Tuesday, June 24, 2008
Corn Refiners Association Tries HFCS PR
HFCS, table sugar, honey, and several fruit juices all contain the same simple sugars.Not exactly, as I remember my high school chemistry. There are a number of relatively basic sugars, including fructose (fruit sugar), sucrose (the table sugar we use), lactose (a sugar found in milk), maltose (malt sugar found in beer and malt whiskey), and glucose (also called dextrose, found in plant saps and fruits). They are similar, but not exactly the same.
HFCS is safe and no different from other common sweeteners like table sugar and honey.Now we're entering some real word twisting, so far as I can tell. Suddenly they are trying to pretend that the sugars are equivalent, and they aren't necessarily. Some people are "lactose intolerant," meaning that the particular form of sugar called lactose is something their bodies do not digest.
HFCS is equal in sweetness to table sugar.Interesting, as I've always heard that industries like HFCS because 1) it's cheaper than regular sugar, and 2) it's sweeter, so they don't need as much.
Instead of just listening to these people, how about some nutritional information from the MayoClinic.com?
Wednesday, March 05, 2008
Hormel Discusses Sodium Content of Compleats
I did want to clarify your statement on sodium content. The USDA recommends that healthy Americans get 2,300 milligrams per day. (USDA Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2005, Chapter 8 “Sodium and Potassium - http://www.health.gov/dietaryguidelines/dga2005/document/html/chapter8.htm) At 600 milligrams or less, Hormel Compleats products provide roughly a quarter or less of the sodium recommendation per day. The sodium content in Hormel Compleats is equal to or less than other single serving shelf-stable offerings in the market today.I think the PR firm meant that it wanted to challenge my statement, as I don't see how it would be in the position to clarify what I had said. In any case, the product may hover around the same sodium content as other shelf-stable offerings, but the company's analysis is off and even misleading. First, the USDA reference cited does not recommend that people get 2,300 mg of sodium, but less than 2,300 mg of sodium, which is a significantly different statement. If you are middle-aged or older, black, or have hypertension, the top number is 1,500 mg. But that's not the USDA's only statement on sodium.
Instead, let's consider this from the second chapter, Adequate Nutrients Within Calorie Needs, of the same USDA 2005 dietary guidelines. I'd argue that looking at nutritional needs would be closer to the concept of a recommended minimum amount, and that the 2,000 Kcal nutrition levels are near an adult average, given gender and activity levels, which can widely swing the recommendations. That 2,000 Kcal number is the general baseline used for nutritional comparisons on food levels. For that level of caloric intake, the recommended sodium number is 1,779 mg. And here’s an interesting paragraph from the same chapter the company quoted:
Common sources of sodium found in the food supply are provided in figure 4. On average, the natural salt content of food accounts for only about 10 percent of total intake, while discretionary salt use (i.e., salt added at the table or while cooking) provides another 5 to 10 percent of total intake. Approximately 75 percent is derived from salt added by manufacturers.In other words, packaged foods - shelf-stable or not - put the largest amount of sodium per serving into our diets. On the whole, I think that my analysis is probably more realistic in terms of viewing a food as "healthy" or not, and certainly closer to what a health professional would likely say than taking the number Hormel does and trying to interpret it as a recommended amount that people should have, rather than a maximum, with the understanding that, for salt, less is certainly more.
Thursday, February 07, 2008
Review: The Stop & Go Fast Food Nutrition Guide
Let's take an example or two. Like the Starbucks apple fritter? That's 790 calories, with 37 milligrams of fat and a whopping 830 milligrams of sodium. Death on a dish. A plain old 16 ounce latté? That's a grande at 260 calories. How about a Hardee's Big Country Breakfast Platter with country steak? Just 1150 calories, 455 milligrams of cholesterol, and a completely astounding 2660 milligrams - otherwise known as almost 2.7 grams - of sodium. Personally, I'd double check the numbers for the green, yellow, and red coding: a Subway sweet onion chicken teriyaki 6-inch sub may have only 5 milligrams of fat and 370 calories, but it's got 1220 milligrams of sodium.
At $6.95 list, it's a great investment, and if you want to go to the web, you can get all the contents for free. Take it with you when you're out and get rid of some weight, because you'll surely lose your appetite.