Nutrition information streams from every possible social media platform with helpful–and often not so helpful–tips about food and nutrition, promoting health and treating disease. Too often marketing trumps science, with consumers left to sort everything out.
In less than 3 minutes scrolling twitter this morning I spotted three perfect example of everything from almost-to-be-expected marketing hype to blatant lies.
First I learned about “healthy” ice cream. No wonder the FDA is grappling with the use of the term. In this case, Halo Top products crow about less fat, less sugar, and more protein in every pint. However, that doesn’t make the product “healthy”. It is merely less caloric, with less fat and sugar, and more protein than other ice cream brands.
I grimace at the mix of stevia and erythritol providing sweetness, a kind of deal with the devil. A sweet taste in calorie rich foods rev up insulin secretion and possible impairs how our body registers “enough”, not necessarily a good thing for many Americans struggling with poor metabolic health. Maybe they are “better than” other sweeteners, but that doesn’t necessarily vault them into a “healthy” category.
Plenty of natural and organic additives help Halo Top taste like “real ice cream”, although achieving an acceptable mouth feel and texture remains a challenging task when reducing both fat and sugar. I’m old enough to remember the slightly nauseating slick mouth feel of Simplesse, so to be fair a taste test is likely in my future.
Bottom line, I cringe at the product label advertising so few calories, almost goading consumers into eating the entire pint. For most consumers, keep a treat a treat. When you choose to indulge, make sure it is delicious and satisfying, not just seducing you to eat the whole thing.
How does any single food helps control blood pressure, fights migraines, improve energy, and support weight loss without regard for the rest of the diet? Americans are being sold a bill of goods.
Quinoa is only one of a number of so called “superfoods”, the brainchild of marketing geniuses with little regard for how the body truly works. Shame on journalists and bloggers– especially doctors, dietitians, and other health care providers– who regularly hawk these foods for more than they can deliver.
Ironically, despite all the hype about quinoa and protein, the grain yields a nutritional profile not unlike other grains. While a half cup serving yields 4 grams of protein compared to 2 grams for most grains, quinoa is still a rich source of carbohydrates. With almost 20 grams of carbohydrate per half cup, quinoa delivers about 71% of calories from carbs. Quinoa is a lovely, tasty grain. Enjoy it as such.
HOW CAN A “LOW CARB” RECIPE DELIVER MORE CARBOHYDRATE THAN ANYTHING ELSE?
A tweet touting an article featuring a “Low-Carb Breakfast You’ve Got toTry” from Shape Magazine caught my eye. I clicked onto the piece, noting the use of cauliflower instead of oatmeal as well as the addition of banana, soy milk, maple syrup, strawberries and pear.
True, the breakfast recipe includes no starch or grain, but yields mostly carbohydrate calories none-the-less. For the most part, fruit and vegetables predominantly contribute carbohydrate calories with a few exceptions.
This so called “low carb” breakfast yields 57% carbohydrate calories, with a full tablespoon of raw almonds and a half tablespoon of almond butter providing most of the 30% calories from fat and a portion of the less than 20% protein. By most standards, this breakfast could be considered a higher carbohydrate breakfast.
Ideally social media could offer sound advice or lead consumers to click on a link to helpful information. Unfortunately, marketing often trumps science, even from sources that should know better.
In many ways consumers are left to fend for themselves, and identifying trustworthy resources takes time and effort. I’m happy to be of service, however I’m curious how else you navigate the world of food and nutrition online. What other resources do you use?