Monday, May 11, 2015

Guess the Food Item

Let's try something a little more hands on here.

Assuming the HTML coding is working, see if you can deduce what food items are by their ingredients. (images will be cited later as the URLs give the answers away)

What food is this?

What Food is This?

What food is this?


What Food is this?

Monosodium Glutamate

Monosodium Glutamate more commonly known as MSG is a food additive that us used as a flavor enhancer. It is known to cause cause terrible headaches, facial flushing, and hot burning sensation throughout the skin. People claim to suffer from these symptoms after eating at Chinese restaurants earning it the nickname Chinese restaurant syndrome. The additive itself has no taste but it enhances other flavors and imparts a savory taste. 

Although many people claim to have become sick or suffer from allergies to MSG, there is no concrete scientific evidence that supports these claims. MSG has not toxic or causative properties so there is no reason people would suffer from it. It is thought that sickness caused by MSG might just be a psychological effect. There are no known symptoms that come with an illness associated with MSG and scientist overall agree that there is no such thing as MSG sickness. This brings up the question: are there other food additives and chemicals that we are just so worried about that we do not physically become sick.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Panera to drop additves from their food
So just yesterday, Panera Bread announced that it will be getting rid of over 150 food additives from their products. They plan to accomplish this by the end of 2016. The list, which they refer to as the no no list, includes all types of things from artificial coloring to preservatives. Panera has a saying that "a simplified pantry is a better pantry" and the company tries to follow this idea in all decisions it makes regarding food processing and preparation. Other big companies including Nestle, Hershey and Kraft are also eliminating or cutting back on additives. Studies have shown that Americans want more fresh, natural foods and are actually willing to pay more for it. One problem however is that they will continue to sell beverages that contain these ingredients since they do not produce their own drinks. They say that they are working with their beverage supplier to move in the same direction. So do you think this is a good step for Panera to take?


Tuesday, May 5, 2015

An issue with Olestra has been "leaked" to the public...

Olestra, which is a fat substitute developed by the company Procter & Gamble, has recently been approved by the FDA for human consumption. Olestra adds no calories, cholesterol, or fat to the food it is used in, which will be mainly low-fat snack foods, such as potato chips. 

That's great, isn't it?

Well, yes. It is. But there is one detail that somehow managed to slip through the scrutiny of the FDA: In multiple studies, consumption of Olestra led to "anal leakage" and "underwear staining" in a significant portion of the participants. The reason for this is that our bodies are unable to absorb Olestra during digestion, so it pretty much just slides right on through. 

Proponents of Olestra argue that the leakage problem is mainly aesthetic, and not an adverse health affect. This may be true, but one can imagine that psychological health, if nothing else, is being seriously threatened when eating chips puts grown adults at risk for soiling themselves. 

Other than that problem, which I think most consumers would agree is egregious, the FDA says that Olestra seems to be safe. 

Source consulted:

"A fat substitute's slight problem." Harper's Magazine Apr. 1996: 24+. Opposing Viewpoints in
Context. Web. 3 May 2015.

Monday, May 4, 2015

Beetle Juice
Food dye can be found in almost all products. It makes food appear more appetizing because much of our taste is due to our sense of sight. Recently, an alternative to red food dye has come out, cochineal. It's much safer and healthier than those dyes normally used that have been found to be carcinogens, but it comes with a catch. It's actually a juice made from beetles. It's not ground up beetles however, but rather color extracted and sterilized from beetles. Although it may seem gross, it's ultimately better for your health. So this leaves the question- What would you be willing to do for your health? Many healthy alternatives are being made for the things that are ultimately harming us, but they are often seen as very weird. Is it worth it if it's going to improve your health?


Sunday, May 3, 2015

Other Options

Because foods additives are widespread and potentially dangerous, the best way to avoid them is to keep away from  processed foods altogether and start eating organic foods. This means no more fast food! Organic foods are foods that have not been tampered with or given any additional chemicals. A common misconception among the average consumer is that whole foods are synonymous to organic foods, but that is not the case. Although whole foods supposedly do not contain any additives, they have been processed with other harmful chemicals like pesticides that are not labeled as additives but are just as dangerous. Next time you go grocery shopping, stay around the perimeter of the store to avoid processed foods and always read the labels!

Sources Consulted

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

NAC₇H₅O₂ What Is It Really Saving?

Sodium Benzoate is an additive that is used in most processed foods and almost all soft drinks. Although it is not toxic in small doses, a large amount of the substance can be detrimental to your health. Sodium Benzoate is significantly more toxic than high fructose corn syrup or processed sugars but consumers usually look past it on a label because it is an unknown ingredient to the average consumer. When combined with Vitamin C, Sodium Benzoate can produce a compound called benzene that is known to cause several different types of cancer. In Europe, there has been a call for the removal of the chemical due to its effects on children's development, while the United States media and government have remained silent about this additive.

Sodium Benzoate is especially dangerous because the chemical is known to attack our DNA and this proves to hurt later generations. The additive attacks the mitochondria of the DNA cell so it is able to cause genetic mutations.