Sunday, May 10, 2015

Nutrition in the News

Good news for consumers.  Many manufacturers and fast food restaurants are making healthful changes in their food offerings.   In the last few weeks, Kraft, Chipotle, and Pepsi have made announcements about upcoming changes.  What drove these changes?  You the consumer, did by requesting healthier options.   It is usually the government forcing manufacturers to make changes and now with social media, the consumer is in the driver’s seat.  So what is changing?
Macaroni and Cheese:   has announced it is going to make macaroni and cheese without the synthetic colors or artificial preservatives. 
This change won’t take place until early 2016, but is good news for consumers.  Last March, a petition requested Kraft remove dyes from its mac and cheese.   This petition garnered over 365,000 signatures so carried a lot of weight with the company.  Before complying, Kraft went to the streets and met with families in their homes, talked to people in grocery stores. 
Dyes – yellow numbers 5 and 6 will be removed.   These will be replaced with paprika, annatto and turmeric to help keep the yellow color.
Capri Sun – Kraft has already replaced high fructose corn syrup with sugar in their Capri Sun products.  Healthier?  Maybe but Capri Sun isn’t a healthy choice.  Better to have 100% juice than Capri Sun.

Chipotle has removed genetically altered ingredients.  Since 2013, Chipotle noted which items contained GMO’s.  Is Chipotle GMO free?  Not exactly as some soft drinks contain sweeteners with GMO corn, and some of its meat and dairy still come from GMO grains fed animals. 

Pepsi – for those who enjoy Pepsi, this summer look for changes.  Pepsi announced it will replace the high fructose corn syrup with sugar.  Probably a move because soft drink consumption is on the decline.  But also because of growing consumer concerns about high fructose corn syrup. 

Panera Bread – I like Panera bread.  One can get a reasonably priced and healthy meal at Panera.  So what changes are they planning?  By 2016, they are dropping 150 artificial ingredients  like  saccharin, aspartame, maltodextrin, Azodicarbonamide,  Ethoxyquin. 

High Fructose Corn Syrup – probably good that manufacturers are replacing this in foods.  I have always tried to avoid it as much as possible.  A recent study has shown that drinking beverages sweetened with high fructose corn syrup can increase cholesterol and triglycerides in only two week.  The lead author noted, ” It was a surprise that adding as little as the equivalent of a half-can of soda at breakfast, lunch and dinner was enough to produce significant increases in risk factors for cardiovascular disease,” said the lead author, Kimber L. Stanhope, a research scientist at the University of California, Davis. (High Fructose Corn Syrup)

Sources:  Kraft, Chipotle, Pepsi, Panera, High Fructose Corn Syrup Image source:  Kraft

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