Monday, May 20, 2013

Sweet, Forbidden Hidden Agendas

Ah, the fun of work travel and trying to negotiate accompanying food choices. And the lack of blogging time. Well, I've addressed those all previously, so let's just move along...

Literally just thrown together after this mornings gym-time.

This is a combo of:
Corn Meal
Chickpea Flour
Cream of Rice
Chia seeds
Egg white
Agave syrup
Baking powder
Cider vinegar
Olive Oil
Cart load o' pepper.

Bake at 350 for about 25min.

Now, since time was limited, I had already eaten breakfast (banana and oatmeal) while this was cooking, but a slice of this is at work with me for a mid afternoon snack. It's a nice break from the fruit I usually eat. I figured since I have been craving something cakey or muffin-like as of late, I better take care of it from my end instead of running to the store and buying a few too many crap-laden treats. (And no, that wasn't a spell correct for "carb.")

I know when I'm hungry and inappropriately craving something, it's hard not to buy an unhealthy spades. Even if I'm being extra mindful about my food intake, I know I can be easily swayed when low blood sugar is upon me, even worse than just emotional binge cravings. And the latest research shows what we all knew but I guess wanted proof of: shopping while you're hungry means you make worse food decisions. (What I call "head slap" research.)

But even if we do shop when mindful (and full), we're not always getting away with a clean palate. In fact, one such study from the CDC shows that added sugar consumption between 2005 and 2010 was way above the recommended daily allowance. And the majority of that sugar was in the processed food and drinks we eat at home. 

*Gasp* "Hidden sugars!" Those beasts! Teasing us with our their empty promises!

Actually, it's not much of a tease if it's listed right there on the ingredients. When the top ingredients include, sugar, corn syrup and evaporated cane juice, then you can imagine that's a heckuva lot of sugar you're ingesting. Just because somethings made from organic sugar cane doesn't make it any less...sugary. 

So it's actually is refreshing to see that Dannon/Danone is trying to develop a yogurt, specifically marketed to children, that has less sugar but the same sweet taste.  What's amazing is that they successfully cut the sugar by 25%, and when you go back to that CDC report, you can see that 16% of total caloric intake was from added sugars. So, this one bit of food science could help those who eat this stuff.

I say that because not everybody does eat this stuff. In fact, the CDC study showed it was lower income groups that have higher levels of processed food/sugar intake. But before we snort back with the "Well, proper fruits and vegetables are easy to buy and prepare", we know that's BS for a lot of people. Not even going into the availability and affordability of fruit and vegetables, there's also the fact that most people consider things like juice to be a fruit. A recently published study from Swedish nutritionists had some interesting comparisons of participants who were positive or indifferent to fruits & vegetables. But here's one takeaway:

"In the present study, Indifferent cluster, typically described as younger respondents with lower F&V consumption, experienced more practical and lifestyle-related difficulties, which essentially could be controlled and changed by the individuals themselves. On the other hand, some perceived problems (i.e. F&V price and selection in food store) are beyond the power of individual consumers to change."

Which means that, while we all do need to take accountability in our food intake, there's not always a whole heck of lot that we can do. We can try to read labels and realize that sugar comes in many names. But we also can't pretend that the better foods are available to all. And for all their "natural" claims, how many fruit juices and the like have that "cane sugar" listed?

I commend Dannon for at least trying to make it better for their consumers. Now, if only all those "natural producers"  might take the same cue.

And yeah, learn to like veggies, too.


Evaporated Cane Juice: Sugar In Disguise? : NPR. (n.d.). Retrieved May 20, 2013, from

Products - Data Briefs - Number 122 - May 2013:Consumption of Added Sugars Among U.S. Adults, 2005–2010. (n.d.). Retrieved May 13, 2013, from

Really? Never Go Grocery Shopping on an Empty Stomach. (n.d.). Well. Retrieved May 17, 2013, from

Simunaniemi, A.-M., Nydahl, M., & Andersson, A. (2013). Cluster analysis of fruit and vegetable-related perceptions: an alternative approach of consumer segmentation. Journal of Human Nutrition and Dietetics, 26(1), 38–47. doi:10.1111/j.1365-277X.2012.01272.x

Strom, S. (2013, May 10). Dannon Cuts Sugar, Carefully, in Children’s Yogurt. The New York Times. Retrieved from

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