The Healthier Hot Dog — Not!

April 5, 2012 · 29 comments

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In an article published in Scientific American, writer, Sarah Fecht proclaims that the “structural integrity” of our foods are often made up of unhealthy saturated fats. She reports on the new research that shows how to remove those unhealthy saturated fats from favorites like hot dogs. You will not believe what they think will make them healthier.

A paper entitled, “Mechanical properties of ethylcellulose oleogels and their potential for saturated fat reduction in frankfurters,” was published in the journal Food & Function in March 2012. Researchers, Alexander K. Zetzl ,  Alejandro G. Marangoni and Shai Barbut reported on their method for replacing saturated fats in frankfurters with, who could have guessed, ethylcellulose.

Ethylcellulose has been shown to be an “excellent” organogelator for vegetable oils. It is mixed with vegetable oils such as canola, soybean and flaxseed oil in a 1 to 10 ratio — the ethycellulose 10% and the oils 90%.

I can’t make this up so I’ll quote the authors statement of results:

Cooked frankfurters made with oleogels showed no significant differences in chewiness or hardness compared to the control products made with beef fat. These results provide the first in-depth characterization of ethylcellulose oleogels, and could potentially aid in the design/manufacture of ethylcellulose oleogels with specific textural properties to replace saturated fat in a variety of food products. (My emphasis)

Ethyl cellulose is “generally recognized as safe” according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, and is commonly used in pharmaceutical capsules and as a food additive in milk products and baked goods.

Cellulose is a natural component of insoluble vegetable fiber. Ethyl cellulose is an indigestible chain of repeating glucose molecules; the only difference is that the hydroxyl groups of ethyl cellulose are modified into ethyl ether groups.

Eating ethylcellulose is a bit more like eating paper. But when it is mixed with a vegetable oil, ethyl cellulose gels form filamentous, fibrous structures around the oil globules. This seems to create a texture and hardness very similar to saturated fat.

The Scientific Panel on Food Additives, Flavourings, Processing Aids and Materials in Contact with Food (AFC) on a request from the Commission related to Ethyl Cellulose as a food additive (Question number EFSA-Q-2003-116 adopted on 17 February 2004) evaluated the use of ethylcellulose.

Their conclusions and recommendations shouldn’t surprise you:

The Panel evaluated ethyl cellulose on the basis of the safety data of the whole group of closely related cellulose derivatives. The Panel considers that during the manufacturing process, the steaming and drying steps would remove volatile residues including ethyl chloride. Taking into account the strong hydrophobic character of ethyl cellulose together with its high molecular mass (above 500 kD) the Panel also considers that ethyl cellulose will pass essentially unchanged through the gastrointestinal tract following oral ingestion and that adverse effects are unlikely. The Panel decided to include ethyl cellulose in the group ADI “not specified” for modified celluloses established by the SCF (SCF 1992; SCF 1999).

I don’t know about you but I’m a little concerned about the part that says, “… The Panel also considers that ethyl cellulose will pass essentially unchanged through the gastrointestinal tract following oral ingestion and that adverse effects are unlikely.”

These researchers (and food companies with the blessing of the FDA) are planning on replacing the saturated fat in hot dogs. Saturated fat makes up 1/3 of the item or 7 gms. That is a lot of ethyl cellulose (and rancid GM vegetable oils) — especially if the person eats more than one frank.

I seem to remember when they tried to replace the fat in chips with olestra, causing major intestinal problems such as, vitamin malabsorption and “anal leakage.” Not very pretty.

These folks are clearly indoctrinated with the saturated fat is evil mantra and are determined to find a suitable, artificial, factory made substance that is sure to further along the Big Ag, Big Pharma agenda — Let’s take away all the Real Food and replace it with chemicals so that people will get sick and need doctors and medications.

Excuse the sarcasm but I really take issue with people expounding the health dogma of the USDA as if it were gospel.

Read that Scientific American article and tell me if it doesn’t get under your skin.

I’ll keep my grassfed, dripping with real saturated fat, frankfurters. Thank you very much.

What do you think about this? Leave a comment and let me know!

This post is shared at: Fresh Bites Friday, Freaky Friday, Friday Food, Seasonal Celebration, Sunday School, Melt In Mouth Monday, Monday Mania, Barnyard Hop, Traditional Tuesday, Tasty Tuesday Tidbits, Allergy free Wednesday, Gluten Free Wednesday, Real Food Wednesday, Whole Food Wednesday, Sustainable Ways, Healthy 2Day, Mommy Club, Full Plate Thursday, Simple Lives Thursday

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