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Do you read labels? The fine print?

label reading, savvy shopper

 

Yesterday on the Inspirations for Wellness Facebook page, I posted a list of ingredients  for guessing.  Something for fun but also for enlightenshoppingment.  The game is over.  No one guessed the correct answer, by the way but I’ll share here.  It was Welch’s fruit snacks.  You can see an image of the front of the package below.  Of course, I have a few things to say about what you see on the front of the package versus in the ingredients list.  Actually that’s precisely why you are reading this as a blog post instead of a Facebook post.  So I could say a little more in a more organized format.  🙂


 

Welchs fruit snacks labelLet’s look at the package – the front.  See those fresh, healthy looking blueberries, blackberries, strawberries and raspberries?  Healthy right?  Oh and there’s 100% DV of vitamin C and 25% each of vitamins A & E.  Woo Hoo!  Who knew how nutritious fruit snacks could be?  (Sorry.  I know.  I’m being quite sarcastic.)  Oh and it’s FAT FREE and Gluten free.  And oh my gosh it’s Family Farmer Owned!  Honestly I’m not sure quite what they are saying.  Surely not that Welch’s is Family Farmer owned.  Maybe that the “berries’N cherries” came from Family Farmer owned farms?  So far it sounds GREAT.  Something you can feel good about buying and feeding to your child, right?
Of course you know there is more to this….

 

fruit snacks label

Here’s what I posted first – for guessing – this is the ingredients list, the fine print, what isn’t listed on the front of the package.
Well.  We do have juice listed as the first ingredient.  It’s from concentrate.  It would have been pasteurized.  Not much nutrition here of course.  Unfortunately the next two ingredients are sugars.  One of those is corn syrup.  Most likely from GMO corn.  I won’t go into that whole topic now.  Then we have more corn in the form of corn starch.  Next we get to the berries, the 5th ingredient listed.  I applaud them for actually having purees of the fruits they show on the fruit of their package in their product.   That isn’t always the case.  Next we see gelatin and some “acids”.  Natural and Artificial flavors.  These usually aren’t good ingredients.  Then Ascorbic acid is added – that’s where the 100% DV of Vitamin C comes in.  It’s basically a vitamin C supplement added to the product.  Then the other vitamins listed on the front.  Again, supplementation in a fruit snack.  The front makes you think it’s coming from real food used in the product but that isn’t the case.  A few other ingredients then some of the worst – Food dyes.  Red 40 and Blue 1.  I actually snapped pictures of this package awhile back, as I was looking at “food” products typically eaten by kids and how many have dyes in them.  I’ve posted articles about the various issues with food dyes on the IfW Facebook page in the past.  Here’s a link to one of them.  Notice that other countries do not allow these coloring agents to be used, let we do here in the U.S.  Here’s another article I came across as I was writing this post.  There are possible links to everything from cancer to behavioral issues in children.  What is frustrating to me is just how much of these dyes kids are ingesting.  You could say, “Oh a little won’t hurt anything.”   Maybe.   Maybe not.  My concern is that kids aren’t ingesting a little but rather a lot, simply because dyes are used in so many products given to kids.  It’s even in their toothpaste.

Let me get back to the fruit snacks.  It’s not just Welch’s that offers this sort of food for kids.  There are others.  It’s common.  You’ll see two others below.  There are more examples though so be sure to check your labels.

 


 

 This one doesn't even have fruit puree, only juice. They make sure to let you know on the front - "real fruit juice". It also has all the other ingredients already highlighted: sugar, corn syrup, etc. There is added vitamin C and food dyes: Red 40, Yellow 5, Blue 1 "and other color added". I wonder what the "other color added is". And there's a box top for your school. Uggh.

This one doesn’t even have fruit puree, only juice. They make sure to let you know on the front – “real fruit juice”.  It also has all the other ingredients already highlighted: sugar, corn syrup, etc.  There is added vitamin C and food dyes:  Red 40, Yellow 5, Blue 1 “and other color added”.  I wonder what the “other color added is”.  And there’s a box top for your school.  Uggh.

 

 

 


 

fruit gushers, fruit snack labelThis one has 3 different sugars: “sugar, dried corn syrup, corn syrup”. It also has partially hydrogenated oil. Lots of other non-food ingredients and Red 40, Blue 1, Yellow 5 & 6 and “other color added”. The “real fruit” called out on the front of the package is “pears from concentrate” in the ingredients. That’s the only fruit I can find. it is the first ingredient but isn’t real fruit, just “pear” not “from concentrate”?


 

 

So why am I sharing this?  I hope you’ll read some food labels and look for non-dye containing options.  That would be a great first step.  Maybe just pick up some fresh fruit to have on hand instead.  The food companies know we are too busy to read the fine print.  They are excellent marketers.  That’s their job – to market well and to make a profit.  Your job is eat well and stay healthy and to teach your kids to do the same.  No pressure.  You don’t have to do it overnight.  Just don’t put it off forever.  Don’t wait until there is a health crisis.  Try eliminating dyes and processed sugars and see if your kids behave better.  I want to give you food for thought and some education.  Somebody has to do it, right?  I’m the crazy lady in the grocery store taking pictures of food packaging.  lol I do it because I care.  🙂

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