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Marketing Food Scam

June 21, 2012

By:  Maria

We’ve all heard the advertisements:

Heart healthy margarine
Infection fighting yogurt
Anti-oxidant containing

The more Americans try to make healthier/smarter food choices, the more outrageous and clever claims the food marketing companies make on their packages.  Their goal?  Certainly not to make sure we are going to make the healthiest/smartest choice for our health – it’s all driven by the mighty $.
These claims are strategically worded to lure us into thinking the food we are considering for purchase, will contribute to our health or even reduce the risk of disease.

Many times, these manufacturers single out one useful ingredient that is mixed in a sea of additives, preservatives and other unhealthy ingredients, and exaggerate or even make up claims.  Some even go as far as promoting a processed food as a medicinal product capable of curing disease and/or illness.

Example:


We’ve all heard of Acai and its antioxidants, but this advertisement is just plain ridiculous. 
Jell-O does not provide nutrition information on their website (hmmm…perhaps because there’s not much nutrition to speak of), so taking a look at the ingredients at the grocery store was relatively simple.

Ingredient list: Water, Gelatin, Contains Less than 0.5% of AD/PIC and Citric Acid (for Tartness), Sodium Citrate (Controls Acidity), Aspartame and Acesulfame Potassium (Sweeteners), Salt, Red 40, Blue 1, Natural and Artificial Flavor, Vitamin E Acetate, Beta Carotene.

Now, help me out here….where are the berries in this list?  Not a shred of fruit here, but what you see advertised certainly makes you think you are consuming antioxidant rich Acai and Raspberry Goji!

Let’s break down some of the ingredients to take a closer look at what we might possibly be consuming:

Gelatin (E441) – gelatin; derived from the collagen in the bones of animals and fish. It’s what makes plain water become Jell-o.
Adipic Acid – an artificial substance used in creating nylon.. In foods it is used to aid gelling and as a flavorant.  It can be a skin irritant.
Citric Acid (for Tartness) – a natural preservative that is used in beverages to add an acidic, sour taste. Although it is naturally found in citrus fruit (oranges, lemons), industry has found a cheaper way to manufacture it. This is through a fermentation process in which a mold called Aspergillus niger is used to ferment a carbohydrate such as molasses.
Sodium Citrate (Controls Acidity) – a food additive. Tastes a bit salty and a bit tart.
Aspartame and Acesulfame Potassium (Sweeteners) – these are zero calorie sweeteners but some studies suggest that prolonged usage, especially if begun as a child, increase the risk of cancer.
Red 40 – the most popular artificial food coloring. Food manufacturers in the EU have been asked to remove it from their products.
Blue 1 – an artificial color. Some studies showed that it may cause cancer.
Natural and Artificial Flavor – that’s what makes it taste like raspberry goji jello (most of us don’t know what a real goji or acai tastes like naturally!)
Vitamin E Acetate – a form of vitamin E
Beta Carotene – a precursor, or inactive form of vitamin A

Nutrition Label:
10 calories, no fat, no carbs, 1 gram of protein. No vitamin A, despite the fact that beta carotne is listed as an ingredient. No vitamin C, no any vitamin or mineral as a matter of fact. If you’re paying attention, you’ve probably already asked: so where are the antioxidants, then??
In the added vitamins, but the fact that these added vitamins are not in their natural state, they are more than likely rendered non-effective and not bio-available.

Do you think grabbing a piece of fruit might be a better source of vitamins and minerals?  You betcha!  But does this company sell fruit?  Nope!  So they are going to do their best to get you to purchase their product over a real food product by advertising pretty berries in pretty packages with pretty promises of good health.  By now, I hope you will start being a savvy consumer and reading food labels.  That way, you’ll be better equipped to make informed, healthy/smart choices.

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