Wednesday, June 3, 2015

What's in your food part 4. Pretzels

I'm sure that the few that read my blog are just scratching their heads and telling themselves that I am just completely over the top now and the whacko part of my brain has taken over completely. Pretzels.

Whaaaat, come on now, pretzels are perfectly fine, there is nothing wrong with pretzels. Right?

Well, I don't know. I know I don't eat them, never have really. They just are so salty, and the taste for me is not anything pleasant, so, for me, no. But let's look at what goes into pretzels and see. There are a couple major manufacturers, Snyders of Hanover and Frito Lay with their Rold Gold brand. Both have plain basic pretzels in a variety of shapes and sizes. Both have flavored ones as well. Pretzels are salty, from what info I can get, an ounce will give you over 20% of your daily recommended allowance for salt. Probably why I don't like them, I don't eat salty things. You would think that making the pretzels would be pretty simple, with just a few basic ingredients, flour, white flour of course, yeast, salt, and a base solution such as ammonium carbonate or sodium hydroxide. The base is what gives pretzels, and yes even bagels, that characteristic flavor. However, most pretzels seem to have a lot more going on than just the basics, everything from corn syrup, malt, brown rice syrup and honey. Hmmmmm, it seems as though the stuff I talk about here on my blog might be true afterall. That food processors add sugar and salt to their products in a race to make them addictive. Pretzels, most of the PLAIN ones have sugar added to them. And a few have canola oil. Or corn oil. Which if you are interested in a healthy lifestyle you know that both have residues of glyphosate on them from the overuse of the herbicide on virtually all of those crops. But then there are some other things in the lists of ingredients that are somewhat surprising, things like bamboo fiber. That's an odd thing to add to pretzels don't you think? Turns out though, it isn't. There are a number of fibers on the market for food processors that are designed for nothing more than to add structure to baked goods. Okay, I guess, but a pretzel? Anyway, if we go to the Code of Federal Regulations, the CFR, section 21 deals with food additives. Section 101 specifically 101.54 deals with fiber additives. There is no listing for Bamboo fiber. If you search the FDA website, there is no specific reference to Bamboo fiber. Yikes, that means it is an uncontrolled substance with no research, no applications to the FDA by the processor to be allowed to be used as an additive for the production of food here in the US. Yikes, I guess that here I must remind everyone how the food system works here in America. If someone wants to take some chemical, or in this case, a processed fiber, and add it to their manufactured foods, there is no requirement by the government of the US, meaning the ruling and determining body, the FDA, for them to even petition the FDA for allowances. They can add anything to food products they want. If they want it to be generally accepted in the industry, most do in fact apply for regulatory approval and that's done to increase sales to other manufacturers that might need a little proof. Probably for liability issues. Is it harmful, probably not, but so many people out there have no idea how the system works and this was I thought, the perfect example of how to illustrate how money works.

So there are lots and lots of flavored pretzels out there on
the market as well, and some are pretty plain, and others not so much. This one is Rold Gold 3 Cheese and the ingredients show four different sugars, and two types of MSG.  Along with the added salt these are guaranteed to make a human addicted to them and of course, the end result, more sales. But then that's what it's all about. Money.

I don't have any recipes for making pretzels for today's blog, I don't eat them. I would recommend that if you do, go for the plain ones and if you absolutely NEED flavors added, add your own. Toss with milted butter and a mix of your favorite spices and then bake for a bit. Yeah, sort of like Chex Mix. But then I did something the other day I have never done before, I made kale chips. Pretty tasty.

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