Fast food chain Subway is introducing calcium and vitamin D fortified bread to its national menu. Now each 6-inch bread serving in the U.S. will provide 30 percent the daily recommended value of calcium and 20 percent of the daily recommended value of vitamin D.
“Now, the calcium included in each 6-inch serving of bread has the nutritional equivalent of one glass of milk” Mark Christiano, the Subway brand’s Global Baking Specialist.
This sounds almost great as saying Subway is a healthy restaurant. Subway still sells fast food, imitation New York submarine sandwiches from way back before New York City was gentrified. These are the type of “improvements” Michael Pollan warned us about in In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto. Fortified foods are a sign of a highly processed food and you should know by now those are no good for you.
And who asked for these improvements? Is there a vitamin D and calcium deficiency epidemic in the U.S.? Most get vitamin D from sun exposure which is free and you can get calcium from fruits and vegetables not just milk or dairy products or a Subway sandwich.
The next time you think of Subway as healthy food remember it’s still fast food, it’s not that fresh, it isn’t organic, it’s processed and just cause it’s “healthier” than other fast food restaurants doesn’t mean it’s actually healthy, but that pulled pork sandwich should have told you that.
Newly released data from the United States Department of Agriculture’s Food and Nutrition Service found in May the U.S. once again reached an all time high in the amount of Food Stamp recipients. For May the total was 45.8 million persons, even more than at the height of the recession, even though for many this is clearly a depression.
McDonald’s announced they would be adding a quarter cup or half serving of apple slices to all happy meals, as well as reducing the portion of fries to 1.1 ounces in an effort to “help kids make healthier choices.” They will also be introducing fat free chocolate milk as opposed to the low fat milk they currently have. The fast food chain’s senior director of nutrition said the changes were a response to customer demand.
McDonald’s claims to “help kids make healthier choices”, but most of these changes will be “automatic”. Where’s the choice in that? Research shows most people stick with the default and the logic is supposed to be that now the default is “healthier”.
Everything else is your choice:
* Hamburger, Cheeseburger, or Chicken McNuggets.
* “Beverage, including new fat-free chocolate milk and 1% low fat white milk”
Changes to the adult McDonald’s menu to sugar, sodium, and saturated fats won’t go into full effect for another five to ten years. You’ll have to make healthier choices without help from McDonald’s till then.
Monsanto, the US agricultural biotechnology titan, is cooperating with the Securities and Exchange Commission’s probe into some of its questionable business practices.
The probe covers documents pertaining to the sale of its glyphosate products in fiscal year 2009 and 2010. Monsanto recently reported a 77% leap in net income which, can be attributed to its strong arming of core seeds and genetic traits business.
Monsanto saw their new income grow in the third quarter rise to $680 million, shares leaped from 70 cents to $1.26.
President of Monsanto, Hugh Grant, said he is taking the investigation seriously. Grant also notes that the investigation is “focused on our customer incentives and it’s focused on the 2009-2010 time frame… we’re just starting document production and we are cooperating to our full ability.”
In addition to being investigated by the Securities and Exchange Commission’s probe, Monsanto is also under investigation by the US Department of Justice. The Department of Justice is reviewing the possibility of Monsanto violating anti-trust laws in regards to its monopoly over the genetically-engineered seed industry.
Coming soon to a neighborhood near you — Aldis, Walgreen’s… Walmart?
If Rahm Emanuel has his way, these three stores may make their way into low-income “food deserts” in Chicago that are starved for affordable groceries. Food deserts are neighborhoods where a third of the population lives more than a mile from a large grocery store and at least a fifth of the population lives at or below the poverty line.
But bringing in Walmart, or any other chain store for that matter, isn’t going to solve the food desert problem. Nor is it going to wipe out the obesity epidemic. Access to supermarkets does not improve diets. Becoming educated about healthy eating choices then making those healthy choices does.
So how can you make healthy food choices if you’re living in a food desert? If you qualify for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), the program includes vouchers for buying fruits and vegetables and are also accepted at many farmer’s markets. You can also use their recipe finder which includes a database of foods that are low-cost and readily available.
If you’re not sure if you live in food desert, the USDA has created an interactive map that allows you to type in an address and find out where food deserts are located. It’s a good start, but what it really needs to offer is how to find healthy foods nearby.
Photo Credit: “Pesticide Warning” by Colin Grey via WC
Pesticides could be in your body right now if you’ve been eating genetically modified foods.
Canadian scientists found pesticides and genes found in GM foods are able to survive in the digestive tract and move into the bloodstream. It is also possible for pregnant women to pass the genes to their unborn children. Continue reading →