Obedient Ingredients

A place to put cooking ideas to the test.

Disobedient Ingredients: A Rant About Deceiving Snacks

3 Comments

Brookside’s Dark Chocolate Goji/Acai/Pomegranate  are the worst snacks out there.

They are not the worst because they are disgusting, and they are not even the most unhealthy thing out there. They are the WORST because they are so misleading.

acai-bag

The biggest problem is how they are advertising themselves as a product that contains a SUPERFOOD. Why would I say this? Look at the package, and tell me, what is one of the biggest and boldest words on the packaging. It’s the word “goji” or “acai”.

So what the heck are these things?

Even if you are not a health food expert or even someone that is very intentional with what you eat, you have perhaps come into contact with the phrase superfood. I am not going to discuss the merits of these superfoods, but I do believe that the popularity of the 100% natural fruits and nuts is a good thing.

I am sure through osmosis you are able to equate things like “goji berries” and “acai” and “maca powder” and “chia seeds” and “raw cacao nibs” with HEALTHY. You think an amazing number of good nutrients packed into something that people 1000 years ago ate!

So, whether you are a lover of organic superfoods or simply not opposed to trying out some new health trends, anything that promotes the inclusion of a superfood is super good. Right?

That’s what I thought, and one day I bought a bag of these. My first clue that these were utter crap was that they were sold in CVS alongside the candy.

We can take a lesson from Michael Pollen and remember his rule about what food to eat:

“Don’t eat anything with more than five ingredients, or ingredients you can’t pronounce.”

So, onto the actual ingredients for Brookside’s Dark Chocolate Goji with Raspberry Flavors (taken from their website)…

(Here’s something good to know: the order in which the ingredients are listed indicate the percentage that exist in the food; if listed first, you know that there is more of that ingredient than the ones listed below)

1. SEMI-SWEET CHOCOLATE (SUGAR; CHOCOLATE; COCOA BUTTER; MILK; COCOA PROCESSED WITH ALKALI; MILK FAT; SOY LECITHIN; SALT; NATURAL VANILLA FLAVOR

Let’s take a break right there, and we’re only on the first ingredient. Just soak this in. This is basically what you are consuming.

2. SUGAR

Fair enough. It’s a candy, I suppose. Still, not a good sign that this is the second ingredient.

3. CORN SYRUP

But we just had sugar … another sweetener? Huh, Ok…

4. FRUIT JUICE CONCENTRATE (RASPBERRY JUICE CONCENTRATE; APPLE JUICE CONCENTRATE; LEMON JUICE CONCENTRATE; GOJI BERRY JUICE CONCENTRATE)

I’d like to take this opportunity to remind you to look at the packaging. Look at all of that fruit you saw! Well, it’s concentrate, not even the real fruit.

And there is the superfood….but, it’s also just it’s juice…um…is there more?

5. MALTODEXTRIN

Oh God, cannot pronounce, I’m sure it’s used to…keep this fresh? I dunno, let’s move on.

6. DEIONIZED APPLE JUICE CONCENTRATE

Thanks, NASA (this just sounds like something astronauts use)

7. NATURAL FLAVOR

You know what, f*** you, Brookside. What does that even mean?

8.-16  PECTIN; MALIC ACID; MODIFIED FOOD STARCH; CANOLA OIL; ASCORBIC ACID; SODIUM CITRATE; RESINOUS GLAZE; SODIUM BICARBONATE; CITRIC ACID

I’m just going to stop us right here. I couldn’t really continue writing about every ingredient, but you get the point.

Now, I am not the healthiest person, nor am I incredibly intentional about all of the ingredients that are in the things I buy and eat. I respect the people that do only buy organic and all-natural and focus on incredibly healthy. But I think this is a great reminder that marketing is clever and tricks us to eating crap, even though we think we’re eating something “good”.

I know Brookside is not the only company responsible, but if I find any other product that promotes a superfood when it clearly is just a chocolate covered jelly bean, I may have to point it out.

Here’s a video about amounts of sugar in things we may consider “healthy” and why we should always be aware of what we are actually eating.

Rant, over.

About these ads

3 thoughts on “Disobedient Ingredients: A Rant About Deceiving Snacks

  1. AJ! This happened to me today in the CVS! I noticed these chocolate covered blueberry things. I thought to myself, huh…what’s this? And then promptly noticed that it said “blueberry flavored” and moved along. No real fruit here!

  2. “Don’t eat anything with more than five ingredients, or ingredients you can’t pronounce.”

    This may be the most asinine piece of advice I’ve ever seen I made a killer gumbo the other day with about 20+ ingredients (Celery, Onions, Bell Peppers, Shrimp, Butter, Flour, Water, Paprika, Garlic, etc…) and I’m pretty sure I could pick quite a few really healthy Chinese ingredients that you couldn’t pronounce.

    “Well, it’s concentrate, not even the real fruit.”

    Concentrate is made by taking fruit juice (from real fruit) and evaporating (or boiling) off water in order to store it easier and more safely (concentrated sugars will kill off bacteria). This is probably closer to real fruit than a lot of what you think of as real fruit.

    • Thanks for your feedback. If I may, I would suggest you stop, just for a second, and actually think about this. Mr. Pollan’s basic philosophy is that to be healthy, one needs to eat real food. His criticism is toward the modern, manufactured items that pass as food. So, he would absolutely have no problem with a DISH that contains dozens of real foods, and your gumbo is a lovely example of that. The SPIRIT of the rule is aimed toward those products – marketed as healthy or otherwise but marketed as food nonetheless – that contain more than 5 ingredients like Tostios or Hot Pockets or these “Superfood” berries. So, if a SINGLE item, like potato chip, has more than 5 ingredients, it probably contains something not that great for you.

      Therefore, understanding the spirit of the rule a bit more, I still think it fits perfectly into the little fun I was trying to have with this lame “food” item I came across.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 104 other followers