November 2, 2011 by Danielle
I was clearing out a few of my old magazines in an effort to de-clutter and came across a great article from Fitness Magazine.
Health Halos: What Food Labels Really Mean describes how food manufacturers are using terms that are perceived as healthy, such as “organic”, “natural” and “gluten free”, to entice you to buy them because you think the items are healthier than they are. The article is full of great information on how to avoid the “halo effect” but as I started the article I thought, “Pfttt. I know all of this already.” But when I finished the article, there was one nagging fact that I just couldn’t get out of my head. The piece states,
“What is bad for you: too much sugar in any form. Don’t buy products that list any sweetener, including honey, molasses, sucrose, fructose, and fruit juice concentrate, as one of the first four ingredients. And remember that four grams of sugar is equivalent to one teaspoon. You would never dream of dumping three teaspoons of the sweet stuff on your breakfast.”
Damn straight I would never dump sugar on my cereal. But what about the sugar that’s already in my cereal?
With that fact in mind, I hesitantly went to the pantry to check out the sugar content of my BELOVED Kashi…
13 GRAMS OF SUGAR?! Even though those 13 grams aren’t from refined sources, I had no idea that my frequent (and favorite) breakfast choice contained the equivalent of more than three teaspoons of sugar.
Turns out I overlooked the sugar content of the cereal since Kashi is full of whole grains and good for you ingredients…I guess even the best of us can fall victim to the dreaded “halo effect”.
Does this mean I’ll stop eating my favorite cereal? HECK NO. But it does mean I’ll be more vigilant about reading ALL of the nutrition information when I’m picking out foods. Definitely yes.