Are these foods healthy…or full of hype?

What makes your product stand out? Surely, your marketing department can think of something.

So what if adding, say, a dash of veggies or almond butter or protein doesn’t actually make the food much better for you? Thanks to the hype, these items look healthier than they are.

(Want to see a list of underrated, largely unprocessed foods instead? Click here.)


“⅓ of our classic crust is made with cauliflower,” says the label of Oprah’s O That’s Good! Classic Crust…with a Twist of Cauliflower Fire Roasted Veggie Pizza.

Too bad few people are likely to notice the small print in the corner: “One serving does not provide a significant amount (½ cup) of the USDA daily recommendations for vegetables.”

Translation: The crust, fire-roasted veggies, and tomato sauce together don’t even add up to a measly ½ cup for each ⅕-pizza serving (which has about the same calories and carbs as a similar-size serving of, say, a DiGiorno vegetable pizza).

O that’s not so good!

On the upside, Green Giant’s frozen Cauliflower Pizza Crust is “made with over 80% cauliflower” and has roughly “50% fewer calories than regular pizza crust.”

Like all cauliflower crusts, it needs something to hold itself together. Green Giant uses rice flour, corn starch, corn flour, and cornmeal.

Simply Skip It

“Introducing 100% real fruit smoothies,” says Simply Smoothie’s website. “Nothing to chop or blend or clean up to enjoy this homemade taste.”

Sounds like each 180-calorie bottle of the Orchard Berry, for example, is mostly berries tossed into a blender. You should be so lucky.

The first ingredient (printed in barely legible white type) is apple juice. Then come strawberry, apple, banana, and pear purées, followed by grape juice and blueberry purée. There’s also lemon juice plus “natural flavors.

Apparently, it’s not easy to make apple juice taste like berries.

And juice doesn’t curb your hunger like biting into a juicy piece of fresh fruit…straight from a real orchard.

Almond Candy

Golly! Justin’s Almond Butter Covered Almonds seems to have wrapped organic almonds in organic almond butter.

What an impeccable snack!

Except that the “almond butter” coating has more rice starch, palm kernel oil, and cane sugar than almond butter. And each bag holds three 1 oz. servings, so you could easily swallow its 540 calories without noticing.

Why not just eat almonds?


What are those little boxes next to the yogurts in the dairy case?

“We’re the type of people who eat yogurt with our hands,” says the Clio Blueberry Greek Yogurt Bar package.

Huh? Since when is a “yogurt bar” the same as a yogurt?

They may have about the same calories (140), but many of the bar’s calories come from blueberry jam and chocolate (mostly cocoa, sugar, and palm oil) instead of yogurt.

That’s why each Clio bar has only 4 percent of a day’s calcium, rather than the 15 percent in a typical 5.3 oz. greek yogurt. Whey boosts Blueberry Clio’s protein to 8 grams—still not quite the 10 to 12 grams in a flavored greek yogurt.

“Real food needs refrigeration,” says Clio. Real food? If it weren’t for that added protein (and the live cultures), a Clio would be closer to a Mini Klondike bar than a yogurt.

Photos: Kaamilah Mitchell/CSPI.

The information in this post first appeared in the October 2019 issue of Nutrition Action Healthletter.

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