Are Muffins Healthy?

Are muffins healthy? And what's really in your muffin? Unfortunately most muffin mixes and pre-made muffins are bad news.Muffins and I go way back. When I was just a little kid my mom would take us shopping and for lunch at our local department store, Jordan Marsh. To be honest I don’t remember much more except for the amazing, Jordan Marsh blueberry muffins you could get with your meal. They were so good mom sometimes would buy an extra half-dozen muffins as a treat for us to eat at home. 🙂

But are muffins healthy? Unfortunately, no. However, thanks to some misleading marketing many people believe muffins (especially those filled with fruit or bran) are healthy snacks. The simple truth is … sweet baked goods and desserts just aren’t good for you despite what many food companies might say. By definition they’re a treat and that holds true for muffins as well.

So why did I share I whole-wheat muffin recipe a couple of weeks ago? I don’t think baking up the occasional batch of muffins is a criminal act. Unfortunately, the story behind many of the store-bought options can get pretty ugly! (more…)

Are muffins healthy? And what's really in your muffin? Unfortunately most muffin mixes and pre-made muffins are bad news.

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Healthy Brownies: Fact or Food Company Fiction?

Are healthy brownies possible? Food companies want you to think so!

Are brownies healthy? Processed food companies would love for you to think so, but you know better, right?

Unfortunately there are plenty of people who are falling victim to Big Food’s “healthy dessert” scam. Let’s make sure you and your friends aren’t one of them.

How Does the Healthy Brownies Scam Work?

Brownies taste great, and we really like to treat ourselves. So what do food companies do? They tempt us into eating brownies and other treats by giving us permission. (more…)

Are healthy brownies possible? Food companies want you to think so!

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Minions Marketing Madness
Movie tie-ins are a popular food marketing trick that can make you buy stupid things you just don't need and aren't good for you!

Minions Marketing Madness

Who wins when movies partner with food companies to create marketing promotions? Not you!

Case in point, Minions. Yes, you may adore these oddly-cute, yellow creatures and their movies. But you’ve probably seen Bob, Stuart, and Kevin (the lead Minion characters) in many places other than the movie. Yep, they’ve been plastered on all kinds of food products. And if you’re anything like me, you may end up feeling a bit stupid when you fall for one of these food marketing tricks! (Yes, more on that later.)

The Minions movie's food marketing tricks can make you feel stupid after buying processed foods you just don't need and aren't good for you!

 

 

Why do big entertainment companies like to market their films via food?

Obviously movie companies want to make more money off their new releases, but how exactly do food tie-ins work into this formula? Well there are several angles that these entertainment companies are interested in: (more…)

Movie tie-ins are a popular food marketing trick that can make you buy stupid things you just don't need and aren't good for you!

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Why I Quit Eating Processed Foods

It’s hard to believe, but about five years ago I officially “broke-up” with processed foods. Yes, I had left General Mills two years earlier, but I consider the break-up official when I purchased my first summer share at a local, organic farm in 2010.

Learn about a former processed food executive and the honest, fact-based reasons why he quit eating processed foods and made the switch to real food!

The break-up was a long time coming. After leading General Mills’ Honey Nut Cheerios (the cereal category’s #1 selling brand) and Hamburger Helper businesses, I had grown increasingly weary and wary of the processed food industry. (more…)

Bruce Bradley, a former processed food marketer, tells his Big Food break-up story!

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Your Salad Dressing Ingredients. Safe or Scary?

Oil and vinegar based salad dressings are some of the most common types of dressings. Simple and classic, this flavorful combination has been used since Ancient Greek and Roman times as a way to season and dress vegetables and greens. Despite their relative ease to make, bottled salad dressings have become increasingly popular since their introduction in the 1940s. But what salad dressing ingredients are in these bottles, and is the convenience of bottled dressings really worth it?Bottled salad dressing ingredients are all over the place. Learn what's In Your Bottled Oil and Vinegar Salad Dressing and 4 tips to choosing a healthier option.

Salad Dressing Ingredients—What’s In Your Oil and Vinegar Dressing?

If you’ve shopped for bottled, non-refrigerated salad dressings lately you’ve experienced the overwhelming nature of this category firsthand. With approximately $2 Billion in annual retail sales 1 the salad dressing aisle goes on and on with a seemingly endless number of varieties. While ranch dressings are the most popular flavor segment, oil and vinegar based dressings are also big sellers. And even within the oil and vinegar segment, there are tons of options including different flavor profiles, full fat, fat-free, light, and most recently organic.

To help illustrate what’s in these oil and vinegar based salad dressing, I’ve assembled a list of salad dressing ingredients for several popular brands below: (more…)

Notes:

  1. ACNielsen 2013
What's In Your Bottled Oil and Vinegar Salad Dressing and 4 tips to choosing a healthier option.

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Nine Reasons Why the Imminent Demise of Big Food May Be Wishful Thinking

Is Big Food Finally Doomed?I’ve recently read several articles that suggest we’re witnessing the demise of Big Food. But is Big Food really on life support? Or have the reports of its death been overly optimistic?

Don’t get me wrong—I’d love nothing more than to see the mass consumption of highly processed junk food come to an end! While I’m excited about the progress the food movement has made, I’m also frightened. Why? I’ve worked in Big Food, and I know how it thinks. Much like a virus mutating to survive, Big Food has proven to have incredible staying power. So while there’s no doubt food companies have taken it on the chin lately, here are 9 reasons why I’m scared Big Food may bounce back: (more…)

Nine Reasons Why the Demise of Big Food May Be Wishful Thinking

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What’s In Your Biscuit?

