Building a Better Chocolate Bar
I’m guessing when you have a chocolate bar you aren’t thinking about all the ingredients that go into making it, but your favorite chocolate and candy products are loaded with artificial ingredients, dyes, preservatives, corn syrup and GMO’s – Carmel that is nothing more than corn syrup with yellow dye. Not because it makes a better tasting product, but because it’s cheaper to mass produce chocolate bars and candy this way.
I was recently introduced to a company that is looking to change all of that – and I wanted to share what they are doing with you.
More on Building a Better Chocolate Bar
We know what did the people at UREAL took out… but what they put into their bars in the place of the artificial ingredients and additives.
Unreal built a better chocolate bar with more cacao, more peanuts, real milk, cane sugar, and organic palm fruit oil. It took over 8000 recipes to get the taste just right, and to keep the bars fresh they have invested in state of the art packaging for the bars – so they stay fresh for 9 months without added preservatives!
A key part of the Unreal strategy is having their products side by side, and priced the same as the brands you are familiar with… making it simple to choose a better chocolate bar! Find Unreal chocolate bars now at retails like CVS & Michaels. Click here for the most up to date list of retailers.
Love Letter to the FDA: I was invited to a luncheon and introduced to the people behind the UNREAL brand and their better chocolate bar.
Dr. Oz has HFCS listed this as his number 2 of foods to avoid on his Oprah.com food hall of shame…
What’s wrong with it after all?
Consumption of HFCS prevents your brain from making a chemical that enables your brain to signal to your body that you are full, causing you to consumer on average an extra 100 calories.
It is widely used because of it’s highly concentrated sweetness making it less expensive in food manufacturing.
I have virtually eliminated HFCS from the diet of our family. If it’s on the ingredient list I look for an alternative… it is really surprising just how many food products are made using HFCS.
Look for it in Sodas, Breads, Ketchup, Relish, Baked Beans. Syrups, Salad Dressings and my favorite it’s even in Mott’s applesauce… and so on.
If you check the labels – in most cases you will find that one of the brands does not contain HFCS.
She told me it was bad for me… and given my desire to provide whole, natural and organic foods for my family I realized that splenda use was completely incongruous with my other habits. So I eliminated Splenda from my diet (I had never given it to my children).
A few months later, I thought I should do some research of my own to better understand what makes it questionable. I know that other artificial sweetener’s had been found to cause cancers in animal testing and wondered if the same was true with Splenda.
Studies have shown that it depress’ immune systems:
It has been shown to interfere with the Thymus Gland - causing it to shrink up to 40% in animal testing. The Thymus is a a key part of our bodies immune system. In addition it has been shown to cause calcification in the kidneys and swelling in the liver or kidneys.
I wouldn’t say I was ever a heavy Splenda user, but a few teas and coffees per day and perhaps a Hansen’s or two in the evening. Certainly enough that it adds up.
Since eliminating Splenda my body has fought a few bugs, but I have not been down & out sick. I don’t know if it is a coincidence or not, but after my research it makes me believe that it’s not.
For my money – skip the Splenda.
This article goes even farther in condemning Splenda: www.holisticmed.com
Try Agave Nectar for a low glycemic index option.
Stevia, Honey, Brown Rice Syrup and when all else fails… just use sugar.
Even if we are being exposed. The exposures are so limited.
They can’t be of any consequence. Right?
Are you sure?
Toxins are measured in measured in parts per billion.
One part per billion has been illustrated recently by the chemical companies as the equivalent of a single pancake in a stack of pancake 4000 miles high.
Surely limited amount wouldn’t impact our bodies. It’s “too low” to matter the to chemical companies argue.
The EWG studied to blood of an Sustainable Furniture Maker named Jesse who lives in New York.
He is arguably an average American. This is what was found in his blood. Measured in parts per billion (ppb):
The Blood Content of our “Average American”
- 97.5 ppb – Badge 40H (Liner in canned foods)
- 45 ppb – PFC’s
- 21 ppb – Lead
- 1.11 ppb – Mercury
- .29 ppb – PBDE’s
Common Drugs that impact our body, as they measure in our blood as parts per billion (ppb):
- 30 ppb – Cialis (one dose)
- 30 ppb – Paxil (one dose)
- 2.1 ppb – Albuterol (one dose)
- 35 ppb – Nuvaring – birth control
At small doses – Cialis side effects include a sudden decrease in hearing or vision. Users are directed to call their doctor taking Cialis if they get an erection lasting more than 4 hours.
