Meal Replacement Bar: The Ingredients Translated

The following is the ingredient list of a strawberry-flavored meal replacement bar, marketed as a “healthy” option for people who need to eat on the go.

Ingredients: Proprietary protein blend (soy isolate, whey isolate, whey concentrate, wheat isolate), vegetable glycerine, sorbitol, maltitol, corn syrup, rolled oats, icing (sugar, water, vegetable oil, palm kernel oil, corn syrup, soy lecithin, mono and diglycerides, pectin, potassium sorbate, agar, citric acid, calcium chloride, xanthan gumand salt), strawberry flakes (sugar, vegetable [palm, plam kernel], wheat flour, corn syrup solids, malic acid, strawberry natural and artificial flavors, soy lecithin, tricalcium phosphate, sodium citrate, strawberry juice, red 40 lake, acetic acid, blue 1 lake), sugar, polydextrose, margarine (palm oil, water, salt, whey, vegetable monoglycerides, soy lecithin, natural butter flavor, citric acid [acidulant], beta carotene [color], vitamin A palmitate added),  palm oil, flax seed, N&A flavors, blueberry powder, baking soda, salt, potassium sorbate, calcium propionate and guar gum.

What is all that stuff?  Read on…

Ingredients: Proprietary protein blend (soy isolate denatured GMO soy, whey isolate extra denatured dairy, whey concentrate denatured dairy, wheat isolate denatured wheat), vegetable glycerine byproduct of rancid vegetable oils, sorbitol poorly digested sugar alcohol, maltitol another poorly digested sugar alcohol, corn syrup GMO sweetener, rolled oats nice!, icing (sugar practically identical to high fructose corn syrup, water fluoridated?, vegetable oil rancid, most likely GMO soy, palm kernel oil crude, denatured, rancid, corn syrup more sugar, soy lecithin GMO emulsifier, mono and diglycerides emulsifiers, potentially from GMO soy, or from animal sources, pectin gelatinous starch concentrate, potassium sorbate anti-fungal preservative, agar a fairly natural gelling agent, citric acid a naturally occuring preservative made on a massive industrial scale, calcium chloride a “generally recognized as safe” firming agent, xanthan gum, another thickening agent and highly effective laxative of unknown derivation, most likely from GMO soy, GMO corn, or wheat (gluten containing), sometimes associated with bloating,  and salt sodium chloride, for flavor), strawberry flakes (sugar addictive substance, vegetable [palm, plam kernel] crudely processed, toxic, wheat flour bleached, nutrient-poor, pancreas-exciting powder , corn syrup solids powdered high fructose GMO corn syrup, malic acid tart flavoring generally used in sour candy, strawberry natural this means nothing and artificial flavors non-disclosed chemicals, soy lecithin denatured GMO soy, tricalcium phosphate raising agent known as “bone ash,” commonly used in porcelain and dental powders, sodium citrate acidic salt, strawberry juice concentrated sugar, red 40 lake food coloring, since strawberries aren’t already red?, acetic acid main component of vinegar, blue 1 lake neurotoxic food coloring linked to ADD), sugar drug polydextrose synthetic fiber derived from glucose (sugar), margarine (palm oil toxic vegetable grease, water probably fluoridated, salt to make this crap palatable, whey denatured dairy, vegetable monoglycerides synthetic emulsifier, soy lecithin GMO thickener, natural butter flavor meaningless, citric acid [acidulant] acid, beta carotene [color] vitamin A, nice!, vitamin A palmitate added wait… vitamin A twice?  Something is up here…),  palm oil again?!, flax seed either whole and indigestible, or milled into a rancid meal.  take your pick, N&A flavors natural and artificial flavors–all of which are pretty artificial, blueberry powder doubt there’s much left of the blueberry, baking sodawow! something we recognize, salt again, so you can palate this garbage, potassium sorbate anti-fungal preservative, calcium propionate slightly toxic fungicide that and guar gum thickening agent and laxative.

GMO Ingredients… Everywhere!

If you know anything about me, you should know that I am avidly opposed to genetically modified food.  In fact, the majority of people in the United States are at least wary of it, and many people think they have never consumed GMOs.  Little do they know that GMO foods and ingredients are not labeled, and there is no law in effect that makes is mandatory to do so.  Such a law would cripple the GE sector of agribusiness, which is working as hard as possible to popularize GMO foods among the masses.  GMO foods are the key to world hunger, they’ll say.  They’re non-threatening and substantially equivalent to natural foods.

If you, like me, are grossed out by GMO foods, but aren’t fully transitioned to a whole food organic diet, you might like to took a look at the following figures and lists.

Over 90% of soy in the United States is GMO.  Over 80%, canola.  Over 85%, corn. Over 85%, cotton.

