BEWARE: Toxins In Your Favorite Drinks!
by Kerry McLeod
Chief Brand Doctor
Fingers on your buzzers players. It's time to play Putting Your Health in Jeopardy!
In which of the following products are you most likely to find the cancer-causing agent benzene?
C. Laundry detergent
D. Tropicana Twister diet soda
E. All of the above
Cue the Jeopardy theme song… da, da, da, da, da, da… duh?!
The correct answer is E - all of the above!
That's right folks. Our food sleuths at eBrandAid.com discovered that benzene - which is listed by health authorities as a cancer-causing carcinogen - is not only found in explosives and laundry detergent, but it's also lurking in some of our favorite beverages!
Shocking, but true. The obvious follow-up question: Why would beverage manufacturers slip benzene into their products?
Don't bother scanning the label of the drinks you have in your fridge or pantry. You won't find benzene listed anywhere. What you might find is ascorbic acid (vitamin C) and sodium or potassium benzoate. Alone, these additives are considered safe. However, when combined, they react to form the scary substance benzene!
This carcinogenic combo is found in all kinds of sodas (regular and diet), as well as juice drinks like Kool-Aid Jammers, Country Time Lemonade, and several Tropicana varieties.
Check out the ingredients that create this diet soda.
Tropicana Twister Diet Orange Soda
INGREDIENTS: CARBONATED WATER, ORANGE JUICE FROM CONCENTRATE, CITRIC ACID, ASPARTAME, POTASSIUM BENZOATE (PRESERVES FRESHNESS), CITRUS PECTIN, MODIFIED FOOD STARCH, NATURAL AND ARTIFICIAL FLAVORS, POTASSIUM SORBATE (PRESERVES FRESHNESS), ASCORBIC ACID (VITAMIN C), ACESULFAME POTASSIUM, YELLOW 6, ESTER GUM, CALCIUM DISODIUM EDTA (TO PROTECT FLAVOR), SODIUM CITRATE.
It clearly shows that both potassium benzoate and ascorbic acid are present. So, what the heck is this drink doing on grocery store shelves?
Well, drinks like Tropicana Twister have been tested for benzene. Most were found to have benzene levels below the legal limit. According to the FDA, this means they're safe for consumption. Hmmm, can any amount of benzene really be safe?
We're already exposed to benzene from car exhaust and cleaning products so should we play with fire and consume even more in our beverages?
For over a decade now the FDA has been slapping the beverage industry on the wrist for failing to control benzene levels. And while existing beverage makers have been warned, every year hundreds of new beverages enter the market, and manufacturers still seem clueless about the toxic combination of benzoate and ascorbic acid.
Scores of popular beverages contain the deadly duo.
Folks, we can't wait around for the FDA to work through all the red tape and recall beverages that contain sodium benzoate and ascorbic acid. Before you buy your favorite beverage, read the label! If it contains the volatile ingredients, leave it on the store shelf and opt for filtered water or additive-free, 100% fruit juice.
Bottom line: There are over 3,000 additives used in our current food supply. Due to a lack of testing, we can't be sure that there aren't more additive combos out there imposing risks to our health.
Our Final Jeopardy question: What do the chemical sweetener aspartame and potassium sorbate form when combined?
Answer: Your guess is as good as ours!
Kerry McLeod is eBrandAid.com's chief Brand Doctor and a blogger here at Diet.com. Kerry's mission in life is to teach food shoppers how to cut through the clutter at the grocery store in order to find the truly healthy brand-name foods. If smart food shopping appeals to you, go to eBrandAid.com and sign up for free newsletters.
May 17, 2010
Avoid The Dining-Out Landmines: 11 Tips!
by Tracey Mallett
If you're like me, your busy life forces you to eat out... a lot. Lucky for you, I've done the research -- and have even jumped on a few food grenades for you -- and am here with my advice for avoiding the landmines at your favorite restaurants.
Chew on this... my top 11 rules to live and diet by:
1. Do not go to dinner starving! Temptation will probably get the better of you. Instead, eat a piece of fruit or some veggies about an hour before you go out. The fiber will keep you feeling fuller over a longer period of time without the extra calories.
2. Go easy on the alcohol! Not only does booze contain a lot of empty calories but will often take away your willpower with food which often leads to overeating.
3. Push the bread basket or the bowl of chips away! The temptation is far too strong. If you're with friends, then just move it to the other side of the table out of your reach. A few warm rolls with butter or chips with guacamole will blow your healthy eating plan for the week in just one sitting.
4. Half the portions! Considering most restaurant portions are often double -- if not triple -- the correct portions your body actually needs, it’s not surprising that often we roll out of the restaurant instead of walking. Leave some food on your plate and ask for a doggy bag. This could be tomorrow's dinner.
5. Look for cooking methods such as broiled, baked or steamed on the menu! Stay away from any fried food such a tempura, which is a popular choice in a sushi restaurant.
6. No white sauces! Most white sauces are usually made from cream and butter. This will definitely add inches on your figure. Choose a tomato-based sauce. It is lighter on the calories and the tummy!
7. Chicken, fish and turkey! They are better entree choices as they're lower in fat content and are digested faster than red meat.
8. Order an appetizer as your entree! This is a great alternative if you're not feeling too hungry and want a light meal.
9. Ask for fruit as your side order! Often foods are served with French fries, which are deadly and they’re gone before you know it! Fruit or green side salads are better choices. Ask for dressing on the side.
