What looks like a healthy choice on the outside (and marketed accordingly) isn't always what it's wrapped up to be on the inside. Here's 5 food marketing buzz words that sound oh so good until you peel back the covers for a better look:
Made with real fruit
Reality: there are no regulations around this claim, according to Joy Dubost, PhD (spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics). She provides a simple example. Consider Kellogg's Nutri-Grain Cereal Bars Mixed Berry. Sounds like a relatively healthy snack. But the "made-with-real-fruit" filling contains puree concentrate (made with sugar) of blueberries, strawberries, apples and raspberries.
Solution: the lower a fruit is listed in the ingredient panel, the less the product contains. If you want to reap the benefits (vitamins, minerals, anti-oxidants, water, electrolytes) of eating fruit, consume a piece of in season fruit every time you sit down to snack and/or have a meal.
Reality: Unlike “sugar-free” and “no added sugars”, this claim isn’t regulated by the FDA. It is easy to be fooled. A simple example is Wheaties Fuel, a cereal that is marketed specifically to athletes and carries the lightly sweetened label; however, it contains more sugar per ¾ cup serving than the same amount of Froot Loops.
Solution: again, read the nutritional panels. Avoid products that have sugar within the first five ingredients (Note: also look for words ending in –ose (sucralose, fructose), these are all sugars and should be avoided because they are synthetic sugars).
Reality: To make this claim, a product must be made without wheat, barley or rye. But there have been reports of cross-contamination with gluten-containing grains during growing or manufacturing says Pamela Cureton, RD at the Center for Celiac Research at the University of Maryland School of Medicine.
Solution: look for a seal from the Gluten-Free Certification Organization, the Celiac Sprue Association or the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness which test products to ensure they have not gluten.
Reality: though products with this claim do actually pack additional fiber – often listed as polydextrose, inulin (derived from chicory root), or maltodextrin – it’s unknown whether consuming them has the same benefits, such as lowering cholesterol, as the fiber found naturally in whole foods.
Solution: it is okay to consume added fiber (often found in cereal, yogurt and energy bars), but too much can cause a derailing bellyache. Strive to consume 14 grams per 1,000 calories as a general rule of thumb.
Reality: “True wild rice comes from a plant that’s indigenous to certain lakes and rivers in the Midwest and Canada,” says Peter David, wildlife biologist at the Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission in Wisconsin. “Most people eat the kind produced out of California, which may be treated with chemicals.
Solution: look for the plant name Zizania palustris on the ingredient panel. It packs four times the amount of protein, 73 times the potassium, and 12 times the fiber per serving as its impostor.
Learning what to look for in your food for optimum health, wellness and ultimately performance…another piece to help you Work Smart, Not Hard!
Yours in sport & health,
-Coach Robb, Coaches and Staff