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Chips Made With “Healthier” Ingredients May Not Be as Healthy as You Think

When the snack time munchies strike, you know that a handful of potato chips isn’t the way to go. Instead you reach for chips made out of quinoa, sweet potatoes, or veggies. But are they really a better option?

sweet potato chips

Unfortunately, just because a chip is made out of something traditionally considered healthy, it isn’t a guaranteed healthy snack choice. The process used to make chips, no matter what they’re made out of, can strip many of the foods’ natural health benefits.

When looking for the perfect crunchy snack, it’s important to pay close attention to what’s on the nutrition label and in the ingredients list. For example, our friends over at Shape Magazine found a chip made from quinoa (a normally fiber-rich food) that contained essentially no fiber per serving. However, the chips did have 9 grams of protein and just 12 grams of carbohydrates per 20-chip serving.
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New Nutrition Label is Two Years Away! FDA Deputy Director Confirms Steps to Reform

Our news about the nutrition facts reform from the FDA has been spreading like wildfire! We dug deeper to find for you the timeline that nobody seems to be providing yet. After speaking at length with the FDA’s Deputy Director Siobhan DeLancey, here’s what to expect in the days (and weeks, and years…) to come regarding the new label update.

nutrition facts

STEP ONE: 90-day Public Commentary (Opens today! See below for how to place your comment)

The label reform is now open to a 90-day public commentary period where the FDA is expecting to hear from a variety of groups and individuals from nutritionists, consumers, and food industry groups.

STEP TWO: Review of commentary (duration unknown)

The FDA must then review and consider those comments to evaluate any possible changes to the reform. They were unable to give us an exact timeline as it is dependent on the number and breadth of the commends received.

STEP THREE: Two-year implementation after final rule

After the FDA has issued a final ruling, they are proposing a two-year implementation period for products to comply with new industry standards. “But we expect many companies will put the new label on their product earlier than that, as we saw when the original nutrition facts label requirement came out,” says DeLancey.
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Finally! The Feds Create BS-Free Nutrition Label, Give Americans Reality Check

The White House and the Food and Drug Administration have announced their plan today to update the nutrition facts label on food packages, a move that is being heralded and praised by nutrition experts and enthusiasts alike.

new nutrition label

Proposed changes include:

  • Calories displayed more prominently. Congress and the FDA are pushing for a larger, bolded font for calories and all parts of the label that affect obesity, diabetes and heart disease.
  • Serving Size. Have you ever noticed a bottle of soda actually contains 2.5 servings, while the average American drinks the whole thing in one sitting? Mary Hartley, RD, our resident nutrition expert, thinks this means we are all in for a big reality check. The new label will change the serving size from what we should eat to what people actually consume.
  • Detailed sugar labeling. The improved labels will have a new line for “added sugars,” or sugars not occurring naturally and have been including only after chemical processing (think naturally-occurring lactose in yogurt vs. added aspartame in a Yoplait). What does Hartley have to say about that? “Finally.”
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70 More Calories in Baked Cheetos Than Crunchy and More Junk Food Hiding Behind Health Halos

I’ve often joked that the only reason baked chips are listed as healthier than their traditional counterparts is because you get less product per bag. Apparently, my jokes weren’t too far from the truth.

cheetos

We’ve discovered that Baked Cheetos in particular actually have 70 more calories than their crunchy counterparts. It’s an excellent example of how “positive” branding can make a consumer assume a product is healthy, even when it isn’t.

This is what’s known as a health halo. It’s the perception that one thing is healthy or has healthy qualities because something with similar qualities is healthy. Using the Cheetos example; we know baked foods are usually healthier than fried foods, so when consumers see the word “baked” on a label, they assume the product is better for them.

Health halos aren’t limited to Cheetos. You don’t have to search the grocery shelves too hard to find other foods getting more glory than they deserve.
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Subway Ditches Toxic Chemical Found in Yoga Mats. Still Widely Used, Though

After a public petition to ban azodicarbonamide, a chemical also found in yoga mats and shoe rubber, Subway has officially agreed to remove the toxin from their sandwich breads. This substance has been banned across the globe, but it’s still allowed in the U.S. and found in almost every fast food chain baked goods including Starbucks, McDonalds, Dunkin Donuts, and Wendy’s.

subway

Azodicarbonamide is known to induce asthma, other respiratory symptoms, and skin sensitization in exposed workers and consumers. It is intended as a dough conditioner, but when baked can create the known carcinogen urethane.


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