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.
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.
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?
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.