Study: Junk Food Cravings Are Bad For Your Wallet and Health

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When people are stressed out, they tend to crave certain types of food. When it comes to cravings, people don’t seek healthy food. It is natural for people to opt for fat-filled or sugar-laden junk food to satisfy their cravings.

While many health advocates discourage people from snacking on too much junk food because of the health repercussions they present, did you know that your junk food craving is not only hurting your health, but also your wallet? A study published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences revealed that people are willing to pay more when they are craving for junk food.

The Two Research Studies

In their experiment, they surveyed 44 non-dieters who had not eaten for a few hours and asked them how much they wanted to eat snack foods and how much they were willing to pay if they are given a $5 budget. They also underwent a multi-sensory experience and were asked how much they wanted to eat a particular junk food item and how much they were willing to pay.

The study revealed that the respondents desire increased. And the participants are willing to pay $0.66 more for items that they want and only $0.26 for similar snack items. When presented with less-similar yet healthy food items such as pretzels or granola bars, they were not willing to pay that much.

A second experiment repeated the process using 45 people. However, the respondents can pay for one, two or until eight “units” of whatever that made them crave food. The second study noted that people are willing to pay more for snacks with larger quantities.

The two studies demonstrated the power of cravings. And even if people live healthier lifestyles, their cravings can overshadow the value of their health. The most common reason why health is dominated by craving is that it can be hard to control craving unless intervention on their eating habits is done.

Junk Food Cravings Can Dissipate After A Few Hours

It may be a psychological thing, and craving is all about satisfying the brain and not the gut. This is the reason why people make the wrong food decisions when they are in the middle of their cravings. Even people who live healthy lifestyles are prone to consuming junk foods when they are craving. When asked why they revert to eating junk food, they reason out that craving is different from hunger. Perhaps there is something about cravings that make people forget about their health.

While cravings for junk food can be intense for people who are hungry, it can dissipate within a few hours. And no, you don’t have to eat food to stop the craving. You can do self-regulation to naturally dispel cravings or wait it out so that you can resist the lure of consuming junk food. By the time your cravings are gone, that’s the time when you decide to eat. And when you eat, try to consume healthier food options.

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Kid’s Menus Should Not be a Marketing Gimmick

Are you raising picky eaters? Then you will be surprised with the recent trend of restaurants offering healthier kid’s menus. Gone are the days when your only fast food option was chicken nuggets, burgers, and fries.

Over the past few years, various restaurants started providing dishes that contain ingredients that your kids might not currently eat. For instance, the restaurant chain, Laughing Planet Café, is offering healthy options for their young diners that are made from tempeh (a soy product), quinoa, and kale. On the other hand, some restaurants also give children the freedom to choose healthy items to match their foods like brown rice, roasted yam, or tofu.


Healthy Trend Leads Transformation of Kid’s Menus

What is influencing this trend? Franz Spielvogel, CEO of Laughing Planet, noted that they are embracing such bold moves because modern parents are becoming more educated and health-conscious. Moreover, diners now have more access to different flavors and children grow up in households that eat a variety of cuisines.

Another reason why restaurants across the United States are changing their kid’s menus is that most adults think that kid’s menus are not given too much thought. Most of the dishes included in the menu appeal to the kids taste-wise, but their nutritional value was never taken into account. Kid’s menus should be more than a marketing gimmick. Although this may be the case, traditional burgers will never go away; but restaurants are making moves to incorporate healthier ingredients in their burgers to provide more variety and nutrition to children.

This trend has pushed other food companies to revamp their products to become healthier for children. For instance, Panera Bread Co. will offer its kids menu minus the sweeteners, artificial flavors, and colors. Diners can expect to see black bean soup and Greek salad on its new kid’s menu.

How to Make Healthy Foods More Appealing to Kids

Aside from creating new and healthier products for children, companies are also looking into how the foods will be presented to children. MAD Greens, a food chain that has branches in Utah, Texas, Colorado and Arizona, devised a way to make their food boxes more appealing even if it contains edamame, pasta, and citrus chicken–not your child’s usual favorites.

Giving children more control to foods they eat is also the key to letting them develop healthy eating habits even while dining out. According to Molly Siegler, culinary editor at Whole Foods Market, if children are allowed to participate in choosing which vegetables they want in their soup, then they are likely to eat the finished product. Letting children have control on the kinds of foods that they consume is necessary as long as they have their parents guiding them in the right direction.

Restaurants today are embracing the fact that they are accountable when it comes to feeding young diners with not only delicious but also nutritious foods. This revolution is reshaping the food industry, and it might help provide the solution to the obesity problem among children.

