Make Your Own Cake Frosting If You
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October 18, 2016

By Ariadne Weinberg, Featured Columnist










Whether you are a member of the sweet tooth club or just
someone who indulges in cakes and cupcakes at parties, it's
definitely worth your while to know what's going in your
body, and perhaps, how to make it.


Let's admit it
.  Frosting is the best part of the cake. If you
are a “save the best for last” person like me, you might eat
your cupcakes from the bottom up. With cake that's a little
more challenging, but not impossible.


Cakes weren't always this delicious, and they didn't always
have frosting.


The first cakes were more like upgraded bread. Ancient
Egyptians got the party started with honey-sweetened
dessert breads which didn't contain much leavening, but did
have dried fruit, seeds, and wine. Leavening likely came
around with the Romans. Italians were the ones to eliminate
the yeast aspect by adding whipped eggs to the batter, and
in the 1800s our beloved bicarbonate and baking soda came
to make our dulcet comestibles especially fluffy.



Now we have the modern cake, which, more often than not,
has frosting on top. Unfortunately, since the industrial
revolution, we have been in the habit of buying everything
we can buy pre-prepared in stores. In the case of cake
frosting, that could have a serious effect on your health.




Read on to find out why you should consider making your
own, instead of quickly buying it. Cake frosting is pretty
quick to whip up, and a homemade one could contribute to
your well-being.




What's Wrong with Most Commercial Cake Frostings  
































If you look through the ingredients of an average cake
frosting you'd grab off the shelf, it's a little scary. Not only
are there unnatural chemicals, it's also got a lot of high-
fructose corn syrup.  




Here are the ingredients  regular product you might buy at
the grocery store, Betty Crocker Whipped Chocolate
Frosting:





"Sugar, Water, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Partially
Hydrogenated Soybean and Cottonseed Oil, Cocoa Processed
with Alkali, Palm Oil. Contains 2% or less of: Corn Starch,
Mono and Diglycerides, Cellulose Gel, Salt, Citric Acid,
Polysorbate 80, Sodium Acid Pyrophosphate, Cellulose Gum,
Carrageenan, Natural and Artificial Flavor, Yeast, Soy Flour,
Whey, Color Added. Freshness Preserved by Potassium
Sorbate and BHT.
"




Ingredients are listed in declining order of the percentages
contained, which in this case means it's filled to the brim
with high fructose corn syrup .

So, what's so bad about that? High fructose corn syrup has
been directly linked to diabetes on a global level.  


In 2013, M.I. Goran and researchers from the University of
Southern California in Los Angeles looked at the relationship
between high fructose corn syrup and the prevalence of
Type 2 diabetes, by obtaining data from 43 different
countries.

They analyzed total sugar, HFCS, and total calorie availability,
obesity, two separate prevalence estimates for diabetes,
prevalence estimate for impaired glucose tolerance and
fasting plasma glucose. Diabetes prevalence turned out to be
20% higher in countries with a higher availability of high
fructose corn syrup compared with countries with a lower
availability, regardless of the obesity figures.




If you'd rather have a little espresso with that cake, and skip
the diabetes, it's probably best to quit shopping for your
frosting and start making it.    



Frosting Is Better with Butter Because You Avoid Trans Fats


When making your cake frosting, it's actually better to just
use regular butter than margarine.

This may seem counterintuitive, since when you think of
butter, you think, “Oh no! Fat!”

However, the typical store-bought frosting contains
margarine, and that often has something even worse for you
in it -- trans fat.  So, what is trans fat, and what makes it so
bad anyway?
Manufacturers make trans fat by adding
hydrogen to vegetable oils, where thereafter, it converts into

a solid fat.



Commercial frosting has a tiny amount of margarine, so the
manufacturers can usually get away with calling the product
"low fat" or "diet".

But here's the thing --- even a tiny bit of margarine can have
a negative effect on your health.  Trans fats in margarine
raise your levels of LDL (bad cholesterol, heart disease risk
and Type 2 diabetes risk, according to the American Heart
Association.

