Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Heart and Stroke Foundation Health Checks candy!

Actually more like candy fortified with extra sugar.

"But Yoni, the advertisement for the Del Monte Fruit Twists says says there's "no sugar added"."
I beg to differ.

With the exception of natural flavour, colour and pectin the only ingredients are fruit concentrates. Wanna guess what the main ingredient of fruit concentrates are? Sugar. So much sugar that in each and every Health Check'ed serving of Fruit Twists there's 3 teaspoons of the stuff which account for nearly 70% of each serving's weight and 80% of each serving's calories. Buy hey, it's "natural" sugar, right?

According to the copy,
"Get your daily servings of fruit in a convenient and delicious way with new Fruit Twists"

Let's compare blueberries with Blueberry & Raspberry Del Monte Fruit Twists. Gram per gram the Health Check'ed Twists have 600% more calories and 666% more sugar (Hmmm). Put another way, if you wanted to consume the equivalent number of calories from berries as you'd get from a two Twist "serving" you'd need to eat 3/4 of a cup of blueberries (and that 3/4 of a cup still won't give you the sugar of the two tiny Twists).

But as with virtually everything Health Check'ed it gets worse.

Given that the Twists look exactly like Twizzlers, I decided to compare the two. Comparing Del Monte Fruit Twists - endorsed by the Heart and Stroke Foundation's stellar dietitians - with Twizzlers, gram per gram we see identical calories and get this, 40% more sugar in the Health Check'ed Twists.

So once again here we have the dietitians from the Heart and Stroke Foundation discouraging the consumption of actual fibrous, nutritious, satiating fruits and berries by promoting and endorsing a heavily processed product that's basically just a sugar-sweetened Twizzler.

They sure seem like a smart bunch.

As far as I'm concerned, the misinformation the Heart and Stroke Foundation is providing Canadians should be downright criminal but sadly there's no law that prevents them from abusing the public's trust.

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  1. Mark McGill, RD8:10 am

    You know Doc, I'd like to say that this "shocks" me but, sadly it doesn't (you've posted a lot on this topic!)

    To comment on your statement:

    "the misinformation the Heart and Stroke Foundation is providing Canadians should be downright criminal but sadly there's no law that prevents them from abusing the public's trust."

    I couldn't agree more. Most of my clients believe that if the "Health Check" label appears the products is "good for you."

    You keep arming me with evidence to the contrary and for that I thank you.


  2. mavis3:38 pm

    Public education is the only sword we've got right now. For that we need you.

  3. bgMomma1:24 pm

    It's really appalling - one really does need a PhD to make healthy food choices. It takes hours and hours to read nutrition labels and make comparisons. I have always been suspicious about the "healthiness" of these snacks, including "fruit rollups" but after reading this post I went to http://www.nutritiondata.com/facts/fruits-and-fruit-juices/2050/2 and looked up plain old raisins I was shocked to see that they have almost 1.5 times more sugar than the twizzlers!! Granted there is also a bit of iron and fibre in raisins but from now on the small servings (tiny boxes) our children get will be an infrequent treat and I'll be carrying more apples in my Mommy bag.

  4. You know I just responded positively when asked to donate to the Heart and Stroke Foundation, but now I'm regretting putting the money in this place. Just as humans have to resist ingesting such foolish food, those with the voice (dietitians) must refuse getting "bought". I feel for the vulnerable ones, busy parents wanting to please little kids in a healthy way. We are all going to have to get much more suspicious of these new products. Margaret. Edmopnton

  5. Anonymous4:24 pm

    Hey Doc!

    I should point out that the Fruit Based all Natural Fruit Snacks like Del Monte are not simply just sugar or made of simple sugar such as Sucrose or High Fructose Corn Syrup. Most of the Natural Fruit Snacks are primarily dried or evaporated apple puree and concentrate and therefore containing a full range of simple and complex carbohydrates....just like dried fruit accept processed in more interesting shapes and flavours so the kids will eat them. Dried Fruit and Natural Fruit Snacks do not give the kids the quick and short energy boost of a single sugar but give a longer and more sustainable source of energy. This is why, after much research, dried fruit and natural fruit snacks can be eaten by people with diabetes.

  6. Sorry anonymous, but you're dead wrong.

    Concentrated fruit puree is effectively just a pile of sugar.

    Natural sugar? Sure. But still just a pile of sugar and not something anyone should be eating, and certainly not something I'd recommend to diabetics.