It's only fair to share…

ice cream

It’s a rare occasion that I am totally surprised by what is put in food these days.  It may taste like food but in reality, it is a food-like substance that has no relation to the original food ingredients, more like a bunch of chemicals resembling and tasting like food.

To be asked which is better for weight loss, blood sugar or mouth feel, I struggle to even give an F- to any of the foods I research, and that includes the heart tick of approval as well as the Diabetes Foundation’s food advice.

So I’m not your typical nutritionist and I don’t look where typical nutritionists look. I never look at the nutritional label as I find that this is not what is important.  What’s important is what the food you are eating is made from.

Before food manufacturers figured out ways to make chemicals taste like food, many cold treats were made from real food (I know, unbelievable).  Ice-cream had the ingredients of eggs, sugar and cream.  While sorbet and gelato was usually made from ice, real fruit, sugar and egg white.  Yogurt was milk and two bacteria and an icy pole was the standard water and cordial (lemon and sugar) frozen.

So I thought I’d do some research for you on cold treats:

Typical ice cream ingredients: 

Reconstituted skim milk, cane sugar, cream, milk solids, cocoa mass, cocoa butter, vegetable oil, emulsifiers (471, soybean lecithin), vegetable gums (410, 407), flavours, colour (102, 142, 160b).

While this may look good in the beginning of the list it deteriorates as we keep going.  Flavours are usually made in a chemical laboratory and have around 48 chemicals including diacteyl and solvents in their constitution.  The colours can be a mix of types – 102 is an azo dye which has been banned in the UK as it causes hyperactivity in children.  The soybean lecithin is probably GM and the milk solids – which I assume are the milk proteins – could have canola oil and soy lecithin attached to them.

A Typical Ice Treat:

Water, apple juice (21%), cane sugar, glucose, pineapple juice (3%), raspberry juice (1%), food acid (330), vegetable gum (410), flavours, colours (102, 122), ice confectionary.

You may think that this is ok for a celiac, but in fact the glucose is made from GM, corn or hybridised wheat and the vegetable gum can cause irritation to gut.

Flavoured Yogurt from Popular New Yogurt Retail Store:

Pasteurized and Cultured Skim Milk, Sugar, Dextrose, Whey, Maltodextrin, Banana Puree (Banana, Citric Acid), Banana Bread (Bleached Flour [Wheat Flour, Niacin, Reduced Iron, Thiamine Mononitrate, Riboflavin, and Folic Acid], Brown Sugar [Sugar, Invert Sugar, Molasses], Margarine [Vegetable Oil {Contains one or more of the following: Canola Oil, Soybean Oil, Hydrogenated Soybean Oil, Palm Oil}, Water, Salt, Mono and Diglycerides, Soy Lecithin, Sodium Benzoate {Preservative}, Natural and Artificial Flavors, Beta Carotene {Color}, Vitamin A Palmitate added], Whole Egg, Water, Bananas, Sugar, Soybean Oil, Molasses, Natural & Artificial Flavors, Leavening [Sodium Bicarbonate, Sodium Acid Pyrophosphate, Corn Starch, and Monocalcium Phosphate], Invert Sugar, Corn Syrup, Food Starch Modified, Salt, Soy Lecithin]), Pecans, Microcrystalline Cellulose, Vegetable Mono & Diglycerides, Guar Gum, Carrageenan, Cellulose Gum, Natural Flavors, Cinnamon.

And yet another flavour from the same store…

Pasteurized and Cultured Skim Milk, Sugar, Dextrose, Whey, Maltodextrin, Cocoa Processed with Alkali, Brownie (Sugar, Bleached Flour [Wheat Flour, Niacin, Reduced Iron, Thiamine Mononitrate, Riboflavin, Folic Acid], Soybean Oil, Whole Eggs, Water, Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chunks [Sugar, Chocolate Liquor, Cocoa Butter, Butterfat, Soy Lecithin, Salt, And Vanillin {Artificial Flavoring}], Margarine [Soybean and Hydrogenated Soybean Oils, Water, Salt, Mono Glycerides, Soy Lecithin, Sodium Benzoate {Preservative}, Natural and Artificial Flavor, Beta Carotene {Color}, Vitamin A Palmitate added], Cocoa Processed with Alkali, Soy Flour, Wheat Gluten, Corn Syrup Solids, Sodium Alginate, Buttermilk, Natural & Artificial Flavors, Salt, and Leavening [Sodium Acid Pyrophosphate, Sodium Bicarbonate, Corn Starch, Monocalcium Phosphate]), Milk Chocolate Fudge (Sweetened Condensed Skim Milk [Skim Milk And Sugar], High Fructose Corn Syrup, Corn Syrup, Milk Chocolate [Sugar, Milk, Chocolate, Cocoa Butter, Lactose, Milk Fat, Soy Lecithin, PGPR Emulsifier, Vanillin, Artificial Flavor], Partially Hydrogenated Coconut Oil, Water, Cocoa, Contains 2% Or Less Of: Whey, Modified Cornstarch, Monoglycerides, Artificial Flavors, Salt, Potassium Sorbate [Preservative], Xanthan Gum, Sodium Citrate, Disodium Phosphate), Microcrystalline Cellulose, Vegetable Mono & Diglycerides, Guar Gum, Carrageenan, Cellulose Gum, Salt, Natural and Artificial Flavors, Caramel Color.

