A four ounce serving of Coke contains 13.5 grams of sugar and a four ounce serving of Mott’s Original Applesauce contains a whopping 22 grams of sugar! How sad is that? Not to mention that Mott’s “Original” Applesauce is sweetened with High Fructose Corn Syrup. Considering that the company was founded by Mr. Samuel Mott in 1842, I highly doubt that HFCS was used in the “Original” recipe. A fellow mommy blogger recently wrote about how she was “tricked by the packaging” and never even thought to look for unsweetened applesauce which contains only 11 grams of sugar. Apple sauce is just cooked and pureed apples right? Wrong. I had a similar experience recently with those “healthy” fruit pouches that give the impression that they are 100% fruit. After I purchased them, I noticed that the 2nd ingredient was “apple juice concentrate”, which increases the sugar and reduces the fiber of the pureed fruit, far from ideal. It’s unfortunate that we can no longer trust simple things like applesauce from a company that has been around for over 150 years, but this is the monster that the food industry has created.
While the FDA and FTC have rules in place to protect us from misleading ads, etc, the though the laws are grey and often not enforced, the FTC did recently charge the makers of POM Wonderful for using deceptive advertising to market their products. This included making health claims like “reduces risk of heart disease and prostate cancer”. While I can’t say whether or not their claims are valid, what I do know is that one bottle of their juice has 17 teaspoons of sugar, 320 calories, and ZERO fiber, vitamin C, calcium, iron and vitamin A. SEVENTEEN TEASPOONS OF SUGAR! The way I see it, even if they could prove their health claims (which they haven’t yet), there are much healthier ways to reduce heart disease and cancer risk than consuming a beverage loaded with sugar.
I know we’ve said this dozens of times, but for the sake of your health, and your family’s health, PLEASE READ LABELS. I know it’s time consuming and tedious, and many times I find myself just throwing things in my cart while counting the seconds to the next meltdown from one of the three amigos. When I am able to glance at the back of a package, look for the following:
1. Sugar – Be aware of the amount per serving, this is especially tricky with beverages; and look at it as a percentage of the total serving size. So, if the serving is 40 grams and the sugar is 20 grams, that’s 50% sugar, and probably not a good choice.
2. Fat – Try to avoid anything with Trans Fat and keep Saturated Fat to less than 10% of DV
3. Fiber – For foods that should have fiber, ie. cereals, bread, crackers etc, I generally avoid products with less than 3 grams per serving. Also, look for “whole wheat” or “whole grains” in the ingredients.
4. Sodium – I look for products with less 10% DV of sodium, but 15% DV is my absolute cut off.
5. Ingredients – While ingredient lists may seem overwhelming, focus on the first 3-5 ingredients, those are the most relevant. Avoid things like high fructose corn syrup, hydrogenated fats, artificial colors and sweeteners. I also pass on on anything that any form of sugar/sweetner as the first ingredient.