FoodSmart Focus:  Edition 1 / September 2010

Nutrition News for the 21st Century

Looking for interesting, pertinent, and timely information about foods, beverages, supplements, and other consumables?
Want to read about current nutrition issues based on sound science, not hype and speculation? In FoodSmart Focus you'll find that and more. This new bimonthly newsletter by nationally noted nutrition researcher and award-winning FoodSmart author Diana Hunter covers a wide array of nutrition topics and provides you with nutrient information, recalls, health tips, healthy recipes, food reviews, a Q & A section, member news and views, and a whole lot more.

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From The Editor


Welcome to the first edition of FoodSmart Focus, a new nutrition newsletter dedicated to bringing you interesting, pertinent, and timely topics on foods, beverages, supplements, and other consumables. The newsletter will feature current nutrition issues along with nutrient information, recalls, a tip of the month, healthy recipes, food reviews, a Q & A section, member news and views, and a lot more. In it you'll find valid, factual information based on sound science, not hype and speculation. Have an idea, question, comment, or suggestion? Feel free to email us at, visit our contact form, or call us at 954.370.9153 from 8:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. E.S.T.

Enjoy and Be FoodSmart! 
Diana Hunter, Editor                

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What's New In Nutrition

   Chemical Reaction

Adding chemicals to foods and beverages is not a new idea. But most people are shocked when they find out how many are being used. There are currently over 3000 food additives in use on the market, the majority of which are chemically based. In light of this information, many consumers are now taking a closer look at what types of chemicals are in the foods and beverages they consume and the potential effects they may have on our bodies. The problem is many of these chemicals have not been sufficiently tested, and most, if not all, have not been tested for potential problems when combined with other additives. New bills proposed to Congress may help to rectify the situation. In the meantime, what's a consumer to do? The best bet is to avoid chemicals whenever possible, not only with regard to what we consume, but also when choosing body care and household use products (and even those for your vehicle). For those products you simply can't avoid, learn as much as you can about the chemicals they contain. A good place to start is the Center for Science in the Public Interest, whose website lists information about a number of food chemicals and can be accessed free at the following link: - safety_summary. Updates regarding new research on specific chemicals will be featured in upcoming issues of FoodSmart Focus.


Food Issues Now

Genetically Engineered Salmon                                  

Size comparison of an AquAdvantage® Salmon (background) vs. a non-transgenic Atlantic salmon sibling (foreground) of the same age.

Transgenic salmon may soon be coming to a supermarket — and restaurant—near you.  AquaBounty Technologies, a Massachusetts-based biotechnology company, has come up with a genetic recipe that combines aspects of Pacific Chinook salmon and ocean pout  with Atlantic salmon to create a fast-growing Atlantic salmon. The new variety, named AquAdvantage® salmon,  would be marketable size in approximately half the time of its wild counterparts — about 16 to 18 months versus the usual 36. It would be the first FDA-approved transgenic animal for consumption.

While proponents say the salmon will help fill an increasing void in seafood availability and lessen the effects of salmon overfishing, opponents voice a number of concerns ranging from health and labeling issues to potential environmental effects. According to AquaBounty, the salmon will not be released into the wild, will be sterile (and therefore unable to reproduce), and are "
just the same as any other Atlantic salmon."  Some opponents, however, are worried that transplanting one fish's growth hormone gene into another, as is done in this case, may have yet-unknown effects. Others question the certainty that these fish will not be released into the wild, and if they are, what the actual outcome might be. Also questioned is whether or not the feed provided to these fish will lend toward them being truly identical to any other Atlantic Salmon, for better or worse, especially if newly developed feeds that contain less fishmeal and fish oil are used. As it stands, these fish may or may not be required to be labeled as having been genetically engineered. 

