Friday, June 29, 2012

Can You Top This???

  Nowadays it seems that there is a new frozen yogurt place opening on every corner.  Whether it is Red Mango, CUPS, TCBY, Pinkberry, or Let's YO, these establishments offer countless flavors and toppings.    Whereas frozen yogurt, in most instances,  can prove to be a healthier alternative to ice cream, you can easily "undo" the healthiness of it by piling on certain toppings and falling into the "pitfalls" of these self serve place.
Here are some "tips" to keep this frozen treat on the healthier side:

  • Choose wisely.  Most, if not all of these establishments will offer  non-fat, sugar-free, reduced-fat versions of the frozen treat.  Skip the full-fat varieties.  Some of them are not any better than ice cream in disguise....
  • Portion Distortion.  One of the "tricks" that these places do is offer one size cup that is very large, which they are hoping we will fill to the brim as the cup may look "too empty" to our eyes with an appropriate portion.  Stick to 1 cup or less...
  • Watch Your Toppings.  One of the "draws" to these establishments is the countless toppings you can pile on your yogurt ranging from fresh fruit, sugared cereal, crumbled candy bars, and any colored sprinkle known to man.  While we may be tempted to be generous with the toppings, keep in mind that all of these toppings add calories, sugar, and in some cases added fat.  

Here are just a few examples of toppings along with their calorie information  (based on a 1/2 oz portion):

  • Fresh Strawberries:  5 kcals
  • Fresh Pineapple:  5 kcals 
  • Fresh Mango:  6 kcals
  • Low Fat Granola:  24 kcals
  • Mochi:  37 kcals
  • Carob Chips:  40 kcals
  • Walnuts:  45 kcals
  • Cheesecake Bites:  46 kcals
  • Dark Chocolate Chips:  50 kcals
  • Rainbow Sprinkles:  60 kcals
  • Brownie Bites:  63 kcals 
  • Cookie Dough Pieces:  68 kcals
  • Coconut:  73 kcals
  • Reese's Pieces: 74 kcals
  • Heath Bar Pieces:  75 kcals
  • Yogurt Chips: 75 kcals
  • Crushed Oreos: 71 kcals
  • Peanut Brittle:  100 kcals

Friday, May 25, 2012

Sierra Mist Natural: "Natural" does not always mean "Healthful"!

After watching some afternoon television today I saw a commercial that caught my attention.  It was for Sierra Mist Natural.  Really, Sierra Mist Natural.  I didn't believe my ears at first as why would a soda be calling itself "natural".  Sure enough it was the name of the soda that I heard......

Earlier this week I posted about "deceptive" product labels and here is a prime example.  According to the FDA, companies can use the word "natural" on their food labels as long as the item does not contain any artificial ingredients, coloring ingredients, or chemical preservatives, and, in the case of meat and/or poultry, is minimally processed.  This leaves alot of leeway....

Pepsico is marketing this product as natural because they have swapped the controversial high fructose corn syrup with sucrose (or in other words, table sugar).  Additionally they are advertising it this way as the product has only 5 ingredients listed:  sucrose, carbonated water, citric acid, natural flavor and potassium citrate.

As a consumer, it is important to really look at the ingredients and not be tempted by words like natural.  Here is a prime example of where natural doesn't mean healthy.  Maybe if you were a soda drinker and you were swapping a traditional kind for this it would be a better choice (which is hard for me to type)  however this item is not part of a healthy diet.  Furthermore, what exactly is "natural flavor"?  Could they be a little more specific?