What's in your biscuit? You might be surprised with some of the highly processed ingredients your biscuits have baked into them.
It’s probably not that surprising that biscuits aren’t the healthiest food around. Even traditional, homemade recipes feature white flour and plenty of fat—sometimes even fake fats like shortening.  But what happens when you mix Big Food and a big biscuit? Unfortunately it’s a real dietary disaster! And while food companies continue to try to market their biscuits as “fresh” or “homemade,” all it takes is one look at their ingredients, and you’ll know they’re tricking you. Here’s some of the most common ingredients I found as I took a closer look at Big Food’s biscuits: (more…)

What's in your biscuit? You might be surprised with some of the highly processed ingredients your biscuits have baked into them.

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Red Velvet: The Latest Fashion Trend in Food

Check out the latest fashion trend in food, and why you may want to avoid it!I discovered red velvet cake many years ago when I lived in the South. As a displaced yankee living in North Carolina I looked on with horror when it was served and couldn’t help but ask, “what makes this cake so red?” … only to be further stunned by the nonchalant reply, “a bottle of red food coloring.” Even though the concept of REAL food had never crossed my mind back then, I remembered hearing about the dangers of red food coloring. “Red” had even disappeared from bags of M&M’s for a while. So I couldn’t help but wonder, “could this dessert kill me?” (more…)

Check out the latest fashion trend in food, and why you may want to avoid it!

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Kick the Can … Swanson Vegetable Broth

It's time to kick highly processed vegetable broths like Swanson to the curb!

So many delicious foods begin with a flavorful broth. But are all broths created equal? Not really, and this is especially true in the world of vegetable broths.

Swanson, a brand owned by the Campbell Soup Company, is the market leader when in comes to all different kinds of soup broths including vegetable. But if you haven’t looked at their label in a while, you might be surprised with what you find: (more…)

It's time to kick highly processed vegetable broths like Swanson to the curb!

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The Evolution of Cheese: Real Progress or Profits At All Cost?

Bruce Bradley documents the scary evolution of cheese from REAL food to an industrialized mess“What is cheese?” Seems like a pretty easy question, right? Unfortunately it may be much more difficult to answer than you might think since over the years a lot of changes have happened to what’s called cheese.

Although the exact origins of cheese are unknown, the process is believed to date back more than 4,000 years ago. Like many discoveries cheesemaking is believed to be the result of an accident that occurred when an Arabian merchant stored milk in a pouch made from a sheep’s stomach. When the rennet (an enzyme produced in the stomach of ruminant animals) combined with the milk and the warmth from the sun, violà—cheese was created. (more…)

Bruce Bradley documents the scary evolution of cheese from REAL food to an industrialized mess

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Frozen Sauced Vegetables: Friend or Foe?

What's really in your bag of sauced, frozen vegetables? Another Big Food surprise.When I worked at General Mills I had the chance to do some channel marketing for the Green Giant brand. This involved coming up with retailer-specific plans for how to grow the brand at customers like Wal-Mart or Costco. What always amazed me, though, was how the ingredient label of even vegetables could be so complicated! Although I didn’t think about it much back then, it’s kind of ironic that those veggies that had been doused with lots of extra additives were called “value-added” vegetables within the company. Sigh. 🙁

Now while almost every piece of rationale dietary advice says we should eat more vegetables, what about these bags and boxes of sauced-up, frozen veggies? Personally, that’s where I think it can get a bit more complicated. In my book eating real vegetables of almost all sorts is a step in the right direction, but since many people don’t realize all the crazy ingredients that can be in some of these frozen vegetable mixes, I thought it would be worth sharing. After all, knowledge is power, right? So here’s the scoop on what’s in some of those bags of frozen, pre-sauced veggies, and you get to choose how to act on it, okay?

(more…)

What's really in your bag of sauced, frozen vegetables? Another Big Food surprise!

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Eating Vegetables: The One Healthy Eating Habit Big Food Never Talks About And Why

Why do food companies ignore real vegetables in their healthy diet advice?What’s the one healthy habit you never hear food companies talk about? It’s the power of vegetables and other plants in our diets. Don’t believe me? To help illustrate this point I took a quick look at advertising spending for the past several years, and do you want to guess what percent of spending supported healthy, minimally processed fruits, vegetables, nuts, or other plants? Less than 0.1%! 1

Think about it. Despite all the weight loss and “healthy food” ads on television, how often do you see one for vegetables? Recently I’ve seen a couple for Bird’s Eye and Green Giant sauced-up vegetables, but in the big scheme of things, fruits, vegetables, nuts, and legumes get the short end of the stick. To make matters worse these days you’re more likely to find companies advertising that their highly processed junk food is as good as if not better than real fruits and vegetables, something that couldn’t be further from the truth. Here’s just one example of this strategy brought to life by FiberOne’s Oat and Chocolate Chewy Bars:

http://youtu.be/SPrLp-6Nmos

(more…)

Notes:

  1. Fruit juice advertising excluded since research demonstrates fruit juices provide significantly less nutritional benefit than their whole fruit counterparts.
Why do food companies ignore real vegetables in their healthy diet advice?

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