Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Less sugar, less real?

Have you seen the ads for Tropicana's new juice drink, Trop 50? My special favorite is the one where a bunch of 'real housewives' are trying to convince their friend that 'gooder' is a word – because the new drink she's serving them tastes 'gooder.'

That was my first red flag. Let's confuse people with bad grammar and they won't realize we're selling them junk.

The idea behind Trop 50 juice drink is that it has 50% less sugar than regular fruit juice. It comes in several flavors, such as orange and apple and pomegranate/blueberry. What struck me is the idea that you can have less sugar in something that is not supposed to have added sugar to begin with. Let's face it, fruit juice has sugar/carbs but pure fruit juice doesn't contain 'sugar' the same way soda or Kool-Aid contains sugar. But the ad campaign sort of plays on the idea that less sugar is added to the juice.

When you look at the nutrition information provided at the Trop 50 website you see the 'sugar' in Trop 50 comes from stevia or purevia – or Reb A – a plant based sweetener which is becoming popular because it doesn't have to be called 'artificial'.

So, essentially, Trop 50 has 50% less sugar [carbohydrates] than regular pure fruit juice because a sweetener has been added to it. It may not be an artificial sweetener but it's still an additive. This makes me wonder how they removed the 50% of sugar [carbohydrates] from the juice in the first place. It seems to me that basically they're taking half the juice used in a regular container of juice and replacing it with sweetened [no calorie] water, then fortifying that with vitamins and such.

I could drink half a glass of pure fruit juice and half a glass of water and get the same amount of 'less sugar' as I can from drinking a whole glass of a juice concentrate that's fortified with an added [but not artificial] sweetener.

My question is, do you think it's 'gooder' to get less sugar/carbohydrates by actually getting less juice?

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Eating like a dog

I love my dog…and I'm sure most dog owners do adore their pets, but I have to wonder if we're being hoodwinked by the pet food industry into thinking dog's need gourmet food.

Last night I saw a commercial for Cesar's dog food – it's a fancy food for smaller dogs, so it's not something I normally buy for my Dalmatian. The brand offers a new line of 'canine cuisine' [in other words, dog food] called Bistro which includes flavors like Steak Florentine, Tuscan Stew and Chicken Primavera.

In addition to the usual 'canine cuisine' ingredients such as meat by products, some vitamins and meat flavoring, these fancy little feasts contains tomatoes, carrots, pasta and spinach. Sounds tasty, doesn't it?

Not that a dog could tell. I've seen my dog eat a rock. So I don't think flavor is really chief among his concerns. He certainly could care less about carrots, tomatoes and spinach and generally wouldn't be too interested in eating those things if I served them by themselves. He would eat pasta, I'm sure. But then dogs tend to like carbs.

I have to ask myself, who are all these fancy ingredients really for? Dogs, as a rule, don't have discerning palates. Meat makes them happy, and a nice crunchy biscuit now and then, but spinach and pasta? Do dogs really need vegetables and enriched wheat products for optimum health?

You can't convince me those trappings aren't just to make dog owners feel like they're giving their pets something more than the usual slop that comes out of a 'canine cuisine' can.