Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Health Check blesses God Sugar

My morning paper yesterday was sheathed in an advertisement from Welch's Grape Juice.

There were two parts to the ad.

The first part detailed new Welch's sugar reduced grape juices, while the second extolled the fact that the Heart and Stroke Foundation's Health Check has been applied to their 100% grape juice.

So let me ask you some questions.

Q. Do you think Coca Cola is a healthy beverage?
A. Of course not, it's high in calories and sugar with no nutritional benefits.

Q. How about if I took Coca Cola and added in some vitamins?
A. No, still not healthy - lots of sugar, and lots of other preservative type stuff.

Q. How about then I just take a glass of pure spring water, add to it 10.5 teaspoons of sugar and then a few vitamins - would that be a healthy beverage?
A. 10.5 teaspoons of sugar in water a healthy beverage? You've got to be kidding me. You could put in all of the vitamins in the world, drinking a cup with 10.5 teaspoons of sugar simply isn't healthy.

Q. Then how come the Heart and Stroke Foundation's Health Check program has endorsed Welch's 100% grape juice?
A. Because Health Check doesn't care about calories and apparently doesn't bother to critically appraise or apply sound science to their nutritional criteria.

Welch's 100% red grape juice has 42.5 grams of sugar per glass and contains 170 calories per serving. That's 10.5 teaspoons of sugar per day, is glass per glass almost double the calories and sugar of a glass of Coca Cola, and if you drink a glass daily (or worse yet, give it to your children) that's almost 18lbs worth of grape juice calories per year.

Sounds super healthy to me.

But wait, there's more!

Welch's has come up with a calorie reduced version of its grape juice. It's partially sweetened with Splenda and it has only 70 calories per glass and only 4 teaspoons of sugar.

Sounds a lot better right? Maybe that should get the Health Check rather than the 10.5 teaspoons of sugar and double the calories and sugar of Coca Cola version right?


Health Check's criteria require that juices all be 100% juice so the lower calorie light versions do not qualify.

When are the Heart and Stroke Foundation's dietitians (and Health Canada's for that matter) going to recognize calories as a valuable nutritional component, and when are health professionals finally going to admit that a glass of sugar is a glass of sugar, whether god made the sugar or man made the sugar drinking a glass of sugar with vitamins in it is NOT a healthy choice.

(Sorry for the late post, my home internet was down)

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  1. kristy10:39 am

    Great post! Upon explaining that juice is no better (or worse!) than pop in terms of sugar and calorie content, it is amazing how many people respond with "But it's NATURAL sugar!!". As if that matters.

    And I agree with you that the wrong juice is Health Checked. The Health Check criteria really is way out in left field. At least Loblaws has a little more sense - their Blue Menu juices are lower calorie/sugar versions of their regular juices.

  2. Anonymous2:16 pm

    You want your coke with vitamins? Well now you can have that too.

    Right here:


    (.pdf document)

  3. You may have seen Sept.'07 Scientific American special issue FEAST and FAMINE. Some articles may contribute to discussion. I really appreciate your comments about advertisers ....still trying to fool all the customers all the time. Unfortunately, you are preaching to the converted, not all those that think science is helping them make wise choices. I'm glad you are shouting out, so we can pass it on! Mahri, RN

  4. Foodaroo11:47 pm

    If they think Welch's grape juice contains reservatrol, they've got to be kidding. Over the weekend, I did a fun experiment with grape juice. I learned that 100% PURE grape juice does not look or taste anything like Welch's. Not only that but the true cost of 100% PURE grape juice is about $12 (US) per 48 oz.

  5. Alina5:07 pm

    What is the difference in sugar content if we were to compare eating grapes with drinking 100% grape juice? Because grapes have sugar too. But do they have less sugar than the sugar in the juice?

  6. To eat the same amount of sugar from grapes you'd need to eat roughly 60 grapes (10oz).

    Of course eating 60 grapes is actually filling whereas drinking a glass of grape juice - not so much.

  7. Natural sugars can be broken down by the body. Man made sugars get turned to fat. Bananas have a TON of sugar by because it is natural it is a "good" sugar. There is a difference. If they have no added sugar other than the real fruit's own grown sugar then that is why the heart n stroke give it approval. Pop has man made sugar hence why not approved