Ann Fernholm, Debate

Unreliable dietary guidelines for babies have done more harm than good

Since the 1980s, the recommendations for when to introduce gluten to children have changed four times – and scientists still disagree on how to prevent gluten intolerance among small children. The unreliable dietary advice for babies appear to be the result of scientific carelessness. Scientists have neglected to test the hypothesis using well-conducted and controlled studies.

The Swedish newspaper SvD recently published a number of articles about dietary guidelines, written by medical journalist Gunilla Eldh and myself. Last Friday, they printed our articles about dietary guidelines for small children. The first one was about Celiac disease, and the advice to introduce gluten to babies before six months. For some children, if worst comes to worst, this may actually have triggered the development of Celiac disease. The second article was about the advice to delay the introduction of allergenic foods to children at high risk of allergy. Current advice is moving away from delaying the introduction of potential allergens, but it is still possible that previous advice contributed to the development of allergies in children.

All dietary guidelines must be scientifically valid

In one of the first articles published by Swedish Svd, some scientists claimed it is difficult to assess the effects of dietary advice using so called randomized controlled trials (RCTs), the form of study that evaluate results and side-effects. According to many scientists, the participants don’t follow the advice they are given, they quit, also, randomized controlled trials are expensive to conduct. This is how they justify the fact that so many dietary guidelines lack scientific credibility.

When it comes to dietary advice for small children, none of these excuses will work. Already back in the 1990s, when these guidelines were introduced, it would have been fairly easy to test the hypothesis that early exposure to gluten may help babies avoid Celiac disease. Scientists could have divided a couple of hundred babies into two groups, and introduced only one of them to gluten. Instead, we had to wait almost 20 years before some other scientists proved the guidelines wrong. If worst comes to worst, the advice to introduce gluten to babies before six months may have triggered the development of Celiac disease.

The same goes for food allergies. In the beginning of the 1990s, specialists issued warnings about allergenic foods, saying that parents should delay the introduction of allergenic foods to children at high risk of allergy. Today – 20 years later – well-conducted scientific studies show that

early introduction to allergenic foods like peanuts, fish and egg, might actually be key to preventing kids’ allergies. Previous advice has probably contributed to the development of allergies in children.

Scientific carelessness can lead to mistakes

Unfortunately, the Swedish National Food Administration won’t learn from mistakes. Once again, we have new recommendations on gluten introduction to prevent Celiac disease. According to the new guidelines, parents should introduce gluten slowly and step-by-step. However, once again, they fail to inform us about the scientific evidence for this advice.

Yet another example of scientific carelessness. Scientists claim they know what they are talking about, even when they have no clue.

In our bodies, there’s a machinery of molecules, developed by millions of years of evolution. Step-by-step, we begin to grasp how this enormous machine works, but there is still so much more to learn. I think it’s time to be a bit more humble and admit that we don’t know everything. Nevertheless, we have invented an incredibly powerful instrument to help us learn more about the world around us: the scientific method. When scientists follow the rules of the scientific method they tend to discover extraordinary things; when they fail to follow the rules, they make mistakes.

When it comes to dietary guidelines for babies, it’s incredibly important that the scientists do their job. Both Celiac disease and food allergy will affect the wellbeing of the child. No one should suffer because of someone else’s carelessness.

Science journalist and writer Ann Fernholm runs the blog Now and then, she writes here at Food Pharmacy.

Ann Fernholm, Debate

The sugar industry stopped research showing that sugar can cause cardiovascular disease

Just like the tobacco industry, the sugar industry has influenced the research around it. In 1971, they halted a study that showed how sugar negatively affects intestinal flora and upsets blood-fat levels in lab rats. For half a century, the sugar industry has managed to prevent this important knowledge from being publicized.

In 1965, researchers at Harvard were paid by the Sugar Research Foundation, an American organization sponsored by the sugar industry, to write an article claiming that sugar is harmless for the heart. This cover-up was finally revealed just last year by Cristin Kearns, researcher at UCSF in San Francisco..

Now, Cristin Kearns has been digging deeper into the archives, and has discovered that the Sugar Research Foundation, in the years of 1967-1971, funded animal-tested research at Birmingham University, in which scientists investigated whether or not sugar affects the risks of developing cardiovascular disease. The study in fact showed that sugar upsets blood-fat levels, and that intestinal flora are involved in the process: Sugar industry sponsorship of germ-free rodent studies linking sucrose to hyperlipidemia and cancer: An historical analysis of internal documents. In addition, sugar-levels were increased by a protein that is associated with bladder cancer.

