Search Term: " Shoppers "
Myth: Agave Nectar is bad for you and should be avoided at all cost!
April 08, 2010 04:14 PM
Agave Nectar attacks have increased recently; this is at a result of its popularity. More and more Shoppers are finding Agave Nectar to be an amazing sugar substitute. With this the popularity of blogs and pop up articles have caught on as "Agave" has become a new buzz word such as "Green." The main source of the unfounded attacks on Agave are directly linked to one article written and posted on the web by a "Spiritual Psychologist" with no medical, science, or industry background.
Furthermore, the authors sole "sweetener” expert has direct links to artificial sweeteners discrediting both the author’s creditability and the "experts" motives. Not only does the "expert" have direct links to a potential competing sweetener, but has a history of questionable business practices. The complete disregard for medical, scientific, industry facts by the author and industry "expert" is appalling. Not to mention they should be ashamed for their fear based tactics and questionable ethics. We think it should be noted that the author himself has avoided entirely the controversy he created and has not made himself available to address questions about the errors of fact, the manipulation of information and misstatements included in his article, the purpose of which was not to educate, but an attempt to derail the rising popularity of agave nectar.
Madhava Honey has recently added to our consulting team, Susan M. Kleiner, PhD, RD, FACN, CNS, FISSN. She has written several books on the topic of High Performance Nutrition and worked with groups such as the Seattle Seahawks, Seattle Sonics, Miami Heat, Gatorade Sports Nutrition Speakers Network and a former Educational Advisory Board member of the Gatorade Sports Science Institute. She will be consulting with us and providing Madhava consumers with the facts about Agave Nectar and Fructose in a balanced diet.
Long-Sought Food Labeling Law Underway
March 19, 2009 04:55 PM
Shoppers will have more information about where their food comes from under a new policy, which started this week. Labels on most fresh meats, along with some fruits, vegetables and other foods, will now list where the food originated. In the case of meats, some labels will list where the animal was born, raised and slaughtered.
This is good news to most American that fear they eat foods imported form countries who do not have dumping regulations. Meaning some foods could be grown right next to a land fill that has all kinds of toxins brewing in it. Unhealthy to any who consume these foods.
Commodities covered under COOL must be labeled at retail to indicate its country of origin. For fish and shellfish, the method of production, wild or farm-raised, must be specified. Commodities are excluded from mandatory COOL if the commodity is an ingredient in a processed food item.
Hopefully more manufactures will comply with the new ruling and go beyond the standards to help Americans make a sound choice at the grocery store.
Shoppers check for fat and calories
October 25, 2005 03:17 PM
Shoppers check for fat and calories
When American consumers read labels, what are they looking for? Almost a quarter of Americans said they only check labels when they’re trying to lose weight. Another 23 percent say they “always” read the nutrition info.
At least half of Shoppers surveyed by ACNielsen in the United States said they “regularly” check for fat and calories. Sugar, sodium, Trans fats and carbohydrates also ranked high. Overseas, Shoppers are more likely to check for additives, preservatives and coloring.
In the United States, 65 percent of consumers say they “mostly” understand nutrition labels, the highest level of understanding among all the markets tested. Only 6 percent of Italians say they understand what they read on labels.
Truth in Labeling
June 14, 2005 10:44 AM
Truth in Labeling by Diane Stanton Energy Times, June 14, 2004
Do you or don't you read food labels when you shop? If you don't, you're missing out on a prime source of information about your meals. If you want control of your health, focus on package labels and pick your foods carefully.
The large print on food labels focus on what are called macronutrients: carbohydrates, fat and protein. Some of the smaller categories convey information about vitamins, fiber, and minerals, as well as the totals of fat and saturated fat contained in food. So, you have no excuse for claiming ignorance about your diet: the truth is in the labels.
Food labels can be confusing to the uninitiated. Go into a big food store and you can be faced with what seems to be a forest of food information: more than 15,000 labels. Add to that fact that every year more than 30,000 new food products can be introduced to the marketplace, and what you're faced with is a jungle of food labels.
That overwhelming wealth of food label information doesn't mean you should throw up your hands in dismay and give up reading and deciphering labels. You should arm yourself against that sea of labels with knowledge and, by understanding them, end your confusion and build your health.