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Creative Marketing Strategies Can Help Kids Eat Veggies

Most parents find it difficult to get their kids to eat veggies. But with the right help, parents may be able to locate the solution, thanks to creative marketing strategies. Researchers from Ohio State University in Columbus used a simple method to encourage children to eat fruits and vegetables. They placed banners in school cafeterias that feature vegetable animated characters dubbed as the Super Sprowtz. These featured characters are Zach Zucchini, Miki Mushroom, and Suzie Sweet Pea.

Research on How Marketing Impacts Consumption of Veggies

They observed if the banner increased the likelihood of kids picking up veggies and salads and eating it. Four weeks after the creative marketing strategy was established, researchers noted that the number of school children who took vegetables from the cafeteria salad bars tripled. According to assistant professor Andrew Hanks, creative marketing strategies are very powerful when used correctly to encourage children to make healthy choices when it comes to their foods.

The schools were randomly assigned to different groups which include the typical cafeteria setup and one where the Super Sprowtz was used. For schools which feature the creative marketing strategy, some used only vinyl banners or videos while others had both banners and videos.


The study showed that while there is an increased number of students from 13% to 24% who took vegetables from the salad bars from schools that featured only the banners, a tremendous increase from 10% to 35% was observed in schools with both banners and videos. Interestingly enough, schools that had the regular cafeteria setup, as well as those that only used videos, did not observe any improvement. The researchers concluded that the videos were not an actual part of the salad bar, which created a disconnect to the students.

This study produced a positive light on advertising. According to Tamara Melton, spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, using creative marketing strategies is a great way for schools to promote eating healthy food to the children. Another advantage of this particular approach is that it is very affordable for most schools.

Can Super Sprowtz Sustain Interest in Veggies?

However, the challenge is that while this tactic is useful in the first few weeks, the novelty may wear off. It is crucial to adapt through time as what works for school children may not readily translate for the older kids. The character Zach Zucchini from Super Sprowtz may no longer appeal teenagers. The key here is how to develop a taste for veggies and fruits to children so that they retain it once they are older.


The responsibility of feeding vegetables to children also falls on the shoulders of parents. Melton mentioned that parents could also encourage young kids to eat vegetables by setting examples. Letting kids prepare their fruits and vegetables is also an effective way of making them appreciate such type of foods. Lastly, growing a small home garden is also a great way to introduce vegetables to children at a young age.

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American Consumers Want More Healthy Snacks

Consumers are becoming wiser these days, and they are not only buying snack foods to satisfy their cravings but also to maintain good health. Healthy snacks are the leading category for growth for companies looking to enter the “better-for-you” food market. Companies like Mondelez and Diamond Foods have taken into account the needs and preferences of consumers and are now offering nutritious foods in a variety of snack categories.

The healthy snack market is rapidly growing with a compound annual growth rate of 4.7% on overall sales. In the past two years, healthy bars have led the way in “better-for-you” snacks. The industry has a very positive outlook with a predicted growth of 5.7% per year into 2020.

Healthy Snacks Sell

healthy snacks shopping One of the significant reasons is that there is a rising preference among snackers for products that provide functional benefits. Second, products with “free from” labels are very appealing as many people suffer from different health conditions. Healthy snacks that are labeled gluten-free and allergen-free cater to an entirely new yet growing niche.

In general, adult consumers are snack more than ever before. In fact, 30% of most adults believe that snacking should be a part of their daily meals. They almost all agree that snacks are necessary to achieving daily nutrition requirements to sustain them through the day.

Large companies are Catching On…                                                                                                                     

The popularity of the healthy snack market has led many food manufacturers to invest in new equipment or acquire smaller niche brands. One of the fastest growing snack categories deals with protein based snacks like meat bars, nuts, and more.

Another development is the use of innovative flavors to make the healthy snack products unique. The market uses ethnic-based and other clever combinations to catch the attention of the consumers. This trend is very popular among the millennial and younger snackers who are not afraid to try new snack items as well as use snacks as meal replacements.

Aside from influencing the types of products that we see in the market, healthy snacking has also paved the way for many conventional snacking companies to create healthier snack lines. For instance, companies like Link Snacks, General Mills, PepsiCo, and ConAgra have ventured into the healthy meat snacks and snack bars. Moreover, even small retail stores and private labels have created products to answer the demand of the growing number of consumers who are looking for healthy snacks.

