Smart Choices Food Labels
One of the Biggest Scams in Marketing History?
Are smart choices really smart? Well, let’s see here…I suppose if you’re head of marketing for one of the major food companies you can darn sure bet that Smart Choices seem smart. After all, how else could you purvey such sugar laden fare as Lucky Charms, Froot Loops, Cocoa Crispies, and Fruit Roll-Ups Crazy Pix as either smart or healthy? Why, with a nice green check mark sticker and a hell of a marketing campaign, of course.
Which Companies Love Smart Choices Food Labels?
Many of the major food companies are involved in the Smart Choices campaign, including Kraft Foods, ConAgra Foods, Kellogg Co., Sun-Maid Raisin Growers of California, Unilever U.S., General Mills, Wal-Mart and PepsiCo. While it may make sense for them to sell healthier foods, a quick look at the nutrition labels worn by some of the Smart Choices foods masquerading as healthy food choices reveals that they are frankly neither smart nor healthy.
Think I’m Kidding about Smart and Healthy?
Then why did both the American Dietetic Assn., American Diabetes Assn resign their board seats on the Smart Choices organization? Who else is up in arms over the food labeling campaign? I’m not really sure, but you should not be taken in by this nonsense.
Sure, Smart Choices products may be better for you than glazed jelly doughnuts or lard and sugar pizza, but if you are nutritionally challenged enough to believe for one second that Froot Loops (There’s a reason they don’t spell it “Fruit”) or Lucky Charms are a healthy diet choice, then you’ve not been availing yourself of the information found here or on countless other places throughout the Internet.
Since I’ve been bashing Froot Loops, I’ll continue with that theme for just a minute. Here is the ingredient list for the famed breakfast cereal:
SUGAR; WHOLE GRAIN CORN FLOUR; WHEAT FLOUR; WHOLE GRAIN OAT FLOUR; OAT FIBER; SOLUBLE CORN FIBER; PARTIALLY HYDROGENATED VEGETABLE OIL (ONE OR MORE OF: COCONUT, SOYBEAN AND/OR COTTONSEED OILS)†; SALT; SODIUM ASCORBATE AND ASCORBIC ACID (VITAMIN C); NIACINAMIDE; REDUCED IRON; NATURAL ORANGE, LEMON, CHERRY, RASPBERRY, BLUEBERRY, LIME AND OTHER NATURAL FLAVORS; RED #40; BLUE #2; TURMERIC COLOR; YELLOW #6; ZINC OXIDE; ANNATTO COLOR; BLUE #1; PYRIDOXINE HYDROCHLORIDE (VITAMIN B6); RIBOFLAVIN (VITAMIN B2); THIAMIN HYDROCHLORIDE (VITAMIN B1); VITAMIN A PALMITATE; BHT (PRESERVATIVE); FOLIC ACID; VITAMIN D; VITAMIN B12.
† LESS THAN 0.5g TRANS FAT PER SERVING.
What does this list tell you?
Well, on the plus side, they have started making Froot Loops with some whole grain flours, and have added in some oat fiber and soluble corn fiber. That’s good. However, notice what the number one ingredient on the list happens to be; SUGAR! If you aren’t aware how the ingredients are listed on the package on these lists, they are in the order that they are in the food, with the ingredient that makes up the largest amount of the total listed first. That means there is more sugar in Froot Loops than any other single ingredient. From where I sit, all apologies to the sugar growers of America, that doesn’t sound like the recipe for a healthy diet.
Quick, lets have a quick run through on what comprises healthy fare:
1)No or very little processed sugar (cup of Froot Loops has 13 grams of sugar, not to mention all the white flour)
2)No white four – see above
3)Low saturated fat
5)Sufficient fats from healthy sources that are high in Omega 3 fatty acids.
6)High quality protein.
If you’re trying to lose belly fat, remember the 80/20 rule; your fat loss efforts should be roughly 80% diet and 20% exercise. In other words, you can’t out exercise a bad diet, unless you happen to be Michael Phelps, or work out like he does. You don’t have to actually “Go on a diet” to effect healthy changes that will have your fat levels dropping in no time, but just because the food you’re looking at has a big green check mark on the box doesn’t mean that you can neglect looking at the label.
There are some top notch marketers in this world that will continue to develop catchy slogans, cool symbols, and flashy corporate programs in an effort to sell their products. It is incumbent upon you to do your due diligence, especially when it comes to what you put in your body.
It Only Takes 3 Seconds
Take the 3 seconds it takes to check out your food a bit more thoroughly before you stuff it in your mouth. Read the ingredients, even if the box is festooned with a fancy green check mark and the label sports the “Smart Choices” insignia, because you should be smarter than your food and the marketers that put it in front of you.
To see the kinds of delicious foods you can really use to get healthy and drop some fat, see my posts on What are the best foods that can help me lose weight and Top Foods That Help You Burn Fat. You don’t need no stinkin’ green check marks!