These negative results caused the sugar industry to hurriedly withdraw their money from the research project.

The sugar industry therefore, has done exactly what the tobacco industry did. They have directly impeded any research that could affect their sales.

It’s making me so upset just thinking about it, and there are things I want to write that I probably shouldn’t, so let’s just move on.

Sugar, intestinal flora and blood fats

The interesting thing, which the unfinished study shows, is the connection between sugar, a compromised intestinal flora, and an unhealthy level of blood-fat. In my book My Sweet HeartI talk about how fat increases in the liver whenever we eat a large amount of the sugar known as fructose (found in white sugar). The build-up of fat in the liver upsets blood-fat levels, and may in the end cause fatty-liver. In one chapter of the book, you can read the following (for those who haven’t read my books, metabolic syndrome is the disrupted metabolism that people with abdominal obesity and type 2 diabetes experience):

Bowel incontinence and bacterial toxicity seems to contribute to a fatty liver.

As you’ve probably read before, people with metabolic syndrome are more likely to have a depleted intestinal flora, with a high number of inflammatory bacteria. This condition is also associated with a bowel incontinence. The bacteria have special molecules, called endotoxins (shorthand for internal toxins), located in a membrane that surrounds the bacteria. The levels of these toxins found in the blood are increased in those suffering from metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes. Some researchers believe that this is a contributing factor to the fatty-liver condition that I describe in chapter 3. For instance, if mice are fed with fructose, they soon develop bowel-incontinence, more bacterial infections in the blood, and, in the long run, fatty-liver. But if the mice are given antibiotics at the same time, it seems to protect them from fatty liver. Antibiotics can cause unbalance among healthy intestinal flora, but at the same time, it is also true that antibiotics help get rid of unhealthy bacteria. In the case of the mice, the antibiotic counteracted the poison-producing bacteria. The experiment suggests that an upset intestinal flora may accelerate the development of fatty liver and metabolic syndrome.

With that said, it should be known that the research I refer to was published in 2008 and 2009. But the sugar industry knew about the link between sugar, intestinal flora and upset blood fats already, in the early 1970s.

Further animal experiments in May this year showed that fructose causes leaky intestines in mice. In September, researchers also published a new article about fructose, intestinal flora and the risk of fatty liver.

It’s tempting to think that this is all exciting new knowledge, but the truth is that the sugar industry knew about it 50 years ago. For half a century, they’ve managed to prevent this knowledge from spreading, and as a result are complicit in decades of disease and needless suffering. Is there anyone else out there who finds all of this a little depressing?

Science journalist and writer Ann Fernholm runs the blog Now and then, she writes here at Food Pharmacy.


Sugar – a fertilizer for growth in our bodies 

What? – Can it be true? That’s what ran through my mind last week when I realized that it had been five years since my book My Sweet Heart was released, and I started blogging. Five years! And there is still so much to write about. For example, there is new research that reinforces some of the claims I make in My Sweet Heart. In particular, this research supports the idea that carbohydrates work in the body a little like …

… a fertilizer, for the body and for cancer cells.

Yes, it’s true. More and more research is showing that our bodies grow faster when we eat a lot of sugar, wheat flour and other refined carbohydrates. With this type of diet, blood sugar tends to rise quickly, resulting in a high insulin peak, which then stimulates the body’s growth system. You can read about exactly how this works in My Sweet Heart.

In fact, these insulin spikes can be linked to a whole series of unhealthy signs, including: babies born bigger and heavier, obese children who often grow tall earlier in life, children for whom puberty comes earlier, and even an increased susceptibility to cancer. Recently, a report was published in the United States showing that 40 percent of all cancer in the U.S. is associated with obesity. That’s 630,000 cancer cases per year. Crazy.

In September, I read an article that focused on the unique metabolism of cancer cells; how it’s affected by obesity and how high insulin levels in the blood can trigger tumor growth. That’s really something we should be talking about more. An American science journalist recently wrote a piece for the LA times about the role of insulin in cancer: It’s getting clearer – the diet-cancer connection points to sugar and carbs.

More growth during the fetal stage

High insulin spikes in pregnant women’s blood is another likely explanation as to why obesity and/or diabetes generally causes babies to grow more during the fetal stage. The number of children weighing more than 11 pounds (5 kilograms) at birth has doubled since the 1970s. This, of course, also increases the risk of complications during childbirth. Just this summer, I wrote an article for the Swedish newspaper SvD about how researchers believe that these complications are related to the mothers’ serious obesity, which increases the risk of childhood epilepsy or CP injury.