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Kid Fruit Juices Contain a Day’s Worth of Sugar

How many times have you given your kid a glass of 100% natural juice and next thing you know, they are bouncing off the walls? The answer is probably close to 100% of the time. It turns out those “healthy fruit juices” are not so healthy after all. According to a recent research study, more than half of the natural juices that are marketed towards children have unbelievably more than the recommended amount of sugar. The recommended amount of sugar for children in an entire day is about 19 grams or 5 teaspoons. The research study looked at over 200 products,  and more than half of these products pack that same amount in one drink.

Professor Simon Capwell led the research, and this is how they came to the conclusion above. After taking their broad class of samples, the group started to calculate the free sugars. This is the amount of sugar that has been added to the products which include glucose, sucrose, table sugar and also fructose. The free sugars also include the naturally occurring sugars found in honey and syrups. However, this does not contain the sugars that are found in fruits and vegetables.

Parents Beware of Sugar in Fruit Juices

After learning about the impact of other fizzy drinks and sweetened juices, most parents will opt for a healthier option, and when they do, the fruit juices come beckoning. They seem like a much better option, but this is not the case. Parents and even children have been misled into thinking that this is a “healthy” drink for a kid when it is not.

The lead researcher advised parents to look for alternative ways for supplementing their children’s diet. One of the ways would be by feeding the child actual whole fruits. These contain essential fiber that allows the slow release of sugar into the body making it more manageable. If the parent has to opt for fresh juice for their child, they should pick the unsweetened variety and only serve during meals. They can also try to dilute the juice with water to reduce the concentration of sugars. Another tip, when serving juice, the amount should be limited to about 150ml a day.

As expected, the research did not sit well with the representatives of the Juice Based Products Association, who thought that parents should feel good about having the sweetened fruit juice for their children. The naysayers referred to research that indicates that drinking the juice does not lead to dental cavities and that in fact, more frequent drinking might have a protective effect in the dental nature of the kid. That is a debatable matter. What is not debatable, is that by letting your child drink this fresh juice filled with sugar, you are pumping them with way more than they need for the day.

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NutriFusion® Transforms Fruit Juices for Kids

So, we have too much sugar in our 100% fruit juices…It’s time to make a change and develop a better for you product line. The biggest problem that we see with juices other than the elevated sugar content is the lack of nutritional value. One would think if you are drinking fruit juice, then you are getting all the nutrients from fruit. Well, that is not the case. In fact, the majority of these juices have no vitamins and minerals, or they are fortified with synthetic forms of the nutrients. We can help you add back the natural nutritional value that these products desperately need.

NutriFusion® developed a patent pending method to stabilize the nutrients in whole fruits and vegetables. Our proprietary method keeps the nutrients stable through the intensive heating and cooling of modern day beverage processing. If you are interested in learning more about NutriFusion® for beverages, please visit the page below.

Healthy Foods Could Lead to Overeating

Our weight loss goals are often accompanied by a structured, well-balanced diet of healthy foods. We now know that healthier food, not “less” food, is the key to losing weight and maintaining an active life. However, the healthy eaters are now facing a new contradiction in their diet plan.

Dietitians often hear their patients say that they eat healthily, yet they still tend to gain weight. This common problem has its basis in the belief that if something is healthy, you can have more of it. When it comes to junk food, we try to avoid them or eat smaller portions. Healthy foods, on the other hand, are seen for all their benefits. Instead, we side-track the prescribed quantity of consumption, and this is where our diet plan goes wrong.

The Irony: Healthy Foods Leading to Overeating 

A study conducted by the University of Texas-Austin revealed in full the “healthy equals less filling” theory. Junk food is loaded with carbs, oil, and artificial (appealing) flavoring. Eating foods like a hotdog or a burger will instantly leave you feeling full for quite some time. On the other hand, healthy foods are higher in nutrients, not carbs and are considered for the most part a lot less filling than junk food. The result is that we end up overeating healthy food and gaining weight in spite of avoiding junk food.

The research includes three experiments on different groups of Americans. 50 undergraduate students were asked to state whether they found healthy food less filling. Then, a group of 40 graduates had to report their hunger levels after consuming a cookie from a pack with nutritional value and a cookie that was represented as unhealthy. The last experiment involved assessing the food choices of 72 undergraduate students who watched a short film to test how the portrayal of food affects an individual’s inclination to have more or less of it.

What’s more? Participants who weren’t aware of the “you tend to eat more of healthy food” theory also concluded that the healthy cookie wasn’t filling. The study reveals how food labels can be responsible for how we approach certain foods.

Tackling the Obesity Epidemic

healthy foods or junk food childhood obesity

Obesity was already an important issue before health foods were added as a possible cause. As a solution, consumers must look for food that is nutritious and filling instead of just looking for items with low-fat and caloric content. Knowing your nutrition and protein sources is the key to creating a diet plan and schedule that keeps you feeling energetic and full through the day.

