining just what those unpronounceable ingredients really are, why they are used, and just where they come from.

“All my research is dedicated to pointing out what is in the food you eat and the products you use. I almost never make value judgments about these ingredients — the idea is that you now have all this information, you make your own decisions,” explained Di Justo to one reader. “I think the only thing I’ve ever told people to stay away from was heroin, because heroin is pure evil in powdered form. And high fructose corn syrup, which is not as immediately evil as heroin, but still bad for you.”

When Wired magazine got its own show on PBS, called Wired Science, host Chris Hardwick presented Di Justo’s articles as a special segment of the show. The very first food he broke down? Cool Whip.

Cool Whip

Before you dollop this unassuming, fluffy, sweet treat on your fruit salad, let’s find out exactly what’s in it:

First off, it’s bleeding you dry: water is Cool Whip’s main ingredient, since air can’t really be put on an ingredient list. Water and air make up forty-one cents per ounce, just over twice what it would cost to whip real cream yourself. (more…)

Fixing Obesity: Changing How We View the Problem Could Lead to Better Solutions

obesity-drowning

At this point, it should be abundantly clear that there are no quick fixes to the obesity problem in America. Though there is plenty to be done to stop or reverse a course of obesity, when it comes to preventing it in the first place, most focus on healthy diets and plenty of exercise.

Of course, there is nothing wrong with either of those; here at DietsInReview, we fully support both. However, we may be missing a solution to the obesity problem. One that isn’t physical in nature, but mental.

David L. Katz, MD, MPH, president of the American College of Lifestyle Medicine, wrote in a LinkedIn post, The Obesity Fix, his belief that the obesity problem can be fixed by a shift in how we think about health and obesity. He also acknowledges change won’t be easy, saying that no one seems to mind when super sugary cereals are marketed to children, or when it’s revealed how some foods are designed to be as addictive as possible.

He believes in order for this to change, people must see health and obesity differently than they do now, in two different ways.

HEALTH IS WEALTH (more…)

Regulation Nation: What Consumers Really Think About the Feds in Our Food

The question of whether or not the government should regulate the food industry seems like a simple one, but it’s really an incredibly complex topic. Variables like price, availability, variety of offerings, and quality of products are all involved. Also, there’s the issue of how much regulation the food industry should have. Should it all be regulated? None? Or maybe somewhere in the middle?

To help us make sense of the issue, Sullivan Higdon & Sink (SHS) has produced its latest White Paper, Regulation Nation. Through their research, they’ve learned the issue of food regulation comes down to a lot more than a simple yes we should have it, or no we shouldn’t.

regulation pros and cons

Regulation Benefits: Food is safer, healthier, better-quality.

Regulation Negatives: limit choices, restrict freedoms, and ultimately drive up costs.

(more…)

The Plot to Make Big Food Pay for the Rising Cost of Obesity

In an attempted takedown like that of the tobacco industry in the 90s, lawyers are asking state attorneys general to sue the food industry to make them pay for obesity-related health care costs.

lawsuit

Lawyer Paul McDonald, partner at Valorem Law Group in Chicago, is heading up the movement asking 16 states to take on Big Food.

“I believe that this is the most promising strategy to lighten the economic burden of obesity on states and taxpayers and to negotiate broader public health policy objectives,” he told POLITICO.

Mary Hartley, R.D. shared some of her concerns about litigation of this kind with us. “Lawyers who took on the tobacco companies are fishing for new money,” she said. “They want to take on the food companies, and they see the best route as through the attorneys general. Independent lawyers would do the legal work for the attorneys general in exchange for a cut of the settlement.”

(more…)

Big Food’s Deep Pockets Have Infiltrated the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, and RDs Won’t Stand for It

The Lorax isn’t directly connected with the dietetic field, but if he speaks for the trees then they are speaking for the health of humanity. The Lorax’s sage words, “Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, Nothing is going to get better. It’s not,” could be the motto of a recently formed group called Dietitians for Professional Integrity.

For now their presence is largely on Facebook and they’re working together, with both dietitians and concerned citizens, to make sure the field’s largest trade organization, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (AND), hears not just their complaints but their calls to action.

apple and money

See, the AND accepts sponsorship dollars to keep their organization rolling. But Andy Bellatti, creator of Dietitians for Professional Integrity, and his colleagues are calling bull – these sponsorships are paid for by the very brands these professionals are working hard against.

“Our main initiative is to have the Academy cut ties with its current sponsors,” noted Bellatti.

When you take a look at their on-going corporate sponsors, that’s where you can see how these dietitians are saying the AND “soils the good name of registered dietitians,” according to our Mary Hartley, RD.

Coca-Cola, Pepsi, Hershey, Abbott Nutrition (which produces Similac), General Mills, and Kellogg’s are some of the organization’s major sponsors. It’s cause for red flags amongst the organization’s members and the citizens who support this movement.

“The big picture issue is how Coca-Cola teaches webinars to RDs, how McDonald’s serves lunch at the California Dietetic Association conference, and how PepsiCo and Coca-Cola are financial contributors to the Academy’s Evidence Analysis Library,” declared Bellatti. To that, Monsanto sponsored the New York State Dietetic Association’s annual meeting.

“The organization chooses to align itself with these brands. It’s misguided,” he said. “It makes us look tone deaf during a public health crisis.” (more…)

The Science of Mouthfeel and How it Feeds the Food Industry

I recently discussed how food companies carefully formulate their products for mass consumption. One of the more important elements to making a food desirable is the so-called mouthfeel, the texture and the perception of that texture, good or bad.

