Thursday, September 10, 2009

More on the Smart Choices Program

(Second of two parts)

Unfortunately, as I’ve often written, F.D.A. and U.S.D.A. guidelines aren’t exactly the gold standard for healthy eating.

Kim Metcalfe, the spokesperson for the Smart Choices Program, thought it was unfortunate that a handful of products—most noticeably Froot Loops—were giving a far-reaching program a bad name.

Metcalfe mentioned Lipton Caffeine Free Herbal Teas (seven flavors), Quaker Instant Oatmeal (13 flavors), Hunt’s Tomato Paste and Kellogg's Corn Pops(!) as foods that are good examples of the Smart Choices Program.

However, it would take a serious leap of faith to truly consider Quaker Instant Oatmeal Strawberries & Cream a healthy food. The “artificially flavored fruit pieces and non-dairy creamer” contain 12 grams of sugar per serving (that's a lot), flavored and colored fruit pieces, artificial strawberry flavor and red 40.

The bottom line is that making better food choices for you and your family takes some effort and isn’t going to magically happen. Cooking is necessary, as is the reading of ingredient lists when purchasing packaged and processed foods. Relying on the big food companies and their green checkmarks for straightforward health information is a recipe for disaster.

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