My junk buns

June 28, 2007

 I love the whole wheat buns from Trader Joe’s.  Love them.  They taste great and don’t take to being soggy like some other buns ^cough^cheapwhitebuns^cough^ do.

That being said, I’m very clearly the only one in my family who feels this way.  A few weeks back, we made some burgers.  My husband asked me if we had everything we needed for the burgers.  Well, sure.  We had meat, cheese, lettuce, condiments, and my beloved TJ’s buns.

Apparently, we were out of his beloved white buns.  We actually got into a fight about how his buns weren’t purchased when he had specifically asked me if we had everything and now he was stuck with my junk buns.  Yeah, that’s right.  Eat up and enjoy, mister.  If it’s not on the list, I don’t buy it*.

This past weekend, I brought my TJ’s buns to a party at my parents, and left them on top of the fridge.  I told my mom the next day to just throw them in the freezer and I’d get them the next time.  She said they were already in the donation bag and she had told my dad that they were never going to eat “those things”.   And I don’t know why, but it made me feel a little bad.  It’s not like I left a box of Twinkies**.

God forbid they eat a whole wheat bun and ^gasp^ like it or something.

*That’s a whole other post for a whole other blog.

** No offense to the Twinkie lovers.

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Okay, okay, I know the intent of this blog was supposed to be trans fat, but really, I couldn’t resist. Way back in my first entry, you may remember how I mentioned what I had learned from Dr. Oz on that Oprah show. Well, he also mentioned high fructose corn syrup (HFCS). Or, as I like to call it, the Devil’s candy.

Basically, what Dr. Oz said on the show can be found in his book, You: the Owners Manual:

“One of the biggest evil influences on our diet is the presence of high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS), a sugar substitute that itself is a sugar found in soft drinks and many other sweet, processed foods. The problem is that HCFS inhibits leptin secretion, so you never get the message that you’re full. And it never shuts off gherin, so, even though you have food in your stomach, you constantly get the message that you’re hungry.”

Wait, let me read this again. Not only am I not getting messages that I’m full, I’m also getting messages that I’m hungry? Niiiiiiiiiiiiice.

But wait! That’s not all. That’s just the beginning. Other fun effects include:

  • Fructose interacts with oral contraceptives and elevates insulin levels of women who are taking these.
  • Fructose leads to mineral loss.
  • In lab studies, rats that were given fructose had more undesirable cross-linking changes (thought to be the markers for aging) in the collagen of their skin than in the other groups.
  • Fructose converts to fat more than any other sugar.
  • Fructose raises serum triglycerides.
  • To be completed converted into glucose and acetates, fructose must take ATP energy stores from the liver.

Trans Fats Exposed Part 1

February 23, 2007

Okay, so freshly educated on the eeeeeeeeeevils of trans fat, I headed to the grocery store sans kids and told my husband not to wait up.

Until companies completely remove partially hydrogenated oils from their products, I will not be buying the following items:

  • Peanut Butter – Jif, Skippy, etc.
  • Macaroni and Cheese*
  • Hamburger Helper
  • Frozen pie crusts
  • Refrigerated pie crusts
  • Refrigerated rolls – think Pillsbury crescent. Scrumdiliumptious, I know. But full of hydrogenated oils.
  • Boxed cake mix
  • Bisquik
  • Jiffy Mixes
  • Canned icing. Wait? Did I just say icing? They put hydrogenated oils in icing? Ewwwwwwwwwwww.
  • Popcorn**
  • Donuts
  • Twinkies, Ho-Hos, etc.
  • Mini-muffins

Cereal

  • Pop Tarts

Kellogg’s

  • Corn Pops
  • Fruit Loops
  • Cocoa Crispies
  • Smart Start – Right. Liars!!!!
  • Rice Krispie Treats
  • Strawberry Frosted Mini-wheats
  • Frosted Mini-Wheats, Vanilla Creme
  • All-Bran Yogurt Bites
  • Pirates of the Caribbean Cereal
  • Smorz
  • Scooby Doo Berry Bones Cereal
  • Toasted Honey Crunch Cereal
  • Eggo Cereal, Cinnamon Toast
  • Eggo Maple Syrup Cereal

General Mills

  • Raisin Nut Bran
  • Basic 4

Post

  • Oreo O’S Cereal with Marshmallow Bits
  • Waffle Crisp
  • Fruity Pebbles
  • Cocoa Pebbles Cereal
  • Grape-Nut Flakes
  • Honey Bunches of Oats Cereal with Real Strawberries
  • Honey Bunches of Oats Cereal with Almonds
  • Honey Bunches of Oats Cereal, Honey Roasted
  • Honey Bunches of Oats Cereal with Real Peaches
  • Honey Nut Shredded Wheat
  • Golden Crisp

* This just in – I recently checked a box of Kraft Mac ‘n Cheese (you know, the blue box) and partially hydrogenated oils were not listed! I could have sworn they were a month or so ago. Sweeeeeeeeeeeet!

**Check the ingredients. Some brands do, some don’t.

This is not an all-inclusive list.

