In the News: The Fatty Food Tax, Unilever Ditches Trans Fat & Steroids in Diet Supplements

by in Food News, July 31, 2009

From this week’s headlines: Denny’s gets sued for its high-sodium foods, a proposed tax on fattier foods and did you realize that additional toppings may not be factored into those posted nutrition numbers at restaurants?

Unilever Says “Buh-Bye!” to Trans Fat
Unilever, maker of half the margarine spreads in the U.S., announced it’s ditching trans fat in all its buttery spreads. Products like I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter are already considered “trans-fat free”; however, tricky food labeling laws actually allow products with less than 0.5 grams of trans fat to make that claim. It seems this move was partially motivated by buttery-spread rival Smart Balance, who boasts that their products don’t contain even trace amounts of the artery-clogging fat.

Paying More for Fatty Foods
Did you know that if we continue with our current eating habits, 40% of Americans will be obese? Pretty scary. It’s even more frightening that health-related issues surrounding obesity cost us $200 billion annually. President Obama has been brewing up the idea of taxing fattening foods by 10% to 20% and using those funds to help settle the health care reform bill. Talk of taxing food like soda has come up before, but no bill has been signed to this date. What do you think on taxing fattier foods?

Optional Toppings Not Factored in Restaurant Nutrition Labels
Putting some freshly grated cheese onto your pasta? You’ll be adding 100 to 200 calories to your dish, but may not realize it because it’s not included on a posted menu nutrition fact sheet. Same goes for salads with extra toppings like nuts, avocado and dried fruit. Although many of those extras are healthful ingredients, they can quickly increase calories. Keep this in mind if you’re counting calories — you’ll need to do a little more math than what’s posted. And if add on are a must, swap them for another high-calorie ingredient or take a small spoonful.

Denny’s Sued for High Sodium
How much sodium could Denny’s possibly be pumping into their meals to cause a consumer activist group to file a law suit against them? Well, it’s actually about double the amount suggested in the USDA Dietary Guidelines of 2,300 milligrams per day. Some dishes at Denny’s top the charts at over 5,000 milligrams! For those with conditions such as high blood pressure, this makes eating out at places like these nearly impossible and truly a health risk.

Steroids Found in Dietary Supplements
The supplements Tren Xtreme and Mass Xtreme, both manufactured by American Cellular Labs, were found to contain illegal steroids. Ironically, the supplements label themselves as a “potent legal alternative” to steroids. Anti-doping officials say these supplements are popular among high school football players. What will it take to stop the production and marketing of these dangerous products especially to our youth?

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