Have you been duped by these food ads?

Madison Avenue execs are happy to run up their billable hours dreaming up new shticks to make their clients’ products look good. And if some of those marketing ploys mislead people? Hey! That’s business!

Here’s some of the latest crop.

It’s Complicated

“2 eggs made fresh in seconds,” says the ad for Jimmy Dean Sausage Simple Scrambles.

Jimmy blends his eggs with sausage (pork plus water, potassium lactate, caramel color, sodium phosphate and diacetate, beef fat, and a touch of MSG in the “seasoning”) and “pasteurized process colored cheddar cheese” (cheese, water, cream, sodium phosphate, salt, vegetable color, powdered cellulose, and the preservatives sorbic acid, potassium sorbate, and natamycin).

Simple? Fresh? Not so much.

Half Caked

“Cut the sugar calories in half and keep the whole cake,” says the ad for Stevia In The Raw.

So if you use stevia to replace half the sugar, you can cut enough calories to eat the whole cake? Not exactly. Stevia only cuts the sugar’s calories—not the cake’s calories—roughly in half.

Made with stevia, the cake has 430 calories per slice (a twelfth of the cake), claims the company’s website. Made without stevia, it would have about 510 calories per slice.

So why show that half cake?

“Reduce sugar, calories and confusion from your recipes by swapping out half the sugar for Stevia In The Raw,” says the ad.

So much for reducing confusion.

Churn that Sugar & Oil!

“Keep calm. It’s triple churned and 2X richer than milk,” gushes the ad for Caramel Latte Coffeemate coffee creamer.

Triple churned? Since when do they even single-churn mixtures of water, sugar, oil, casein, natural and artificial flavor, mono- and diglycerides, dipotassium phosphate, salt, cellulose gel, cellulose gum, and carrageenan.

And yes, each tablespoon has more fat (1½ grams) than you’d get in a tablespoon of whole milk (½ gram). But so does half-and-half or just about  any creamer.

Surely, Coffeemate isn’t trying to cash in on the cream-is-back craze? Nah.


“Little choices make a big difference,” says the ad for Naked Strawberry Banana, as a woman parks far from a store and checks her Fitbit to see her step count.

“Like nutritious fruit smoothies,” the ad continues, as the woman takes a long swig. Let’s hope that woman didn’t think she was burning up those smoothie calories in her 30-second parking lot trek. That wouldn’t make a dent in the 250 calories from the 15.2 oz. bottle.

What’s more, liquid calories don’t curb your appetite as well as solid calories. And along with the featured strawberry and banana purée, Naked adds apple and orange juice.

Want a naked snack? Dump the juice. Eat the fruit.

The information in this article first appeared in the June 2019 issue of Nutrition Action Healthletter.

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