Truth About Food

honest, raw truth about the food we eat

OMG Facts - McDonalds
Occasionally I like to go on OMG Facts website just because I enjoy random facts. I even follow OMG Facts on Twitter. I'm only mentioning this because I'm trying to get across that I don't even have to go looking for this information and it finds its way into my viewing.

After scrolling randomly through random facts on I came across the following:

McDonald's SALADS are more fattening than their burgers.

You can see for yourself in their nutrition facts. A hamburger at McDonald's has 9 grams of fat. A cheeseburger has 12 grams of fat. The Premium Caesar salad with crispy chicken has 17 grams of fat. The Premium Southwest Salad with crispy chicken and the Premium Bacon Ranch Salad with crispy chicken both have 20 grams of fat.

On top of that, SALAD DRESSING adds EVEN MORE fat. If you want to add Creamy Southwest Dressing, it's 6 more grams of fat. The Ranch Dressing has 15 grams of fat. The Creamy Caesar Dressing has 18 grams of fat. So, if you get a salad with crispy chicken and salad dressing, you could be consuming 35 grams of fat - the fat equivalent of 4 hamburgers.
(source 1, 2)

Just thought I'd share that information with all of you. That's all for now.


A Step in the Right Direction
In Santa Carla County, California, a step in the right direction to fight the growing obesity epidemic among children has been made. A ban on restaurants selling kids meals with toys to lure children has been set to begin in 90 days after being voted in by officials of the county this past Tuesday, April 27th, 2010. Major fast-food chains and the State Restaurateurs Association have only the 90 days leading up to the date the ban goes into effect to successfully pitch a “better solution.”

The ban will prohibit the addition of toys to any kid’s meal that does not meet basic nutritional guidelines. County health officials state that fat, salt and sugar form an addictive combination in the brain and adding a toy reward to the formula makes the habit even harder to kick. The county supervisor behind the ban, Ken Yeager stated that “it is unfair to parents and children to use toys to get them hooked on eating high-calorie, high-fat foods early in life.”

Harlan Levy, of McDonald’s, was part of a fast-food restaurant contingent that turned out to oppose the ban. His argument (in so many words) mostly put the blame of the growing obesity epidemic on the judgment of parents, arguing that the ban “substitutes the county's judgment for the judgment of parents” and “doesn’t change sedentary lifestyles that have children sitting watching television or playing video games.”

Yeager argued back that “its parents, schools, exercise, walkability but it is also the endless promotion of toys that are tied to unhealthy meals that is particularly to blame.”

My own personal opinion on this legislation is obviously in support of it. I think that this is a great step forward for the county of Santa Carla, the state of California and our country. In one of my previous posts “The Truth About Junk Food” I used the use of toys in fast food kids meals as an example of one of the ways fast food companies entice children to persuade their parents into buying this form of junk food as a meal.

I agree that a parent’s judgment on the foods their children eat along with the lifestyles they live are MAJOR factors in the growing obesity epidemic. However, it can be very appealing to get a fast food kids meal for a busy parent on the go who doesn’t really have time to stop and make a healthy meal in between working a full-time job (and sometimes more than one) and raising their children. That and there’s the factor of children’s persuasiveness.

The problem isn’t just the fast food companies. But if their relentless (and successful) attempts at luring us to eat their food wasn’t such a huge factor, a lot less children and adults would be eating these unhealthy meals. And lets face it, the fast food companies do not want to lose any of our business. So they will fight against this type of legislation and blame the very people they purposely advertise to buy their “merchandise.”

It’s a small step in the big picture of the epidemic, but it’s a huge step in the right direction. Kudos to the officials of Santa Carla County, and Kudos to their supporters.

I will continue to follow this story and keep everyone posted on how it turns out.

Random Mod Post
I’m glad to see some interest in what I’ve put together here… even if it is minimal; Rome wasn’t built in a day after all.

My plan is to try to make a “Truth Post” once a week on different topics. I might not be able to stick to that once a week policy strictly, but I’ll do my best and I’ll try not to go longer than 2 weeks without one. In the wide world of food, believe me… there’s plenty to cover. And you all are welcome to submit any knowledge you might have as well. Don’t be shy. The more we share, the more we will know.

