Archive for Health

Newly reformulated 10-calorie sodas leave fructose levels a mystery

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 24, 2013 by ecofrenfood


Newly reformulated 10-calorie sodas leave fructose levels a mystery

Posted by — May 16, 2013

Are you an ‘ex-Pepper’? If so, The Dr. Pepper/Snapple Group hopes to bring you back into the fold.  In an effort to lure what it refers to as “consumers who have left the soft drink category” the company is working feverishly to blanket the country with a new lineup of products, consisting of some of its biggest brand names reformulated with a witches’ brew of synthetic sweeteners – a combination of high fructose corn syrup, aspartame and acesulfame potassium (what the company calls its “proprietary blend”).  The selling point is that each supposedly contains no more than 10 calories per 12-ounce serving, which accounts for the special designation under which they’re being marketed  –“TEN.”

Since HFCS is the second ingredient in the three “TENs” I looked at, Canada Dry Ginger Ale, 7Up and Dr. Pepper, I couldn’t help wondering what the fructose amount is in the HFCS being used. After all, Archer Daniels Midland, one of the biggest manufacturers of this test-tube sweetener, has run ads for a product called “Cornsweet 90” a HFCS blend containing 90 percent fructose that it has called “the ideal choice for reduced calorie foods such as beverages…” And the Corn Refiners Association (CRA) itself has acknowledged in a letter to the Food and Drug Administration that this mega-fructose additive has been in use “with FDA knowledge for decades” (more on that in a minute). So I called the Dr. Pepper Snapple company press office with my question.

In the short conversation I had with company spokesperson Chris Barnes, I leaned more ‘ad speak’ than I could have in a Mad Men marathon. Terms like the “broader TEN platform,” “mouth feel,” “broader flavor system,” and my favorite, the “lapsed soft drink consumer” were dropped repeatedly in our talk. But when I got to my fructose question, Chris didn’t have an answer for me other than “I don’t know that we do share specific ingredient information beyond what’s on the label.” He did ask why I was interested and promised to follow up with the research and development department, but felt fairly sure the company wouldn’t divulge that information.

Although I didn’t get any further insight about fructose amounts from Barnes, he did tell me how “very excited” the company is so far with how “TEN” is “performing,” allowing folks who had concerns over taste and calories to now have the “benefit” of a soft drink once again.

A shocking acknowledgment

Now admittedly, the question of fructose amounts in HFCS is a touchy subject, something the CRA likes to gloss over by repeatedly asserting that the additive isn’t really high in fructose (one reason it had unsuccessfully sought to change its name to “corn sugar”) and telling consumers over and over that HFCS is “virtually the same” as real sugar, which is a 50/50 combination of glucose and fructose.

But contrary to the big public relations blitz put out by the CRA claiming that “sugar is sugar,” a growing body of evidence has come to light showing  that HFCS is apparently being used by food and beverage manufacturers in highly fluctuating fructose amounts, including the mega-90 version. Such findings led Citizens for Health to file a petition with the Food and Drug Administration last September, which asked the agency to take action against manufacturers using HFCS with fructose levels above 55 percent, the highest amount the FDA allows, and in the interim, to require the actual amount of fructose it contains to be specified on product labels. (To sign and support that petition, click here).

The CRA response to the FDA about that petition was a shocking acknowledgment that, in violation of FDA regulations, HFCS-90 has been used in the food supply “with FDA knowledge for decades.”  The letter, signed by CRA interim president J. Patrick Mohan, also refers to “fluctuations in fructose levels above 42 or 55%” in HFCS, that he apparently believes “would be expressly permitted” by the agency.

But despite Mohan’s apparent belief that all is fine and dandy regardless of what the actual fructose amount in an HFCS blend might be, the FDA has made it perfectly clear that HFCS 90 “contains a substantially different ratio of glucose to fructose than…HFCS-55,” and that the agency doesn’t have enough information to “ensure that this product is safe.”

Numerous medical experts and extensive studies have linked excess fructose consumption to a wide variety of health problems, such as obesity, diabetes, liver and heart disease. And for the CRA, which spent many millions of dollars to tell consumers that HFCS really isn’t high in fructose at all, this statement is quite telling.

