Monday, August 29, 2011

5 Fishy Food Claims and hummus pizza

Hummus pizza
Food Diary (August 28, 2011)
Breakfast: Rolled oats with prunes, flax seeds and sunflower seeds
Lunch: ‘Hummus’ Pizza
Dinner: Bean sprout, pickled apple and carrot salad, flax seed sourdough toast with cheese
Baking/sweets: ANZAC Cookies

The hummus pizza didn’t quite have hummus the way we know hummus but it did have hummus ingredients. Calling it hummus pizza is a bit of a stretch I suppose. Its like collecting a heap of metal, rubber, glass and leather and calling it a car. Or putting wheat, sugar cane juice and butter in a container and calling it shortbread cookies. I just remembered the Cappuccino Chocolate Chip Hazelnut Cookies Recipe I posted – same story, the cookie has no cappuccino.

Anyway, back to hummus, the pizza had chickpeas, sesame seeds and oil. The difference is that for hummus the pureeing is done before it is eaten. In the case of the pizza the pureeing was done in the mouth. To be more technically correct, it wasn’t hummus pizza when served but it became closer to hummus pizza when eaten!  

In any case the pizza was nice. I also used moderate amounts of brie cheese and salami. Since the pizza was all about hummus ingredients I wanted them to play the lead role with cheese and salami playing a supporting role. As such a mild cheese was more suitable. I sprinkled toasted sesame seeds on the pizza when it was ready. Some of the seeds fell on the plate, I thought it looked good so I deliberately sprinkled more on the plate! 

Hummus pizza

Today's Favourite Photo
Berry Dessert Cups

Today’s Favourite Blog
Source: ABC News
An interesting article titled “5 Fishy Food Claims”. We are being conned by advertisements and professionals. Even the official USDA dietary guidelines are heavily influenced by food companies, says Marion Nestle, Ph.D., M.P.H., a nutritionist at New York University.  This articles highlights 5 fishy food claims.

Firstly the claim that sugar is healthier than high fructose corn syrup. “There's nothing natural about processed sugar. We need to take a holistic approach and realize it's the entirety of processed foods that is the problem and not just one ingredient."

The second item is a claim that we can improve on nature. A common trick of manufacturers is to inject so-called good nutrients into all manner of foods. Take fiber for example. Beans and plants provide many benefits for the body such as fermenting and holding water as they pass through your colon. Because fiber has been identified as beneficial food companies extract a kind of fiber from chicory root. This is sold to companies for incorporating into processed foods. It is unlikely that this ingredient has the same benefits of real fiber in the body, Young says, yet companies imply that it has the same impact as naturally occurring fiber. Studies suggest that inulin doesn't lower cholesterol the way the fiber in whole grains does. However adding ‘more fibre’ to labels makes it look more attractive for consumers. 

The third claim is that there are silver-bullet foods. Science has a long way to go when it comes to understanding the healthful compounds contained in foods. Studies have shown that people taking vitamin E or beta-carotene were no healthier than those who didn't take vitamins. The health benefit may come not from the nutrient or even the food, but from "the nutrient composition in naturally occurring foods," according to an American Journal of Clinical Nutrition study by epidemiologist David R. Jacobs, Ph.D., and colleagues. The Mediterranean diet is very unprocessed, but one component such as olive oil is identified and elevated. The French eat a lot of butter and cheese, the Japanese drink saki and the Germans drink beer. Lets wait and see when these items are identified as healthy! Russians drink a lot of vodka but that’s another story!

The fourth claim is that saturated fat is evil.  In the 1960s and 1970s, health officials began to distinguish between "good" and "bad" fats. No distinction was made between naturally occurring nutrients and those that had been processed and chemically transformed. Naturally occurring saturated fats really don't deserve the bad reputation they receive. If nutritionism hadn't wrongly labeled saturated fats as bad, trans fats may not have been created and now we are working hard to avoid trans fats.

The last claim is that superspreads save lives. There is a growing number of spreads, free from trans fats, loaded with omega and other good things. While their labels claim that the omega-3 fatty acids and plant sterols they contain may help lower cholesterol and promote heart health, the science is far from clear. In fact, consuming margarine enriched with omega-3s doesn't prevent heart attacks, according to a recent New England Journal of Medicine study of 4,800 heart attack survivors.

The conclusion is that always question the hype and the claims on food labels. Generally speaking, the fewer health buzzwords your food comes with, the better it probably is for you. I just checked the label on the pack of carrots and there are no stories about fibre and beta carotene and how they are good for you. I guess the product speaks for itself.

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  1. Oh, those berry dessert cups look irresistible. You find the best photos. And great info on the food hype...I can't believe how gullible the public can be~

  2. hummus pizza sounds delicious! i was imagining pizza bread lined with hummus instead of tomato sauce! what inspired u?

  3. I could do with that pizza ... love chickpeas. I like my dad inlaw's take on food .." once everything's in the stomach, they're all the same". :D
    Guess you can't believe 100% of everything you read. You last 2 lines says it all .. thumbs up!
    Btw, I like your positive take on the nasi lemak in the last post. Now I don't feel so guilty.

  4. Your hummus pizza looks so good right now!

  5. That pizza looks awesome, btw I am liking your new photos!

  6. Maybe you could call this...make-your-own-hummus pizza? Since you make it as you chew?

  7. The Hummus Pizza is very tempting and original. Nice photo too!
    Am I the only one who noticed the name of the nutritionist sounds almost like the huge food producer's brand?
    As for margarine, I have once heard a very interesting radio program on BBC where there was a fight between margarine producers and scientists, the latter claiming the omega-3 contained in margarine have almost no influence on our organism, since they come from plants and not fish... (apparently the fish omega-3 are excellent and very well absorbed by our organism, while the plant omega-3 cannot even be compared). I remember the producer's representative was "stuck" because he or she couldn't produce relevant studies or proves that their omega-3 were as good as the fish ones.
    (Here the link to the very interesting BBC food program, you can listen the past editions:

  8. Oh really, superspreads save lives? If only that were true right? we would all live to be 120 yrs old! LOVE LOVE LOVE the pizza! Love Love Love it. Can you tell I LOVE it!

  9. Hahaha, I pureed them in my mouth. Hilarious! This pizza sounds delicious, whether you call it "hummus pizza" or not :)

  10. I want to bite that hummus pizza crusts... looks delicoius!! As usual, your helpful information is a good source for my food education. Thanks for sharing quality info!

  11. I am in love with hummus. This pizza sounds very interesting, especially with the salami and cheese addition. I think it would be nice to try this more "textural" version of hummus!

  12. Hummus pizza can be such a delicious vegetarian pizza! Very creative.

  13. Lizzy: public are gullible or the marketers are smart, or both!

    Junia: I can’t remember what inspired me, maybe I thought of it when I was bored and had nothing better to do:)

    ping: your dad in law has a good take on food, different shapes, sizes and textures but in the stomach its all the same! Chickpeas on pizza was great

    yummychunklet: thank you

    angsarap: you noticed!

    Joanne: that’s a good one. And if you don’t want hummus pizza, don’t chew it:)

    Sissi: thank you! I didn’t notice the name, how interesting. Nestle, the company, could be one of those companies influencing perhaps and Nestle, the lady, is highlighting this:) Thanks for the link. I heard the same thing for iron – its better if it comes from animals rather than plants

    Kitchen Belleicious: I can tell now:) super spreads not so super!

    Elina: thank you!

    Nami: you are most welcome

    Hazel: exactly, a nice change from the mushy version! Have a great time in Spain

    Tigerfish: thank you