For more information visit AquaBounty's press room: To contact the FDA regarding this issue go to

Smart Tip of the Month

Protective Probiotics

To cut back on saturated fat and calories, gain gut-healthy probiotics, and create lighter meals, use plain low-fat or fat-free yogurt in place of full-fat sour cream to top baked potatoes, tacos, and other foods, and as a base for homemade salad dressing. Greek style lowfat and fat-free yogurts generally have a rich, creamy texture.


Nutrient Close-Up

Vitamin D

Vitamin D has always played an important role in the development and maintenance of our teeth and bones, not to mention our neuromuscular  (nerve/muscle) and immune systems. More recent research has shown it may also play an integral part in cancer prevention and blood pressure regulation. Although it is commonly known as a vitamin, scientists often refer to it as "vitamin D hormone" due to its chemical structure and how it works in the body. Ongoing research is likely to uncover additional benefits related to its hormone-like effects.

Although vitamin D is fat-soluble, meaning it is stored in the body (unlike B vitamins and vitamin C, which are water-soluble), many people in the U.S. are deficient in this essential nutrient. So many, in fact, that doctors now frequently recommend checking vitamin D levels as part of routine blood tests.

There are two main forms of vitamin D associated with food and human health:  vitamin D2 (also called ergocalciferol) and vitamin D3 (also called cholecalciferol). Vitamin D2 is developed by exposing yeasts and fungi (molds) to  ultraviolet radiation, a situation that rarely occurs in nature. As a result it is usually produced synthetically. Vitamin D3, on the other hand, is produced naturally by the body when our skin is exposed to specific forms of UV light, particularly sunlight (giving vitamin D the nickname "the Sunshine Vitamin"). However, our age and skin type, the use of sunscreen, and other factors can interfere with the development of this form of vitamin D.  Vitamin D3  is also found in fatty fish such as salmon, and can be obtained from purified versions of fat found in lamb's wool. Overall, salmon, tuna, sardines, cod liver oil, and fortified foods and beverages, including milk, are good sources of vitamin D. Eggs, cheese, and beef liver also contain this nutrient, though in lesser amounts.

The Adequate Intake (AI) level of vitamin D established by the U.S. Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences is 5 µg (micrograms) or 200 IU (International Units) daily for everyone under the age of 50. For those 50 to 70 years of age the recommendation is 10 µg  or 400 IU daily, and for those over 70 it is 15 µg or 600 IU daily. A number of experts believe these amounts should be higher, especially for those who avoid or don't have access to regular sun exposure.
The established UL (Upper Limit) for adults 19 years of age and older is 50 µg or 2,000 IU daily from supplements in order to avoid toxicity.

FoodSmart Challenge

Which of the following foods provides beneficial omega-3 fatty acids?
(see answer below question) 

(a) beef
(b) cocoa                                                                                        
(c) kiwi
(d) walnuts

FoodSmart Challenge Answer: (d) walnuts



On The Menu

Fabulous FoodSmart Popcorn

This low-cost, tasty treat provides fiber, omega 3,6, and 9 fatty acids, and trace minerals along with other nutrients. Beware: once you try it, you'll be hooked.

6-8 cups         air-popped popcorn
2 Tbsp.            Olive oil
1/4 tsp.           Sea salt with trace minerals

To Prepare:
Pop approximately 1/2 cup popcorn seeds in hot-air popper. Drizzle olive oil uniformly over popped corn. Sprinkle with trace mineral sea salt. Enjoy! 


Sidenotes: Standard hot air poppers range in price from approximately $15-$30. They're well worth the investment, as they end up paying for themselves when compared with the high cost of packaged snacks.

Did You Know?

Red wine is not the only source of resveratrol.  Grapes (skins only), grape juice, peanuts, and various berries, including blueberries and cranberries, also contain this chemical compound, which is currently being studied for a number of potential health benefits. More research needs to be done in this area. Also, any long-term effects from the use of supplemental resveratrol are unknown.





