Food Babe Investigates: Frozen Yogurt Gone Bad

Red Mango frozen yogurt ingredients

This is a guest post by Vani Hari (a.k.a. The Food Babe) who is a regular contributor on 100 Days of Real Food. To learn more about Vani check her out on “Our Team” page.

Before you start the enjoying the hot summer weather and cool treats – there’s something I have to tell you, but you first have to promise not to kill the messenger (me!). Commercially available frozen yogurt is one of the most processed food products on the planet!

Yes – you heard that right – that creamy, low calorie, probiotic promised goodness swirled into your cup and topped with your favorite goodies is one of the worst “healthy” fads to hit the franchise market, and I’m here to tell you the cold hard facts (ha! – no pun intended).

Frozen yogurt is made with several components. Unlike real yogurt that is made with just two ingredients (milk + cultures), it usually contains:

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Food Babe Investigates Stevia: Good or Bad?

Stevia

Vani Hari (a.k.a. The Food Babe) is a regular contributor on 100 Days of Real Food. To learn more about Vani check her out on “Our Team” page.

Sugar is one of the most dangerous ingredients on the market. It’s addictive, added to almost every processed food, and will make you overweight, depressed and sick if you eat too much. In fact, Americans eat close to 100 pounds of the stuff per person per year, likely because it is so addictive. That’s why it’s exciting to know there are alternative sweeteners made in nature, like “stevia,” that don’t wreak havoc on your health – or do they? That’s what I went on a quest to find out. Here’s what happened…

What Is Stevia and How Was It Approved?

For those of you that are hearing about stevia for the first time, it is a plant that is typically grown in South America, and while it’s extract is 200 times sweeter than sugar, it does not raise blood insulin levels. That’s what makes it so popular. However in 1991 the FDA refused to approve this substance for use due to pressure from makers of other artificial sweeteners like Sweet n’ Low and Equal. But in 2008, the FDA approved the use of rebaudioside compounds derived from the stevia plant and developed by Coca-Cola (Cargill) and PepsiCo – hmmm doesn’t that sound suspicious? Not until a major food company got involved did stevia become legal, and only after it had been highly processed using a patentable chemical-laden process…so processed that Truvia (Coco-Cola’s branded product) uses about 40 steps to process the extract from the leaf, relying on chemicals like acetone, methanol, ethanol, acetonitrile, and isopropanol. Some of these chemicals are known carcinogens (substances that cause cancer), and none of those ingredients sound like real food, do they?

The whole leaf stevia that you can grow in your back yard (and has been used for centuries in countries like Brazil and Paraguay) remains a non-approved food additive by the FDA. However, rebaudioside A (the stevia extract) that was approved by the FDA has not been used for centuries and long term human health impacts have not been studied and are still unknown. The sweetener/sugar industry wields powerful influence over what is ultimately approved at the FDA, and this is just another example where they are influencing decisions that don’t make sense. How can a chemically derived extract be deemed safe and a plant from mother nature not?

What Kind Of Stevia To Avoid

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Food Babe Investigates: How Food Companies Exploit Americans with Ingredients Banned in Other Countries

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Thoughts of outrage, unfairness, disbelief, and ultimately grief consumed me while I was doing this investigation. A list of ingredients that are banned across the globe but still allowed for use here in the American food supply recently made news. While I have written about some of those ingredients before, this list inspired me to look a little deeper and find out how pervasive this issue is for us. Are these banned ingredients contributing to the higher mortality and disease rates in the U.S.?

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Food Babe Investigates: Is Your Protein Shake Safe?

Protein

Protein shakes, powders, and supplements are incredibly popular with the health conscious crowd. Considering what typical protein powders promise – sleek muscles, weight loss and a quick, easy “healthy” meal replacement – it’s logical to see why. Unfortunately, the food industry is making an absolute killing (maybe literally) selling ones that are filled with highly processed denatured proteins, chemicals, preservatives and other additives. There’s one thing in common for all of them – they are processed and deciding on whether or not they are actually “real food” comes into question. Now not all processed things we put in our body are technically bad for us – but understanding what exactly is in your protein powder is critical to deciding whether to consume it, select an alternative, or discontinue use.

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Food Babe Investigates: Death by Chocolate?

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This is a guest post by Vani Hari (a.k.a. The Food Babe). ……………………….. 15 dollars for 8 pieces of chocolate….?! That’s all I could think about on a recent trip to the mall while walking past […]

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