Drugs are effective at the very same parts per billion that the chemical companies claim are inconsequential in their product. Drugs are designed to be effective at low doses.
Chemicals are not tested to ensure their safety or their absence of side effects at low doses.
Chemicals are consumed without unknowingly and we don’t know if we are putting ourselves, our families and our unborn children at risk.
The evidence is gathering that we are putting them at risk.
We are seeing an alarming increase in disease that can’t be explained by better diagnostics:
- Hypospadias has doubled from 1968 – 1993 – 1 in 125 baby boys
- 62% increase in acute lymphocytic leukemia over short period of time
- 40% increase in Brain Cancer – this is not a matter of better diagnostics, we didn’t miss brain cancer in the 1960′s, 70′s, 80′s & 90′s.
- 1-150 Children – if this is due to better or more frequent diagnosis - where are the Autistic adults?
- Fertility difficulties are rising in women under the age of 25.
- We have the highest rate of cancer in the world and if someone moves here from another country their likelihood of cancer increases – according to the American Cancer Society.
Over and above the Human Cost there is a monitory Cost of to Disorder
- $ 43.4 Billion – Lead poisoning
- $ 9.2 Billion – Neurobehavioral disorders, autism etc.
- $ 8.7 Billion – IQ loss from mercury
- $ 35 Billion – Asthma in Children
What can we do daily to lower our exposure?
Kid Safe Chemical Act:
Help Get it passed!
Most of the figures for this article came from a presentation by EWG president Ken Cook ~ 10 Americans. It’s a great presentation, well worth the time it takes to watch.
The Twinkie Report is PND’s investagation into the most important additives and preservatives to avoid in your diet.
We’ll also offer suggestions for ways to avoid them.
Hot Dogs, Bologna, Turkey Breast, Ham, Salami. Unless you are a champion label reader you are likely bring home a cartload of nitrates with these foods (and others like it) from the supermarket.
Sodium Nitrite is used to preserve, color, and flavor meat products. It is commonly added to cured meats like; bacon, ham, hot dogs, luncheon meats, smoked fish, and corned beef. It helps to prevents growth of bacteria.
So what possible dangers does this preservative present? The list is quite extensive, some links are more conclusively proven than others… a number of cancer’s top the list:
- Colorectal Cancer – 50 % higher risk for lower colon cancer – American Medical Association.
- Stomach Cancer: 38 % increase in stomach cancer for people who ate an increase of 30 grams of processed meat
- Pancreatic Cancer: 68 % increase risk in pancreatic cancer for groups who consumed high quantities of processed meats – National Cancer Institute
- Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease
- DNA Mutations
- Increased risk of colon cancer
- Increased risk of Brain Tumors in Children
ADDITIONAL SOURCES OF SODIUM NITRATE
In addition to exposure from cured meats (and such) we are also exposed eating nitrates from leafy & root vegetables. But don’t think that means you should avoid these vegetables, the belief is the compounds in natural nitrates actually inhibit the development of disease, rather than cause it.
Nitrites are found some drinking water due to fertilizers, manure, animal feedlots and other environmental pollution sources. I know our water filter lists nitrates as one of the elements it removes from the water, it may be worth confirming that yours does the same.
THE GOOD NEWS
I don’t know about you, but my kids love sausage and hot dogs. I don’t want to deprive them completely and most veggie dogs don’t quite measure up.
The food industry has responded. If you read labels carefully you can find cured meats that are free of Sodium Nitrates and other things you want to avoid too. My rule of thumbs is not to buy it if I can’t pronounce it.
Items we’ve found that taste great and are Nitrate Free and free of most other nastiness:
- Aidells Smoked Chicken Sausage – We like the Roasted Garlic & Gruyere Cheese.
- Trader Joe’s Smoked Fresh Turkey Kielbasa (This one has a tough casing, I freeze it and peel the casing while the meat is frozen). Very lean and with an ingredient list of Turkey, Water, Sea Salt, Spices, Paprika, Dehydrated Garlic and Beef Collagen Casing – worth the trouble.