Ma & Pa's Corner

A Matter of Taste                                                                

When we're born we have about 10,000 taste buds covering the entire surface of our tongues. As we age, however, our taste buds "migrate" toward the outer edges of our tongues. Don't believe it? Try rubbing something flavorful on the middle of your tongue and you'll be convinced. We also have less taste buds over time.  Ohio State University reports that at age 30 we have approximately 245 taste buds on each of the tiny elevations (called papilla) on our tongues, but by age 70 that number is reduced to approximately 88. To keep our ability to taste at its best we can:

• practice good oral hygiene

• maintain good dental health

• correct ill-fitting dentures

• avoid foodborne and airborne allergens

• maintain good overall health





This Month's Nutrition Definition

Hydrogenation: the process of heating liquid (unsaturated) vegetable oils and adding a specific amount of hydrogen to them, causing the creation of unhealthy trans fats. Seen on food labels as "hydrogenated oil" or "partially hydrogenated oil." Hydrogenated oil in peanut butter adds a negligible amount of trans fat.

FoodSmart Food Patrol

Those looking to reduce the amount of sodium in your diet take note: Member's Mark® fresh, 100% all-natural, boneless, skinless chicken breasts with rib meat from Sam's Club contain added salt. A four-ounce (112 grams) portion contains 250 milligrams of sodium, or 10% of our daily value based on a 2000-calorie diet. According to the USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference,  a 100 gram portion of raw, light meat, meat-only roasting chicken without any added ingredients contains approximately 51 grams of sodium. That means the Member's Mark chicken breasts contain more than quadruple the sodium of fresh, raw, untreated chicken — an important consideration for those who have high blood pressure (hypertensive) or are pre-hypertensive.



Food Of The Month


If you're looking for a sweet, juicy, nutrient-packed snack, strawberries may be just the ticket. Not only are they an excellent source of vitamin C, but they also contain a number of other vitamins and minerals including potassium, calcium, magnesium, and folate. They even provide fiber —about 2 grams for every 100 grams of berries—and phytonutrients (chemical compounds found in plants that are likely to be beneficial for human health) including flavonoids, anthocyanidins, and ellagic acid. And they're versatile in a wide range of recipes from homemade strawberry lemonade to lowfat, lower-sugar strawberry shortcake. FoodSmart Tip: strawberries are often sprayed with pesticides and other chemicals, so consider opting for organic when possible and always wash all fruit well before consuming. Enjoy!

FoodSmart Q & A

Have A Nutrition-Related Question?

Just Click on Pooker's Pic to Submit It!

Your Question May Be Answered

In An Upcoming Edition of
FoodSmart Focus


Q:    Some labels have ingredients on them that I don't understand.  MSG is one of them, and I am allergic to it. How do I detect MSG on a label?   Richard

A:    Dear Richard:

MSG is a commercially produced additive used as a flavor enhancer. When it is added to foods, the FDA requires that it be listed on labels (and menus) as its full given name, "monosodium glutamate." However, if you suffer from reactions to MSG or have an intolerance to it (a condition often referred to as "MSG Symptom Complex" or "Chinese Restaurant Syndrome"), there is more you need to know about glutamate in general.

Glutamate (also called glutamic acid) is an amino acid found naturally in plant and animal protein. The majority of glutamate found in most plant and animal foods is "bound" glutamate that is "attached" to each respective type of protein. This form of glutamate is unlikely to cause health problems. Conversely, glutamate found in many additives, and therefore many processed foods, is "free" glutamate that has been broken from its bound form during ingredient processing. Free glutamate can combine with free sodium to create monosodium (mono = one; sodium = salt) glutamate. Examples of additives that contain free glutamate include hydrolyzed vegetable protein, autolyzed yeast, and yeast extract. Commercially produced monosodium glutamate differs from free glutamate in that it is intentionally derived from the glutamate amino acid and combined with sodium rather than forming as a result of food processing or occurring naturally in foods. Many people report having reactions after ingesting processed foods that contain the "free" form of glutamate identical to those they experience after eating commercially produced MSG. A number of people also report having reactions when they ingest foods that contain higher levels of naturally occurring free glutamate, such as tomatoes, Parmesan cheese, and mushrooms, or when they ingest a large amount of free glutamate from a combination of sources, especially on an empty stomach.

