Corporations have made it their top priority to market their products to us by making us believe that they are not only good for us, but that they actually are contributing to our health.
By using phrases like, ‘packed with whole grain,’ ‘added fiber’ and ‘natural sugar,’ these food giants are tricking us into thinking their brands are health-conscious.
Don’t believe everything you see on TV and don’t let your kids fool you into picking up the coolest snack of the school year, because kids are consuming more added calories and sugar from the snacks they eat during the school year than we thought.
The sugar in added drinks and foods makes up almost 16 percent of the calories U.S. children and teens consume, according to the report from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, published online in the National Center for Health Statistics Data Brief.
This report looked at added sugar consumption in children due to the significant prevalence of childhood obesity. The report showed that boys consume about 362 calories a day from added sugar and girls eat about 282 calories in added sugar on a daily basis. Sugar consumption also went up as children got older.
These numbers not only reflect the added sugar kids eat at birthday parties and trips to the ice cream shop, but they demonstrate just how much sugar is in products we buy every day.
Foods like fruit snacks, salad dressing, ketchup, dried fruit, flavored milk, iced teas and lemonade and low-fat cookies all contain loads of sugar.
While TV commercials tell us that snacks now contain ‘real fruit’ and ‘good grains,’ I invite you to pick up a snack and see for yourself what it’s really made of.
The fruit snack Gushers claims to be a ‘fruit flavored snack’ on the front package. There are 12 grams of sugar in one package and the second, third and fourth ingredients are all different names for sugar, while there is only one ingredient of fruit.
The Welch’s Mixed Fruit Snack contains 18 grams of sugar per serving with the word ‘sugar’ listed before any of the fruit purees on the ingredient list.
Thinking of feeding your family popular granola and cereal that claims to be ‘all natural’ for breakfast? Think again.
In one cup of Quaker 100% Natural Granola, Oats, Honey & Raisins, there is 30 grams of sugar - - that’s more than if you ate Cocoa Pebbles.
Kellogg’s Raisin Bran Cinnamon Almond has 18 grams of sugar per serving from sugar and brown sugar syrup and Udi’s Gluten Free Blueberry Muffins pack 21 grams of sugar from cane syrup.
V8 wants us to think their drinks are full of vitamins – and although they might be, they are also full of sugar - V8 Splash Berry Blast has 16 grams of it, mostly from high fructose corn syrup.
Nabisco Teddy Grahams created the Strawberry Banana flavor to win you over, yet, there are 7 grams of sugar for every 9 cookies with multiple names for sugar on the ingredient list.
Bottom Line: Turn off the commercials and investigate companies yourself! Your health is your most important asset and NO ONE cares about it as much as you.
Robin DeCicco is a holistic nutritionist who runs the Tenafly and Ramsey based ‘The Power of Food Education.’ She counsels individuals and families on learning how to make healthier choices and specializes in changing behaviors to achieve life-long success. To schedule an appointment or to learn more about her program, visit www.poweroffoodeducation.com.