In fact, research shows that babies can be so affected by their mother’s obesity that they continue to grow at a faster pace even after birth. Some animal studies have suggested this, and researchers in Singapore have now shown a relationship between the mother’s sugar intake and the baby’s growth rate during the first year of life. In the study, it was found that the more cookies, desserts, ice cream and sweetened drinks the mother consumed during pregnancy, the faster the baby grew and the higher the BMI during their first year.

One weakness of the study was that scientists only recorded what the mothers ate during one day of pregnancy. More research is needed to really prove this relationship, but there are still plenty of reasons to suspect that a diet high in sugar and fast carbohydrates can affect babies in utero.

So, all you pregnant mothers out there: don’t do what I did during my first pregnancy. Get rid of the sweetened apple juice at lunch, and throw out all the damn candy (it made me gain a lot of weight). Instead, do as I did during my second pregnancy: eat low-glycemic foods and enjoy a good cheese or some dark chocolate every now and then. Both you and your future child are worth taking care of with proper and nutritious food.

Is there something I wish for as a jubilee gift? Of course. The Dietary Science Foundation swish number is 123 900 42 43. A contribution might just encourage me to blog for at least five more years.

Ann Fernholm runs the blog and has written the best-selling book My Sweet Heart. Now and then, she writes here at Food Pharmacy.


Vegetables can actually prevent disease

Once you start looking into how much food can affect your health, it’s easy to get hopelessly confused. At first glance, it appears that experts disagree about almost everything?

One day you might read that milk is harmful and that the Swedish National Food Agency has changed its dairy recommendations; the next day you may find an article about how much nutrition milk contains and how it is vital for our bodies.

Or to take another example: many nutritionists will tell you to remove gluten from your diet; others argue that the gluten-free trend is just a fad that is not supported by science. And on it goes.

But do these differing opinions, which were all on display in the recent debate on SVT (Swedish Television) ”Opinion” mean that, as Giles Yeo says, ”Food-as-Medicine” statements are based on pseudoscience that degrades truth and fact? The answer is no. It’s not about pseudoscience.

Though it’s true that researchers do not agree on all the ”details,” they are united on some very important overall conclusions. Most notably: a large, varied intake of vegetables every day is important for our health and, in fact, can prevent disease.

There’s a lot of telling research in this field. An exceptionally interesting recent study from Imperial College London shows that eating 800 grams of fruit and vegetables every day can reduce the risk of dying prematurely.

According to the study, 7.8 million deaths could be prevented each year if every individual consumed 10 fruits and/or vegetables per day.

The study also demonstrates that overall health improves the closer you get to 800 grams per day. For instance, eating just 200 grams per day reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease by 13 percent, while eating 800 grams of fruits and vegetables per day reduces the risk by 28 percent, compared to eating no fruits or vegetables at all.

Another significant result of eating lots of fruits and vegetables is that your cholesterol levels and blood pressure are both lowered, and, according to the study, the risk of damage to DNA and the risk of cancer also decrease.

It’s easy to despair when it seems like you only ever hear from one extreme or the other – the ”blueberries can cure cancer” crowd or the ”food as medicine” skeptics. We tend to focus on the details of disagreement and forget that both parties still agree on many issues – including the positive correlation between a largely vegetable diet and good health.

It’s important that researchers continue to debate and figure out exact scientific relationships, but if the reporting is not done properly, we run the risk of internalizing the idea that no consensus exists among scientists, and that there is no evidence at all to prove that what we eat affects us both physically and mentally.

And that would be a pity, especially for our health.

The text above was published on SVT Opinion yesterday.

You’re more than welcome to follow us on Facebook and Instagram. And buy our first book in German here or in Polish here, and our new cookbook in Swedish here. And buy professor Bengmark’s Synbiotic15 here.


A discussion about sugar in the Parliament

Should food companies label the amount of added sugar in the goods they produce? Should Sweden have the same recommendations regarding sugar as the WHO? These are just a few of the questions that came up when a member of the Swedish parliament, Niclas Malmberg, hosted a breakfast meeting on the subject of sugar last Wednesday in the Parliament House. I was invited to give a presentation on a brochure called En liten broschyr om socker (in English: a small brochure about sugar).

Four members of the Swedish Parliament (representatives from four different political parties – MP, S, L and KD) were present at the breakfast meeting. Also, all of us in the picture above: Hans Göransson, Federal Chairman of the Swedish Association of Dentists, Inger Ros, Federal Chairman of the Swedish Association of the Heart-Lung Foundation, Thomas Magnusson, Chairman of the Diabetes Organization in Sweden (DiOS), yours truly, and Anders Dahlqvist, federal board member of the Swedish Medical Association.