In addition to these considerations, it is important to know that ingredients or additives listed on labels may themselves contain MSG (or free glutamate due to processing, or both), in which case MSG may in fact be in a product but not be listed on the label. MSG may also contain contaminants that have the potential to cause reactions.

Lastly, while we need glutamate for nerve transmission and other important bodily functions, it is a non-essential amino acid, meaning our bodies can manufacture it on their own without ever deriving it from our diet.

Hope this helps.

Kids' Connection

Tips To Beat Overweight & Obesity

Kids can maintain a healthy weight by eating healthy foods in moderate amounts and getting sufficient sleep and exercise. This month's healthy food alternative for kids: swap out regular pasta for whole grain pasta or pasta made partially with whole grain. You'll get more fiber, eat less, and feel full longer—and it's delicious.


Teen Track

The Importance of Calcium

According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), fewer than one in ten girls and only one in four boys ages 9 to 13 are at or above their adequate intake of calcium. The NIH also reports that by approximately age 17 ninety percent of the adult bone mass for both males and females is established — an important consideration in preventing osteoporosis later in life.

Foods high in calcium include milk, yogurt, cheese, almonds, almond milk, spinach, broccoli, kale, salmon (canned with bones), sardines, and calcium-fortified foods and beverages.

What's Your Take?

Should the government be allowed to keep digital online records of each citizen's Body Mass Index (BMI) – a number calculated using height and weight that indicates if a person is overweight or obese?                             

visit our contact form to voice your opinion

Recalls / August 2010

August 4, 2010
Product Recall – Eugenio Brezzi Truffle Puree 

August 06, 2010
Staphylococcus Aureus in Queso Cotija Cheese

South Bend Chocolate Company Announces Nationwide Recall of Bountiful Blend Chocolates Due to Undeclared Tree Nuts

August 09, 2010
Strong America Ltd. Issues an Alert on Undeclared Sulfites in Golden Smell Brand "Dried Potato"

Prolatis’ Issues a Voluntary Nationwide Recall of its product Prolatis’ Marketed as Dietary Supplement prior to August 9, 2010

August 10, 2010
Fresh Express Announces Precautionary Recall of a Limited Number of Cases of Veggie Lovers Salad with an Expiration Date of August 10 Due to a Possible Health Risk

August 13, 2010
Merrick Pet Care Recalls Filet Squares & Texas Hold’ems 10oz Bag (Item # 60016 All Lots) Because of Possible Salmonella Health Risk

Wright County Egg Conducts Nationwide Voluntary Recalls of Shell Eggs Because of Possible Health Risk

Goya Foods, Inc. Announces Voluntary Recall of Frozen Mamey Pulp, Produced By Coco, S.A. of Guatemala Because of Potential Health Risk

August 14, 2010
Nationwide Milk Allergen Recall of Kroger "Meals Made Simple Shrimp Linguini"

August 16, 2010
Elie Baking Corp issues Allergy Alert on Undeclared Soy in Food City brand Low-Carb Tortilla White and Whole Wheat 10 count

August 17, 2010
NuCal Foods Conducts Recall of Shell Eggs Supplied from Wright County Egg Because of Possible Health Risk

Undeclared Sulfites in "Golden Bridge" Dried Dates

NY Fish Inc Issues an alert on uneviscerated fish

NBTY Acquisition LLC Dba Leiner Health Products Issues Allergy Alert on Undeclared Soy in Air Shield Effervescent Tablets, Air Protector Effervescent Tablets, Immune System Support Effervescent, and Airhealth Effervescent Tablets And Stick Packs

August 18, 2010
Fruiti Pops, Inc. Recalls "Fruiti Pops" Brand Mamey Frozen Fruit Bars Because of Potential Health Risk

