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Myths that mire

Perdue Perfect PortionsPerdue® Perfect Portions® infuriate me. You should see the steam coming out of my ears. First they broadcast on their package front “No Hormones or Steroids Added.” So how’s this – taken directly from the USDA: Hormones are not allowed in raising hogs or poultry. Therefore, the claim “no hormones added” cannot be used on the labels of pork or poultry unless it is followed by a statement that says “Federal regulations prohibit the use of hormones.” Oh yes, I see that little symbol on the front of the package now! Sneaky Pete.

Another reason I’m pissed. Look at the weight of this chicken. 1.5 lbs. Count the boneless, skinless chicken breasts. 5. Divide. Each portion weighs in at 4.8 oz. Perfect? The DASH diet recommends 6 ounces or less of lean meats, poultry and fish per day for a 2,000 calorie intake and usually suggests a 3 oz portion at lunch and dinner. The perfect portions are almost at an entire days’ worth of this food category. Yikes!

Oscar Mayer is super excited about their Natural Slow Roasted Turkey Breast and boast in their ad that “Some things are full of hormones, we’re not!” Well  now, re-read the above – hormones are not allowed in raising poultry, aka turkey, period per federal regulations. Did they think we didn’t know turkey is poultry??

Fifty 50 Peanut ButterFifty 50 brand low glycemic peanut butter (without added sugar, appropriate for low glycemic diet). Hmph. Well, I give them credit for giving half their profit to fund diabetes research and adding no sugar, yet hydrogenated vegetable oil (rapeseed, cottonseed, soybean) is the 2nd ingredient. Aren’t hydrogenated fats bad for us? Also at issue for dietitians are foods that target a particular population. Who even knows what a low glycemic index diet is? Not picking on this brand alone …

Another caveat. Reduced fat peanut butter adds, wait for it, sugar! And Skippy’s 25% reduced fat peanut butter is not peanut butter at all. Federal regulations mandate there be a certain amount of nuts in the jar to be peanut butter. If not enough nuts, it’s known as peanut butter spread or peanut spread. Peanuts contains polyunsaturated fats (and no, there is never cholesterol in plant foods except palm and coconut oils), known to be healthier than saturated fat so there’s not too much to worry about unless you eat the entire jar!

Watch for other sugar names in nut butters like corn syrup, high fructose corn syrup, and molasses (just because the label touts ‘organic,’ remember, sugar is still sugar), and look for added fat, usually palm oil, which is a vegetable-based saturated fat source or those fats listed above. Watch, too, for fillers like soy protein, and unnecessary vitamins like folic acid, zinc, and magnesium.

Natural is another label word that entices consumers to purchase without a guilty conscience but what does it really mean – besides pissing me off again? According to the USDA, natural is “a product containing no artificial ingredient or added color and is only minimally processed. Minimal processing means that the product was processed in a manner that does not fundamentally alter the product. The label must include a statement explaining the meaning of the term natural (such as “no artificial ingredients; minimally processed”). Well, I prefer my products to be close-t0-the-source in the first place – leave off Natural, it’s confusing.

Last, the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) just busted Simply’s juice drinks that brad “all natural, simple ingredients, honestly simple.” Yep. Sugar is simple. So is water. That’s 90% of their beverage. 10% is juice and natural (there we go again) flavors. Also blasted Jimmy Dean’s Rise and Shine On breakfast sandwich’s real ingredients – glad to know the mostly white flour, tapioca starch, carrageenan, and caramel color, among other ingredients, are REAL. Special K cereals are more white flour than whole grain and filled with 2 teaspoons sugar per serving despite their not-so-special ads.

There you have it. Just a few examples of misleading the public, enticing spending money on false pretenses. Send me more! Scour your grocer’s shelves and send more erroneous label statements.

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