Which Mac and Cheese is richer in… GMO?

[ 0 ] August 22, 2013 |

No cheese in Mac and Cheese

Macaroni and Cheese is one of the highly popular meals in America. It was an important part of quick fix lunch or dinner for generations of young Americans. Perhaps it still is: Today, for instance, Kraft Macaroni & Cheese enjoys almost 1.5 million likes on Facebook. This is despite significant recent public outcry about nasty artificial coloring chemicals Yellow 5 and Yellow 6 added to the product. However, to the best of my knowledge, the protest and demand of over 300,000 people to remove the artificial colors have produced no effect on the ways Kraft Foods formulate their highly processed Mac and Cheese. To tell you more, Kraft and many other Mac and Cheese brands are made even with no cheese but artificially colored yellow surrogate called “American cheese” (nothing to be proud about!), the stuff manufactured from whey, milkfat, milk protein concentrate, enzymes, cheese cultures and salt. Don’t be confused about macaroni either – it was made of wheat flour “enriched” by addition of iron and Vitamins B lost in the course of drastic processing. Finally, to get complete ugly picture of your favorite Mac & Cheese, you should know that enzymes (rennet) and cheese cultures used to manufacture the artificially colored cheese surrogate are Genetically Engineered (GMO). Although removal of artificial dyes would definitely make Mac and Cheese less dangerous for human consumption, this food surrogate would still be far away from being recognized as a real food. For these reasons it makes little or no sense to demand removal of artificial colors from the non-nutritious garbage which place is in a garbage can anyway. I wish millions of Americans were not using their stomachs as garbage cans. But such petitions often are composed by people who have very limited knowledge of chemistry and biochemistry that are necessary for understanding of ingredient lists and adequate estimation of Health Risk and Nutrition values of processed food.

Which Mac and Cheese poses bigger GMO threat?

While manufacturers do not specify quantities of enzymes (catalysts) and cheese culture additives they use it seems reasonable to assume that actual amounts of GMO in cheeses should be much lower than that in corn chips or soy containing products where corn and soy proteins are main ingredients. Let’s take a look at three different Mac and Cheese products analyzed and rated with two different approaches:  Fooducate and the DyeDiet Calculator.

 

Easy Mac Macaroni and Cheese dinner (Kraft)

 

Macaroni and Cheese Cheesiest dinner (Kraft)

Mac and Cheese (Betty Crocker)

 

2 artificial colors, 32 ingredients

220 Cal/serving

2 artificial colors, 19

ingredients

260 Cal/serving

2 artificial colors, 35

ingredients

370 Cal/serving

Fooducate:    Yellow C- Fooducate:     Yellow C Fooducate:     Yellow C-
DyeDiet:Health Risk= 0.53 (moderate) Nutritional Value = 0.67 (Low);

 GMO threats

Enzymes

Cheese culture

DyeDiet:

Health Risk = 0.71 (moderate); Nutritional Value = 0.54 (Low)    

     GMO threats

Enzymes

Cheese culture

DyeDiet:

Health Risk = 0.40 (Low); Nutritional Value = 0.88 (Low)         

GMO threats

Cheddar cheese

Parmesan cheese

Enzyme modified cheddar cheese

Soy flour

(Click on results to go to original source. In the Dye Diet Calculator you will have to type in product name (say, ‘mac’) to see the results.)

Dye Diet results for Mac and Cheese of Betty Crocker

Dye Diet results for Mac and Cheese of Betty Crocker

As you see from the chart, Fooducate does not really distinguish between the three products awarding them with descent Yellow C- grade. While the Dye Diet Calculator gives similar “not too bad” ratings represented by moderate to low Health Risk and Nutritional values, the results are more specific. For instance, Nutritional Value of Mac and Cheese Cheesiest surrogate is lower than the one of Easy Mac surrogate because it contains lower number of nutrients and still contains the same 2 artificial colors and other non-nutrient chemicals. But the most striking difference comes with a possibility to recognize ingredients which may pose GMO threat. The Dye Diet Calculator indicates that although Mac and Cheese of Betty Crocker (General Mills) is the least risky and the most nutritious (but still low!) of the three, it contains doubled number of GMO threats of what both Kraft Mac and Cheese surrogates bring to you. In addition, it also charged with 30 – 40% more calories per serving.

Fooducate result for Easy Mac

Fooducate result for Easy Mac

Bottom line. All three reviewed Mac and Cheese meals are quite unhealthy, low nutritional value food surrogates. They made look yellow with same two artificial color additives (Yellow 5 and Yellow 6). They contain numerous non-nutrient additives and a couple of GMO ingredients. Instead of using your stomach as a garbage container you may consider cooking your own homemade macaroni and cheese from real elbow macaroni and real cheese imported from Europe. You may consider following guidance from Whole Foods Market regarding Genetically Engineered Foods and buy organic products. By the way, soy products from Silk do not contain GMO ingredients, according to the corporate website.  So, good luck with your GMO free diet!

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Category: American diet, Dye Diet Calculator, Genetically Modified Food (GMO)

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