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Let me introduce myself. My name is Mark Sisson. I’m 63 years young. I live and work in Malibu, California. In a past life I was a professional marathoner and triathlete. Now my life goal is to help 100 million people get healthy. I started this blog in 2006 to empower people to take full responsibility for their own health and enjoyment of life by investigating, discussing, and critically rethinking everything we’ve assumed to be true about health and wellness...

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July 16, 2007

Ridiculous Health Claims: Mark’s Daily Apple Goes to the Grocery Store

By Worker Bee
26 Comments

A PICTORIAL, IN WHICH YOUR BEES CONSIDER THE VARIOUS OFFERINGS OF THE MIDDLE AISLES

Was it a mischievous mood, or simply the carbs? Over the weekend your Bees decided to explore (cue drums) the middle aisles of the grocery store. Here’s what we found:
Promax: maxing your chances for diabetes.

We know that candy bars aren’t healthy (duh). How about a nice protein energy bar instead? Surely that’s gonna be nutritious! The Promax Cookies ‘n Cream bar even says so on the upper left corner: “Really Delicious. Really Nutritious.” It’s in red, so you just know it must be true. Plus, it is all natural.

But wait! Looking at the ingredients, we are confused. Granted, we are only bees. The list starts with some decent things, like whey protein and antioxidants (the new glamour children of processed foods). But it quickly turns to the usual suspects found in your average candy bar: high fructose corn syrup, canola oil, dyes and artificial flavorings, starches, and gums. Hmm. Maybe we’ll just get some juice. Juice is healthy, right? Especially if we choose the juice aimed at children, right?
Because kids need antioxidants. But mostly sugar.

Now this looks great. Nothing artificial, and more antioxidants! Hooray! Let’s take a look at the ingredients. 10% juice. Hmm, maybe we are just bad at math, but we’re pretty sure that means 90% high fructose corn syrup. Oh, look at this! It does contain 90% sweetener! Maybe you have to be a surfer, but this does not seem cool to us.

Time to move on to actual nourishment. Let’s find a convenient meal that is great for adults and kids alike. How about corn dogs? Hey, it says “trans fat free” so that must be healthy! Wait a minute, everything in the frozen section is now trans fat free. But we’ll stick with the corn dogs since they have that special double-dipped honey sweet coating. It’s not real honey or anything, but we’re not really Pooh Bear, so who cares? As long as it sorta-kinda tastes like honey and helps our bellies look decidedly Pooh-esque, it’s all good.
Trans fat free!

Oh, wait! One of us (ahem) has a problem with corn dogs. Apparently she is too good for mechanically-separated spinal meat. Fine (coughsnobcough). How about some vegetarian sausage? That surely must be healthy! See, low fat! Processed foods can be nutritious!

Oh, but wait. There are over two dozen ingredients in this “sausage”, including all the same things used in the “healthy” energy bar. This is really getting to be depressing. What other aisles are there? Surely there must be some healthy prepared foods somewhere in this dizzying labyrinth of Natural! Trans fat free! Low fat! A good source of some stupid vitamin! No sugar added because it’s already jammed full of it naturally!

Aha! The “snack” aisle. Because the other five aisles of processed, sugar-filled, sodium-bloated crap weren’t “snacks” but rather a healthy part of a balanced obesity epidemic. (Ever notice how all these processed foods say “a healthy part of a balanced meal”? And the picture is always the processed food with an apple or a salad or a glass of milk? What, pray tell, is the processed food bringing to the table?)

But the chip package says “Smart Choices Made Easy”. Finally, something healthy! And the best part about this entire adventure is the fact that the smartest choice in the grocery store is easy. Sniff. It brings tears to the eyes. Where’s the Kleenex aisle?

[tags] grocery store, processed food, snack foods, protein bar, Promax, juice, veggie sausage, vegetarian, high fructose corn syrup, sugar, Capri Sun, Lay’s chips [/tags]

TAGS:  Hype, marketing

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24 Comments on "Ridiculous Health Claims: Mark’s Daily Apple Goes to the Grocery Store"

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Tammy
Tammy
9 years 4 months ago

This post is a perfect example of why “sticking to the perimeter” is such good advice. By sticking to the perimeter of the supermarket you never see most of the marketed processed foods and are forced to buy fruit, vegetables, meat and dairy. Everything listed above would be avoided by this simple rule of thumb.

Tammy
Tammy
9 years 4 months ago

Oh… I should add… Another way to avoid these types of foods is by really examining the way they taste. IMHO – All of the food above tastes awful!!! It may fill your tummy, be convenient and readily available, but nothing can match natural, healthy, whole foods prepared with care for enjoyment and taste.

Sara
9 years 4 months ago

Great points, Tammy!

Burton
Burton
9 years 4 months ago
I totally agree Tammy. I have stayed away from the type of food listed in this post for years now. I remember a time when it was normal to eat this processed garbage. It didn’t even occur to me that it was all that bad. At the time I thought I was making the better/more healthy decision. Now I can’t even imagine eating this junk. The reason people think the food above is healthy is because a) it probably isn’t quite as bad as the original versions (Ruffles, Snickers, Mickey D’s et al) and b) because the people that want… Read more »
Marie
Marie
3 years 3 months ago

I know I always thought it was OK to eat that junk too before the Corn Syrup ingredient added in everything days…Now the junk food companies are trying to put out adds saying Corn Syrup is OK just like the tabaco companies use to do about cigs!

