Jewish Journal

Diets are a “Berry” Bad Idea!

by Sima Cohen

July 11, 2011 | 1:58 pm

Acai berries (pronounced “ah-sigh-ee”) are hotter than Robert Pattinson half-naked washing your dishes. If you get your health advice from mainstream media, you think the only way to be thin is to overdose on protein, avoid carbs, inhale acai, and do yoga all day. Manufacturers claim that acai will help you shed pounds, flatten your tummy, cleanse your colon, enhance sexual drive and desire, prevent wrinkles, and that it can cure obesity, cancer and even baldness. The berry has only been available to Americans since the 1990s, but Amazon natives have been consuming it for hundreds of years, and if you were to eat the fruit, you’d reap multiple health and anti-aging benefits. But guess what? Unless you’re flying every morning to the Amazon basin for breakfast, you’re not eating the fruit.

It’s easy to be duped and distracted by companies selling fake acai products that contain fillers that give you NONE of the benefits of the authentic berry itself. Acai berry that has been spray dried has gone through a process which kills off much of the nutrients of the fruit and uses a carrier agent such as maltodextrin to dry the berry, so that in the end, 40% of the product is carrier agent and not authentic acai. P.S. Bitches: maltodextrin, when consumed in high amounts, leads to weight gain. It’s also added in the manufacturing process and, due to a loophole in the labeling laws, isn’t required by the FDA to be listed on the label!

For your information, the health value of acai berry comes from the entire fruit, so an extract isn’t worth a damn either. The process of “extracting” to create a supplement involves isolating one element of the fruit. And get this: almost all extracts of acai are made from spray dried acai! In the rainforest, the natives consume the skin and the pulp of the berry and discard the seed, so a product with acai seed is junk too. The only way to retain all of the nutrients of the fruit and steer clear of carry agents is to freeze dry the berry. Earthfruits Freeze Dried Acai is the purest I can find.

The 80’s weren’t just about new wave music and spandex. Between 1985 and 1989 the frozen yogurt business erupted, and the American public became convinced that it was a healthier choice for dessert than ice cream. Soon, chains began popping up on every corner, marketing all-natural, probiotic packed, healthy nonfat frozen treats as if they were the best thing that ever happened to dessert. Brilliant! They got us good.

First of all, human beings have managed without these live cultures for centuries, but since the 80’s a large number of us have been screwed by the food industry into believing that we need them for the sake of our health. In fact, a clinical trial aimed at reducing childhood allergies was published in 2008. In the trial, 178 infants were given either a probiotic or a placebo for the first six months of their life. The children who were given the probiotic were found to be more likely to develop a sensitivity to allergens. So the jury is still out on the specific health effects of probiotics and how many of them are needed to provide a beneficial effect.

Every single flavor of TCBY’s soft serve and hand scooped frozen yogurts contains a chemical called carrageenan. Consuming carrageenan is linked to bloating, farting, and inflammatory bowel disease. Kinda neutralizes the work all those probiotics are supposed to be doing, huh? Second, TCBY (which stands for “The Country’s Best Yogurt”) doesn’t put any actual yogurt in their frozen yogurt. It should just be called frozen sugarmilk. They’re made with whole milk, and while the nutrition facts might show 0g of total fat in a few of the flavors, they all contain twice the amount or more of daily recommended sugar. If you’ve learned only one thing from us it should be that sugar = fat.

Pinkberry claims to have reinvented the US frozen yogurt category, starting with California. Here we go again. “The company initially touted its product as healthy, nonfat and all-natural, but did not say what was in it.” (Julia Moskin, New York Times) Any company or corporation that only reveals the ingredients in their product after a grueling lawsuit, can’t be trusted. The original flavor contains 23 ingredients, the first two of which are skim milk and nonfat yogurt, followed by three types of sugar, at least five additives, acidifiers, a preservative, a starch and maltodextrin. The two latter ingredients are both lab-produced and extracted from corn syrup. Your love affair with chilly bliss just got FATTER! They still call their toppings “all natural”, but a lot of them contain chemicals. After the lawsuit Pinkberry stopped calling itself “frozen yogurt”. Maybe because it never was.

I know you get off on having a frozen treat every now and again, and I’m not the ice cream police. (Although I do have handcuffs and I know how to use them!) Haagen Dazs makes a one-serving size cup, which is built-in portion control, in 10 euphoric flavors. Our favorite flavor is Mint. The best part is, they abide by my ingredient philosophy that if you can pronounce it, you can eat it.

By now you probably get that diets don’t work. I believe the opposite is true - dieting actually leads to weight gain! The only way to effectively lose weight and keep it off forever is to eat REAL food with ingredients you can pronounce every three to four hours, and don’t be scared of things like fat and carbs. (They’re actually good for you.) For more information visit http://www.meetsima.com

Peace and Dessert,

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Sima (which translates “Joy” in Hebrew) is poised to become the next big hit in health and wellness in America. An Israeli immigrant, Sima came to the states 20 years ago...

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