Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Ontario Medical Association Effectively Calls Out Heart and Stroke Foundation BS

While I'll be blogging more about the significance of the OMA's call to action early next week, today's blog's a quickie.

Have a gander at the photo up above.

That's the warning label that the OMA wants to place on grape juice (and presumably other juices as well). They want a warning because there's risk to the regular consumption of grape juice - a beverage I've labeled the world's least healthy beverage - in that it contains roughly double the calories and sugar of Coca-Cola. 10 ridiculous teaspoons of sugar per glass.

Now contrast the proposed label from the OMA up above to the actual label from the Heart and Stroke Foundation's Health Check program on grape juice down below. What's that Health Check logo for again? Here's the Heart and Stroke Foundation's explanation,
"The Health Check logo tells you the food or menu item has been reviewed by the Heart and Stroke Foundation’s registered dietitians and can contribute to an overall healthy diet."

As far as I'm concerned, the only options that would explain the Heart and Stroke Foundation's endorsement of juice as something that contributes to an overall healthy diet are, ignorance, pigheaded stubbornness, or greed.

And given the American Academy of Pediatrics and Canadian Pediatric Society have both long ago come out to recommend a half cup juice maximum for younger children and 1 cup maximum for everyone else, I'd say ignorance is the least likely option.

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  1. I'm 100% with you on grape juice (and other SSBs being bad). I'm 100% with you on "Health Check" being a totally sell-out, misguiding and misinforming people about what's good for them. I'm also 100% with you that the public needs to be better educated about what healthful choices are and the long-term effects of making bad choices. But you totally lost me with the graphic packaging. I think it's overkill and bordering on fear-mongering. There has to be a better way.

    1. I agree on the graphic. Perhaps a pile representing how much sugar is in the product would be a better alternative.

    2. Maybe the graphic is a bit too extreme, but I bet smokers would be less likely to smoke if they actually saw what can result from smoking verses some small print warning label on the package. People are very good at ignoring potential problems resulting from sugar in their diet, if they didn't they would not consume so much of it. Unpleasant graphics would make them think. At any rate, what's needed is education.

    3. dearieme4:11 pm

      "At any rate, what's needed is education." Perhaps, but most people who say that really mean indoctrination.

    4. Suzie, they are also really good at ignoring scary graphics. Scary graphics cause less behavior change than non-scary ones because individuals become defensive from the scary ones*. Smokers know that smoking is bad for you, they just have a hard time kicking the habit. The same probably applies to those who are addicted to sugar.


    5. I disagree: while certainly ever smoker knows that cigarettes are not health, there are many misguided parents out there who still think that juice is a 'health food' or are happy that their child is 'getting some fruit'. A Food Guide that doesn't differentiate between whole food and processed juice only adds to the confusion.

      I'm not certain that the label proposed is great but it's certainly better than no (or misleading) info. On products that are frequently purchased for kids, a graphic about sugar content and portion sizes might be more appropriate.

  2. Justine Townsend3:12 pm

    Great post, finally someone is calling out the Health Check - they put that thing on Stag Chili for pete's sake! I don't think the graphic is too much, I spend too much time talking to friends and family about reducing their SSB intake and no one really seems to care. Maybe with warnings and graphics like this - which are very similar to those on cigarettes - they will wake up and take notice.

  3. "...ignorance, pigheaded stubbornness, or greed."

    Hehe...or any combination of these.

    A little juice is not going to kill you, nor is a little wine or a little jam or a couple of cookies. But it rarely is just a little juice, or just a couple of cookies.

    The food industry has successfully branded "juices" as inherently health-giving to encourage routine overuse. The aim is for young parents who (obviously) are anxious about how to feed their children.

    Making sugary drinks and foods a daily habit for everyone...very profitable, liquid candy.

  4. I would love to see an end to Heart and Stroke Foundation labels such as these. I am glad that a professional body is calling out the BS. While I think that warning label is a bit extreme, people NEED to know that these products are not healthy for them. It is crazy how many people's minds are blown when you tell them juice is not healthy.