Tuesday, August 4, 2015

How much Sugar would you like on your salad?

How would you like to sprinkle granulated or powdered sugar on your favorite salad? That's in fact what most consumers do every day without realizing it. Industrial salad dressings, all of the major brands, from Hidden Valley Ranch to Wishbone to Newmans Own are loaded with added sugar. And if you think the fat-free version will help with your diet, think again. It will generally have even more sugar. Check on BonApp and be prepared for a shock! For example, a bottle of Hidden Valley Ranch salad dressing has 4 teaspoons of sugar. Look at the Fat-free Hidden Valley Ranch salad dressing; it has 12 teaspoons of sugar, three times more sugar than the regular one!

The solution? Make your own tasty vinaigrette for the week, store it in your fridge, and live healthier. It is as simple as that.

Heres a little bit of historical background to understand how salad dressing was originally created, without sugar added to it. The only intention was making the salad tastier.  Vinaigrettes generally include a fat component  (such as vegetable or olive oil) and an acidic component (such as a citrus juice or vinegar.) One of the first vinaigrette recipes can be traced back to the 14th century. It appeared in Taillevents cookbook, Le Viandier. Guillaume Tirel (known as Taillevent in France) worked as head-chef for four kings of France throughout the 14th century. Taillevents vinaigrette recipe suggests using fat from cooked pork and sautéing some chopped onions in it. Once cooked, add some cinnamon, ginger, various spices, a little bit of saffron and vinegar. Boil these ingredients together and add some salt. Taillevent says you can enjoy this vinaigrette on your salads and/or fresh vegetables.

Industrial salad dressings have evolved quite far from Taillevents original vinaigrette recipe. Driven by profit, the packaged goods industry started cutting back on these simple, basic ingredients. They began to add water (generally the number one ingredient in bottled salad dressing), flavor (to hide the fact that they use water instead of pure oil and vinegar), and lots of preservatives to make the dressing shelf-stable for months. They started adding sugar to their recipes, primarily because sugar is a cheap flavor enhancer that also helps extend shelf life. 

If you compare the ingredients between the Italian dressing you can make in 3 minutes with only 5 ingredients, the Wishbone Italian Dressing (18 ingredients), and the Hidden Valley Italian Dressing (19 ingredients), you may be shocked. Lets be realistic, you would not suspect that a simple Italian vinaigrette dressing could be so unhealthy and full of added Sugar and various unpronounceable chemicals. The ugly truth is that it is. Here is a comparison between the DIY Italian Vinaigrette and the two leading competitors in the nearly three billion-dollar salad dressing industry of the U.S. market.

Hidden Valley Italian Dressing, 19 Ingredients: Water, canola oil, sugar, balsamic vinegar, vinegar, salt, honey, red wine vinegar, phosphoric acid, dried onion, dried garlic, dried red bell pepper, spices, xanthan gum, sorbic acid, sodium benzoate, potassium sorbate, calcium disodium EDTA, paprika extracts.

Wishbone Italian Dressing, 18 Ingredients: Water, soybean oil, canola oil, distilled vinegar, sugar, salt, dehydrated garlic, dehydrated onion, dehydrated red bell peppers, maltodextrin, xanthan gum, spices, autolyzed yeast extract, calcium disodium EDTA, natural flavor, lemon juice concentrate, caramel color, annatto extract.

Do-It-Yourself Italian Vinaigrette, 5 Ingredients: Olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt, pepper, dried oregano
We challenge you to start making your own vinaigrette dressings, devoid of added Sugar, useless chemicals, and water that should have never been a part of the recipe to begin with. Making your very own dressing will empower you to change the way you approach food altogether. At Bon’App, we are committed to bringing you a nutritious lifestyle, which is why we have provided you an incredibly simple Italian Vinaigrette recipe to get you started.

