Friday, June 29, 2012

Food Facts Friday: The evil side of yeast extract!

I write this pool-side, sipping a little Jack Daniels (I said a little), snacking on some Annie's Organic Cheddar Snack Mix, while mini-man flexes....
Impressive!
...reading a Food Renegade article on "How to Decode Annie's Organic Cheddar Snack Mix Ingredients". Wait, what? Even Annie is deceiving us?
Even Annie's?

So what's so bad about Annie's? 
They're tasty, a little salty - which is a good way to replenish that much needed sodium after working out or running on a hot day - and great with a little JD ( did I mention Jack, again? My bad) when your poolside, pre-dinner time.

I thought Annie's Organic Cheddar Snack Mix was a good choice - made with no cholesterol or added sugar, low in saturated fat and it's organic - so I know there's no GMO's, ya' know, heaven forbid I slip and eat, or drink something made with a GMO (lie to me if JD is really made with genetically modified corn mash)! 

Annie's Organic Cheddar Snack Mix is even made with organic wheat flour, organic expeller pressed vegetable oil (safflower or sunflower), annatto extract for natural color and organic paprika ...heck it's even made with organic cheddar cheese & cheese cultures ...so rest assured, those cows pumping out the milk for Annie's Organic Cheddar Snack Mix were raised on open pastures without any hormones or antibiotics!
Let's face it, it's an over-thinker's dream snack!
Well, that was until I read on....
Okay, big deal -  the wheat flour is refined and processed and not a whole grain, full of B vitamins. Alright, I can make some concessions - I love these little bunny crackers, and what, I eat like a handful ...with a couple of sips of my Jack? Another honorable mention ...maybe Jack Daniels would like to sponsor my 50 state 1/2 marathon challenge ....I can dream ...

Reading further....
Now, what's this mambo jumbo about expeller pressed oil? I thought expeller pressed oil was good? I thought they just took the safflower or sunflower seeds and pressed them under high pressure to get out all the delicious oil? No ...the seeds are also pressed under high temperatures? 

Hmm, aren't high temperatures bad for polyunsaturated oils, like safflower and sunflower oil? I remember making Christmas Cookies one time and I used oil that was rancid. My sissy will never let me live that one down! I just stored the oil wrong - I kept it in the cabinet above the oven ...where it's hot. Not a good place for oil 'cause the heat can make oil go rancid. So, how does Annie's get away without that rancid stuff happening to the seed's oils in their snack mix?
Reportedly, the oil is bleached and deodorized
to overcome the rancid smell and taste!
Ooooh, Annie!
That' doesn't sound very Organic!
Okay. I'm holding on, here. Let me take another sip of my Jack, while I brace myself for more bad news on the Annie's Organic Cheddar Snack Mix ....
Yeast Extract!
Is There An Evil Side To Yeast Extract?
Reportedly, yeast extract "ALWAYS" contains free glutamic acid, otherwise known as MSG, or Mono-Sodium Glutamate!
Waaaah!
Not my Annie's Cheddar Cheese Snack Mix!
But I thought MSG was considered GRAS, Generally Recognized As Safe by the US Food & Drug Association?
Well, MSG is considered GRAS, but for some people who are sensitive to MSG, consuming yeast extract can promote the same type of reactions that MSG causes, such as 
headaches
flushing
sweating
numbness or tingling in the face, neck or arms
heart palpitations or rapid heart beat
nausea 
 & weakness. 
Depending on the level of sensitivity, these symptoms can be short lived, or last for hours. 
The whole idea here is the deception
Claiming that a product is organic, and then intentionally adding an ingredient containing free glutamate, known by some to be a "excitotoxin" (because it can over-excite the appetite and promote over-eating) is really a big let down, better known as
Greenwashing!
I really do enjoy Annie's Organic Cheddar Snack Mix, but knowing that there's a little processed food greenwashing going on, I am sure my homemade organic dried fruit and nut mix will be a fine substitute next time I decide to sip on some JD, poolside!
Cheers Mate!
and 
TRAIN SMART TODAY!
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