Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Food Additives in THRIVE Express Products? Really?

Food Additives in THRIVE EXPRESS products?

Since I was a young mom I had a 'food-rule' of thumb that I tried hard to adhere to. It was simply “if you can't say it, don't eat it”, and we were quite successful at it - I might add. I am not normally a 'mix' cook, or inclined to take short cuts at the expense of nutrition. If there was a contest, nutrition won. One of the things I appreciate most about the entire THRIVE line of foods is that even though they are intended to last a very long time, they depend on the brilliant process of freeze drying rather than food preservatives. Hence, a can of freeze dried spinach – contains 'spinach'. Simple. Straight forward. Nothing added. Just spinach. Same with peaches, apples, brocolli, and every other freeze dried fruit or vegetable.
In their New line of EXPRESS products – instant meals in 20 minutes, it only stands to reason that the mixes will contain more ingredients, and curses, some that are not commonly pronounced. THRIVE has assembled a team of food scientists to develop these combinations – who adhere strictly to THRIVE's commitment to avoid all harmful substances such as colours and preservatives. These recipes are developed by people who want only the best food for their families and ours, and those of us who know them best can be comfortable with their integrity in such matters. However, upon scanning the lists of ingredients on their Express line, we come across a few food “additives” which most of us are not familiar with (although if we read labels, certainly we have come across many times). I have done some research for my own satisfaction, and thought you might be interested in what I learned.

What is Maltodextrin?

If you're obsessed with reading labels, then you've probably come across the ingredient maltodextrin. Sounds like some type of sugar, but is it safe to eat? It'll settle your mind to know that this common additive is an easily digestible carbohydrate made from rice, corn, or potato starch (celiacs beware — it can also be derived from barley or wheat). It's made by cooking down the starch, and then acid and/or enzymes break the starch down even further.
Maltodextrin is a white powder often used in processed foods as a thickener or a filler since it's fairly inexpensive, as well as in pharmaceuticals as a binding agent. You'll find it in canned fruits, snacks, cereal, desserts, instant pudding, sauces, and salad dressings. Since it contains fewer calories than sugar, it's also found in sugar substitutes, such as Splenda or Equal.
Maltodextrin is usually used in such small amounts that it doesn't have a significant impact in terms of the amount of protein, fat, carbohydrate, or fiber it adds to foods. Although maltodextrin is processed and it's not the healthiest thing to put in our bodies, at least we know it's made from real food, not some nasty chemicals.

What Is Autolyzed Yeast Extract?

Autolyzed yeast extract is a substance that results when yeast is broken down into its constituent components. It is used as a substitute for MSG, and as yeast extract is a natural substance.
Definition: Autolyzed yeast extract results from the breakdown of yeast cells. The cell wall gets disrupted as the yeast’s enzymes break down proteins, releasing amino acids, salts and carbohydrates. The soluble portions are separated from the insoluble components and referred to as autolyzed yeast extract.

Uses: Autolyzed yeast extract is used primarily as a flavor enhancer in a variety of processed foods such as soups, meats and vegetarian “meats.” Like MSG, it is valued for its ability to stimulate taste receptors that are sensitive to the savory type of taste.

What is Disodium phosphate?

Disodium phosphate is a sodium salt of phosphoric acid. It is a white powder that is highly absorbent and water soluble. It is therefore used commercially as an anti-caking additive in powdered products. Used as a food additive for emulsification and phosphate fortification.

What is Thiamine Mononitrate?

Thiamine Mononitrate is a water soluble vitamin of the B Complex. It is sometimes called aneurin. Thiamine is synthesized in plants, fungi and bacteria.

When all is said and done, I'm okay  with these additives. In true THRIVE style, their attention to the best is still evident in this Newest of their THRIVE line of great products.


  1. Wow. Thank you for this! I had a lot of questions about those additives and I'm so glad you've done the research for me! Thanks!

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