A hundred years or so ago, food labels were only required to list the name of the food contained inside the package. The contents, quality and processes used to make the food were often a mystery. Little or no disclosure to consumers was made about how their food was created.
By the early 1920s, the federal government, via the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), began requiring food companies to list the net weight of food on labels as well as the names and addresses of food processors and distributors. Finally, by the 1970s, listing basic nutritional information was mandated in a uniform way so that Shoppers could have some basis for comparing foods. Then, in 1990, the Nutrition Labeling and Education Act made major alterations to the kinds of labels that had to be included on food packages.
The FDA and the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) required significant changes to food labels that were supposed to make it easier for consumers to eat healthier diets. The labels requirements of 1994 included five major changes:
Consumer questions regarding food labels have led researchers to look into ways to help Shoppers comprehend what food labels tell them. These studies are designed to help consumers match up their nutrition requirements with the foods they buy.
For instance, at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, scientists have devised a label tool called See It, Do It, Teach It to help people improve their diets through comprehension of food label information. " One of the goals of the project was to help...teenaged girls and menopausal women understand how they can get the daily requirement for calcium into their diet in order to help prevent osteoporosis," says Karen Chapman-Novakofski, PhD, associate professor and nutritionist in the school's College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences.
According to the See It, Do It, Teach It program, you should think of food labels as consisting of two sections:
" Much more attention has been paid to what people should limit rather than the nutrients needed. The average consumer doesn't know, for instance, how much vitamin A 10% of the Daily Value is, or how much calcium 25% of the Daily Value is," Dr. Chapman-Novakofski says.
Upping Calcium Intake
In their eight-week study of people's calcium consumption (Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior 4/04), the University of Illinois research team found that people didn't know how much calcium was in the food they ate.
After the initial part of the study, in which participants were shown how to look for calcium on labels, "the post-test revealed that the participants significantly increased their calcium intake to 821 mg per day, up from 372 mg per day," notes Dr. Chapman-Novakofski.
" That's a lot closer to the daily requirements of 1,200 mg per day for men and women over 50, 1,000 mg for men and women aged 19 through 50 and 1,300 mg per day for [youths aged] 9 to  years," she adds.
Parts of the Label
The first item at the top of a nutrition food label tells you the portion size that the label measures. An important point to remember: these sizes are determined individually by each manufacturer. Consequently, all of the other values on the label are measured per portion.
So, if you are comparing foods made by two different companies that employ very different portion sizes in their nutritional calculations, your label comparisons may be complicated.
Another fact to be aware of: the listed portion size may be an odd division of the food within the container and not reflect a common-sense division. For instance, some food packages are labeled as containing 2.5 portions.
And, to make things even more interesting, small boxes of candy that you might think contain barely enough for one helping may be labeled by the manufacturer as having two or more portions. As a result, if you eat the whole box, you often have to at least double the number of indicated calories, etc. to figure out the nutrients and calories you are consuming.
The section of the label that notes calories, calories from fat and percent daily values is listed under the portion size. Here you are told how many calories you consume when you devour one portion and how many of those calories are derived from fat.
This label focus on fat originated when consumers and dietitians were very concerned about Americans' fat consumption and hadn't yet switched their focus to carbohydrate consumption as a prevalent dietary health priority.
Also included on the label: the daily value percentages aimed at showing you how much out of a total day's intake of various nutrients a portion bestows upon you.
These percentage numbers are based on a theoretical analysis of a diet that contains 2,000 or 2,500 calories a day. (A notation at the bottom of the label tells you whether the calculation is based on 2,000 or 2,500.)
If you've been eating a low-carb diet (or are planning this type of diet), the section of the label that lists carbohydrates may be especially useful. Under this heading, the label lists the totals for fiber and sugar.
No matter what diet you are on, dietary fiber is desirable, since it represents indigestible carbohydrates that both pass through you without conveying any calories and keep beneficial bacteria in your digestive tract healthy.
Most people want to limit their sugar totals, however, since this nutrient may raise your risk of being overweight and, when you eat a lot of it, may contribute to immune problems.
Interestingly enough, when food chemists compute what is in food, they perform lab tests known as assays to distinguish its ingredients. (The manner in which these tests are performed are very strictly regulated by the FDA.)
