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On the web page for nonfat Dannon Light & Fit Yogurt, the tag line is “a great balance of 80 calories per 6 oz, important nutrients, and delicious taste!” (Incidentally, the first thing you see is a really embarrassing ad campaign featuring Heidi Klum sitting on a modern whit leather couch saying “Yummy” and licking her fingers. Uh, not yummy.)
My mother buys this stuff by the bushel, and I’ve eaten one from time to time, but my husband says they taste “chemical-y.” I have told my mother it’s not real food, but so far I’ve had nothing to back that up with, just a hunch. So this week, in honor of my mother, we’re going to look at the ingredients in this yogurt. I have taken the ingredients straight from their site.
Nonfat milk. Milk that has less than 0.5 percent milk fat.”Fresh milk is received directly from local dairy farms.” Ah, I can see it now, the young milk maidens milking the cows and running it over to the Dannon plant. So idyllic. Dannon said in February 2009 that they would be going Recombinant Bovine Growth Hormone (rBGH) free, but I can’t find any evidence that they have actually done this.
This synthetic hormone—approved by the FDA in 1993—is used to increase milk production in dairy cows. It has been banned in Japan, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the European Union. According to Wikipedia, “the United States is the only developed nation to permit humans to drink milk from cows given artificial growth hormone.” (I have an email in to Dannon asking when they went rbGH free, if indeed they have. For now, I’m going to just say that they may or may not have rbGH.) The FDA does not require special labels for dairy from cows given rBGH.
There are companies who say that they don’t use milk from cows treated with rbGH, but the only way to know for sure is to find a local farm where you can see how the animals are treated. Since most of us can’t do that, here is a page that has links to lists of national rbGH-free dairy producers from Food and Water Watch, a “non profit organization that advocates for common sense policies that will result in healthy, safe food and access to safe and affordable drinking water.”
Fruit/Flavors. “Fruit, natural and artificial flavors can be added to some of our yogurts.” Ah, the natural and artificial flavors again. It seems that pretty much every processed food has these. I don’t know which ones specifically are in each Light & Fit, but you can check out what some of them are in the post I did last week about Candy Corn. In general, this means that the flavors are probably not natural in the way any of us think of “natural.” Also, artificial colors are rumored to affect children in the area of hyperactivity, and some of them can cause allergic reactions in asthmatics or people allergic to aspirin.
Live and Active Yogurt Cultures. “Lactobacillus bulgaricus and Streptococcus thermophilus are added to the milk. In addition, some DANNON cup yogurts contain a third culture called Lactobacillus acidophilus. These cultures are carefully cultivated in DANNON laboratories by expert yogurt technologists.” This kind of scares me and makes me laugh at the same time. I’m not sure what this means either.
“Besides milk, fruit and live and active cultures, some DANNON yogurt varieties may contain other ingredients that enhance the flavor, texture and appearance of the finished product.”
I personally think plain yogurt tastes good and doesn’t need any “other ingredients” to make it look, feel and taste better. It’s also interesting that in this ingredient round up, they don’t mention the natural and artificial flavors again.
Cornstarch. “A natural starch extracted from corn, cornstarch helps give body and texture to yogurt. The Food and Drug Administration has deemed modified cornstarch as a Generally Recognized As Safe (GRAS) ingredient, meaning that it can be safely added to foods under current good manufacturing practices.”
Gluten. “The natural system for stabilizing flavor might contain ingredients derived from gluten sources.” Hmmm. Why doesn’t the yogurt *I* buy have gluten in it then if it’s so natural?
Aspartame. “A low-calorie sweetener, aspartame is made of two naturally occurring amino acids: aspartic acid and phenylalanine. Approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 1981, aspartame has been determined safe for the general population, as well as for people with diabetes.” See my Diet Coke post for more about aspartame.
Fructose. “A simple sugar derived from fruit, fructose is added to several DANNON products for a natural-tasting sweetness.” “Natural tasting.” This can also be made in a laboratory, so I’m not sure if the wording is clear. Is it the kind that is derived from fruit or the kind that is man made? Not sure.