These yogurts are a joke. I lost count of single ingredients, but I believe having 18 lines of ingredients is overkill.  If they put this on their walls instead of the marketing hype that is there, no one would buy it. Well, at least I don’t think they could possibly think this is a good alternative to ice-cream or yogurt.

Mifino Frozen Yogurt – Heart Tick Approved:

Skim milk, whole milk, liquid sugar (sugar, water), milk solids non fat, dextrose, wildberry fruit mix, maltodextrin, water, cream, acidity regulator (270, 332, 330, 300), stabalisers (1422, 412, 410, 407), emulsifiers (471), yogurt culture, flavours, natural colours (163, 162, 120, 160B).

The fact that this may be 97% fat free is of no consequence.  The fat will not be the problem for health, but rather the sugar and the chemicals.  There are three different sugars – dextrose, maltodextrin and liquid sugar.  Flavour is possibly 48 chemicals including solvent and diacetyls.  The fact that this has been given the tick by the Heart Foundation does not mean it is good for total health – I actually doubt it could possibly be good for the heart either. Remembering that the heart is connected to the rest of the body and what is not good for the body won’t be good for the heart either.

Milk, sugar, milk solids, glucose, chestnut, vegetable fat, maltodextrin, sucrose, emulsifiers (471, 472) vegetable gums (410, 412), salt, vegetable protein, flavours, egg white, colour (102, 124).

There are four types of sugar in the gelato ingredients which probably makes it the greatest ingredient in this food. It is just a trick that is played on us for us to think that the food doesn’t have too much sugar. In actual fact, it has heaps.  It also has a vegetable fat (not oil) which means it has had a process done to it.  Is the process hydrogenation, interesterification or chemical fractionation? All processes on the vegetable must be done in a chemical laboratory and all processes have health consequences.  The fact that there is no indication what the vegetable fat is; canola, soy, cotton seed or palm means that you may be consuming GM foods.  Too many chemicals and too many made from GM foods to think otherwise.

With so many chemicals in each of these products, it’s not hard to believe that these foods have the potential to do harm to your health – whether that is gut issues, extremes in blood sugar or weight gain.  Food is our evolutionary foods. Chemicals have only been in the diet a couple of decades, and it seems, the food manufacturer with the most chemicals wins.  While one chemical may be safe, isolated and tested singularly, when we combine two or more together we actually don’t know what the ramifications are. Throw 50 in and I’m pretty sure that common sense would say that this is not good for human health.

Making your own frozen treats is not hard – there are recipes galore on the internet and if you have the right equipment it can be a healthy family activity for all involved.  My daughter and I always have frozen coconut milk, ice and fruit in our freezer so that at anytime we can make a yummy frozen treat for all the family.  We have a thermomix which makes the process fast, fun and easy.  Our two favourites at the moment are; macadamia banana ice-cream and berry sorbet.

Happy Changing Ice Treat Sweets!

Cyndi O’Meara
Nutritionist and Real Food Advocate

Cyndi O’Meara is a nutritionist and founder of Changing Habits – a health and nutrition education company that has gone from strength to strength since Cyndi wrote her bestselling book ‘Changing Habits, Changing Lives’ in 1997. Cyndi now writes diet protocols, cook books, does national tours, has a line of products and is prolific in the media as an expert on all things health.

What makes Cyndi so interesting is her different perspective, she is by no means a typical nutritionist. She loves fat, butter and even chocolate and would never count a calorie or recommend anything low-fat. She’s all about real foods that our ancestors, has never taken an antibiotic in her life and have been eating for thousands of years and is always on the hunt for new and exciting foods for the Australian consumer.