Our focus should be on eating lots of fresh fruits and vegetables. When we do eat packaged food products whether they are healthy or not, we should eat those with moderation. It’s easy to overeat when we have been told to do so for so many years. How will you limit yourself to healthy foods in the future?

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FDA Proposes Sugar Limits in New Nutritional Guidelines

Sugar is the sweet poison in almost everything that we eat. When we eat an excessive amount of sugar every day, it not only adds extra inches to the waist but it is also slowly killing us. A recent study shows that a sugar loaded diet can be a source of a heart attack even if you are not overweight. Another study was carried out to see the drastic effects caused by sugar to a healthy person, and the results were disturbing. Over the span of the 15-year study, members who took in 25% or a greater amount of their daily calories as sugar were more than twice as prone to death from heart failure as those whose eating habits included under 10% dose of sugar. In general, the odds of dying from coronary illness increased as the rate of sugar increased in the diet regardless of person’s age, gender, and physical activity level.

An average American citizen’s diet consisting of beverages including sodas and energy drinks. These beverages are one of the leading causes of extra sugar intake. Other sugar sources include cakes, baked goods, and pastries; ice-creams, solidified yogurt; sweets; and prepared-to-eat cereals. American researchers took the notice of this epidemic. Over the past ten years, they came to the conclusion that Americans are exceeding their sugar limits. Now the advocates are taking steps to ensure the health and safety of the American people.

F.D.A. Says Added Sugar Guidelines Must Change

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration on July 24, 2015, passed a resolution that stated: in addition to the labeled nutrition facts; food packages should also contain a percentage daily value (%DV) for added sugar present in that item and should change the current footnote of the nutritional label. The percent daily value would specify how much of nutrient in a serving of food contributes to a daily diet and would help consumers make an educated decision for their and their families’ health. The initiated guideline is an adjunct to the March 3, 2014, proposed principle on overhauling the Nutrition Facts name, under which the FDA recommended that food companies incorporate included sugars on the Nutrition Facts label. The proposed policy did exclude the statement of the percent everyday value for added sugars.

The FDA’s initial proposal to include the amount of added sugars on the Nutrition Facts label is presently further upheld by recently reviewed studies recommending sound dietary examples, including lower measures of sugar-sweetened foods and drinks, are firmly connected with a decreased danger of cardiac disorders. In addition to providing sweetness to the foods and beverages, sugar only appends calories having no nutritional value. According to this enactment, the beverage companies are advised to restyle their nutritional fact chart posted on their bottles with details about the percent daily value listed for total fat, saturated fat, cholesterol, sodium, total carbohydrate, dietary fiber, calcium, and iron. The FDA also allowed community members to comment on the ruling for the next 75 days. The FDA has also created a survey to poll the current nutritional elements used by community members daily. Based on the comments received and the study conducted, they wanted to seek the community opinion before formally implementing the rule.

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NutriFusion® Natural Sweeteners From Fruits and Veggies

We have developed a wide variety of products for food and beverage manufacturers. Our products are made from fruits and vegetables. The secret to NutriFusion® is the stabilization of vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients. Our proprietary formulas can withstand the heat and cold processing methods. Contact us today to learn more about NutriFusion®!

67% of Parents Reward Children with Sweets

In July of 2105, Great American Cookies® released a survey about how parents reward their children for good behavior. The study showed that over 60% of parents rewarded their children with sweets. It’s obvious that we need to find healthier alternatives to reward our children for good behavior. See the infographic below for more details on the survey.

Sweets for Kids

This infographic details the top reasons parents reward their kids and how they’re rewarded. (PRNewsFoto/Great American Cookies)


Boost Your Sweets with NutriFusion®

Kids deserve to be rewarded for good behavior, but we have to find a more nutritional way to do so. While it would be optimal to reward our kids with cauliflower or asparagus, they simply do not see these as rewards. Since we started the company, we have been trying to help companies develop “better for you” packaged food products. One our first endeavors into sweets was with the Girl Scouts of America. We helped the Girl Scouts redevelop the Mango Cremes to be micronutrient packed with vitamins and minerals from fruits and vegetables.

“People aren’t going to stop eating cookies, but because of the processing done by the food industry we can actually put some of the nutrition back in and provide a healthier alternative to the consumer.” – William Grand, Founder and CEO of NutriFusion®

NutriFusion® is not a substitute for eating fruits and vegetables, but it does significantly improve the nutritional profile of packaged foods, snacks, and beverages. Click the button below to learn more about the science of NutriFusion®.