Pectin. “A fiber derived naturally from fruit, pectin helps thicken the yogurt and create the desired consistency and texture. Some DANNON yogurt varieties may contain a small amount of a pectin blend made from citrus fruits including lemons, limes, oranges and grapefruit.”
Gelatin. “Some of our products contain gelatin to give them the desired consistency and texture.” “Desired consistency.” Again, I like the yogurt I buy and it has NO gelatin in it. Why does Dannon’s yogurt need gelatin? Check out more about gelatin in my Candy Corn post.
Mineral Compound. “Calcium, potassium and sodium phosphate are mineral compounds that are present naturally in milk. These minerals can be added to our products for specific functions that improve quality.”
Now, not to make this longer, but I am looking at the ingredients of my plain Stonyfield nonfat yogurt in my fridge right now and these are the ingredients: Cultured pasteurized organic nonfat milk, pectin, vitamin D, 6 live active cultures. Four ingredients.Of course, this is PLAIN yogurt, and Stonyfield does need to “color” their flavored yogurt, but they use beets and strawberries to do so, not food coloring. They DO use “natural” flavors, which I’m curious about. Are they really natural? At any rate, it’s best just to buy plain yogurt and add what you want to so that you KNOW what you’re eating.
Lots to think about. If you have any reaction, input, information, please leave a comment. I think this is really important to talk about and be informed about what we’re eating!
Another yogurt that doesn’t use rbGH is Brown Cow. Do you know of any other brands? Please comment so I can add the brand to a list I’ll be putting together for a future post. Thanks!!
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Wow, I’ve never been this late posting my Mamavation post. I’m feeling pretty hungover between the drinks (and a few puffs of a cigarette!!!!) on Saturday and OD’ing on chocolate yesterday. Puffy, bleh, nauseous. OK enough complaining. Here’s my post!
Goals from Last Week
Sugar. I did pretty well with the whole sugar thing, but this weekend I had ginger ale (and WHISKEY!) and all of that chocolate. I’m still committed though and back on that wagon. I am not sure how I’ll do it though. Do I allow myself a sugary treat on the weekend. It seems like if I knew I could have chocolate on Saturdays, I wouldn’t have gobbled down so many bars yesterday. I knew I wouldn’t have any after that, so I went nuts.
Working out 2 mornings a week. I don’t want to use the word “failed” so let’s just say this didn’t work out. This week should be better.
Zumba. I did this! It was good! I felt very silly, but it was a decent workout and I didn’t feel like I was exercising, just dancing. I laughed a lot too, and that’s always a good thing! I’m signing up to do 2 classes a week with the friend I did it with. SUCCESS!
Bike Trainer. I have one for free, but I have to drive to my sister-in-law’s four hours away to get it! I really can’t wait to get this and will set something up to watch videos while I ride. Want to try to get 1 hour 5 days a week in. Maybe I’ll have her mail it and pay for shipping. Not sure.
Goals for This Week
I’m really enjoying writing the “What’s In It? Wednesday” posts, and I’ll be doing those weekly. This feature is also going to be syndicated on Fitblogger beginning November 17! Very excited about that. Check out the posts I’ve done so far on Diet Coke and Candy Corn. I’m taking suggestions as well.
Sista of the Week!
Congrats to Lorrie (@CuteAngel79) for Sista of the Week!! You are always there for a pat on the back and some nice convo, and you have stuck it out through good and bad. You deserve it!
Commenter of the Week
Well, we chose this person last week before leadership chose Sista of the Week. She really deserves it and we didn’t want to delay any longer. She has won a 20-minute session with the wonderful Pete Cohen (@pete_cohen)! Lorrie (@CuteAngel79), you deserve both awards this week! You consistently leave thoughtful comments and a lot of them! Congrats!
Giveaway of MizFitOnline Tee or Tank!
The giveaway ends on Friday. Check it out! Enter! Spread the news! Check out the giveaway here.
Stuff I’ve Won!
$30 Amazon card from Mom Most Traveled
$25 Subway card from Mamavation
Bondi Band from Simply Fitting Into Life and My Old Jeans
A Case of Chobani Yogurt from 263 and Counting
$25 Target Gift Card from Frugal Femina! Thanks to those of you who referred to me!
