Thursday, January 20, 2011

Healthy Kids Foods - Really?

If the foods we ate were actually as healthy as their packages would have us believe, Americans certainly wouldn’t be spending $168 billion a year on obesity-related healthcare costs. So it shouldn’t exactly be shocking to learn that yet another study has found that the front-of-package labels on processed food items are misleading.

Researchers zeroed in on 58 products that were deemed healthy by an industry group and that also made nutritional claims on their front-of-package labels. Among the 58 items were such staples as Campbell’s Tomato Soup, Skippy Super Chunk Peanut Butter and Rice Krispies.

Care to guess how many of the 58 items failed to meet at least one of these criteria and were judged “unhealthy” by the Prevention Institute researchers? Would you believe 49?

Among the other findings:

* 95% of all products in the study contained added sugars, including high fructose corn syrup and healthy-sounding alternatives such as honey and fruit juice concentrate.
* 17% of the items contained “no whole food ingredients.”
* Only one of the 58 products contained a green vegetable (peas).

The study concludes that it’s time to call in the food police -- otherwise known as the Food and Drug Administration -- to create a rational, uniform and honest system for conveying nutritional information on food packages, as is already done in Canada, Sweden and the Netherlands.

Source:Karen Kaplan, 1/19/11

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