10. Eat slowly! Enjoy your food, but give it time to go down with some nice, cold water. The slower you eat, the less likely you will overeat. Listen to your body. If your pants are starting to feel tight, STOP eating.
11. Avoid all-you-can eat buffets! Stay away! This is a disaster waiting to happen.
Tracey Mallett (www.traceymallett.com) is an internationally-recognized certified personal trainer and sports nutritionist. She is the author of “Sexy in 6: Sculpt Your Body with the 6 Minute Quick Blast Workout.” Tracey is the creator and star of the "3-In-1 Pregnancy System," for pre- and post-natal mothers. Her newest videos are "Renew You” and "Super Body BootCamp.” The proud mother of two now lives in Los Angeles.
May 10, 2010
Debunking The 10 Most-Common Cellulite Myths
by Lionel Bissoon
Although about 90% of American women suffer from some degree of cellulite, it’s not uncommon for many to think that, somehow, the condition is their own fault –- that they must have brought it on themselves. Unfortunately, many boyfriends, husbands and significant others fuel this unwarranted guilt complex by suggesting that...
"You haven’t stayed in shape by exercising enough."
"You’ve gotten fat, which is (obviously) the cause of cellulite. Cellulite is something overweight women get, right?"
"There’s nothing you can do about it. Your mother and grandmother had cellulite, so you’re doomed to live with it... DOOMED! How’s your sister doing?"
Regardless of what you’ve heard "through the grapevine," it’s VERY difficult for women living in highly industrialized Western societies to avoid developing cellulite if they’re genetically predisposed to it AND the right conditions exist to help it surface.
Here are 10 common myths and facts about cellulite and its treatments. Stop me if you’ve heard some (or all) of them.
1. Men don’t get cellulite. Believe it or not, 10% of men suffer from cellulite.
2. You must be overweight to have cellulite. In fact, thin women often display the worst cellulite.
3. Exercise eliminates cellulite. This is absolutely untrue. Cellulite consists of little pockets of herniated fat. When you exercise, it is tough to localize the exercise so that it burns off only the fat pockets contained in the affected areas. Building smooth muscle beneath the skin can help smooth out the surface.
4. Liposuction is an effective treatment. Liposuction is not a proven cellulite treatment. Yet plastic surgeons and dermatologists continue to recommend this invasive surgery. It’s a pity they don’t read their own literature, since it reveals that liposuction has actually been shown to make cellulite worse.
5. Creams can effectively treat cellulite. There are several reasons why most creams cannot treat cellulite. Most creams can only treat one component of cellulite –- usually the fat component. Very few are designed to affect the circulation and connective tissues that contribute to cellulite development. To the best of my knowledge, only one cream treats all three aspects of cellulite. And NO cream can treat dimples.
6. Diet will cure cellulite. Diets will not cure cellulite. I’ve seen women lose weight and gain cellulite. That said, a diet rich in organic foods can prevent cellulite from occurring. And once cellulite has appeared, a diet rich in organic foods can retard the condition. However, diet won’t completely reverse cellulite.
7. Tanning will camouflage cellulite. Tanning will make light skin darker, but the cellulite will still be visible. Women of Mediterranean descent tend to have darker complexions, but their cellulite still remains visible. The same holds true of black women with cellulite. In short, this is an absurd myth.
8. Saddle bags are a sign of cellulite. Saddlebags do NOT indicate the presence of cellulite. By definition, cellulite refers to lumpy, bumpy skin with dimpling. Many women have saddlebags but display zero signs of cellulite. (BTW: Western culture considers saddlebags unattractive, but some other cultures consider them sexy.)
9. Cellulite is hereditary. A woman’s body is designed to develop cellulite under certain conditions. If these conditions are not met, however, no cellulite will occur. In other words, having a genetic predisposition to cellulite doesn’t mean you are destined to have it. In one case, I met with twins where one sister displayed little to no cellulite, but the other had prominent cellulite. I’ve also worked on cases where mothers have no cellulite, but the daughters do.
10. There is no cure for cellulite. Despite the nay-saying of plastic surgeons, dermatologists and other self-professed experts who state, “Just live with it,” “Nothing can be done,” and (worst of all) “it’s in your mind,” there is a cure for cellulite and the associated dimples!
Mesotherapy can eliminate cellulite in about 10-15 sessions when performed by a physician skilled in this medical specialty. Dimples can be easily repaired by a simple in-office procedure called Subcision and/or Stringcision. Mesotherapy and Subcision can be combined to produce smooth buttocks and thighs in a relatively short time.
But don’t take my word for any of this. Conduct your own research –- online and at your local library. Cellulite is a condition that requires personal treatment and personal choices. Some members of the healthcare profession disagree that Mesotherapy is an effective treatment; others say it’s the only effective treatment.
My advice: look for proven results! Demand solid science behind any claims made by so-called experts. Then make up your own mind. Above all, recognize that cellulite is a condition that will develop independent of most of your personal choices. After all, who would willingly develop cellulite if she or he had any choice in the matter?
Pioneering the use of Mesotherapy in the U.S. to combat cellulite, Dr. Lionel Bissoon has helped thousands of women experience cellulite-free legs and buttocks. Complete with case studies, before-and-after photos and straightforward advice, his new book, "The Cellulite Cure" offers hope to cottage cheese thighs everywhere. To discover the only proven treatment option for cellulite, go to CelluliteCure.com
April 5, 2010