But for now, the matter of just how much fructose might be in those new Dr. Pepper/Snapple Group formulas remains a mystery. Which is something you might want to keep in mind before you reach for a “TEN” on your supermarket shelf in the belief that you can now have the “benefit” of drinking soda without having to worry about the consequences.

Drinking Water, Sanitation & Hygiene

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 1, 2013 by ecofrenfood
Drinking Water, Sanitation & Hygiene

The UN suggests that each person needs 20-50 litres of water a day to ensure their basic needs for drinking, cooking and cleaning.
Source: World Water Assessment Programme (WWAP)

In 2010, 89 % of the world’s population, or 6.1 billion people, used improved drinking water sources, exceeding the MDG target (88 %); 92 % are expected to have access in 2015. By 2015, 67 % will have access to improved sanitation facilities (the MDG target is 75 %).
Source: WHO

Between 1990 and 2010, two billion people gained access to improved drinking water sources and 1.8 billion people gained access to improved sanitation facilities.
Source: WHO

11% of the global population, or 783 million people, are still without access improved sources of drinking water.
Source: JMP 2012

Globally, diarrhoea is the leading cause of illness and death, and 88 per cent of diarrhoeal deaths are due to a lack of access to sanitation facilities, together with inadequate availability of water for hygiene and unsafe drinking water.
Source: JMP

The provision of improved sanitation and safe drinking water could reduce diarrhoeal diseases by nearly 90 per cent.
Source: JMP

Today 2.5 billion people, including almost one billion children, live without even basic sanitation. Every 20 seconds, a child dies as a result of poor sanitation. That’s 1.5 million preventable deaths each year.
Source: WWDR, 2012

In Sub-Saharan Africa, treating diarrhoea consumes 12 percent of the health budget. On a typical day, more than half the hospital beds in are occupied by patients suffering from faecal-related disease.
Source: WSSCC

Washing hands with soap can reduce the risk of diarrhoeal diseases by up to 47 per cent.
Source: WHO

The first ever global handwashing day was celebrated on 15 October during the International Year of Sanitation.
While the percent of population with access to improved facilities increased since 1990 in all regions, the number of people living without access has increased due to slow progress and population growth. In 2008, 2.6 billion people had still no access to improved sanitation facilities.
The Millennium Development Goal (MDG) target is to reduce by half the proportion of people without access to basic sanitation by 2015.
Source: World Bank

Resourcing of the water, sanitation and hygiene sector is relatively low priority compared to other sectors. In many countries, policies and programmes underemphasise adequate financing and human resource development to sustain the existing infrastructure and to expand access to sanitation, drinking-water and hygiene services.
Source: UN-Water: GLAAS, 2012

Overall, the number of cholera cases for the decade 2000–2010 increased by 130 %.
Source: WHO, 2010

With increasing populations living in peri-urban slums and refugee camps, as well as increasing numbers of people exposed to the impacts of humanitarian crises, the risk from cholera will likely increase worldwide.
Source: WWDR, 2012

63 % of the global population use toilets and other improved sanitation facilities.
2.5 billion people lack improved sanitation.
1.1 billion people (15 % of the global population) practice open defecation.
949 million open defecators live in rural areas.
Source: WHO 2012

How to Use Lemongrass Oil as an Insect Repellent

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , on February 15, 2013 by ecofrenfood

How to Use Lemongrass Oil as an Insect Repellent

By an eHow Contributor

    • 1

      Purchase pure lemongrass oil to use as a pure, natural and safe insect repellent. You can dilute the oil in rubbing alcohol or distilled water, and pour the mixture into a spray bottle for easy applications. Note that concentrated lemongrass oil may cause skin irritation if not diluted, so test your formula on a small patch of skin before spraying all over your body.

    • 2

      Burn pure lemongrass oil in candles and small lamps in order to protect a larger outdoor area from insects. You can use a variety of lemongrass products such as tea lights, lanterns and even large torches for a decorative touch. If you form a perimeter around a picnic or barbecue area with the candles and lamps, you can protect hundreds of square feet from insect activity.

      • Use lemongrass oil with other types of natural oils to create an even stronger insect repellent. Lemongrass oil can be mixed with lemon eucalyptus oil for an insect repellent than can protect you for 5 to 6 hours per application. Rosemary oil, which can be extracted from the common rosemary plant, can be combined with lemongrass oil for a more aromatic formula than will repel an even greater variety of insects.