- Trader Joe’s Uncure Turkey Bacon
- Trader Joe’s – Uncured All Beef Hot Dogs
- Applegate Farms Certified Organic Sunday Bacon
This list is by no means complete, it’s a sampling of what was in the diva home at the time I wrote this post.
As a rule these meats are still going to have a higher sodium content. We don’t typically use them as a main course, rather as a side to a meal or a flavor enhancer.
Don’t forget to consider the meat that was used to make the product. Is it organic, raised without hormones, antibiotics, vegetarian fed, etc.
Some sources used for this article include:
PND recently found an article on MSN Health and Fitness 12 Preservative to Avoid, it seemed worth sharing. The article briefly lists MSN Healths picks for the top 12 additives and preservatives to avoid and briefly explains why. This list has inspired PND to create a new series.
We’re calling it ~ The Twinkie Report.
The 12 preservatives to avoid:
Sodium Nitrate Propyl Gallateu usually used in conjunction with BHA (Butylated hydroxyanisole) and BHT (butylated hydrozyttoluene) Propyl gallate MSG – Monosodium glutamate – AKA Natural Flavorings Trans fats Aspartame Acesulfame-K – Another Sweetener Food colorings: Blue 1, 2; Red 3; Green 3; and Yellow 6 Olestra Potassium bromate White sugar Sodium chloride
In future installments PND plans on going through each preservative on the list to learn even more about why we should be avoiding them.
Some questions we’ll ask:
- What is it?
- Why Should we avoid it?
- Where is it used/Which Foods?
- What can we do/use instead?
We’re not sure exactly why we’re picking on the Twinkie – except when thinking about the ultimate in non food, preservative laden food ~ The Twinkie comes to mind first! Then we found this picture, which keeps making us laugh.
On side note I don’t think we’ll be doing any hostess giveaways in the near future. Apologies to our readers.
What exactly is in the Twinkie – not much that can be considered real food from our research.
Digging a little deeper the top twinkie ingredients are:
- Enriched Wheat Flour – enriched with ferrous sulphate (iron), B vitamins (niacin, thiamine mononitrate [B1],ribofavin [B12] and folic acid).
- Corn syrup
- High fructose corn syrup
- Vegetable and/or animal shortening – containing one or more of partially hydrogenated soybean, cottonseed or canola oil, and beef fat.
- Whole eggs
According to Steve Ettlinger’s book, Twinkie Deconstructed, five ingredients come from rocks and other ingredients like cellulose gum, Polysorbate 60, and calcium sulfate… These ingredients are also used in sheet rock, shampoo, and rocket fuel.
We’re looking forward to learning more and sharing with you over the coming weeks.
First up: Sodium Nitrate.
This is a good piece that illustrates why we need to take action and get concerned about the food we are feeding our families and the food our children are being fed away from us.
By Robyn O’Brien – The Daily Green
Since when did it get so hard to be a mom? Ten years ago, we didn’t worry about sending a peanut butter and jelly sandwich into school with our children; we didn’t medicate our eight-year olds to get them through the school day; and the movie Rain Man was all we knew of autism.
Today it is estimated that 50% of Hispanic and African-American children will develop diabetes, that 1 in 90 boys has autism, and that 1 in 4 children has asthma. Pediatrics just reported that from 2002-2005, there was a 103% increase in diabetes medication for children, a 47% increase in asthma medication, a 41% increase in ADHD medication and a 15% increase in high cholesterol medicine.
How did our children get so sick?
Robin’s suggestions to do just one thing – send a letter to Kraft.
The Environmental Working Group has compiled the following list on the pesticide load of fruits and vegetables:
Starting with Worst Offenders:
Sweet Bell Pepper
Celery – for some reason this one surprised me.
Imported Grapes – yes the domestic rank better with a lower pesticide load.
If we didn’t have enough reason to avoid HFCS – here is another one.
Mercury has found in almost half of all products containing High Fructose Corn Syrup.
Based on findings from the IATP Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy – products used in study pulled from the shelves in late 2008.
In 2009 Americans consumed an average of 35.7 pounds of the sweetener. That’s almost 3 lbs a month!!!
From the Washington Post:
MONDAY, Jan. 26 (HealthDay News) — Almost half of tested samples of commercial high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) contained mercury, which was also found in nearly a third of 55 popular brand-name food and beverage products where HFCS is the first- or second-highest labeled ingredient, according to two new U.S. studies.
Click for the full article.