In fact, just about every nutrient listed on a food label is determined by laboratory test except for the carbohydrate content: the amount of water, fat, crude protein and ash are determined this way. But the total carbs are computed by simply subtracting the total of the other ingredients from the total amount of food, a kind of process of elimination.
So while fat and protein are measured with precise lab tests, carbohydrate totals are figured by the leftovers. (The water and ash, by the way, are not usually listed on food labels.)
Within the general carbohydrate group, are several categories of carbohydrates that produce very different effects in your body. These categories can be divided into sugar, sugar alcohols, dietary fiber and a collection of various chemicals that include organic acids, flavonoids, gums, lignans and others.
According to the FDA, the food label only has to list the total carbs, sugar and dietary fiber. But some food companies now list things like sugar alcohols.
Blood Sugar Effects
Not all of these types of carbohydrates behave the same way in your body. For example, when your body digests table sugar, it turns immediately into blood sugar. So sugar and most other carbohydrate is what we call "digestible carbohydrate." Other carbs, such as sugar alcohol or glycerine, can be digested but do not turn to blood sugar. Still others, such as dietary fiber, are indigestible and pass through your body without impacting your blood sugar level.
To date, the FDA has not focused on these important biochemical differences and treats all carbohydrates alike. This means that when you look at a food label, you do not see a number for the carbs that impact your blood sugar level. To do so, simply subtract the number of grams of fiber from the total number of carbohydrate grams.
Recently, the phrases "low carb," "net carb" and "impact carbs" have begun to appear on food labels. These are not defined by the FDA; they were put on labels by by companies to help consumers pick out foods that are acceptable on low-carb diets. To arrive at the total of net carbs, food companies subtract the total amount of fiber and sugar alcohol from the total carbohydrates.
Since the body cannot digest fiber, this nutrient (which is still important for good health) is not calculated into the total amount of carbohydrates. As for sugar alcohols, while-technically speaking-these are carbs and they do have calories, they have little effect on blood sugar and usually are not counted in total carbohydrates.
According to the American Dietetic Association, people with diabetes who are managing their blood sugars using the carbohydrate counting method should "count half of the grams of sugar alcohol as carbohydrates since half of the sugar alcohol on average is digested.
" Fiber is not digested, however. If the serving of food has more then 5 grams of fiber one should subtract the grams of fiber from the total carbohydrate grams." As you can see, when it comes to food, as in most things, knowledge is power. If you want power over your health, you need power over the food you eat. The road to that power is by reading food labels. What's in the food you're eating every day may surprise you.
Celebrity Holiday Fare - eating plenty of vegetables is the trendiest trend...
June 13, 2005 09:53 AM
Celebrity Holiday Fare by Claire Gottlieb Energy Times, October 11, 2003
Trendy celebrities and trendy food go together like holidays and sparkling trees. Within the celebrity-filled universe known as the media, eating plenty of vegetables is the trendiest trend. And, according to the latest nutrition research, it also may be the healthiest.
Even before Frankenstein's monster picked up his first movie contract or endorsement deal, he was a vegetarian (for reasons best known by Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley, his creator).
Meanwhile, well-known actor Woody Harrelson, a fan of raw, vegetarian foods, professes that his devotion to uncooked veggies only reached firm ground when he became convinced they could and would taste fantastic. The tastiness of the recipes we've included with our inspection of the rarefied world of celebrity food prove that the celebrity predilection for these dishes keeps taste buds happy.
For Love of Pie
When preparing your holiday fare this season, taking tips from the dietary habits and favored dishes of celebrities may perk up your lunches and dinners. Healthy dishes can be delicious!
As Woody Harrelson points out in his foreword to Living Cuisine (Avery/Penguin) by Renee Loux Underkoffler, he became a fan of raw vegetables when he was convinced that they could be made into delicious dishes.
"Though I wasn't raw at the time, I knew enough to know that raw food and its emphasis on enzymes being the life force of the food is the way to go for optimum health and energy. Still, you can talk theory all you want; if the taste isn't there, color me a cooked-food junkie."
Eating dishes cooked by Ms. Underkoffler left him and Gabriel Cousens (a health book writer) speechless.