So I’ve taken a closer look at food labels lately, and I notice that a lot of them toss around words like “wholesome”.  What does this mean, anyway?

Best I can gather is that it’s supposed to be healthful or good for you.  Sounds great, right?

So I flip over a few packages of so-called “wholesome” foods.  Hmmm, partially-hydrogenated oils?  Check.  High fructose corn syrup?  Checkity check.

How can these foods possibly be deemed wholesome or even be good for you?

Here’s some fun information.  “Wholesome” has nothing to do with nutritional value.  Nothing.  So why do food manufacturers print it freely on their labels?  Because they can.

The term “wholesome” when printed on a food label has nothing to do with nutritional value.   Basically, “wholesome” is a synonym for “edible”. According to the Food and Drug Administration and the USDA, a wholesome food is simply a food “fit for human consumption.”  In fact, for a food to be sold in the U.S., it needs to be deemed “fit for human consumption”.  Or, in other words, “wholesome”.

Too bad it doesn’t need to be deemed “nutritious”.  Just sayin’.

Trans Fat Explained

January 27, 2007

Okay, so what is this eeeeeeeeeeeeevil item that makes our food so magically delicious? And why do we need to cut our intake?

Because I wanted to learn more I began to read. I read books. I read the newspaper. I read online.

I learned, basically, that partially hydrogenated oils are oils that have been hydrogenated. Partially. This process makes the oils solid at room temperature but melty and delicious when they hit your mouth. They also extend shelf life and add to the texture, taste, and appearance. The texture is similar to butter, but the price is cheaper so it’s more economical for the food industry.

Okay, but if they’re only partially hydrogenated than they’re really not that bad, right? Because it’s only like kind-of, sort-of and not really, right? Well, no. Not really. Research has shown that trans fat raises the “bad” cholesterol (LDL) and lowers the “good” cholesterol (HDL) which means that the arteries become clogged (remember Dr. Oz’s visual of squeezing the fat through his hands?) which ultimately increases he risk of heart disease and stroke. Additionally, the partial hydrogenation process also removes essential polyunsaturated fatty acids (the good fats), such as linolenic acid (omega 3) and linoleic acid (omega 6).

Okay, so let me get this straight. Partially hydrogenated oils not only clog our arteries they also lower the “good” fats? That can’t be good.

The journey continues

January 26, 2007

So after I watched Dr. Oz squeeze partially hydrogenated oils through his hand I was sickened. Truly sickened.  And a brand new convert to being  trans fat free.

At the time, my twins were around eight months, and just at that age where they are enjoying a good cracker and some Cheerios.  Blindly, I handed them the crackers and, as an afterthought, checked the box of Saltines.  Trans fat was listed as “0 g” so it should be okay, right?

Wrong.

Listed between high fructose corn syrup and malted  barley flavor were the dreaded words.  Partially hydrogenated cottonseed oil.

How could this happen?  This is false advertising!  There ought to be a law!

Well, apparently there is a law with a nice little loophole for the food industry.  See, food companies can list their food item as having 0 g of trans fat as long as the amount is less than 0.5 grams.

Well, that doesn’t seem so bad.  Or does it?  There is no daily recommended amount of intake for trans fat (unlike other nutrients) because it really is that bad for you.  And while that small amount may not seem that bad, it can really add up over the course of day.  A doughnut alone has 4 g.  A large order of fries?  You don’t even want to know.

My little girl twin waved her cracker at me and smiled.  It was at that moment that I realized I could not and would not clog my children’s arteries with trans fat.  I’ll probably screw up a million times over, but I’d like to do at least one thing right and save my children from a massive coronary at a young age.

So while the nutrition label is helpful, it shouldn’t be your only source of information.  If you truly want to cut trans fat (and send a huge message to the food companies) check the ingredients.

About six months ago, I happened to flip past the Oprah show.  Dr. Mehmet Oz was discussing what we should be eating versus what we actually are eating as well as the dangers of transfat and partially hydrogenated oils.  During his discussion, he showed what partially hydrogenated oils look like (think a big heaping helping of Crisco.  No, think huge.)  Then he asked if we knew what it was doing in our arteries and demonstrated the clog by squeezing the fat through his hands.

Then they profiled one woman who slept 18 hours a day and spent her waking hours either eating,  usually fried fatty foods from a restaurant, or sitting sluggishly in front of the television.

Well, of course she’s sluggish!  I thought.  She’s eating fried junk all the time.

And then Dr. Oz and a fellow colleague visited her home and went through her cabinets.  They put all of the food in her house on two tables.  One to keep and one to toss.  Most of what she had I didn’t have, so I thought I was doing pretty well.  Go me!

And then he pulled out the peanut butter.

Peanut butter?  What’s wrong with peanut butter?  And is that my Jif?  The peanut butter that I chose because I am a “choosy mom”?

Well, the peanut butter went in the discard pile.  Not because it has a high fat content.  Peanuts are actually a very good source of protein.  It’s because of the partially hydrogenated oils that are put into the peanut butter.  This causes the creamy effect we have come to love and it increases the shelf life.

So there’s your answer.  That’s why I’m living transfat free.  It all started with a jar of peanut butter.