Friday, April 15, 2011

Holistic Hottie™: Is Haagen-Dazs healthier than Whole Foods???

I just finished giving a family member a Holistic Hottie™ Kitchen Makeover and it became apparent to me that a lot of people might easily assume that when Whole Foods slaps their 365 label on something, they're also giving it a "healthy" stamp of approval. 

This couldn't be farther from the truth.

Whole Foods is a public company and they seek to make as much profit as possible - even at the expense of the health of their consumers.  While they DO offer a lot of better products than most conventional grocery stores, it's still VERY important to read the ingredient labels.

I think what ticked me off the most was when I started to give the freezer a makeover.  This person, obviously, was interested in making better choices when it came to their choice of ice cream.  I mean, the label on the ice cream read "365 Everyday Value" and also "*Made with milk from cows not treated with rBGH".  From reading this label you'd think this ice cream was great!  It's a Whole Foods product (which means it's healthy - NOT) and it's made from the milk of cows who were not treated with hormones!

Then I turned the carton around to read the ingredients:

Milk - OK
Cream - OK
Sugar - eh, OK

Ice cream ONLY really requires these three ingredients.  But for some reason, Whole Foods felt the need to add more:

Condensed skim milk
Custard base (frozen sugared egg yolks [egg yolks, sugar], Water, Evaporated milk, Sweetened condensed milk [condensed milk, sugar], Invert sugar, Butter (cream, salt), Fructose, Brown sugar, Natural flavor**, Salt, Annatto extract)
Locust bean gum*
Guar gum*
Vanilla bean seeds
Vanilla extract (water, ethyl alcohol, natural flavor**)
Annatto extract (for color)

WHY is all of this needed when a company like Haagen-Dazs can make ice cream using just:

Skim milk
Egg yolks
Natural vanilla

I'm not recommending you go and pick up some Haagen-Dazs vanilla ice cream.  The milk is still most likely from cows treated with hormones.  But with regard to this particular Holistic Hottie™ Kitchen Makeover, I am replacing this Whole Foods ice cream concoction with Haagen-Dazs for the time being.  Eventually this family member might find sweet satisfaction from other foods on his Holistic Hottie™-Approved Grocery List.  But until then - Haagen-Dazs it is.

BEST OPTION:  Make your own frozen treat using hormone-free dairy or additive-free coconut milk. :-)

* A note about vegetable gums such as guar gum, locust bean gum, and carrageenan:  
About 60 years ago the FDA warned about the risks of using vegetable gums in foods.  They are gut irritants and have been found to cause colitis and anaphylaxis in humans.  Carrageenan tends to cause the most problems in people.  Vegetable gums are often used in baby “formulas” and a range of dairy products with the result that many people come to believe that they have milk allergies.  Sometimes there is a true intolerance to dairy but often it's the type of dairy (people tend to do better on raw milk or milk from goat/sheep than cow) or it's simply the binders and fillers that are irritating their gut.  Vegetable gums are commonly used in coconut milk, as well, and are popular in the coconut-milk based ice creams. 

** A note about "natural flavor":
"Natural flavor" is often another name for MSG or free glutamic acid.  It can include protein hydrolysates containing up to 20% MSG by weight.

Food-junk and some mystery ailments: Fatigue, Alzheimer's, Colitis, Immunodeficiency., Dr. Ray Peat,

Resources related to hidden MSG in foods:


  1. One thing about the 365 brand at Whole Foods, it's always cheaper than the name brand in whatever the item is. I think because it's a Whole Foods brand, people automatically think it's the healthiest choice. About Haagen Dazs, I was comparing labels of two of their ice creams the other day and it looked as though they decided to leave off a few ingredients in one, than on the other label. And both were similar ice creams. The ingredient may have been soy lecithin, coconut oil or something like that. I think the FDG gives them some leeway in what they omit. When they state that there's only 3-5 ingredients in the ice cream, I don't believe it, they probably just left something off.

    Great post!

  2. Thanks for you comment, DuEwa!

  3. I don't shop at Whole Foods anymore. Last time I went I was so upset about them selling Kelloggs corn flakes, pre-made Mac & Cheese, and all other packaged junk. They had way too many conventional grown produce and only a small section of organic. I know it differs from store to stores, but I've been to the stores in California and Utah as well as Texas and I'm not impress.

    Whole Foods became a corporate giant and lost its values. I find less and less things that I can actually buy there. Regular grocery stores or co-op health food stores carry many of the things I need..

    Johanna (Paleo group on FB)