Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Angry Shopper


I did some food shopping yesterday and while passing through the cereal aisle I couldn't help but notice the large check and rather ridiculous claims on many of the General Mills cereals.

General Mills has dubbed many of their cereals as "Whole Grain Guaranteed" with a large check on the box. Are they lying? No. The first ingredient is Whole Grain Oats, but unfortunately that is the only healthy ingredient. Take Lucky Charms for example,

Ingredients: Whole Grain Oats, Marshmallows (Sugar, Modified Corn Starch, Corn Syrup, Dextrose, Gelatin, Calcium Carbonate, Yellows 5&6, Blue 1, Red 40, Artificial Flavor), Sugar, Oat Flour, Corn Syrup, Corn Starch, Salt, Trisodium Phosphate, Color Added, Natural and Artificial Flavor. Vitamin E (Mixed Tocopherols) Added to Preserve Freshness. Vitamins and Minerals: Calcium Carbonate, Zinc and Iron (Mineral Nutrients), Vitamin C (Sodium Ascorbate), a B Vitamin (Niacinamide), Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine Hydrochloride), Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin), Vitamin B1 (Thiamin Mononitrate), Vitamin A (Palmitate), a B Vitamin (Folic Acid), Vitamin B12, Vitamin D3.

Gag-worthy. Well at least they add vitamins right? (sarcasm). They definitely make sure to promote that on the box as well by stating that Lucky Charms are a "good source of Calcium and Vitamin D!"

Side Note: Did you know that Cascadian Farms, Muir Glen (two organic brands) and Lara bar are owned by General Mills?

So I continued with my shopping. I was looking for a jar of tomato sauce and the go-to brand I usually buy was all out. When looking for tomato sauce I always look for one that contains no added sugar, this is a harder task than one would think. I saw a brand called Organicville. On the label it stated Gluten free, Organic and no added Sugar.
Being the nutritional detective that I am, I always checks the ingredients despite what labels may state because I know better.
Did I mention Lucky Charms are packed with Whole Grains?
So I read the label and was surprised at what I found.


Come again? I thought you said no added sugar? Oh, you meant no white sugar, or even raw sugar, but no one said anything about agave!

Yes, agave is a natural sugar and may be considered to be a better alternative to white sugar. It is a low glycemic sweetener so it doesn’t send your blood sugar such a roller coaster the way other sugars do. But, lets get real here, sugar is sugar and there happens to be a lot of controversy surrounding Agave.
In fact, in this article, Dr. Joseph Mercola states that "most agave syrup has a higher fructose content than any commercial sweetener -- ranging from 55 to 97 percent, depending on the brand, which is FAR HIGHER than high fructose corn syrup (HFCS), which averages 55 percent. This makes agave actually WORSE than HFCS."
Knowing this, I clearly did not buy that jar of tomato sauce. Am I being a little obsessive? Maybe. However, I quite honestly feel that the labeling of food products is so out of control. The company is called Organicville, they clearly state no added sugar, yet they add a type of sweetener. I do not agree with this, therefore choose not to purchase their product.

This article by Mark Bittman says it all. McDonald's newest menu item, their wholesome whole grain oatmeal, which is really just oats plus heavy cream and tons of sugar, “contains more sugar than a Snickers bar and only 10 fewer calories than a McDonald’s cheeseburger or Egg McMuffin.” Disgusting? Yes. Surprising, not really. I mean have you seen how a chicken nugget is made?:

As Bittman said, “there are barely any rules governing promotion of foods,” so it is up to each of us to be nutritional detectives because quite frankly, our health depends on it.
I would love for you all to weigh in on the subject!
How do you feel about the false labeling/promotion of products?
What makes you an angry shopper?

vitamins and supplements
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  1. I'm so confused by how the chicken nuggets are made! They don't even resemble chicken! Yuck!

  2. oh I know, that article grosses me out!! Looks like taffy!

  3. What is that pink thing!?!?!? THat is from chicken nuggets!??!?!

  4. That chicken nugget thing is absolutely disgusting!

    I've read that Mercola article before. Not sure how I feel about it. I think sugar is sugar regardless...but would like to think Agave is lower in GI than HFCS. And, HFCS is genetically modified, making it worswe for sure (containing 99% pesticides). are right though. Labelling is out of control. I try not to get TOO obsessive about it all. Making smart choices, but people do need to be made aware that they MUST read labels!

  5. Yikes! I'm shocked by the agave nectar, that would upset me so much if I'd bought it because it was sugar free! That is awful, especially for someone monitoring ALL sugars for health reasons! Hmph! You are quite the detective :)

  6. um this is awful. you have written such an informative post and i'm in SHOCK! ew ew ew

  7. Ewwwwwwwww that is how chicken nuggets are made?!! Yuck!

    I dont like when a product says like 200 calories, real big, and then in small its per serving, so people who dont read the labels well, think they are eating a whole thing for only 200 calories, tricky!

  8. hey girly! i got your email and i have to write you back but things have just been super crazy and busy lately! i definitely want to get together asap!! give me a few weeks until school/work calm down a little! once i get pass this weekend with a part of my thesis under my belt i'll be better with my schedule :) yay for fun meetups!

  9. Sounds good, can't wait! Good luck with your thesis!!

  10. So agave is actually bad for you?! I had no clue!!!!

  11. This post is perfect-I have so many feuds with W about what food box's claim!