Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Badvertising: Belvita Breakfast Cookies Are Filled with "Sustained Energy"

Thanks to Alison Thomas for sending these my way.

They're Belivta's new "breakfast biscuits" and they're being marketed as a great accompaniment to breakfast as they apparently provide, "sustained energy".

If you're a regular reader here I'm guessing you'll know what "sustained energy" is usually a euphemism for. Sugar.

Eat a 4 pack and you'll be packing in just over 3 teaspoons of "energy" with a smattering of fibre and protein. Sugar wise it's the same amount you'd get if you ate a 4 pack of Oreos.

And of course you'll be buying into the notion that health and nutrition short cuts exist.

Now I wasn't at all surprised to learn that Kraft was using slick marketing to try to not only sell cookies for breakfast but to suggest they're healthful. I was however surprised to find a video featuring registered dietitian and author of The Sonoma Diet Dr. Connie Guttersen telling viewers that yes indeed,
"Belivita is perfect for your on the go lifestyle because it's convenient and nutritious."

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  1. But NO high fructose corn syrup or trans fats!!!!! So you KNOW they're healthy!!!!!

    1. Anonymous7:49 am

      No arsenic or cat kibble either! Perfect!

    2. Anonymous2:11 pm

      True Dr . Parker plus I was reading about the sugar content of the oreo cookies the author referenced in this article as being equivalent to sugar content in Belvita biscuits.
      Oreos have 4.5grams of sugar each and Belvita has 2.5grams of sugar. Clearly not equivalent.
      I also looked up Belvita's website and it suggests healthy breakfast options that include the product, such as Greek Yogurt and an apple
      In addition to the biscuits. Belvita biscuits are not empty calories burt rather a healthy alternative to a high fat hot breakfast for example if consumed in addition to other healthy food selections that are low fat, high protein and with a fruit.

    3. Anonymous7:01 pm

      Do you think on the web site they would tell you bad stuff idiot..

    4. Before believing they are healthy, read about grains for yourself and then determine if you think our grains are good for you.

    5. "Do you think on the web site they would tell you bad stuff idiot.." wow..great argument. Thanks for the insightful commentary.

      Better waddle over to the box and grab yourself another doughnut.

  2. Thank you for this article. I analysed these biscuits on my website and I explain why it's not a good choice!

  3. I imagine some marketing guy thinking he's a genius for inventing a whole new breakfast product sector!! People want an excuse to eat cookies for breakfast and now they can! I tried a sample in the grocery store and the promo person was pitching the "sustained energy" schtick. She told me it "timed-release." Ohhhh, timed release food. Reminded me of the "tiny time capsules" of Contac cold medicine. Remember those ads? It's all just marketing!! Give the people what they want to buy and they want to buy COOKIES FOR BREAKFAST!!!

    1. Anonymous11:14 am

      Well there is that Cookie Crisp cereal.

  4. Do you really wonder that an "expert" will stand up and say it's healthy? After all, Dr. Oz made an entire career out of that.

  5. Anonymous2:19 pm

    As an RD, I would never recommend this product to my clients and am confident that none of my colleagues would either. This dietitian is an insult to our profession.

  6. Anonymous3:14 pm

    As a dietetic student, watching this video makes me sad. But keep in mind, all the dietitians I have volunteered with would never recommend something like this.

  7. Roman Korol3:38 pm

    How disreputable.

    Perhaps, like Dracula, she has no mirrors in her house; for, how could she stand to look at herself in one, after launching in public this packet of fibs.

    1. I'm guessing money had something to do with it, people lie to us everyday for their own personal bennefit...are we supposed to believe belvita is different?? probably not, think for yourself and you won't have to worry what others tell you, at least as much anyway

  8. Nathalie Croussette, Dt.p3:39 pm

    Considering many (probably most) people have croissant, sugary cereals, white bread with jam or Nutella, commercial muffin or nothing at all for breakfast, this could be a good compromise, a first step to a healthier option. However, I recognize this RD is a bit too enthusiastic about this product..Doesn't she have a ethic code to follow or something?

  9. I'm an Aussie dietitian who was sent samples of Bel_Vita when they launched in 2012. I didn’t write them up on my blog as eating “biscuits” for breakfast isn’t something I want to recommend! Even a healthier low GI version.