"We were struck dumb by our taste buds...the coup de grace was one of Renee's coconut cream pies, which, I confess, almost brought Gabriel and me to blows over the last piece." Other celebrities also find Ms. Underkoffler's food preparation skills to be superb. Alicia Silverstone raves, "I love Renee....Her food reflects that spirit, opening the senses to everything around you-it's incredibly rich and delicious and full of health and restorative energy. Her food is medicine." (But it doesn't taste like it!)
Birth of a Charitable Idea
Meanwhile other celebrities have taken their food act to a whole new level. Consider how Paul Newman's holiday habits led to his food adventures.
The story on Mr. Newman starts with salad dressing and Christmas. He and his friend, author A.E. Hotchner, originally created home made dressing and bestowed wine bottles of the stuff on family and friends for Christmas presents. Consequently, every holiday season Mr. Newman and his immediate family indulged in Christmas caroling and salad dressing giving. The demand for the dressing grew every successive holiday season until Mr. Newman and Mr. Hotchner decided to go commercial: Sell the dressing and make it available to Shoppers throughout North America. The profits go to charity, and Mr. Newman bestowed about a million dollars to worthy causes in the first year.
In the early 80s, the Newman's Own brand started out with its Oil & Vinegar Dressing. Today they offer salad dressings, pasta sauces, salsas, popcorn, lemonade and other sauces. According to Mr. Newman, the two principles that rule the company are an insistence on top-quality products without artificial ingredients or preservatives and the donation of all after-tax profits from the sale of the products to educational and charitable organizations, both in the United States and foreign countries where the products are sold. Over $125 million worth have been donated since 1982.
In 1986, Mr. Newman founded The Hole In The Wall Gang Camp, along with Ursula Gwynne and A.E. Hotchner, with funds from Newman's Own and other donations. The camp, located in Connecticut, is for children with serious disease. (Newman recipes are available at the website: www.newmansown.com.)
Whether the latest celebrity trend wends its way to raw food or cooked creations, you can safely count on the fact that celebrity heads will rest easy tonight (and yours can, too!) knowing that they've eaten food that's both in fashion and healthy. Leo Tolstoy, the celebrated Russian novelist, once pointed out, "Vegetarianism serves as a criterion by which we know that the pursuit of moral perfection on the part of man is genuine and sincere."
When you try it for yourself, you'll find that serving mostly vegetarian meals may also offer evidence of a sincere devotion to better health and happier holidays.
June 12, 2005 01:59 PM
Certified Foods by Glenda Olsen Energy Times, July 13, 2003
What's in your food, and where does it come from? To most American consumers, that question may seem unimportant. But the answers might surprise you. Your food's origin and processing can make a big difference in its nutritional value, for better and for worse. Increasingly, concern over the quality of food and its influence on health are persuading Shoppers to take a greater interest in their food. The result: More visits to natural food stores and more sales of organic food.
Once upon a time, food used to be just food. Crops were grown on family farms, and animals were raised in barnyards. But today, corporations have conquered food production in a big way. Agribusiness is just that-a big business in which animals and plants are treated like assembly-line items and raised on factory farms.
While the term "organic" gets tossed around endlessly in the media, the term is often misconstrued. According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), "Organic food is produced by farmers who emphasize the use of renewable resources and the conservation of soil and water to enhance environmental quality for future generations. Organic meat, poultry, eggs and dairy products come from animals that are given no antibiotics or growth hormones."
In addition, organic farmers generally do not use pesticides, sewage sludge or synthetic fertilizers. This type of food is also produced without genetically modified organisms and is not subject to radiation used to zap the bugs on food. Today, USDA-approved certifying agents inspect the farms where organic food is raised to ensure organic standards are followed. In addition, the companies that process food and handle organic food have to be USDA-certified. Meeting these standards allows companies to use the USDA's organic label on foods that are at least 95% organic in origin. Labels for foods that contain between 70% and 95% organic content can use the words "Made With Organic Ingredients," but cannot use the seal.
While the debate over the nutritional benefits of organic food has raged for decades, recent research is beginning to turn up evidence that organically grown fruits and vegetables may contain extra helpings of vitamins and other nutrients. A study at Truman State University in Kirksville, Missouri, found that organically grown oranges contain more vitamin C than conventional supermarket oranges (Great Lakes Regional Meeting, Amer Chem Soc, 6/02).
