Name That Food 103

July 8, 2011

in Name That Food

By Riki Shore

I was asked to chaperone a field trip with my daughter’s Kindergarten class. All the kids brought sack lunches – and there was a pretty decent variety of foods. This is the one snack that got passed around. Everyone wanted some of these. Can you guess what this is? Can you determine if it’s gluten-free? Do you know why the manufacturers chose to point out Yellow 6 as one of the artificial coloring agents? The answers are below.

Corn Meal
Ferrous Sulfate
Thiamin Mononitrate
Folic Acid
Corn and/or Sunflower Oil
Cheddar Cheese
Partially Hydrogenated Soybean Oil
Disodium Phosphate
Sour Cream
Artificial Flavor
Monosodium Glutamate
Lactic Acid
Artificial Colors (including Yellow 6)
Citric Acid

The manufacturers state clearly on their website that this product contains “No Gluten Ingredients”. This lets you know that none of the ingredients, in their raw state, contain gluten. What it doesn’t tell you is whether this product is manufactured on equipment shared with products that do contain gluten ingredients. Note that the product doesn’t boast “100% certified gluten-free”.

Yellow 6 is also known as Sunset Yellow. It’s an artificial dye made from hydrocarbons from petroleum. It has been linked to hyperactivity in children and may contain impurities left behind in the manufacturing process that are known carcinogens. It is banned in Norway and Finland, and has been recommended to be phased out of foods for children in Britain and the EU. The Center for Science in the Public Interest called for a ban on Yellow 6 last year, saying it does “absolutely nothing to improve the nutritional quality or safety of foods, but trigger behavior problems in children, and possibly, cancer in anybody”. One thing we can say for sure is, it’s not food, so we probably shouldn’t be eating it.

This product is FritoLay Cheetos Crunchy Cheese Flavored Snacks.

Cheetos Crunchy

Wouldn’t it be great if I told you this snack was healthy because it was gluten-free? Or gave you a recipe for making homemade, organic Cheetos with raw milk cheese and Maldon sea salt? But I can’t dupe you like that. The fact is, Cheetos aren’t good for anybody to be eating, mostly because they aren’t made from food.

The next time you crave something salty, cheesy and crunchy, you’d do better to eat a slice of real aged cheddar on a gluten-free cracker. One of my favorite GF crackers is coming out of Australia these days. I recommend trying the Byron Bay Crispbread or VPC Potato Crackerthins. If you’re in Los Angeles, both of these are available at The Cheese Store of Silverlake.


stacy February 27, 2012 at 6:54 am

what about trader joe’s baked cheese snacks…no artificial color, no msg, no hydrogenated oils? I do buy my son snacky foods like these, but usually only TJ’s, Annie’s or other more natural brands. I know it’s still junk food, but not quite as junky.

admin@threesquares February 27, 2012 at 7:00 am

These snacks aren’t bad for you, but I don’t think they’re providing much nutrition, either. They’re probably fine once in a while, but I do advocate more whole foods for snacks when possible.

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