What's in that Chick-Fil-A sandwich?
Did you know that if you eat out at fast food restaurants, you’re likely consuming up to 100 ingredients from each entrée? Many of those ingredients are not even food, but an impressive list of chemicals, food conditioners and preservatives.
Recently, a food activist named Vani Hari from Foodbabe.com, exposed the ingredient list in Chick-A-Fila’s popular chicken sandwich. There were plenty of low quality, inflammatory food ingredients to be concerned about like GMO corn, soybean oil, sugar and refined grains. But the alarming part of the ingredient list was the multiple chemicals we were never meant to eat.
Among the ingredients listed was monosodium glutamate (MSG), a controversial seasoning often used in Chinese food. MSG has also been associated with causing headaches, nausea and rapid heart beat/ heart palpitations in some people.
At least MSG is somewhat familiar. What about that unpronounceable chemical that’s used as an anti-foaming agent for the refined peanut oil? Funny, peanut oil doesn’t seem to need a de-foaming agent when used at home.
If you think that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is watching out for our food safety, think again. There are many ways to circumvent the FDA rules. While there's a capped limit of each preservative used, there’s no limit to how many preservatives are used in total. And Chick-A-Fila used about 18 in total in their sandwich.
One of those preservatives is Tertiary Butylhydroquinone or TBHQ. While it doesn’t sound very appetizing, it’s used as an ingredient in both the chicken and the bun.
TBHQ is a chemical made from butane and can only be used at a rate of 0.02 percent of the total oil in a product. It makes sense. Butane is the toxic and highly flammable oil used in lighters.
Eating only 1 gram of this toxic preservative has been shown to cause issues like ADHD in children. It has also been known to cause dermatitis and dizziness in humans, as well as stomach cancer in lab animals.
Shocked? Don’t be. This is the same FDA that allows a product to be labeled trans fat-free when it still contains 0.5 grams of trans fat. They figure a little bit won’t kill you. But what happens when these toxins build up in the body over time? Many health experts blame this toxic chemical build up for the rapid rise of auto-immune disease and cancer in the U.S.
There’s also the less serious health consequences that people may never associate with their fast food meals, like headaches, asthma, allergies, joint pain, depression, stubborn weight gain or uncontrollable cravings.
That’s why it’s so important to do regular cleanses to rid the body of the damaging effects of these chemicals.
The 21-Day Body Makeover allows you to cleanse those chemicals from your body and fat cells while still eating tasty food with far fewer ingredients. The homemade, real food versions of the Chick-A-Fila chicken sandwich can be made with high quality ingredients like organic, free range chicken, almond milk instead of dairy, almond flour instead of wheat flour, and anti-inflammatory oils like coconut oil. Use romaine lettuce to wrap it up and add extra vitamins.
The real food version of the Chick-A-Fila chicken sandwich may not taste exactly like the highly processed original, but it’s also not going to have the negative health effects. And when you make your own food from scratch, you can see exactly what goes into it.
You also won’t feel the same after eating the real food version of this sandwich. Instead of feeling sluggish, heavy and sleepy, you’ll feel light, energetic and virtuous. You’ll drop weight, shed toxins and learn to appreciate food that’s been made the traditional way.
All calories are not created equal
I’ve been vindicated after twenty years of debating other health professionals on this controversial topic.
Current research by Harvard Medical School professor of pediatrics and nutrition, David Ludwig, has shown that not all calories are equal when it comes to weight gain. His studies show that calories ingested versus calories burned is not a straight-forward math equation when it comes to the human metabolism.
Of course lifestyle plays an important role in weight management. Getting enough sleep, managing stress, diet and exercise are key but if you ignore hormonal issues, losing weight, even when doing “all the right things”, can be elusive and frustrating.
Professor Ludwig, a specialist in endocrinology and obesity, rejects the idea that over eating calories is the cause of weight gain. But rather, while seemingly counter intuitive, having more fat cells is what drives people to over eat. This is due mostly to one hormone, insulin.
Studying diabetics prove his point. It’s been shown that excess insulin treatment causes diabetics to gain weight. Conversely, insulin deficiency causes weight loss. Ludwig also points out that highly refined and simple carbohydrates produce the most amount of insulin in our bodies.
Therefore, Ludwig concludes that eating a diet that is high in simple carbs like refined sugars and baked goods can lead to insulin deregulation, which is directly connected to a yo-yo metabolism.
This is how it works. Eating a processed carb like white bread causes insulin levels to spike, which cause an enzyme called lipase to be turned off. Lipase is responsible for transferring triglycerides from blood lipoproteins into tissue. When lipase is off, it causes more calories to be stored in fat cells rather than in the blood, leading the brain to conclude that the body is hungry. This is the very mechanism that causes people to over eat.
When the fat cells take in and store too many calories, there are too few for the rest of the body. The brain compensates with cravings and hunger for additional calories to make up for it. So even though an individual may be obese with plenty of stored energy, the body believes it’s in a state of deprivation or starvation. For this reason, it also slows down metabolism to conserve calories. It’s a great survival mechanism, but totally unnecessary when calories are freely available. The body is in a state of confusion.
This rising hunger and slowing metabolism is the likely culprit of weight gain rather than the usual scapegoat, excess calories. This can explain why people who follow a low calorie diet in the long term, have little success in keeping weight off permanently.
Ludwig and colleagues published a study in the Journal of the American Medical Association that backs up his claims. The study followed 21 obese young adults after they lost 10 to 15 percent of their body weight on low fat or low carb diets. The participants of these studies consumed the same number of calories, but the people on the low carb diet burned an extra 325 calories a day than the low fat folks.
These research findings back up Ludwig’s claim that the type of calories can make a huge difference. The study also observed that high carb/ low fat diets provide an energy boost for the first hour but a few hours later, those calories have been taken up into fat storage and can’t be quickly accessed for energy.
Ludwig does not think low fat diets are fundamentally unhealthy, but believes that dietary fat leaves less room for sugar and carbs in the diet. As fat decreases, it’s harder to not overeat grains. Grains can cause a spike in blood sugar if they’re heavily processed.
Despite these scientific findings, health advocates continue to promote the health benefits of low fat diets. And the outdated thinking on dietary fat encourages the food industry to produced refined, low-fat grain products instead of alternatives with healthy fat. Successful dieters should avoid refined grains and focus calorie intake on good sources of fat like nuts, avocados and olive oil.
Ludwig is continuing to study the effect of low fat versus low carb diets on people in a longer term, 5 month study to gain further insight in the role of the relationship of insulin, metabolism, calories and carbohydrates in weight gain. Hopefully his insights will inform the debate between low carb versus low fat with solid scientific findings.
To get a head start on your weight loss goals use our 21Daybodymakeover program.