That means that you have at least an 80% chance of eating GMO-derived food if you see vegetable oil or vegetable fat and margarines (made with soy, corn, cottonseed, and/or canola) appearing on your food’s ingredient list.

If you think that’s not bad enough, be wary of dozens of GMO food additives.  The following (source: http://www.seedsofdeception.com/Public/BuyingNon-GMO/index.cfm) is a list of common ingredients and food additives that appear in processed food prevalent in the Standard American Diet (SAD):

Ingredients derived from soybeans:

Soy flour, soy protein, soy isolates, soy isoflavones, soy lecithin, vegetable proteins, textured vegetable protein, tofu, tamari, tempeh, and soy protein supplements.

Ingredients derived from corn: Corn flour, corn gluten, corn masa, corn starch, corn syrup, cornmeal, and High-Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS).

Some Food Additives May Also Be Derived From GM Sources:

Ascorbic acid/ascorbate (Vitamin C), cellulose, citric acid, cobalamin (vitamin B12), cyclodextrin, cystein, dextrin, dextrose, diacetyl, fructose (especially crystalline fructose), glucose, glutamate, glutamic acid, gluten, glycerides (mono- and diglycerides), glycerol, glycerol, glycerine, glycine, hemicellulose, hydrogenated starch hydrolates, hydrolyzed vegetable protein or starch, inositol, invert sugar or inverse syrup, (also may be listed as inversol or colorose), lactic acid, lactoflavin, lecithin, leucine, lysine, maltose, maltitol, maltodextrin, mannitol, methylcellulose, milo starch, modified food starch, monooleate, mono- and diglycerides, monosodium glutamate (MSG), oleic acid, phenylalanine, phytic acid, riboflavin (Vitamin B2) sorbitol, stearic acid, threonine, tocopherol (Vitamin E), trehalose, xanthan gum, and zein.

What the hell are all those things?  If you don’t know, why are you putting it in your mouth?  If you can’t conjure up an accurate image of what those ingredients actually are, you shouldn’t eat it.

Now What, Monsanto?

Things you should know:

1) The Monsanto Corporation (see article, All About Monsanto) has a monopoly on GMO seeds.

2) The most famous Monsanto product is Roundup, a highly potent herbicide.

3) The second most famous Monsanto product is Roundup Ready Soybeans (another popular product is Roundup Ready corn).

4) 90% of American soy is Roundup Ready (70%, corn).

5) Roundup kills essentially everything but Roundup Ready Soybeans.

…except for a new Roundup-resistant weed!

Environmentalists have been saying it for years.  Natural selection will produce a super-species.  It happens all the time (the most terrifying of which, in my opinion, is super-antibiotic-resistant staphylococcus).  In at least 22 states, there exist Roundup-resistant weeds.

Farmers once heavily dependent on Monsanto products are beginning to realize that Roundup (glyphosate) won’t be enough, and are now turning to more expensive inputs: new, more toxic herbicides, mechanical methods, pulling weeds by hand.  This is almost certain to effect the cost of food (not that I would want to buy herbicide-soaked food to begin with).

What’s next?

My tip: go organic.

Allowances In The Whole Foods Diet: the case for and against certain foods

by Maria Stevens, April 2010

The principle of the whole foods diet is simple: don’t eat processed foods.  In practice, it’s a little more difficult.  Most foods end up processed minimally.  The line between “acceptably” and “overly”-processed is blurred.

The following list will address certain foods and why I think they can or cannot be successfully incorporated into the whole foods diet, and why.

Bread -

Bread is highly processed grain.  There’s no way around it.  The grain has been harvested, polished, and ground into flour.  The resulting product is a powder, more often than not, a white powder.  This white powder in no way shape of form resembles a wheat berry.  White flour is grain that has been stripped of its bran (its vitamins and fiber), refined, and bleached.  What you get is a very light and very sticky compound that bakes beautifully into bread, cakes, scones, cookies, and the like.

White bread is exceedingly popular, and has a mouth feel very unlike wholegrain bread.  It’s light, fluffy–almost like biting into air.  It sucks up jellies, butters, liquids, and it doesn’t compete with other flavors.  No wonder it’s so popular.

But white bread is almost devoid of anything but calories, and were it not a requirement that flour be “enriched,” it would be worthless.  Besides it’s “yummy factor,” white bread contributes nothing.  In fact, white bread has a very high glycemic index, which means is rapidly raises blood sugar, resulting in an over-excretion of insulin by the pancreas into the bloodstream.  Insulin pushes the sugar into the body’s cells very rapidly, and then you experience a crash.  Suddenly you want more bread.  It doesn’t fill, and it doesn’t fuel steadily.

But what about wheat bread? Not all breads are created equal.  Much of the wheat bread you see lining store shelves is cut with white flour.  The 100% whole wheat isn’t much better, as its is shown to have a virtually identical GI value to white flour.