Glow Industries, Inc. Issues Nationwide Recall of Mr. Magic Male Enhancer from Don Wands Amended

J & H Besta Expands Nationwide Recall of Slim- 30 Herb Supplement to Include Lot 6032101 Found to Contain an Undeclared Drug Ingredient

Montalvan’s Sales, Inc. Recalls “La Nuestra” Brand Frozen Mamey Because of Potential Health Risk

Wright County Egg Expands Nationwide Voluntary Recall of Shell Eggs Because of Possible Health Risk

Moonstruck Chocolate Co. Issues Nationwide Allergy Alert on Undeclared Peanut-Butter Filling in Their 4 Piece Cream Cone Chocolate Truffle Collection and 12 Piece Chocolate Malted (or Malt)

August 19, 2010
COUNTRY Eggs, Inc. Initiates Voluntary Recall of Large AA Loose 15 dozen Fresh Shell Eggs Because of Possible Health Risk

Salmonella in Alfalfa Sprouts

Austinuts Wholesale, Inc. Announces Voluntary Recall of Pistachio Kernel Products

August 20, 2010
NuCal Foods Conducts Recall of Shell Eggs Supplied from Hillandale Farms of Iowa Because of Possible Health Risk

Milton's Baking Voluntarily Recalls 24 oz. Multi-Grain Bread in Three States For Undeclared Milk in Some Loaves

Hillandale Farms of Iowa Conducts Nationwide Voluntary Recall of Shell Eggs Because of Possible Health Risk

Lubersk i Inc., Initiates Voluntary Recall of Large Fresh Shell Eggs Because of Possible Health Risk

GloryBee Foods Recalls Whole Raw Pistachio and Whole Raw Pistachio Kernels Because of Possible Health Risk

August 23, 2010
Moark, LLC, of Fontana, California, Recalls Shell Eggs Supplied From Hillandale Farms of Iowa Because of Possible Health Risk

August 24, 2010
Natural Wellness, Inc. Issues a Nationwide Voluntary Recall of Masxtreme Capsules, Marketed as a Dietary Supplement - 08/24/10

Azteca Linda Corp. Recalls Queso Fresco and Queso Hebra because of Possible Health Risk

August 25, 2010
Cardenas Market Brand Label Included in Wright County Egg Recall

Trafficanda Egg Ranch Initiates Voluntary Recall of Medium, Large, X Large, & Jumbo AA Cartons; 5 Dozen Medium Over Wrap & 20 Count Over Wrap, Fresh Shell Eggs Because of Possible Health Risk

August 26, 2010
Cal-Maine Foods, Inc. Clarifies Previous Statement on Nationwide Shell Egg Recall

August 27, 2010
Queseria Chipilo Recalls Cheese Products Because of Possible Health Risk

Sparboe Farms Initiated Voluntary Recall Fresh Shell Eggs

August 29, 2010
P&G Recalls Small Number of Bags of Cat Food From Stores in Loveland, Colorado

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Looking For Straight Answers To Today's Food-Related Questions?

In FoodSmart: Understanding Nutrition in the 21st Century, award-winning author Diana Hunter provides a unique overview on how to easily make sense of conflicting nutrition information and make educated dietary choices.

Both enlightening and user-friendly, FoodSmart covers a wide variety of nutrition-related topics including dieting, organics, sweeteners, supplements, food irradiation, genetically modified (GMO) foods, and food safety, along with essential information on food marketing to children and life-cycle nutrition from pre-birth through adulthood.

In addition, FoodSmart provides pros and cons for many commonly consumed foods along with useful listings of food and drug interactions, regulatory contacts, and safe food storage durations. It is written in an easy-to-read, highly unconventional format with same-page footnotes and web references for further information.

FoodSmart: Understanding Nutrition in the 21st Century is an informative, easy-to-read guide designed to help you make sense of conflicting nutritional information and make educated dietary choices. Both enlightening and entertaining, it covers a wide variety of nutrition-related topics.


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