When will food marketers give us a break?
If it isn’t enough we have to deal with acai berry internet scams, now top manufacturers like Kraft are pushing acai at us in snacks?
The new strawberry acai sugar free gelatin may be a great tasting snack, but please Kraft, don’t lay the bogus health halo on consumers.
What you need to know:
Unfortunately, Jell-O’s website does not provide any nutrition information regarding its products (perhaps because there’s not too much to talk about). Here is what we got from the supermarket on Raspberry Goji flavor:
Ingredient list: Water, Gelatin, Contains Less than 0.5% of AD/PIC and Citric Acid (for Tartness), Sodium Citrate (Controls Acidity), Aspartame and Acesulfame Potassium (Sweeteners), Salt, Red 40, Blue 1, Natural and Artificial Flavor, Vitamin E Acetate, Beta Carotene.
Did you notice that there is absolutely no real fruit in here? This despite the beautiful images of berries on the package…
On to the ingredient glossary:
Gelatin (E441) – gelatin is derived from the collagen in the bones of animals and fish. It’s what makes plain water become Jell-o.
Adipic Acid – an artificial substance used in creating nylon. In foods it is used to aid gelling and as a flavorant (would that by nylon flavor?).
Citric Acid (for Tartness) – a natural preservative that is used in beverages to add an acidic, sour taste. Although it is naturally found in citrus fruit (oranges, lemons), industry has a found a cheaper way to manufacture it. This is through a fermentation process in which a mold called Aspergillus niger is used to ferment a carbohydrate such as molasses. sounds grosser than it really is.
Sodium Citrate (Controls Acidity) – a food additive. Tastes a bit salty and a bit tart.
Aspartame and Acesulfame Potassium (Sweeteners) – these are zero calorie sweeteners but some studies suggest that prolonged usage, especially if begun as a child, increase the risk of cancer.
Red 40 – the most popular artificial food coloring. Food manufacturers in the EU have been asked to remove it from their products.
Blue 1 – an artificial color. some studies showed that it may cause cancer.
Natural and Artificial Flavor – that’s what makes it taste like raspberry goji jello (as if most of us even know what goji or acai taste like naturally…)
Vitamin E Acetate – a form of vitamin E
Beta Carotene – a precursor, or inactive form of vitamin A
The nutrition label is simple – 10 calories, no fat, no carbs, 1 gram of protein. No vitamin A, despite the fact that beta carotne is listed as an ingredient. No vitamin C, no any vitamin or mineral as a matter of fact.
So where are the antioxidants, you ask?
They’re in the citric acid and added vitamins, but how effective and bio-available are they when detached from their natural form? Science still does not have an answer.
Wouldn’t eating a fresh apple or a banana be a better source? Of course it would, but Kraft doesn’t sell those items. They’re not profitable.
What to do at the supermarket:
Jell-O is a fun treat and very young children can enjoy it. Heck, we loved it as kids.
But the artificial food colorings are worrying. The artificial sweeteners even more so.
So, if you really must, at least choose the “regular” sweetened version (Yes, that means sugar and high fructose corn syrup).
Help us test our new food comparison tool: alpha.fooducate.com