I’m having tons of fun entering contests, so please excuse all of the tweets. I’m obsessed with winning! : )
This week, we are sponsored by Subway! Jared. the Subway spokesman, is running the New York City Marathon this weekend, and I’ll be watching him and Meb, last year’s winner battle the fastest marathoner in the world, Haile Gebrselassie of Ethiopia. Here’s a schedule listing if you want to watch! Subway is giving away a prize this week and I’d love the Michael Phelps, er, package. I mean the swim cap and goggles!
Speaking of Subway, check out my Commit to Fit posts from October:
I’ll be posting a race wrap up on Fitblogger to be published on Monday!
This week’s Halloween edition of “What’s In It? Wednesday” is brought to you by Partially Hydrogenated Soybean Oil! Corn Syrup! AND! Artificial Flavor! Yippee!
Hey, I don’t want to be a downer, but I AM interested in what our kids are eating on Halloween. I’m not going to deprive my little boy of his milkfat and soy lecithin, don’t you worry your pretty little head about that.
This post was going to be about several Halloween candies, but as I started looking, I found one candy that sounds worse than the others. Unfortunately, it’s not Snickers, which is my favorite (though Snickers is pretty bad, and it has TONS of sugar and fat).
It’s CANDY CORN! Sounds so harmless, doesn’t it?
The ingredients in candy corn can be some or all of the following: Sugar, Corn Syrup, Soy Protein, Gelatin, Confectioner’s Glaze, Natural and Artificial Flavors, Salt, Dextrose, Titanium Dioxide Color, Artificial Colors, (FDC Yellow 6 Lake, Red #40, Red 40 Lake, Yellow #5, Yellow #6, Blue 1 Lake, Blue #1, Yellow 5 Lake), Egg Whites, Honey Glycerin, Mineral Oil, Carnauba Wax
OK, there doesn’t seem to be one redeeming ingredient. MAYBE egg whites, but we’ll see if those are processed. We’ll probably never know what the Natural and Artificial Flavors consist of, and the first two ingredients are sugar. Yes, I know it’s Halloween candy, but does anyone really like this stuff enough to eat it after knowing what is in it? If you’re still not convinced, here is a more in-depth explanation of each ingredient.
Sugar. Each serving of Candy Corn (about 20 pieces) has about 28 grams of sugar, slightly less than a Hershey chocolate bar. The general rule is that you don’t want to eat anything that has sugar as its first ingredient. Of course, yes, it’s Halloween and this isn’t the worst ingredient in Candy Corn by far.
Corn Syrup. This is a huge topic, so I’m not going to go into it here, but if you’re interested in how Corn Syrup is made, check it out here. Lots of photos too. Also, to learn about how corn is in just about everything we eat, I highly recommend the book Fast Food Nation: The Dark Side of the All-American Meal. I haven’t seen the movie King Corn yet, but it’s all about corn and agriculture in the U.S. as well. Worth checking out.
Soy Protein. Soy protein is used for emulsification and texturizing. You can read more about it here.
Gelatin. A translucent, colorless, brittle (when dry), nearly tasteless solid substance, derived from the collagen inside animals’ skin and bones. This is used as a gelling agent. Not purely vegetarian/vegan.
Confectioner’s Glaze. This is a really nice name for “wax-free shellac” or “food-grade lacquer.” Is it necessary for the taste of the candy corn? Nope. It’s for visual effect! This is from Wikipedia:
Pharmaceutical glaze is an alcohol-based solution of various types of food grade shellac. When used in food and confections, it is also known as confectioner’s glaze, resinous glaze, pure food glaze and natural glaze. It is also known colloquially in the manufacturing world as beetle juice due to shellac’s derivation from the lac insect Kerria lacca (which is not a beetle, but a scale insect).
Depending upon how hardcore you are, this is not strictly a vegetarian/vegan option. This ingredient is in other items such as pills, sprinkles and jelly beans. If that’s not enough of a turn off, check out this site’s description of how the lac insects are cultivated. Ew.
Natural and Artificial Flavors – this pretty much means that all of the flavors could be artificial in the way that most people think of artificial. It could mean that there are actually some natural flavors as far as what most people think “natural” means, and most likely there are some flavors made by man-made chemicals. You can read a little more about “Natural” flavors in my Diet Coke post.
