Wednesday, May 1, 2013

I Ate Bugs Today

I'm talking bona fide beetle juice. 

I'm about to put Dannon Light & Fit Greek blueberry yogurt on major blast right now.

I've recently developed a deep love for Greek yogurt.  It's lower in sugar and calories and has double the protein of the lameballs regular kind.  However, while looking through the Greek selections at the store, I came across Dannon Light & Fit blueberry Greek variety.  It's flavored but only has 80 calories and 7 grams of sugar.  Did I just hit the Greek yogurt jackpot?!  I picked up five of them, smug that I found a steal.

While downing this little gem as a morning snack the next day, I ran across the list of ingredients.  This is something I usually do with all foods, looking for major offenders like aspartame, artifical flavoring, BHT, high-fructose corn syrup, and sodium nitrates.  I had done this at the store, and it had received the green light.  Well boys and girls, I've got one more to add to the list.  I came across carmine on the ingredient list.  It didn't sound very threatening, but I wasn't exactly sure what it was, so I did a little research.  Warning: make sure you are near a bathroom, just in case you need to vom.

                          Nutritional Info
In Layman's terms, carmine is crushed up cochineal insects.  For the full rundown of the gory details, you can check it out here.  The bugs are basically boiled, dried, then crushed up and ground into a powder.  YUMMY!  Why the EFF do manufactureres use this, you ask?  Carmine creates a vibrant red color that is appealing to the eye.  It's used in everything from yogurt, to ice cream, to sports drinks. Just what I want after a good workout, some tasty bug juice!  The worst part is this ingredient can also be listed under the the vague "natural flavors" label, so you will literally have no idea that you are eating it.  My advice to you: avoid this 'ish like the plague, BRO!

Here's the good news.  Not all yogurt brands have carmine.  And although not all Dannon flavors have carmine, my favorite flavor does, so they can kick rocks for all I care.  I'm going back to my trusted brand Fage Greek yogurt.  They have tons of flavors and are free of bug guts.  It may have 20-50 more calories than the Light & Fit version, but if my options are to chomp on beetles or run an extra 2.5 minutes on the treadmill, I'll take the latter. 

Here are a few helpful tips when nativating the Greek yogurt section:
  • Look for brands with 12 grams or more of protein per serving
  • Go for plain whenever possible.  You can always add your own fresh fruit.
  • Avoid brands that have "natural flavors".  This can be ANYTHING.

What is your favorite bug free yogurt? 


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