In the meantime, I’ll probably post a recipe sometime later today. It’s a good one! One I use nearly every day =)

The Truth About Junk Food
The definition most commonly found for the term “junk food” is as follows: foods with little nutritional value that are high in calories, fat, sugar, salt, or caffeine. Examples: breakfast cereals, candies, chips, cookies, french fries, gum, hamburger, hot dogs, ice cream, sodas, and most sweet desserts. Junk food didn’t become part of the American diet until the 1920’s. It wasn’t until nearly 25 years later that junk food became so accessible and such a large part of the average Americans daily diet that nutritionists became concerned. The actual term “junk food” didn’t exist until the 1960’s when the concern began to rise. Since then there has been a large amount of research and studies done on junk food and its effects on the human body.

Junk food contains many of the same fats and additives that “fast food” does (considering many fast food items are considered junk food.) These fats trigger the hormones in the human body and brain to crave more, creating an addictive effect that can last several days. Some research even suggests that junk food alters brain activity in a manner similar to drugs like cocaine or heroin. One study conducted on rats (I personally do not agree with animals testing, but I found this information interesting) by Paul Johnson and Paul Kenny at The Scripps Research Institute showed that after several weeks on a junk food diet, the pleasure centers of rat brains became desensitized, requiring more food for pleasure. After the junk food was taken away and replaced with a healthy diet, the rats starved for two weeks instead of eating the nutritious food that was provided.

The harmful effects of eating junk food are nearly endless, much like the additives and preservatives found in its ingredients. One common ingredient used in junk food is Corn dextrin. Corn dextrin is commonly used in junk food as a thickener. Know what else it’s used in; the glue on envelopes and postage stamps. Another ingredient found in some junk food is cellulose gum, to improve the texture of the food. Cellulose gum is also used in rocket fuel.

Junk food has been directly associated with the increase in obesity, heart disease, high blood pressure, certain cancers, tooth decay, and other diseases. Yet despite the growing concern of junk food and its harmful effects, the United States has a $23 billion candy market that continues to rise. In a given year, Americans will spend close to $2 billion on Easter candies and more than $2 billion on Halloween candy alone.

And possibly even more disturbing is how the companies that advertize for these foods purposely target our countries youth. Nearly eighty percent of food commercials aired during Saturday morning children shows are for junk food. For instance the fast food chains use of free toys with a kid’s meal. The fast food chains deliberately entice children with kid’s meals and bank on the children persuading their parents to give in, winning the chain not just one, but at least two customers depending on the family size.

Junk food targeted at children is filled with artificial flavors that can be twice as sweet as the artificial flavors in adult foods. Children are being programmed (successfully mind you) to prefer these artificial flavors over the taste of natural real foods. As if that alone isn’t bad enough, these artificial flavorings can cause asthma, rashes and hyperactivity.

In the United States, the average child watches somewhere around 25 hours of television a week. Studies have shown that in a given year a child could see nearly 20,000 advertisements on junk food alone. Break it down and you’ve got a child watching junk food advertisements 3 hours a week or once every five minutes in the 25 hour period that they watch television.

Back in 2006, the independent telecommunications regulator and competition authority for the communication industries (Ofcom) in the United Kingdom put a ban on Junk food ads during TV programs targeted at children under the age of 16 that went into affect January of 2007. More specifically the ban put a stop to junk food ads during all pre-school children's programs, all programs on mainstream channels aimed at children, All cable and satellite children's channels, programs aimed at young people, such as music shows and general entertainment programs which would appeal to a "higher than average" number of children aged 16 and under. Many British health campaigners criticized Ofcom’s regulations as not being strict enough and said that they should have banned all junk food ads before 9pm. In response, the food industry said that kind of restriction would be too "over the top".

The United States on the other hand has yet to pass ANY regulations in this type of manner. As far as what Ofcom has done for the youth of the United Kingdom, I applaud them. I understand the criticisms from the health campaigners, because more regulation would make even more of a statement to the junk food industry… but when I see how far ahead of the United States they are in preventing an obesity epidemic among their youth (which the United States has already reached) I can’t help but be envious of them. This is the type of movement we need here in the United States, but I have seen little to no foot work of our government going in that direction.