Salt. Each serving of candy corn (20 pieces) has somewhere between 70 and 135 grams of salt. Not sure how many of these things people can stomach. Do you eat more than 20 of these sugary wax candies at a time?
Artificial Colors, (FDC Yellow 6 Lake, Red #40, Red 40 Lake, Yellow #5, Yellow #6, Blue 1 Lake, Blue #1, Yellow 5 Lake) - I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, we shouldn’t have to have science degrees to understand the ingredients in our food.
Why do artificial food colors have numbers? The FDA gives these numbers to synthetic food dyes that to not occur naturally. If I could understand “Lakes” I would explain them to you. Instead, I’m going to send you to Wiki to read the page about Food Coloring. If you figure it out, please leave a comment. You’ll be the smartest person I know.
FDC Yellow #6 Lake and Yellow #6. “A synthetic yellow azo dye, manufactured from aromatic hydrocarbons from petroleum. Although there are reports that it can induce an allergic reaction, this is not confirmed by scientific research.” (From Wikipedia) It also might be linked to hyperactivity in young children.
Red #40 and Red #40 Lake. In Europe, these colors are not recommended for children and they are banned in 5 European countries. This is also one of the colorants that is suspected to increase hyperactivity or restlessness in small children. It was originally manufactured from coal tar but is now mostly made from petroleum.
Yellow #5 and Yellow #5 Lake. A synthetic lemon yellow azo dye. This colorant is the most widely used across the world and appears to cause the most allergic and intolerance reactions of all the azo dyes, particularly among asthmatics and those with an aspirin intolerance. You can read more about the allergic reactions here.
Blue #1 and Blue #1 Lake. A synthetic dye produced using aromatic hydrocarbons from petroleum. According to its very own Wiki page, “The dye is poorly absorbed from the gastro-intestinal tract and 95% of the ingested dye can be found in the feces.” Gross. This is another one that can affect people with asthma. Here is more information on this colorant.
Egg Whites. This ingredient seems somewhat harmless. The egg whites are most likely dried, so I don’t know what that process is like, but in Candy Corn, these are the least of our worries!
Honey Glycerin. Most of the information I found about Honey Glycerin is that it’s used in soaps, shampoos, body scrubs. I wasn’t able to find this as an edible ingredient in a quick look on Google. Anybody? Bueller? I think it is a byproduct of honey in some way, but not sure on that.
Mineral Oil. a liquid by-product of the distillation of petroleum to produce gasoline and other petroleum based products from crude oil. Just sounds bad, doesn’t it? Apparently, it’s edible!
Carnauba Wax. A wax of the leaves of the palm, Copernicia prunifera. It is used as a formulation aid, lubricant, release agent, anticaking agent, and surface finishing agent. (Wikipedia)
Dextrose. A form of glucose that occurs in nature. This is another product that can also be produced commercially with, take a guess…yes! Corn!
Are You Still Into Candy Corn?
So if after knowing all of that you still want to eat Candy Corn, you must really love that stuff! You do know if I were Oprah, I’d be sued right now, but since only about 10 people read my blog, that ain’t gonna happen. Though, it would get me a lot of hits!
I am probably never going to eat Candy Corn again because I don’t really like it in the first place. This has kind of put me over that edge. There do seem to be some good Halloween candy alternatives, but you really have to look at the ingredients closely. Good luck!
Don’t forget to check out the What’s In It? Wednesday—Diet Coke post!
We’ve moved! Check out Middle-Aged Jock at www.middleagedjock.com!
So I’m doing a very unscientific experiment or tracking of what blog giveaways I enter and what I win. When I say unscientific, I mean I’ve entered a shitload of giveaways and I’ve so far won two four of them! I’m so not complaining. Here’s what I’ve won:
Yes, I said I was going to see how much I could save for Christmas shopping, but I’ve already used some of the Amazon card to buy the following:
I have heard that Personal Training With Jackie: Xtreme Timesaver Training is a killer and that I will be very sore. Bring it on, abs woman!! Bring it ON!!
