Thursday, January 21, 2010

Dempster's bread and one of Health Check's main failings.

Here's a great lesson on why yes or no style front-of-package food labeling programs misinform.

Exhibit A: Dempster's Smart White with Whole Grain Sandwich Bread(Per slice)
100 calories
2g fibre
200mg sodium
First ingredient? Enriched wheat flour (ie. not whole grain)

Exhibit B: Dempster's 100% Whole Wheat Bread(Per slice)
85 calories
2g fibre
175mg sodium
First ingredient? Whole grain whole wheat flour.

Exhibit C: Dempster's Whole Grains 12 Grain(Per slice)
120 calories
5g fibre
180mg sodium
First ingredient? Whole grain whole wheat flour.

Exhibit D: Dempster's Healthy Way with ProCardio Recipe 100% Whole Grain Wheat Bread
(Per slice)
110 calories
5g fibre
110mg sodium
First ingredient? Water, and then whole grain whole wheat flour.

To see things graphically, click the graphic up top. Important to note too, the graphic up top doesn't reflect the fact that Exhibit A isn't actually a whole grain bread.

4 very different breads. 4 breads that are not nutritionally equivalent. Exhibit A's made with refined flour and has nearly double the sodium of whole grain Exhibit D. Exhibit C's got 37% more sodium than Exhbit D and is otherwise pretty much identical. Exhibit B's got 15% fewer calories, 12.5% less sodium and is made with healthier grain than Exhibit A. Yet they've all got the same singular Health Check. Put 'em all in a row and if you're using Health Check's to shop, they're all the same.

Front-of-package programs need to be far more robust than just a yay or nay.

(BTW - the Dempster's Healthy Way with ProCardio Recipe 100% Whole Grain Wheat Bread - looks like a pretty good bread. My house? We use the Dempster's 100% Whole Wheat Bread 'cause we like the lower calories and for us the trade off for sodium's alright as we're pretty good at keeping ours under check and fibre wise - we eat lots of fruits and veggies.)

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