      • 4

        Add a few drops of lemongrass oil to other cosmetics for an aromatic yet effective way to discourage insects from biting. Lemongrass oil can be added to moisturizing lotions, sunscreens, shampoos and liquid hand soap. Just add lemongrass oil until its scent starts to dominate the other scents of the product.

      • 5

        Grow lemongrass in your yard in order to have continual access to the oil. Lemongrass grows quickly and easily in many climates, and the plant itself tends to act as an insect repellent. You can extract the oil by grinding up the leaves, by chopping the lower stalks of the plant into small pieces, or by rubbing the juices directly on your skin.

      Read more: How to Use Lemongrass Oil as an Insect Repellent |

10 Worst Foods In Your Pantry

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 11, 2012 by ecofrenfood

10 Worst Foods In Your Pantry

1. Soda and Sweetened Beverages

Some of the worst foods in their pantry are soda and other sweetened drinks because these contribute refined carbohydrate calories without nutrients. David Leopold, MD, director of integrative medical education for the Scripps Center for Integrative Medicine, puts any type of soda at the top of his “worst” list. Some might be surprised that sweetened teas and energy drinks rival the sugar in soda with about 50 grams of sugar per 16-ounce bottle.

2. High Sugar, Low Fiber Breakfast Cereals

Cold cereals were among the top sources of added sugar for children between the ages of 2 and 8, according to a recent report. A cereal that lists a refined grain and sugar as the first two ingredients won’t satisfy your hunger through the morning and it won’t contribute important nutrients, which come from whole foods like whole grains, nuts, or dried fruit.

3. Snack Cakes and Cupcakes

Snack cakes have three of the four ingredients we need to eat less of: refined flour, added sugars, and saturated fat. The typical snack cake serving, such as two Hostess Ho Hos, contains 228 calories, 9 grams of saturated fat, and 28 grams of sugar. Keep in mind that 9 grams of saturated fat is half the maximum daily amount of saturated fat recommended for someone eating 1,800 calories a day, according to the 2010 Dietary Guidelines.

4. Movie Theater or Mega Butter Microwave Popcorn

The “Extra Butter” or “Movie Theater” microwave popcorn choices are some of the last products that still have shocking amounts of trans fat in them with a small serving of 3 tablespoons (unpopped) containing about 2.5 grams of saturated fat and 5 grams of trans fat. Each serving also adds at least 300 milligrams of sodium to your day’s total.

5. Chips and Cheetos

This popular snack group category made the list because they are processed with gobs of fat and sodium and usually include a refined grain. A 2-ounce bag of chips or Cheetos usually adds more than 300 calories, 20 grams of fat, and over 450 milligrams of sodium. The worst part is we tend to eat too much of them because even a 2-ounce portion doesn’t seem to satisfy our stomach.

6. Packaged Muffins and Cereal Bars

You expect Pop Tarts to be full of sugar (about 16 grams of sugar each) but you might be surprised to learn that even the more healthful sounding cereal bars or packaged muffins contain about the same amount of sugar (or more) than your typical toaster pastry. Otis Spunkmeyer brand muffins contribute about 30 grams of sugar per 4-ounce muffin, Weight Watchers muffins add about 20 grams of sugar per 2.2-ounce muffin, and a small Nutri-Grain cereal bar has 13 grams of sugar.

7. Crackers (made with refined flour)

They are so easy to eat a lot of because they are bite-size and crunchy. A few years ago crackers were held together with partially hydrogenated fat (which added trans fat) and now the trans fats are mostly gone, but most crackers are still low in fiber and high in sodium.

8. Yeast Breads (made with refined flour)

Yeast breads, from hot dog buns to Texas toast, made the “worst” list for two reasons: They are one of the biggest sources of refined flour in the typical American diet and they are also the No. 1 source of sodium among the U.S. population.

9. Store-Bought Cookies (especially the chocolate coated ones)

Grain desserts, which includes cookies, are a major source of added sugars, more so than dairy desserts or candy, according to a new report. Some commercial cookies are higher in fat, saturated fat and sugar than others but they all usually start with refined flour. The chocolate coated cookies tend to have the most saturated fat (about 5 grams per 3 cookie serving).