The other thing I bought was recommended by Kia (@bodhi_bear) from Bodhi Bear. It’s a dessert cookbook called Sweet!: From Agave to Turbinado, Home Baking with Every Kind of Natural Sugar and Sweetener
Want to Help Me Win a $25 Target Gift Certificate?
You can enter to win a $50 Target gc AND tell them I sent you so I can get the $25 gc! Win-win! Go here and enter. Please? Giveaway ends in 2 days!
Other Giveaways I’ve Entered this Week
Would love this because the one we had was stolen. I’d love to have more videos of my son!
I want one! You can enter too!
Positive Positive Positive
Hello there. I was going to start this with what I have NOT done, but deleted that and will say what I HAVE accomplished this week.
I am not going to focus on what I haven’t done this week. I beat myself up enough during the week and feel like what is the point of “telling on” myself. Here’s what I’m planning for this week:
I NEED exercise in order not to be a total bitch and miserable inside my own skin. I just need to do it. Thanks again to Leah (@bookieboo) for reminding me of this. Her video about exercise is both for those of us who hate exercise and those of us who love it. (I love it, for the record and desperately need to get back to it.)
Sista of the Week
Congratulations to April (@GAFlygirl) for Sister of the Week! She is kicking exercise butt! Very proud of her!
This week I really really want the Mamavation TV prize, which is sponsored by Subway, a $50 LuluLemon gift certificate, a green Gaiam gym bag & yoga mat! Lululemon and Gaiam have really cute, high-quality exercise gear, but it’s pretty expensive, so I’d be happy to be able to buy something from them! The giveaway is part of Subway’s new campaign called Commit to Fit. Jared from Subway is recommitting to fitness by running the NY Marathon this year! I’ll so be watching to see how he and Meb, the winner from last year do! The guy Meb is up against is the fastest marathoner in the WORLD!!!
While I’ve Got You Here!
Check out my giveaways posts so you can see what I’ve entered to win and what you can also enter, and remember that you can win Commenter of the Week each week for commenting on your Sista’s posts. You don’t have to comment on all of them, but just leave comments that are meaningful in some way. This isn’t to say that the “way to goes” are not appreciated too!
Speaking of Commenter of the Week, I am very very happy to announce that this week’s commenter of the week, and winner of a 20-minute session with the wonderful Pete Cohen is………Kia (@bodhi_bear) from BodhiBear. Kia’s comments are always very helpful, sweet and she clearly cares. Congrat, Kia!!
And, in case you didn’t know, I am giving away a “I am my own superhero” t-shirt from MizFitOnline.com. Here’s a picture. She told me this is the one and only time she is giving one away! I’m so honored!
Lastly, if you have any foods that you’d like for me to feature in my “What’s In It? Wednesdays post, I’m taking suggestions! My Diet Coke post got the most hits ever on my site! Pretty cool.
This week’s Commit2Fit question is really easy:
Well, my go to is the Veggie Delight, which consists of whole wheat bread, cheese (yes, I get the cheese), lettuce, tomato, pickles, olives, spinach and oil and vinegar. With the cheese, it’s a little more fattening and processed, and I think I will stop getting it with cheese now that I think of it! I do get a 6″ sub which is pretty satisfying. Occasionally I’ll get some baked chips as well. I’ve found the least processed chips (yes, still processed) are the Baked Tostitos. They are not super high in calories and only have about four ingredients.
Fat: 2.5 grams
Sodium: 400 grams of sodium.
This is without the cheese. Add the cheese and you add 100 calories, more fat and pretty much “cheese food.”
Since we’re talking about Subway sandwiches, I should tell you that they are not all healthy and certainly become less healthy if you eat a foot-long sandwich as far as calories and bread consumed. The worst offenders are:
6″ meatball marinara
Fat: 23 grams
Sodium: 1530 grams (nearly a full day’s recommended sodium intake)
6″ Chicken and Bacon Ranch
Fat: 28 grams
Sodium: 1190 grams
Fat: 30 grams
Sodium: 930 grams
Fat: 23 grams
Sodium: 2610 grams (this is more than the daily recommendation for sodium!)
You can look at Subway’s site for more information on the healthiest and most unhealthy sandwiches. They list eight lower calorie/fat sandwiches at the top of the page.