Advertisers work hard to earn their money. They can take any food and make it sound nutritious. Very few laws protect the consumer from advertisers’ half-truths. It is up to us to learn how to tell what it a valid claim and what is just hype. How can you wade through the misleading information to find the truth? Easy… just look at the nutrition label and the ingredient list! The nutrition label and the ingredient list have all the information that you need to determine whether a food is healthy.
Last night was a perfect example. My kids and I were at my girlfriend’s house for dinner. She was telling me about this healthy snack she had found for her daughter. “And the best part is that she loves it!” my friend raved. She then showed me a package of Sunmaid Vanilla Yogurt Raisins. “They are raisins covered in yogurt so she’s getting fruit and milk.”
Here is how Sunmaid describes this product:
Sun-Maid starts with only the best, 100% natural raisins from sunny California. Then we cover them with a creamy, vanilla yogurt coating to create our delicious, convenient Sun-Maid Vanilla Yogurt Raisins.
They are the perfect high-energy snack food for people who are on-the-go. They also help you meet the 5-to-9 daily fruit and vegetable servings recommended by nutrition experts. Packed into the zip-close bag, Sun-Maid Vanilla Yogurt Raisins are easy to use in your party mix or cookie recipes or to pass around as a snack.
Sounds healthy, right? Then I looked at the nutrition label.
1 small package (about 25 pieces) of this “healthy snack” has 120 calories, 4.5 grams of fat and 4 GRAMS OF SATURATED FAT.
That is a ton of saturated fat (the bad fat). I particularly dislike the claim that they help you meet your fruit and vegetable servings.
Looking further down the label, I noticed that the product contains 2% RDA Vitamin C, 0% RDA Vitamin A, and 4%RDA Calcium.
I certainly would not consider this a serving of fruit or vegetables. And despite the “yogurt” covering the raisins, there is very little calcium. I decided to inspect it further and turned to the ingredient list.
Natural California Raisins, Yogurt Coating (Sugar, Partially Hydrogenated palm kernel Oil, Nonfat Milk Powder, Nonfat Yogurt Powder, Whey, Titanium Dioxide, Soy Lecithin, Vanilla), Confectioners Glaze, Corn Syrup, Dextrin, and Maltodextrin.
It seems that the raisins are not covered in yogurt but in a “yogurt coating” made mostly of sugar and partially hydrogenated oil (which is a trans fat- the WORST type of fat you can have). So while the raisins may be natural, the yogurt coating certainly isn’t.
Needless to say, my friend was dismayed to learn that this healthy snack was in no way healthy. “I should have looked more closely,” she said. I replied, “I bet raisinets are healthier than these yogurt raisins.” For fun, we went online to look.
The same serving size of raisinets has about the same calories (raisinets 118, yogurt raisins 120), slightly more fat (raisinets 4.8 grams, yogurt raisins 4.5 grams) but SIGNIFICANTLY LESS SATURATED FAT (raisinets 3.1 grams, yogurt raisins 4 grams).
The ingredient list for raisinets:
Milk Chocolate (sugar, chocolate, cocoa butter, milk, lactose, milkfat, soy lecithin, vanillin - an artificial flavor, natural flavor), Raisins, Sugar, Tapioca Dextrin, Cocoa Processed with Alkali, Confectioner’s Glaze.
Instead of an artifiical yogurt coating, at least raisinets are made with real milk chocolate. Now, I am not saying raisinets are good for you. But at least when you are giving your children raisinets to eat, you aren’t fooled into thinking they are healthy. Shame on Sunmaid for misleading parents into thinking their yogurt raisins are healthy.
This is a great example of how you can’t trust a product’s claims and must turn to the nutrition label for the truth. Don’t let yourself be misled! Always get the facts before serving a new food to your children!