Niclas Malmberg, who hosted the event, had also invited The Swedish Food Federation, one of whose representatives was the nutritionist Elisabeth Rytter.

During the meeting, the issue was raised of whether or not Sweden should have the same recommendations concerning sugar as the WHO, whose goal is the reduction of sugar consumption from its current state down to a healthy 5 percent of our daily caloric intake. Another suggestion put forward was that the law should require that the amount of added sugar in food products should be labeled . This is similar to what the FDA (U.S Food and Drug Administration) has suggested in the United States (see what I marked in red):

Elisabeth Rytter, from The Swedish Food Federation, offered the opinion that it should be sufficient for the National Food Agency to simply direct consumers to their website, where they could locate nutritional information, including how much sugar had been added to their food. At that point, however, a member of Parliament protested, saying that this was too complicated a process, and would only increase the health gaps in society.

Another point Elisabeth Rytter made against the labeling of added sugar was that the EU ultimately decides how all nutrition legislation should look, and that it’s difficult to change what the EU has decided. When I talked to Niclas Malmberg afterwards, he mentioned that the lawyers were in some disagreement. A few insisted that Sweden could introduce an added-sugar label without EU approval, others disagreed. Malmberg thought that the Swedish government should go ahead and test the limits of what it could accomplish on its own.

Personally, I think that The Swedish Food Federation should label amounts of added sugar voluntarily, as part of an effort to help consumers choose the right food. But I’m also aware that this would radically reduce the sale of certain products. How many people know, for instance, that a bag of jelly candy contains about 200 percent of the maximum daily intake of sugar for an adult human? Or that three tablespoons of teriyaki sauce on rice gives you about 40 percent of the  maximum daily intake?

Niclas Malmberg has made several attempts to convince the Swedish Parliament to enforce better and more honest sugar labeling on food, and to add a tax on sugary soft drinks. They’ve all been voted down. But, as he told me, he’s stubborn, and so he’s not giving up. Go Niclas Malmberg!

Ann Fernholm runs the blog and has written the best-selling book My Sweet Heart. Now and then, she writes here at Food Pharmacy.


Yes, Swedish Food Federation. Sugar can lead to fatty liver disease – here’s an update.

Last Friday we published a clip on the blog from the Swedish television show SVT Plus, in which Ann Fernholm talked about sugar. Shortly after, the Swedish Food Federation’s dietitian, Elisabeth Rytter, had something to say in response. Below is Ann’s answer to Elisabeth Rytter.

Pseudoscience. Not evidence-based. The Swedish Food Federation’s dietitian Elisabeth Rytter has made it clear what she thinks of my statements, and has ”corrected” the information about sugar discussed on SVT Plus. According to Rytter, I have spread lies about sugar, and she questions if I’ve actually read the background to the Swedish Food Administration’s dietary advice on sugar. Quote: ”It does not say that sugar increases the risk of fatty liver disease.”

She also thinks I have incorrect knowledge concerning fructose: ”Fernholm also says that fructose is the culprit, which is a non-evidence-based statement. The focus on fructose and why it’s bad for you is another example of pseudoscience, that has been spread much too widely”.

For those who don’t know: the Swedish Food Federation, that Rytter represents, is a conglomeration of food industry groups such as The Swedish Ice Cream Company, The Swedish Chocolate, Confectionery and Cookie Association, Sweden’s Bakers & Patisseries, and Sweden’s Breweries.

News Flash: sugar is directly related to increased amounts of fat in the liver

Elisabeth Rytter, if you are reading this, I will admit that you are at least partially correct. It was (actually) a long time ago that I read the background to the Swedish Food Administration’s dietary advice. Then again, the latest update they made was in 2012. That’s five years ago, which is a long time when it comes to research and, if you haven’t noticed, many exciting studies have been published in the meantime! Honestly, I hardly know where to start.

But let’s begin with a study conducted by researchers at Sahlgrenska (a university hospital in Sweden). The experiment was conducted as follows: 71 men with abdominal obesity were allowed to drink a liter of lemonade (a total of 75 grams of fructose), every day for 12 weeks. Result: blood-soluble fats were disrupted, and the fat in the liver increased by 10 percent. The researchers reported that ”data shows a negative effect as a result of moderate fructose consumption over 12 weeks on several cardiovascular risk factors, especially fat content in the liver…”

The study had no control group, which is a major weakness. BUT, other controlled studies show that fructose increases the fat production in the liver more than, for example, glucose.