A 2015 mega-study ( which is a comprehensive study of
other existing studies) led by Dr. Russell de Souza of
McMaster University in Canada found that trans fats raise
your risk of dying from
any cause by 34%. Trans fats raise
your risk of dying from heart disease by 28%.

How much trans fat is in cake frosting?  For example, 2
tablespoons of most brands of commercial coconut frosting  
contains 1.5 grams of margarine. That might not seem like
much, but the American Heart Association recommends
limiting trans fat to 1% of daily calories consumed, in other
words, 2 grams a day on a 2000 calorie diet.  So eating cake
with just those two little tablespoons of frosting will blow
your whole day's limit of trans fat.

California-based diabetes specialist and dietitian Vandana
Sheth confirms,“When you pick up a tub of store-bought
frosting to spread over your cakes or cookies you are not
only getting a lot of sugar, but also a product that’s high in
trans fats.”

If you go with the typical commercial frosting, you'll
probably have more than that in a day of eating cake. And if
there are leftovers, watch out.



But Is Margarine Really So Bad for Me?


There is a strong correlation between bad health and
margarine.


Let's take a 2007 study from M.W. Gillman from the Harvard
Medical School as an example.


From 1966-1969, 832 men without heart disease, ages 45-
64 took part in an experiment. From a single 24-hour dietary
recall and estimated daily margarine intake, they calculated
coronary heart disease, and using proportional hazard
regressions, The
coronary heart disease incidence rate ratios
over 21 years of follow up. With an average energy intake of
2,619 kcals and an average margarine intake of 1.8
teaspoons per day, there were a total of 267 incident cases
of
coronary heart disease.

Butter, on the other hand, did not raise coronary heart
disease
incidence at all.




Sugar, oh Honey Honey


Another downside to using commercial cake frosting is that
you can't control the amount of sugar or other sweetener
put in there.


Similar to margarine, many “low-fat” products that use
things like sugar are even worse.


Most
artificial sweeteners are bad news.In 2016, Dr. J.
Shearer from the University of Calgary wrote a report
detailing how these sweeteners might actually contribute to
the development of metabolic i
mbalances that lead to Type 2
diabetes
, obesity, and cardiovascular disease.

While the long-term nature of the studies and other lifestyle
risk factors
make it difficult to get accurate results about
humans, animal experiments have revealed some disturbing
data
.   In both lab and agricultural settings, scientists
discovered that artificial sweeteners promote food intake
and
weight gain, and induce metabolic alterations. There's a
high probability that these sweeteners could cause obesity
and its accompanying problems in humans.




In other words, definitely avoid any industrialized cake
frosting claiming to be “low-fat.” However, even if it just has
garden-variety table sugar, you can bet it will be more than
necessary and that it'll have some preservatives in there that
your body doesn't need.

Some Brands of Cake Frosting Contain Harmful Dyes


Depending on the brand, some cake frostings may also
contain harmful dyes.

Red Dye Number 2 is one such substance
. This particular dye
is used
in products that are pink or purple (for birthday
cakes).
Red Dye Number 2 is tar-based, and has the capacity
to cause constriction of
your bronchial tubes, as well as
swelling and hives.


You definitely don't want to find out that you, or even
worse, your child, has an adverse reaction to it.




So what recipes should I try?




If you want a recipe that is more pink, fluffy, and festive,
this one should do the trick.


If you're looking for a more generic frosting, that can also
be adapted to a vegan recipe,
this is a good one at
veggiebalance
.




These are my favorites that I've found just browsing
around.
But, chances are your parents , aunts or older
friends
could give you some tips on making both cake and
frosting. People growing up in the 50s, 60s, and beforehand,
at least in the United States, tended to have a pretty
ingrained cake culture.




Enjoy experimenting with recipes and
don;t forget to lick the
bowl!
























































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Healthy Body, Healthy Mind, Healthy Life
Commercial cake frosting can contain
trans fats and corn syrups that raise
your risk of heart disease and
diabetes far more than home made
cakes made with  butter
.