10. Canned Soup and Instant Noodle Cups

Some choices in the soup aisle have half a day’s worth of sodium in a serving. The U.S. Dietary Guidelines recommend half the U.S. population, including people aged 51 and older and those of any age who are African-American or have hypertension, diabetes, or chronic kidney disease, reduce their sodium to 1,500 milligrams a day.

Wong Lo Kat

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 11, 2012 by ecofrenfood

Wong Lo Kat is also a type of Chinese herbal tea. It tastes like herbal tea.

The JDB Group is a Hong Kong-based, large-scale enterprise that focuses its business in the production and sales of specialized beverages. In 1995, the group launched the first red-canned “Wong Lo Kat”. In 1999, the group set up its production base as a foreign capital enterprise in Chang An Town of Dongguan, Guangdong Province. It also set up individual production plants in Beijing, Zhejiang, Fujian and Guangzhou.

SOURCE: China Knowledge

$1 The Value of a Dollar

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 16, 2012 by ecofrenfood

When Jonathan Blaustein purchased 10 early-season organic blueberries for $1, he was a little upset by this price, because six weeks earlier he had purchased 17 organic blueberries from Chile for the same amount of money. And those blueberries from Chile were from 800 miles away but were half the cost of California berries.

Eventually, after seeing many different menus around the world with various dollar-priced meals, photographer Mr. Blaustein, 36, decided to pursue a project “The Value of a Dollar”.

So, what food can you buy if you only have $1 in your wallet? See these photos taken by Mr. Blaustein and find out the answer.

Shurfine flour

A double cheeseburger from McDonald’s

Organic grapefruit from a natural food store

Conventional grapefruit

Tomatillos from Mexico

Candy necklaces from China

Shufrine white bread

Potted meat food product

Organic basmati rice

Tea biscuits from Spain

Shrimp-flavored ramen noodles

Beef shank

Pork floss, or rousong

Fenugreek seeds from India


Side salad with ranch dressing from Burger King

Escargot in a can from Indonesia

Early-season organic blueberries from California

Dried smelt

What Are the Health Benefits of Sago?

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , on April 3, 2012 by ecofrenfood

What Are the Health Benefits of Sago?

Jun 14, 2011 | By Allison Adams

Sago is a starch taken from the center of sago palm stems. Sago has similarities to tapioca, including its look, taste and feel. However, sago is not tapioca, which comes from a different plant. You can, however, substitute tapioca for sago in many recipes.
The Roles of Sago

Sago is a common ingredient used in Indian recipes. In gruel form, sago can function as a healthy alternative to carbonated drinks, providing energy without any artificial chemicals and sweeteners. Sago is used to make the pearls that sit at the bottom of bubble tea, a popular Asian drink. You can also use sago in the preparation of desserts and some breads. Additionally, you can add sago to rice for a low calorie, light meal option.

Sago and the Body

In India, sago is also known as sabudana and has a long history in traditional Indian medicine. According to “The New Oxford Book of Food Plants,” traditional Indian medicine uses sago in combination with rice to cool the body. Therefore, sago can function as an herbal remedy to treat ailments resulting from too much heat, such as the production of excess bile. Sago is also used in traditional medicine outside the Indian subcontinent in Sri Lanka, New Guinea and other Asian Pacific countries.
Health Facts

Sago does not offer any significant quantity of vitamins or minerals. As a starch, the health benefits of sago come primarily from carbohydrates. This carbohydrate content allows sago to function as a staple food in several regions of the world. Sago is also low in fat and has no protein. Since, the nutritional content of sago is quite low, people often mix sago with other ingredients that offer essential vitamins and nutrients, such as milk or fruits and vegetables.
Preparation of Sago

Recipes usually call for you to soak sago in water for long periods of time. After soaking the sago, you will find the starch less sticky and easier to handle than tapioca. You can also use the powder form of sago as a thickening agent for foods such as gravy or sauces. Additionally, you can use the powder form of sago as a flour substitute. In fact, recipes for many types of Indian and Nepali flat breads specifically call for powdered sago.


* “Complete Guide to Edible Wild Plants”; Department of the Army; 2009
* “The Microscopy of the More Commonly Occurring Starches”; Hugh Galt; 2009
* “The New Oxford Book of Food Plants”; John Vaughan; 2009

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