Saturday, May 15, 2010

What's That Mean??: 1 - General Terms

I've decided to do a series of common questions and terms and compile them with some researched answers, and some added personal opinion to help everyone understand what's become of food over the last few years....After all, if you are what you eat, shouldn't you know what you're eating? Feel free to email questions, or terms you’d like clarification on. If I don't know the answer, I'll find it!
What's That Mean??
Some General Terms

All Natural - The phrase all natural on a package only refers to the processing of a food product AFTER it is received by the manufacturer. It has nothing to do with the growing process, or feeding process. These products can contain GMO (genetically modified) ingredients, pesticides and other chemical agents, growth hormone, and/or antibiotics.  (So really...natural doesn't mean natural at all......that's why we have the term Organic)

Conventional - This is a lesser known term that pretty much means anything not Organic

Organic - Organic is a label that means the agricultural product was grown without the aid of conventional pesticides, or fertilizers. For animal products, the feed must be pesticide and hormone free, AND the animals must not be treated with growth hormones or antibiotics. No genetic engineering is allowed in organic food.  Basically this is how food was intended to be, before we started messing with it. 
  • USDA Organic –
    • -100% Organic – Single ingredient foods that meet organic guidelines, or multi ingredient foods in which each ingredient and any processing agents have been organically produced.
    • -Organic – contains 95% organic ingredients by weight (excluding water and salt)
  • -Made with Organic Ingredients – contains 70-95% Organic ingredients. (cannot be labeled USDA Organic)
Trans Fat – (Partially Hydrogenated Oils/Trans Fatty Acids) Trans Fat is known to raise bad cholesterol and lower good cholesterol and is considered the worst of the fats. Trans fat is a man made product that is created by combining hydrogen and vegetable oil. It is used as a cheap way to prolong shelf life, and slow the spoiling process. You have to check the label on this one and look for “Partially Hydrogenated” anything, and/or shortening. Many shortenings, butter alternatives, baked goods, crackers, cakes and fried foods contain trans fat. Keep in mind that if a food has less than .5g per serving they are not required to list it, and can label the food as 0g trans fat per serving, so reading the ingredient label is the only way to know for certain.  Trans fat is so bad its even illegal in some places. 

High Fructose Corn Syrup – (HFCS) High-fructose corn syrup is made by changing the sugar (glucose) in cornstarch to fructose — another form of sugar creating a combination of fructose and glucose. It is popular with manufacturers because it extends the shelf life of processed foods and is cheaper than sugar. More and more scientists are disagreeing with the statements of safety of high-fructose corn syrup. A research team at Princeton has found that rats eating high-fructose corn syrup gained significantly more weight that rats eating regular table sugar, even when the caloric intake was identical. HFCS promotes disproportionate weight increase in the abdominal area, and a rise in circulating blood fats (triglycerides). High-fructose corn syrup is found in everything from peanut butter and ketchup to Wonder Bread, to kid’s juice boxes and salad dressings. Because it is so cheap, food companies use it in almost everything as a sugar replacement.  I personally think we should just stick with sugar over these types of alternatives. 

The food industry has changed more in the past 50 years than in the previous 10,000.  We've learned to genetically manipulate food, cover it in pesticide, pump our animals full of hormones and antibiotics and create cheaper less nutritious foods.  Its time to revert back to natural foods, as they were before all our "advancements"

 "Tell me what you eat, I'll tell you who you are." ~Anthelme Brillat-Savarin

1 comment:

  1. This is me...reading your blog :)