MichaelA
MichaelA
9 years 4 months ago

But there is a time and place for everything, right? I may not live on Baked Lays, but eating them in moderation isn’t going to kill me.

Burton
Burton
9 years 4 months ago

Eating Baked Lays isn’t just about eating something bad. It is also about not eating something good. In economics this is called opportunity cost. The true cost of doing something must include those things that could have been done otherwise. Eating Baked Lays means eating something unhealthy and also means missing the opportunity to do something good for your body. I guess it comes down to how much you care to treat the one and only body you have right. Some people don’t care as much, and that should be a personal decision.

Sara
9 years 4 months ago

Interesting economics perspective, B.

Louise
Louise
9 years 4 months ago

Unfortunately, some parents think the personal decision should be extended to their kids. And some people make very bad personal decisions.We end with a country of obese people with serious medical problems flooding an already broken health care system and driving medical insurance costs through the roof. Perfect. Twinkie, anyone?

Marcus
Marcus
9 years 4 months ago

You should have seen my face as I was reading this post during my lunch and coincidentally eating a corn dog, baked Lays, and a ProMax bar while washing it down with a Capri Sun. What are the chances?

Jordan
Jordan
3 years 5 months ago

HA!

Kery
9 years 4 months ago

That was hilarious. In a kind of twisted way.

I still can’t decide if I’m not normal, or if some people should revise their skills at designing packaging, but just looking at the pictures, those foods don’t even look yummy to me… ‘barfilistic’, perhaps?

Marcus
Marcus
9 years 4 months ago

Yeah, but…

Each on their own, I admit, isn’t so good tasting. But when you get a little bite of each (a little corn dog, chips, protein bar, and a sip of surfer juice) all in your mouth at once the mixture is really good… AT KILLING YOU!!!! HEHE…

Mark
9 years 4 months ago

Reminds me of the Cowbell post we did a while back: http://www.marksdailyapple.com/more-cowbell/

Sonagi
Sonagi
9 years 4 months ago
Those liquid sugar drinks are especially pernicious – empty calories on top of a meal or a snack, and they really rot your teeth. My eight-year-old nephew, who gets semi-annual teeth cleanings, has seven cavities, the same number I have, and I am decades older than he is and saw a dentist for the first time when I was seventeen. Baked Lays are disgusting. They’re not even real potato chips but the potato chip equivalent of chicken nuggets – potato flour and other mysterious ingredients mixed together and shaped to look like a chip. Besides, refined carbs baked or fried… Read more »
Mark
9 years 4 months ago

Sonagi, couldn’t agree more. Most of the “food” we eat is not really food. Well, I don’t eat it, but you know what I mean…

Marie
Marie
3 years 3 months ago

Do you know you would have to eat 8 tomatoes to = the nutrition of 1 tomatoe from back in the 50’s?

grisly atoms
grisly atoms
1 year 1 month ago

Those tomatoes from back in the 50’s must all be rotten by now, no?

Candace
Candace
7 years 6 months ago

I love your sense of humor 🙂

This article is a couple years old now but did you know they label Full Throttle “energy drinks” as being “A Natural Health Product”? (I’m guessing you did). As if there were a Full Throttle berry that they’d juiced it from, bah

Bottled juice is pretty useless anyway, but really… what an insult.

Monica
Monica
5 years 8 months ago
You’re hilarious! I totally understand what you wrote for I work at a supermarket! Only got to the primal thing a couple months ago and found myself relearning the basics of life all over again, this time the right way though… There’s absolutely nothing I can eat in that store… Other than of course produce, meat and seafood departments, frozen fruit (is frozen veggies ok btw?)and my “I can’t let it go yet” almost daily unsweetened cafe misto with cinnamon from starbucks! Even when I don’t take lunch and there’s no baked chicken in the Deli… what do I do???… Read more »
Milla
5 years 1 month ago

Sweet sausage rolls? I think I just threw up in my mouth a little.

Marie
Marie
3 years 3 months ago

Ok here is the healthier teplacent for all the foods listed;
Protein bar: buy healthier option..cliff,luna or Laramar Bar
Chips; organic blue chips
Juice for kids;Fruitables
Corn Dog/Sausage;breakfast turkey sauge with wheat bun and egg whites..the kids don’ t notice the difftence or turkey hotdogs…So there u are-nowadays there are much more healthier options then before! I have a heathier option for almost everything..and stay away from Natural Flavors that usually means corn syrup..just natural will not have Corn Syrup in the product

Vixxi
Vixxi
1 year 11 months ago
Those aren’t healthier, they’re rife with natural sugars, which are still crap for you. Wheat isn’t much better then white, despite what American campaign adds said about it in the early 2000’s Companies lie. The only truly healthy foods are things that aren’t processed at all and usually meats with lots of healthy fats, veggies, minimal fruit and lots of water. Done. This whole 60% of your food should be carbs goes against the fact that carbs = sugar and while complex are better, they are still sugar in the end too. Fat is not your enemy, carbs are because… Read more »
James
James
3 years 18 days ago

I worked in food & drink research and marketing for close to 2 decades and always remind people that marketing isn’t about telling the truth: it’s about selling you a product. Most consumers assume that there are laws and regulations that keep manufacturers and retailers from lying. There are, to some extent, but they’re open to interpretation and exploitation. Brands are so powerful, however, that consumers want to believe, and often do believe, whatever they say.

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