I am aware of this phenomenon firsthand, because even though I am knowledgeable about what is and how it is not healthy to put in my body, I sometimes find myself at the mercy of a food. Certain types of chips can make me lose control, but I happen to also be a bit of a crackhead when it comes to anything gummy.

junkfood mouthfeel

Gummies are a really great example of how mouthfeel is used in food manufacturing. There’s something about the tangy taste coupled with the chewy texture that could really set me off on a binge if I wasn’t careful.

In many cases, “mouthfeel” has no sinister connotation at all. It’s used in wine and beer tasting as just one of several descriptive factors when reviewing products. But it also describes how certain foods and drinks are a perfect match, because one is an astringent that makes you “pucker up” and the other is fatty or oily which resolves the dry feel now in your mouth and throat with its lubricating properties. Think red wine with steak or coffee and ice cream. (more…)

The Conspiracy to Make Us All Junk Food Junkies: Breaking Down New York Times’ Addictive Junk Food Story

Have you ever sat down with a bag of chips that you not only couldn’t put away, but found yourself nearly possessed, ravaging the bag of Doritos like the Tasmanian Devil? It’s not an accident, but a carefully-formulated strategy to maximize consumption and the bottom line of the companies that manufacture processed foods.

New York Times investigative reporter Michael Moss spent four years investigating the food industry and has gone public with a bold statement: there was a “conscious effort taking place in labs and marketing meetings and grocery store aisles to get people hooked on foods that are convenient and inexpensive.” junk food industry

The accusation is not a revelation to most health advocates, but is a much-needed wake-up call for the general public, many of whom don’t fully realize how the science and engineering behind packaged foods is making us obese and sick with obesity-related chronic diseases. As you’ll see, it’s not just the Doritos, Cheetos and sodas, but pasta sauces and soups.

Moss, the author of the much discussed New York Times article, The Extraordinary Science of Addictive Junk Food, and soon-to-be published book Salt Sugar Fat: How the Food Giants Hooked Us, compiled a list of small case studies that together make a compelling argument that the processed food industry is not much different from Big Tobacco as a public health menace. (more…)

Vegetarian Diet May be Necessary to Prevent Global Water and Food Shortage

If you’ve ever considered being vegetarian but just couldn’t cut it, you’re not alone. I myself have struggled with going completely meat-free. However, a new report is sending a strong warning that may force us all in that direction.

Findings from water scientists at the Stockholm International Water Institute (SWIW) suggest that if the world’s population neglects to adopt a vegetarian diet over the next 40 years, we may face a global food and water shortage crisis.

Although U.S. meat consumption has reportedly seen declines – estimated to down more than 12 percent by the end of this year since 2007 – that amount still equates to about 165.5 pounds per person per year; or around one half pound per day.

As reported by the Huffington Post, the SIWI suggests that around 20 percent of the protein in our diets comes from animal-based sources. Additionally, unless that drops 5 percent by 2050, there may not be enough food to feed the additional 2 billion people estimated to be alive by that time.

The surprising solution to this global issue? Water supply. All of these warnings stem from the world’s water supply, which is rapidly declining. At the annual world water conference in Stockholm, Sweden, the UN predicted that “we must increase food production by 70 percent by mid-century” to feed the world’s growing population, which will place additional stress on our already-low water supply. (more…)

Listeria Contamination Forces Recall of 325,000 Pounds of Frozen Meat

The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced over the weekend a recall of nearly 325,000 pounds of frozen, ready-to-eat meat products manufactured by Buona Vita Inc. because of a possible listeria contamination. Listeria bacteria can cause listeriosis, a potentially fatal bacterial infection.

Buona Vita Inc., based out of New Jersey, makes precooked, frozen Italian food products. Products affected include meatballs, dinner loafs, salisbury patties, breakfast patties, and burger patties made with chicken, pork, beef, and turkey.

Brand names included in the recall are:

  • Buona Vita Inc.
  • Cupino
  • Mama Isabella
  • Vincent Giordano
  • Dirusso
  • Silver Lake
  • Argenta Pride
  • Whitsons Food Service
  • M&R Frosted Food Co.
  • Orefresco
  • Bullpen
  • Napoli
  • Whorle’s
  • Buonamici
  • Monabella (more…)

Frozen Vegetable Recall Due to Glass Fragments Affects Kroger and Wal-Mart Store Brands

In more food recall news, this time frozen vegetables are being pulled from shelves and consumers are warned to review the items in their homes to return for refund. The voluntary recall by Pictsweet Co., reports CNN.com, was not prompted by any injury reports, only a preventative step. These frozen vegetables may have glass fragments in the packages.

Important Recall Details:

  • Store-brand frozen vegetables: Kroger brand and Great Value brand
  • Frozen vegetables sold in Kroger and Wal-Mart stores nationwide
  • May contain glass fragments
  • Return recalled packages to retailer for full refund

Recalled Products:

  • Kroger 12-ounce Green Peas (UPC 11110 89736). Production Codes of 1440BU, 1440BV, 1440BW, and 1600BD.
  • Kroger 12-ounce Peas and Carrots (UPC 11110 89741). Production Codes of 1960BD and 1960BE.
  • Great Value 12-ounce Steamable Sweet Peas (UPC 78742 08369). Best by dates of July 20, 2012; July 21, 2012.
  • Great Value 12-ounce Steamable Mixed Vegetables (UPC 78742 08026). Best by date of July 15, 2012. (more…)