    I’ve seen the Kraft research and they can back up what they claim. They have created a special process that doesn’t fully gelatinise the starch during baking so they can claim low GI - hence the next follow-on claim is that they give up sustained energy. Don’t know how you “fill” a biscuit with energy but that’s the marketers carrying on!

    Having a tradition of Weet-Bix and porridge oats, most Aussies didn’t “get” that whole breakfast biscuit concept.

    But I gather the Europeans embraced Bel-Vitas with enthusiasm as they’re used to dunking dry bread/toastie things into their morning coffee. That was all our French mother ate when we stayed with them in Lyon a few years ago. Don’t know how she skied the whole morning on dry toast and black coffee!

    So I had to ask myself: are 4 Bel-Vita’s BETTER THAN a muesli bar or a muffin? Those grab-and-go fast alternatives that you eat on the way to work or college? Yes a 4-pack of Bel-Vita’s ARE healthier than most muesli bars (which are horrible sweet things) and much better than a blueberry or choc-chip muffin.

    And Kraft are very clever as they always promote the biscuits with milk or yoghurt which helps boost their nutrition story in many ways eg lowers GI, improves protein, calcium, riboflavin, good for kids!

    I don't work for Kraft – merely pointing out the science behind the biscuits. Another case of where food technologists can create a product that ticks all the nutrition boxes yet our intuition whispers something is not quite right!

    Ditto for most light foods, low-carb cakes and low-fat cheeses.

    Keep up the good work. Catherine

  10. Roman Korol8:37 pm

    Thanks to Alexandra Leduc, Dt. P., for her careful analysis of these biscuits and for her recommendations listed on her own blog. For the convenience of any reader not so keen to do a Copy and subsequent Paste in a browser's address bar to get to Alexandra's blog page, here is her URL coded directly so that one has merely to click on the link:

    Isn't this what professional dieticians are supposed to be for, rather than serving the guys with the bulging wallets by touting their commercial products to trusting folk? Thank you kindly, Alexandra!

  11. This was a very interesting post. Especially Catherine's response. As a long time weight watcher, I was curious so I tried a box when they were on sale. I wasn't impressed. The flavor is good, but there are too many calories in a serving, and a few hours later I was hungry again. A bowl of oatmeal and berries sticks a whole lot longer, as does a container of quality yogurt with some added nuts and fruit.

  12. I'd rather eat the Oreo cookies.

  13. There was a study where some people had a piece of chocolate cake for breakfast and some had a regular breakfast and the people who had chocolate cake lost more weight. So having cookies for breakfast may not necessarily be a horrible thing. However, when people eat chocolate cake for breakfast, they aren't fooling themselves that they are eating something healthy.

    Personally, I have a protein shake for breakfast most days and that works for me. I won't be switching to cookies any time soon and, if I did, I'd pick something I thought was delicious, not something parading as healthy diet food. It's the dishonesty that gets to me more than the nutritional content.

    1. Ellie Phant2:10 am

      Eating the cake though, I could be wrong, but even though they're losing weight, aren't they just becoming more unhealthy? Because they're just getting by on the sugar? I don't know the specifics so if I'm wrong that's ok. But isn't there a whole host of bad things that can occur, health wise because of high sugar levels in a diet? Like diabetes and it's not good for teeth and can increase bad cholesterol? Anyway haha just interesting though

  14. Anonymous8:56 pm

    does this mean i shouldnt add belvita as a healthy asnack if im craving something sweet?

  15. Anonymous5:26 am

    Just bought the 4 pack belvita and yoghurt filling.

    These are a perfect product for the UK.
    In the uk, a very high percentage of people, including myself, eat NO breakfast.
    Yes, you heard me muesli munching canadian libtards, NOOOOOO BREAKFAST.

    At my work place people eat their first food of the day 4-5hours after they wake up. This is usually a tea or coffee, sometimes with a bag of crisps or regular biscuit.