Less fat in the liver of children who received (almost) sugar-free food

This summer we received some great news: the amount of fat present in the liver can decrease radically among children who avoid sugar. 41 children struggling with obesity were included in the study. Initially, the children had, on average, about 7.2 percent fat content in their livers. For nine days, they were only allowed to eat food that the researchers gave them. I know that you, Rytter, disapprove of the WHO’s health goal, which encourages an intake of 5% of calories from sugar or less. These children received 4 percent of all calories from sugar, even better.

So what happened? In nine days, the amount of fat in their liver was almost halved.

You have to agree, that’s pretty amazing! Fatty-liver disease was something that, up until recently, mostly affected alcoholics. Now, one out of ten young people in the United States and Europe qualify as having the condition. Fatty-liver disease increases the risk of liver cancer – a cancer that is unfortunately growing in today’s society. It is also a major cause of type 2 diabetes. If the children in the study can reduce or remove the fat from their livers, they can drastically reduce their risk of dying prematurely.

There is another study that I intended to share. It’s about the fact that children with fatty-liver disease have been shown to have an especially high level of special enzymes in the liver, that specifically break down fructose. But I wouldn’t want to kick someone who’s already down. Maybe we should just forget what you wrote about pseudoscience. I won’t tell the researchers at Sahlgrenska, or those in San Francisco. Although their studies could have been better controlled, you might want to think twice before you call them pseudoscience.

Ann Fernholm runs the blog and has written the best-selling book My Sweet Heart. She writes here at Food Pharmacy once a week.


Santa Maria’s response: we will reduce the amount of sugar.

On Friday, I emailed Santa Maria about their food, asking why some of their products are mostly based on sugar and water. I was inspired to write by the number of people who, like me, are tired of always having to read the ingredients of everything they buy. Below you’ll find Santa Maria’s response, and after that, my answer to them.

Hello Ann, thanks for your email. We absolutely welcome a continued debate about the content of our food. Santa Maria, of course, wants to make products that both taste good and do good. Therefore, we are intensely working on removing sugar, salt and unnecessary additives from our products. We’ve made a fair bit of progress. Since 2015 we’ve removed 395 tons of sugar and 223 tons of salt from our products. But we’re not done. By 2020, we hope to have reduced our total sugar content by 50%, and salt by 25%, compared to 2014. At the same time, I will say that these ingredients play an important role in many of our products. Not only in terms of taste, but in other qualities as well. For example: There are many different ways to make a spice-rub. Ours originated from an American recipe, in which raw sugar (which is by the way, many times more expensive than refined white sugar) is used for flavor and caramelization. If you want a different type of rub you can of course choose another brand, or make one yourself from scratch.

Last but not least, what would you say about coming to Mölndal, so we can explain more about how we work and also hear your thoughts and ideas about what we can do differently?

Have a nice weekend,
Eva Berglie

My response:

Hi and thanks! You’ve made some exciting progress in removing sugar from your food, though it’s not clear if the 395 tons are per year, or total since 2015. At the least, that’s around 40 grams per Swede.

My thought is that food sold in stores should be safe to eat, even in the long run. We consumers should not have to be ”additive-detectives” reading every ingredient list in the store while shopping, but be confident that, for example, a guacamole is based on avocado and not water, starch, thickeners and chlorophyll. We all have incredible biochemical machinery within us, developed through millions of years of evolution. That machinery needs to be filled with vitamins, antioxidants and minerals to work. In addition, our intestinal bacteria need the fibers you find in real foods (for example avocado). Neither sugar or rendered starch adds any vitamins to the body. When you base your food on processed additives the nutrition levels are too low.

I would love to come to your headquarters sometime when I’m close to Gothenburg. It would be interesting to see how the company works, and my hope is that you are open to hearing our perspective, for example about the research that indicates that high sugar consumption can lead to excess fat in the liver. Problems with fatty livers are increasing worldwide, including among children. Figures from the United States and Europe show that one out of ten children are now affected, which is frightening. Fat in your liver leads to type 2 diabetes and liver cancer. Type 2 diabetes can then cause cardiovascular disease, and is also linked to various cancers.

Personally, I think that you who work in the food industry have great opportunities to improve public health. If the food you produce is good for the human body – for example, if you stop basing your sauces on sugar – fewer children and adults will develop obesity and type 2 diabetes. Maybe start with clearly marking the amount of added sugar on the packaging.