The future generations of America face a lot of things working against their health. We as adults need to set an example for them and stop eating the crap the food industry relies on us to buy. It’s cheap, easy and simple for them to manufacture… but it’s killing us. Out of convenience and eventually addiction, the people of the United States continue to give in to it. Junk food is everywhere, in our supermarkets, restaurants, convenience stores and in our homes. Stop buying the crap and make a stand that you will not allow this countries future to be doomed to a life of obesity and disease just because it tastes good. Cut the junk food, eat healthier, live better and longer.

The Truth About Fast Food
“Fast Food” is probably the biggest downfall to American society. What started out as a slow paced “treat” in America decades ago has turned into an epidemic with disastrous outcomes. In recent years, the awareness of fast food and the health problems it causes has grown tremendously. Out of convenience however, the industry still thrives in this country. Americans don’t think about the facts of what “Fast Food” really is when they line up at the drive through for a quick meal. Well… here’s the truth about fast food:

Fast food is loaded with refined sugar, saturated and hydrogenated fats which are among the leading causes of high blood cholesterol. The sodium content in fast food is astronomical because it is used, among other additives to preserve the foods. High sodium intake is among the leading causes of high blood pressure. Both high blood pressure and high cholesterol can lead to heart attack, stroke and in severe cases, heart failure.

While the food is “tasty,” filling and “affordable”... it’s high in the things we should be getting the least amount of intake from and virtually completely lacking in vitamins and minerals that the human body needs to function properly. All these empty calories that fill us up, give nothing back to keep us going or to fight off viruses and disease. Instead, the food slows us down by storing itself in our body through fat and inevitably causes weight gain and in many cases obesity.

As if all that wasn’t bad enough… scientific studies have been done showing proof that these ingredients being put in our foods are having a terribly disturbing reaction in our bodies. All the fats, sugars and additives are affecting our hormones in a way that makes our bodies physically crave more. So as you continuously consume these foods, you’re slowly working yourself into an addiction to them, despite knowing or not knowing how bad it is for you. At this point, giving up the food can be extremely difficult and unbearable both physically and psychologically.

Fast food companies are just that; companies/businesses. Their main objective is profit. Don’t expect them to be concerned too much about the possible addictive reaction your body has to their food. Somehow the companies have managed to find a way to make every single thing on their menu unhealthy in some way. Even a McDonalds Garden Salad has 5 grams of sugar and 140 milligrams of cholesterol (that’s ridiculously high.)

Stay clear of fast food restaurants. Even if you think you’re getting something healthy, chances are, you’re not. The “convenience” isn’t worth your health.

Dear Potential Member:
Over the past couple years as an obsessive food addict of sorts, I’ve gained a lot of knowledge in the area of nutrition and food in general. With the ever-growing food pandemic in America, I think it’s important to share this knowledge. I want you to take the facts and use them to the best of your ability to better your lifestyle.

I do not personally believe that there is any “one” right way to eat. Diets in the sense of the word that it is used in this country are plans for failure. The idea isn’t to change your eating until you reach your goal… the idea is to change your eating, your awareness of food and your lifestyle, for life.

And whatever that may mean to you may be different than the way I mean it for us; the American culture. But something has to change. The obesity rate continues to climb in adults and children in this country, and something desperately needs to change. Start with yourself and then continue to spread the knowledge.

Some of the facts, you might not want to hear. Some of the facts, you’d rather play the ostrich and stick your head in the ground. But it’s time enable yourself to make an informed decision about what you eat. This is REAL. This is a HUGE problem. And it’s time to buck up and do something about it.

Get on board and fuel your motivation with knowledge. The more you know, the better you will eat.

This is not just about loosing weight. This is about having healthier, long lives for ourselves, our children, the future and the world.

*If any of what I just said had any meaning to you… I’d like you to do yourself a favor and join the community. Observe the facts and let the knowledge sink in. Start to act on this knowledge by changing the way you eat and view food. When you go grocery shopping, consider what you’re buying in a different way. Be part of the change that this country truly needs and then have fun with it. Try out different recipes, experiment with new (healthy) foods, get involved and make a difference.

*And if you choose not to join… that’s your choice. But remember, if you ever change your mind and want to change your life with the knowledge of the truth about food, just look up the name. If we’re not here, we’ll be somewhere… because this is the beginning of a revolution that isn’t going anywhere.
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