Theo Clark, PhD, the Truman State professor who investigated the organic oranges, says that when he and his students began their research, "We were expecting twice as much vitamin C in the conventional oranges" because they are larger than organic oranges. To his surprise, chemical isolation combined with nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy revealed that the organically grown oranges contained up to 30% more vitamin C than the conventionally grown fruits-even though they were only about half the size. "We speculate that with conventional oranges, (farmers) use nitrogen fertilizers that cause an uptake of more water, so it sort of dilutes the orange. You get a great big orange but it is full of water and doesn't have as much nutritional value," Dr. Clark says. "However, we can only speculate. Other factors such as maturity, climate, processing factors, packaging and storage conditions require consideration."
If you want to avoid pesticide residues in your food, research shows that going organic can make it much less likely that you or your family consumes these unwanted chemicals. Research, for instance, into the diets of children (Enviro Hlth Persp 3/03) shows that dining on organic fruits and vegetables, and organic juice, can lower kids' intake of pesticides.
These scientists took a look at the organophosphorus (OP) pesticide breakdown products in the blood of kids ages two to five who ate conventional supermarket produce and compared it with the OP found in organic kids.
The children on the organic diet had less OP in their blood than the other kids. As a matter of fact, the children on the conventional diet had six times the dimethyl metabolites, dimethyl being a pesticide suspected of affecting nerve function and growth. "Consumption of organic produce appears to provide a relatively simple way for parents to reduce their children's exposure to OP pesticides," note the researchers. "Organic foods have been growing in popularity over the last several years," says Jim Burkhart, PhD, science editor for the journal that published the study. "These scientists studied one potential area of difference from the use of organic foods, and the findings are compelling."
On the way to tonight's dinner, researchers have created genetically modified organisms (GMO), plants and animals that have been transgenically engineered. In the food world, that means organisms containing genes inserted from another species. Chances are if you eat food purchased at the typical supermarket, those comestibles contain GMO ingredients. In the United States, food companies are not required to label for GMO content.
A growing number of American consumers are upset about not being told about the GMO products in their food. But industry scientists, worried that informed consumers may someday turn their back on GMO foods, consider consumer ignorance to be an acceptable state of affairs.
For instance, the American Society of Plant Biologists (ASPB) is fighting regulations that would require GMO labeling. According to ASPB President Daniel Bush, PhD, of the University of Illinois at Urbana, "The language...(in these types of regulations) is based on a system of beliefs of what is 'natural,' rather than a scientifically defined set of criteria focused on content and nutritional value. This is a radical departure from food labeling up to now, which is designed to maximize useful information for consumers concerning what is in the food they are buying."
Dr. Bush continues, "There are, of course, examples of voluntary labeling standards in the food industry that reflect how foods are processed, such as organic foods. The voluntary organic labeling standards were sought by the organic food industry. Kosher foods are also labeled as having been produced in accordance with specific beliefs. However, mandatory labeling of targeted production methods has never before been required and we believe would obscure rather than clarify important issues of food safety."
In other words, Dr. Bush opposes GMO labeling because he feels it would unnecessarily stigmatize GMO food items. Others are not so sanguine about the safety of GMO foods.
The arguments against GMO foods include:
These types of risks have motivated industry groups to urge more regulation of GMO crops. The Food Marketing Institute, the Grocery Manufacturers of America (GMA) and the National Restaurant Association, plus seven other food groups, are worried that GMO plants grown to produce pharmaceutical drugs could contaminate the food supply and destroy consumer trust in food.
Mary Sophos, a vice president of GMA, warns, "To minimize the possible risks, a clear system of regulatory enforcement and liability needs to be in place. Until then, no permits for new field trials or for commercialization should be issued because there is no room for trial and error."
These food industry groups have voiced their concerns to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the USDA. Last year, the USDA forced ProdiGene Inc., a biotech firm, to dispose of 500,000 bushels of soybeans contaminated with a drug meant to treat diabetes. What are the chances of more GMO accidents? No one knows. But if you buy and eat organic, you minimize your risk and maximize your chances of dining on safer food.