Nutrition in the media often comes with a few too many ingredients and not enough direction. Join us every Friday for some Real Talk with Spright’s registered dietitian, breaking down the week’s trending headlines to what you actually need to know. If you have any studies or articles you’d like us to decode and dish up, send them over to firstname.lastname@example.org!
When labels are misleading and Cheerios get sued:
Cheerios Protein, the most recent addition to the Cheerios portfolio, is proving to be a huge Big Food mistake. Starting with the front-of-package claims of 11g of protein per serving, Cheerios Protein falsehoods abound. The cereal debuted last year and General Mills is being sued by the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) for “falsely and misleadingly” marketing the product to children and adults.
Read More: How to Read an Ingredient List
Facts: Cheerios Protein has 7g of protein per serving (add 4g to get to the boasted 11g with 1/2 cup of skim milk), but one serving of Cheerios Protein is larger than one serving of Cheerios. Ounce for ounce, the classic cereal has about the same amount of protein. Cheerios Protein has a whopping 17g of sugar per serving, which is exponentially higher than the classic version and any competing cereal. In other words, it’s a far cry from a healthier, higher protein, breakfast cereal.
Real Talk: it’s so important for you to check ingredient lists and nutrition facts labels before you buy. Never trust the marketing ploys on food packages. Big Food companies have mastered this type of trickery and aren’t called out for it often enough.
What happens when genetic engineers go fishing:
The FDA has ruled to allow the sale of genetically engineered (GMO) salmon, which will not be labeled as GMO. As is often the case, Marion Nestle, Food Policy Expert and Nutrition Professor at NYU, says it best, “What more to say? Only that federal agencies are tone deaf about the GMO issue.” When compared, the GMO salmon is almost twice as long (in inches), weighing more than twice as much as a farmed salmon filet.
Read More: What Would a GMO Food Label Tell You?
There are a few things that the FDA has “generally recognized as safe” that end up under public scrutiny. GMOs seem to top that list; this salmon announcement will undoubtedly add more fuel to the “Label GMOs” fire.
Real Talk: While there may not be strong evidence that this GMO salmon isn’t safe for consumption, the FDA’s opinion of what is safe and healthy isn’t always the same as that of health professionals. Get in the habit of knowing your seafood sources. Check out the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch updates (seafoodwatch.org) and, if possible, buy from local vendors.
In Other News:
Another reminder that there is little to no certainty that dietary supplements contain what they claim to. USPlabs is being charged in a “federal sweep” for falsely claiming to use natural plant extracts when their product actually contained a “synthetic stimulant made in a Chinese chemical factory.”