Ann Fernholm

Ann Fernholm runs the blog and has written the best-selling book My Sweet Heart. She writes here at Food Pharmacy once a week.


Santa Maria – how to sell (mostly) sugar and salt for 359 sek/kg.

 Recently, I had reasons to look a little closer at the food company Santa Maria’s assortment – they who supply all of Sweden with their ”Friday-tacos”. It led to a thorough examination of their ingredient lists and ended with the email below, which was signed today and sent to Santa Maria.


Hi Santa Maria! Since some time back, I’ve followed your business and I’m writing to express my admiration for your sense regarding business. It actually started when I was about to  buy a rub in the store and fell for this one:

Just the word chipotle makes me feel good, but as usual (an acquired work injury), I could not help examining the ingredients:

Sugar. And the nutrition declaration:

34 grams of sugar. Ok? In my opinion, a rub should primarily consist of spices. At first, I was pretty doubtful, I’ll admit that. But then I glanced at the kilo price:

359 sek/kg. It’s quite brilliant. You make a spice-mix where one third is sugar, which has a world-market price of around three SEK, mix it with salt (that I guess is even cheaper), a little lemon peel and other spices and then it becomes a product where sugar and salt are sold for more than a HUNDRED times what it’s worth.

A profit machine

I hope you don’t perceive me as intrusive, but already in the store, I had to visit the site, to check your annual report. Darn, you’re making money – year after year! 217 million in profit and a profit margin of 13.16 percent last year. Economy is not my strong side – but I assume you all are pretty pleased with that? You beat Nordic Sugar’s profit margin of 8.87 percent by far. Arla and Dafgårds are moving in slow-motion with their 4.8 and 6.03 percent.

Your profitability caused some curiosity. How do you get such a viable company in the tough world of food industry?

Chemistry instead of raw ingredients

In your case, it must have been about hiring chemists instead of cooks. Take your guacamole for example. In store, Tóp and you are about the same kilo price, but they have 95 percent avocado in their guacamole while you have succeded to reduce the amounts to 1.5 percent. It’s just to congratulate: of course, it’s better business to sell a hodgepodge colored with chlorophyll (e141), mostly made from water and that gets its consistency with starch and thickeners, than to sell a real guacamole (that also must be cooled). People are so difficult when it comes to additives – but chlorophyll is all natural.

4 percent cheese instead of 62 percent

I bet you also feel satisfied with the composition of the Cheddar Cheese dip. Again, you’re able to have the same price as your competitors, but without spending money on expensive raw ingredients. Your main ingredients: skim milk, water, sunflower oil, modified starch (tapioca), cheddar cheese (4%), salt…

Texas Longhorn’s main ingredients: Water, Cheese (Cheddar cheese (48%), Cheese (14%), Water, Butter, Milk Protein…

A thumb up to the longhorn, who has 15 times more cheese in it’s dip.

Sauces based on water and sugar

The price per kilo on some of your sauces is also impressive. The Pad Thai sauce (124 sek/liter in store), Sweet Chili (52 sek/liter) and American BBQ (96 sek/liter) as some kind of development of ketchup (25 sek/liter). Your sauces costs more than ketchup, but instead of expensive tomato puree, you base the sauces on water and sugar, or sugar and water. At least there is some variation!

Dextrose – the main ingredient of the ”taco-spice”

Then you’ve been very wise when it comes to the presentation of the ingredients in your best-selling ”taco-spice” (355 sek/kg):

At first I wondered why you had put chilipeppers, cumin and garlic into the group ”spices”. But of course, it’s so that dextrose won’t be first on the list. If you had presented the spices separately (as you still do in parentheses), all spices had fallen after dextrose. Then the list would be:

Dextrose, onions (19%), chilli peppers (11%), cumin (10%), garlic (6%), salt, oregano (4%), yeast extract, potato starch, potato fiber, antifungal agent (e551), seasoning extracts (peppers).

Clearly, the spice mix sells better if you’re able to conceal that it’s based primarily on sugar. One tip: oregano is also a spice, which you can put in the parenthesis (before dextrose).

I’m sorry this all became so lengthy. Before I finish, I just want to say that I miss a part of your Tex Mex assortment: the minced meat itself. Can that also be made out of water, sugar and modified starch?


Ann Fernholm

Ps. I eventually bought another rub that gave me more spices for the buck.

Ann Fernholm runs the blog and has written the best-selling book My Sweet Heart. She writes here at Food Pharmacy once a week.