Three Foods that Marketing Has You Convinced Are Good for You…
But Are They?
Marketing has given the impression that juice is a healthy way to start your day or is a healthy drink to give to children. It is not. While there is variance among brands, one cup of juice contains 110 calories, 26 g of carbohydrates, 2 g of protein, almost no fiber, and no fat. This is a good way to spike blood sugar because there is nothing to slow it from getting into the blood stream.
The other problem with a lot of commercially-made juice is that after the juice is squeezed, it is pasteurized and kept in tanks for up to a year, which strips the flavor out of it. When it is ready to be shipped, a chemical flavor pack is added in to give it the desired taste. The FDA does not require this to be disclosed on the list of ingredients. In addition to this flavoring, the naturally occurring vitamins in the fruit are removed and replaced by synthetic vitamins in order to give it the labeled nutrition content.
But what about fresh juice? While it doesn’t contain additives like the pasteurized brands, it is still missing the fiber content and can spike blood sugar. It also contains more fruit than we would usually consume in a sitting and it gets consumed faster in the juice form. It takes two medium-sized oranges to make one cup of juice.
Recommendation: Drink water. It is almost never a good idea to drink sugar unless you are suffering from hypoglycemia. The calories in one glass of juice per day over someone’s basal metabolic rate (the number of calories needed to maintain current weight) can cause a pound of weight gain in 32 days.
Children do not need juice. They need vegetables. Juice teaches their palate to prefer sweet things. The sugars can ruin their teeth, cause their immune systems to be less effective, and contributes to the rampant childhood obesity epidemic.
Welch’s Fruit Snacks
These have been marketed to parents as a “healthy” snack for their kids because they contain “real fruit.” That’s great, but in addition to the fruit puree (which is a source of sugar), it also contains corn syrup (a sugar) and sugar. That means the first three ingredients are SUGAR.
But they have vitamins. That must be good? The vitamin amounts listed have been added into this product so you are basically getting fortified sugar. Then, to throw in more stuff you will have to detox later, you have artificial flavors and food coloring.
Recommendation: Eat a piece of fruit. Lots of them come in their own packaging and are easy to transport. In addition to vitamins and calories, you will get some fiber.
The issue with this yogurt (and it is not limited to this brand) is the added sugar in the product. If we look at the Original Strawberry Banana flavor, it has 27g of carbs. Here is the crazy part. It has 20g of sugar, of which 14g is “added sugar” and accounts for 27% of the recommended daily intake of added sugar for a 2000 calorie/day diet. Ideally a person’s diet contains no added sugars. The RDA recommendation is less that 10 teaspoons or 50 g per day. That is still a LOT of added sugar.
It is also worth taking a look at the ratio of fat and protein to carbohydrates. This product contains 2g of fat and 6g of protein. This means that it has the potential to spike blood sugar depending on the individual and is definitely a snack I would advise against for people having issue with glucose control.
This product contains “natural flavors” so we don’t know exactly what that is as the FDA does not require it to be spelled out on the label. It is also fortified with vitamins in order to boost the actual nutrition content. There is an additional concern with the corn starch. Conventionally grown corn uses a lot of pesticides and herbicides and those chemicals are retained when it is processed. The cows who make the milk are also fed this corn and the chemicals can be in the milk that is used to make the yogurt.
Recommendation: Choose plain, organic, whole-milk yogurt and add your own fruit. It is going to be an adjustment to the flavor if you are used to eating Yoplait, but yogurt is supposed to be tangy. While you teach your taste buds to be more sensitive to sweetness, you can try adding a teaspoon of maple syrup and tapering it until just the fruit is sweet enough. This cuts down on the amount of sugar and chemicals you are consuming and has a ratio of fat to protein to carbs that will not cause such a spike in blood sugar.