So if whole grain bread is so processed and has a high GI value, should you eat it on the whole foods diet?  That all depends.

Many individuals have a difficult time controlling their intake of complex carbohydrates.  Generally speaking, grain-derived products are bland and simply act as vessels for other high-fat or high-sugar substances: jelly, peanut butter, mayonnaise, etc.  Few people ever eat a plain slice of bread, unless they’re really hungry.

Also, because bread is pre-digested grain (milled flour), it takes less chewing.  The less you chew, the faster you tend to eat, and the faster you tend to eat, the more you tend to eat because you don’t give your body a chance to tell you it is satisfied.

In light of all this information, one should not forget that bread has been a staple of human beings for thousands of years.  It really wasn’t until to advent and popularization of white flour that bread turned into a “bad guy.”

Whole grain and multi-grain breads can be successfully incorporated into the whole foods diet.  Before you decide whether to do so, ask yourself whether bread is a problem food for you.  If it is, you might do well to avoid it until you are better acquainted with the whole foods diet and its effects on your system.  Once you’re ready to eat bread again, explore and enjoy all the amazing things you can do with it.

Pasta -

The case for pasta is almost identical to the case for bread: it is a product of highly refined grain.  The biggest difference, however, is it GI value.  Because the flour in pasta has been so densely packed, it actually takes your body more effort to digest it than bread.  This results in a nice, long release of energy throughout the day.  Again, pasta is a staple of many long-enduring cultures, and should not be dismissed because it technically isn’t a whole food.  Be sure that what you put on your pasta is high-quality, filling, and home-made; you won’t go wrong.

Frozen fruits and vegetables -

If it comes wrapped in plastic, don’t buy it, right?  If canned fruits and vegetables are a no-no, why aren’t frozen fruits and veggies?  The difference lies in the nutrition.  When produce is canned, it ends up very low on the nutritional totem pole.  When you taste, for example, canned carrots, they are soft and soggy.  The nutrients have been cooked out of them.  Frozen produce, on the other hand, has undergone some chopping, yes, but is otherwise close to its original in nutritional density.  Obviously, fresh produce is preferable to frozen, but if you must substitute, don’t worry about it sabotaging your goals.

100% Fruit Juice -

The pulp is still there, isn’t it?  It’s a whole food, technically, right?  Keep in mind that most juice is filtered, leaving only a little pulp.  Also keep in mind that juicing is a form of processing that dramatically raises the GI value of fruit.  If you can’t live without fruit juice, use it as an ingredient, or drink it sparingly, or dilute it with water.

Dried Fruit -

Unless you’re eating raisins, a lot of dried fruit has sugar added to it. Cranberries, for instance, are too bitter without it.  Dehydration is a form of processing, and there are acceptable and less-acceptable ways of dehydrating fruit.  High temperatures blast nutrients from food; lower temperatures retain the nutrients and also food enzymes.  But it is virtually impossible to know how your dried fruit was processed.  Frankly, dried fruit, being the closest thing to “whole food candy,” should be reserved for special occasions and not heavily incorporated into your diet.

Honey and Maple Syrup -

Aren’t these sugars?  Yes.  The difference: they still resemble their natural form, mostly.  Use these additives sparingly, and try to buy them as raw and unfiltered as possible.

Rice Milk -

If you’re lactose intolerant and you want milk, this would seem to be a nice alternative.  It’s still a processed food, no matter how you look at it.  But, rice milk is relatively easy to make.  You’re better off making it yourself.  Chances are, your whole foods diet doesn’t call for very much milk, since you’re not eating breakfast cereal.

Skim and Non-Fat Milk

With all the hype around having a low-fat diet, you might think that it’s okay to cut a corner here, and avoid the more fattening whole milk.  Milk, first of all, has come a long way.  It’s almost always pasteurized and homogenized–it is processed, but not to such an extent that is has to be avoided.  Whole milk provides very filling saturated fat, and is a more balanced drink (fat, carbohydrates, and protein all in one drink!) than non-fat and skim.

But why can’t you drink skim?  Cream is derived from milk, cheese as well.  How far down the chain of dairy processing do we go without being complete hypocrites for not allowing non-fat and skim milk?  Not far at all.  This is a personal choice.  I will, however, repeat that whole milk is a more balanced drink.

Soy milk –

It’s supposed to be good for you, right?  It’s a very popular alternative to milk.  Just like rice milk, right?  Not really.  First, soy milk requires a more labor-intensive processes than rice milk.  Second, almost all soy beans grown in the United States are genetically modified (which raises brand new issues that cannot be addressed here).  Third, it is far less gentle on the digestive track than rice milk.  Finally, soy has a high concentration of phyto-estrogen (plant estrogen).  Phyto-estrogen looks like regular estrogen (to your body) and can tends to cause hormonal abnormalities.  Soy milk is a new creation, and best avoided.

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