    Great things about this product:
    Can be eaten at my desk with no mess, no other product can do this, no biscuit, cereal, anything. This is because the biscuit is constructed with a smooth surface, strong bonding between layers, and no sugar grains stuck outside, and no greasy touch so no need to wipe hand afterwards, it is very dry, not oily like other biscuits.
    I used to eat Nature Valley Granola bars and found them to sustain me very well with the oats inside them-sadly these are a big mess to eat at my desk and they taste very sugary and they are sticky to touch.
    Both nature valley granola bars and belvita bars come in foil wrapped packs of 2 bars within the pack. It is clear to all but a deliberate liar that eating 4 packs (8 (4X2) large biscuits in a box costing £2.50) is not designed and would be crazy.
    However, in typical sensationalist exaggeration style (see: liar; positivist) the author above seeks to have us believe that someone would consume 8 large biscuits.

    "Eat a 4 pack and you'll be packing in just over 3 teaspoons of "energy""

    HILARIOUS...and this tripe is eaten up without any comment by the sheeple libtards commenting above.
    Whenever i see exaggeration like this from an author i smell a positivist, struggling to construct a case.

    I am enjoying my belvita right now....mmmm
    Now for the dunk test:
    dunked in tea with lemon: the biscuit holds together well. You need to let drip afterwards as the smooth surface does not absorb tea fast, if you lift quickly you will get a drop or 2 of liquid running down towards your hand, watch out or sook fast.
    Overall an above average dunker.
    I have had a single wrapped pack of 2 and i feel great, no more cravings till lunch or dinner.
    still finding bits of very soft thin chewy grain stuck in my teeth to enjoy after 30 mins after eating...MMMM...chewing will help digest what's in my stomach even better. great!

    1. Anonymous2:05 pm

      Hey moron the product he was reviewing came with 4 cookies in a pack (look at the picture). Not a box of four packs. I'd imagine the 4 combined are similar though to the two you're dunking in your tea.

    2. Anonymous3:40 pm

      IT's a goddam mini biscuit cracker. There's nothing special about it. There's nothing special about breakfast or whether you eat 5 hours after you wake at your desk or not. It's a goddam cracker.

    3. Anonymous4:43 am

      hahaha I love this WORLDS BEST BREAKFAST!!! review you're hilarious I get the dunk test I get everything you're saying I'm Irish maybe that's why getting anything in my tummy for breakfast is great so I love these

    4. Anonymous8:55 am

      I agree that these breakfast biscuits do have a lot more sugar than a slice of toast with jam but call it what you want. BelVita is just another company who wants to sell and make a profit from their product so they are going to market their product to lure customers in.

      I would not offer these biscuits to my pre-teen kids bc they would eat them as cookies and eat way too many. I do like these breakfast biscuits just because of the fiber. It may not be as much as some other breakfast options, but they suit me just fine and flushes out toxins just the same. Americans will eat what they want to eat but thank you everyone for the wonderful tips and concerns about general health. If you don't like it, then leave it on the shelf. Simply put! Geesh!

  16. Anonymous9:55 pm

    Belvita, because it makes you look like a bell!

  17. Anonymous4:16 pm

    I really like this product as an afternoon snack. I'm not the healthiest eater and find myself not eating at all in order to lose weight. With Belvita "cookies" I don't feel as guilty. Please don't burst my bubble anymore than you already have.....

  18. Anonymous5:02 am

    1. I appreciate the comments about the 'expert' who has misrepresented the nutitional basis for eating the product as a breakfast food. Yes the marketing of Belvita is cynical.

    2. As a 49 year old individual who is considered fit and healthy by myself and others (including my GP). Someone who eats a healthy diet and exercises I make no apology for enjoying my 4pack or [yoghurt filled] 2pack as a mid-morning snack. Isn't it about balance? I will continue to eat and enjoy these and other less nutritional treats as long as they continue to have [both] no adverse affect on my health and have a positive affect on my well-being.

  19. Anonymous10:24 am

    I eat two belVita four-packs instead of the double "Two To Go" Snickers that I used to eat. More fiber, more vitamin B, MUCH less saturated fat, less sodium, fewer calories. Everything's relative!

  20. Anonymous2:32 pm

    Belvita biscuits are good shtuff! Fiber from whole grains. Not overly sweet tasting. 4 and some good coffee really hits the spot every morning! Oh, and take a good multivitamin with it. If everyone did this for breakfast we would all be healthier. Is there any item(except for the Banana) that somebody isn't going to whine about!!!!

    1. Anonymous9:12 am

      I don't like bananas. Give me the BelVitas any day with a Pepsi Throwback! It's the perfect dessert for breakfast after I eat my Cheerios.

