Has anyone ever asked, “Are you a hamburger with fries on the big side?” No? If you are what you eat, the answer is probably yes. Feeling a little guilty? Don’t worry, you’re not alone.
Even if you don’t eat fast food, if your diet is like that of most Americans, it’s full of fattening and processed foods that aren’t good for your heart or waistline. There’s a lot of conflicting information about diet and health, but there are also some shocking food facts that could change your diet forever.
Ever feel like you can’t eat just one meal? You can eat one serving of your favorite snack, but most people don’t buy a small bag of potato chips just because they’re going to snack on it two or three times. These little bags of chips rarely fill you up, but they’re packed with calories. Average serving size is about 11 chips. With 3-4 servings per bag and 200 calories per serving, it adds up quickly.
It’s not just chips. Serving sizes on multiple packages can be confusing. An item may appear low in calories until you find out that the actual serving size is lower. For example, one small can of soup usually contains two servings. But how much do you do when you make a can of soup and eat half of it? The serving size is usually the same for everything from cereal to crackers to instant mashed potatoes. So the next time you reach for your favorite snack, read the calories per serving and serving size carefully to estimate how much you’re eating.
Did you know that the “5 Second Rule” is actually legit? Whether it’s a kindergartner dropping a cookie at recess or someone dropping their last hamburger at the BBQ, we’ve all heard someone bring up the 5-second rule. According to this 5-second rule, food that falls on the floor is perfectly safe to eat if it is picked up within 5 seconds. Whether or not fall food is really safe has always been controversial, but new research is shedding light on the topic.
People who prefer to take risks rather than waste food may have been right all along, according to a study by Aston University. Researchers tested various foods on surfaces such as concrete, tile, and carpet, and found that harmful bacteria such as Staphylococcus and E. coli permeated the food over a period of time. They found that the amount of bacteria attached and how long it lasted depended on the type of food and the surface it fell on. For example, wet food attracts more germs and carpet is a safer surface. However, most foods are not dangerous if they touch the floor for a short time.
Another food shocker is that meat can be full of fat, even chicken. A recent study by the Institute of Brain Chemistry and Human Nutrition at London Metropolitan University found that chicken today is lower in protein and fat than it was 40 years ago. Research shows that the average chicken contains 33 percent less protein and more than 200 percent more fat than the average chicken 40 years ago. It’s not just the chickens, the health of humans is deteriorating.
Factory farming often means animals are raised in cramped quarters and fed unnatural diets. As a result, cattle, pigs, chickens and other animals raised on factory farms have less fat and protein than those raised in the wild and fed a natural diet. If you only eat factory-raised meat, you may be missing out on healthy nutrients like vitamin E and omega-3 fatty acids.
Have you ever wondered if the coloring agents in your food were safe or not? Did you know that food manufacturers often add dyes to change the appearance? Why do they do it? Because these artificial dyes are more eye-catching than natural dyes. Artificial coloring may be doing more than just giving your food an attractive color. Certain chemicals in paint have been linked to hyperactivity in children.
Recent studies from Columbia and Harvard University have found that yellow #5 and yellow #6, two dyes still found in foods, are linked to hyperactivity in children. The researchers found that children who consumed foods and drinks containing these dyes had significantly increased hyperactivity compared to children who did not consume artificial dyes. The FDA has already banned several artificial food colorings that have adverse effects on consumers.
Additionally, foods labeled “Trans Fat Free” often contain trans fats. When hydrogen is added to liquid vegetable oils to make them more solid, trans fats, or trans fatty acids, are formed. Trans fats raise your LDL (bad) cholesterol levels and increase your risk of stroke and heart disease. Eating foods high in trans fatty acids increases the risk of type 2 diabetes. According to the American Heart Association, it’s wise to limit your intake of trans fatty acids to less than 1 percent of your total daily calories. Trans fats are naturally found in meat and dairy products, so most people don’t have room for added trans fats in their diet.
Avoiding foods that contain trans fats is a healthy choice for many consumers, but no matter how hard you try to avoid them, they can happen accidentally. Because the government allows food