These are just a few examples of the latest food label tricks. Many other products play the same game.
Looking for healthy almond fat? Nature Valley Almond Butter Granola Bites are happy to step up. Only one problem: the Bites have more sugar and palm and palm kernel oil than almond butter. That’s because it’s almond butter filling. Oops!
“Helps support digestive wellness,” says Hi! Happy Inside cereal. “Prebiotics + probiotics + fiber.”
What’s “digestive wellness”? The company doesn’t have to say. Nor does it need good evidence that Hi! Happy Inside’s ingredients deliver.
The cereal’s probiotic (Bifidobacterium lactis HN019) doesn’t do much. And its prebiotic (chicory root fiber) gives you gas. The intact fiber in Happy Inside’s whole grains should help with regularity, but no more so than what you’d get from other, less pricey whole-grain cereals.
“Antioxidant C and B vitamins,” says V8 Splash Strawberry Kiwi Flavored Juice Beverage.
Nice going. Surely, some unsuspecting consumers won’t notice that instead of strawberries or kiwis, they’re getting high-fructose corn syrup, sucralose, red 40 dye, a smidgen of cheap added vitamins, and just 5 percent (carrot) juice.
If there were Scam-of-the-Year awards, V8’s parent company, Campbell, would be a contender.
“100% Daily Value of 13 essential vitamins per serving,” says the Bolthouse Farms Multi-V Goodness Cherry 100% Fruit Juice Smoothie bottle, which is plastered with pictures of cherries, strawberries, cranberries, and pomegranate.
What’s wrong with getting your vitamins from a smoothie? First, most of those vitamins have been added, just like they are in a multivitamin.
Second, this “multi” comes with 280 calories per bottle—with more apple juice than any other ingredient. And liquid calories are more likely to lead to weight gain because they don’t curb your appetite like solid foods do.
Smoothie, schmoothie. Eat whole fruit.
“Eat like a caveman!” urges the Wellshire SUGAR FREE Sliced Uncured Turkey Bacon package. “Paleo Friendly. No Sugar Used.”
Who knew that cavemen ate bacon made from “turkey thighs chopped & formed”?
Good thing Wellshire got rid of the sugar. Ordinary bacon has—gasp!—up to 1 gram per serving. That’s apparently too much for people on Paleo, Whole30, or similar diets. But processed meat that’s linked to a higher risk of colorectal cancer? No problem!
Nuts are in. They’re rich in healthy fats that can protect your heart.
So Nabisco Pistachio Creme Artificially Flavored Oreo Thins were sort of inevitable. See the pistachios on the package? Too bad the company didn’t put any in the Oreos. Dyed green filling is good enough for Nabisco.
Illustration: Adrian Neiderhäuser/stock.adobe.com. Photos: Jennifer Urban/CSPI.
The information in this post first appeared in the April 2019 issue of Nutrition Action Healthletter.
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