    2. Anonymous12:28 pm

      "Pepsi Throwback" the morning...dear god, you've got worse problems that these Belvita cookies...

  21. It's a breakfast cookie. It tastes good. If you don't like it, don't eat it. Get over yourselves.

    1. Amen sista! I don't see why it's such a big deal. If you don't think they're 'healthy', don't eat them.

  22. What does it take for people to think for themselves! If it's too much at breakfast, try lunch, too sweet for lunch, try as a snack or dessert sheesh!
    Do your nutritional math and budget it in your daily plan..seriously. They work for me sometimes for breakfast w/coffee or in between meals as a snack/dessert because it's 70x nutritional than cake, cookies, or candy which has no nutritional value which also make its way into your fat pockets and cause cancer! (ok, a bit exaggerated, but you get it.) See? Not complicated at all :-)

  23. I was introduced to the BelVita biscuits about a year ago and I love the Apple Cinnamon flavor for breakfast/mid-morning snack or anytime as a snack. My problem is that on 4 occasions, I thought that I was purchasing the Apple Cinnamon box of biscuits, but when I got home, it was actually blueberry biscuits instead. I'm not a blueberry fan at all.
    This has happened to me when I purchased the big box at Costco and the smaller 2 for $6 boxes from the Giant grocery. Is this is an ongoing problem. The box and the package are labeled Apple Cinnamon but the biscuits are Blueberry. Very disappointing to have your mouth all set for one taste and end up with one that you do not prefer. Anyone else experience this problem.

  24. Anonymous11:16 am

    I bought these because of the commercial, and they looked like something I would like. Because of chemotherapy, I don't always feel like eating anything; my taste buds are just shot temporarily, and lots of foods just don't taste like anything. Sometimes, I have gone all day without eating, and only when it comes time to prepare supper for my family do I realize I haven't eaten all day.If I can have these with a little almond butter or some cream cheese, I see nothing wrong with it. It helps me get some calories into me, rather than losing weight when I shouldn't. I eat healthy as much as possible, but sometimes having something like these on hand to have for a meal or snack is easy on me.

  25. This guy seems to have a grudge against the food industry, as his videos on the sidebar would indicate. Now, this would certainly make him biased, but biased doesn't necessarily mean wrong, in both specific details and the overall idea. I do, however, question his motives, since his rhetorical methods reek of the "slick marketing" of the food industry, since the only actual fact of this article is the sugar content of the product, which he goes out of his way to present in a negative light. Now, I can't prove anything, obviously, but to me it seems like he's just using some sensationalist fear mongering, to a very small degree, because he wants you to blindly believe what he's saying so he can sell his book and gain popularity. If I'm wrong, I apologize, but in all likelihood no one but him will ever know for sure.

    Now about that sugar. Using the website I did some checking, and he's correct, a four pack of Belvita has the same sugar content as a four pack of Oreos, 13g. At least, the flavors with the highest sugar content, blueberry and apple cinnamon, do. The others get down to 10g. Not big of a difference, I just think it's funny that the author chose the one with the most sugar as an example. Slightly misleading, but forgivable. Still, it's not enough to get a proper grasp on the actual nutrition value, it's just a single aspect. You'll have to research the other aspects yourself, for I think it's important to not rely on a single source, such as I, for information.

    I will humor, however, that single aspect and use the above website to compare items of similar sugar value.

    Belvita, blueberry, 4 pack, 1.6 oz: 13g
    Apple, with skin, 6 oz: 15.9g
    Banana, with skin, 5.5 oz: 12.2g
    Grapes, 3 oz: 13.2g
    Grapefruit, 7 oz: 13.9g

    I could go on, but I encourage you to look into it yourself. I would even suggest you use a number of different to ensure the highest validity.

    Now, I'm not trying to say he's wrong, about anything. I'm just trying to encourage you to think for yourself and not take anything he says, or anyone says, as fact until you've looked into it yourself. Just because someone is playing the good guy against an 'evil' corporation doesn't mean they're infallible, or even honest. You have to do the work to research every fact from multiple sources, and be very mindful of rhetoric if you expect to get a balanced, well-grounded point of view. To paraphrase Albert Einstein: "Never stop questioning."

  26. Anonymous11:33 am

    They are great to soak up the bacon grease and egg yolk in my normal "sustained cholesterol release" breakfast.