Ready in: 3 minutes
Prep time: 3 minutes
Cook time: 0 minutes
Makes: 6 servings (1 ½ tablespoon each)

3 tablespoons Balsamic or Wine vinegar
6 tablespoons Olive oil
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon pepper

1 teaspoon Dried Oregano (or dried basil) optional

Preparation: Add the 3 tablespoons of vinegar, 1 teaspoon Dried Oregano (or dried basil), ½ teaspoon salt, ½ teaspoon pepper in a bowl and stir well.
Add 6 tablespoons olive oil and stir well again. Done.

Tips: Store at room temperature for use in the next two hours, or in the fridge, up to a week, for future uses. Stir well before serving to emulsify again, similarly to when you originally made it. Don’t be afraid to experiment with and customize your vinaigrettes. In fact, that is how you’ll discover the perfect vinaigrette to complement your salad. For instance, you may add ½ clove of crushed garlic or a touch of dried garlic to spice up your salad dressing. As always, we wish you bon appétit!

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Who wins the Sugar battle on Bastille Day?

Chocolate Éclair vs Three Musketeers

Key takeaway: You have no clue how much sugar you are eating. If you are looking to lose weight or improve your health, tracking sugar is the best place to start. Sugar is often overlooked in the realm of diets. In addition to the natural sugar that is already present in our everyday food, manufacturers and food processors add sugar to the products we consume. It is this “added sugar” that is at the root of several health problems.

Added sugars are sugars and syrups that are added to foods or beverages when they are processed or prepared. This does not include naturally occurring sugars such as those in milk and fruits. (See the USDA website for more details)

It is now proven that eating too much added sugar significantly increases the risk of dying from heart disease. (Harvard Medical School Article) The extensive 15-year study conducted on over 11,000 adults throughout the U.S., published in the Journal of the American Medical Association in February 2014, concluded to the significant risk for CVD mortality from consumption of added sugar. The United States government, however, has not endorsed the daily limit set by the World Health Organization (WHO) on added sugar, and does not provide any guidelines for how much sugar we should have in a day (or, more accurately, how much sugar we should avoid in our diet). Instead, we must look to private institutions, like the American Heart Association, which released a useful paper with recommendations for dietary added sugar intake, entitled “Dietary Sugars Intake and Cardiovascular Health: A Scientific Statement from the American Heart Association.” (AHA)

As you start monitoring your total sugar intake for the day, here is a simple benchmark to remember: one teaspoon of sugar is equal to four grams of sugar. The AHA recommends no more than 9 teaspoons (36 grams) of added sugar per day for men and 6 teaspoons (24 grams) per day for women. This is like a maximum of one small Three Musketeers bar for men (36 grams) and one Hershey’s Milk Chocolate bar for women (24 grams). However, the average daily intake of sugar in the United States is a whopping 22 teaspoons (88 grams) – two to three times the recommended level.

A regular Three Musketeers bar has 36 grams of sugar (3 Musketeers), which is equivalent to 9 teaspoons of sugar in a single bar. This single snack bar has more than the average recommended sugar intake for a woman for the entire day, and it is enough to exhaust almost anybody’s daily sugar goal. Notice that there is approximately five times more sugar in a 54 gram Three Musketeers bar than there is in a 100 gram chocolate éclair.

Additionally, the Three Musketeers bar has more Bad Fat than the fresh pastry, and it exemplifies what we often refer to as empty calories: it is pure sugar without fiber or protein. Only 1 gram of protein in a bar vs. 6 grams of protein in the Éclair. Also notice the nearly identical Calorie count at the end that would completely mask all of these critical differences if that were the only factor you were paying attention to.

So, who wins the sugar battle on Bastille Day? Definitely the Chocolate Éclair. Enjoy a fresh pastry rather than processed chocolate bars if you can afford to.

The reason why most diets fail is because dieters try to avoid fat altogether with the false notion that it will solve all their problems. It does not. The main villain in your diet is most often the sugar, not the good or bad fat, therefore tracking sugar is most important.

Happy Bastille Day :)