One Serving of Deception August 30, 2005
As America inexorably gets fatter and less healthy, you'd think some simple improvements like accurate labeling of "food products" would gather steam--but alas, food packaging is often misleading to the point of pure 100% deception of the inattentive or hurried shopper.
For instance, take a 20 fluid ounce bottle of Sobe "flavored beverage." (Note the absence of substances such as "fruit juice" in the ingredients.) The Nutrition Facts label, which is printed in such tiny letters that it is difficult to read, states that the drink contains 130 calories per serving. The average shopper can be forgiven for assuming that the bottle would constitute a single serving, since it isn't a jug or liter container.
But no, the 20-oz. bottle contains 2.5 servings--a number suspiciously in between two and three. Why? Could it be the bottler chose 2.5 in order to reduce the calorie-count per serving to the modest-sounding 130 calories? One wonders....after all, consumers have every expectation that a serving should be at least 12 fluid ounces--a typical can of soda or juice. At this rate, the bottle of Sobe would contain no more than 1.6 servings.
Some very basic math reveals that the single bottle contains 325 calories, an enormous amount for a single drink. Recall that typically-sized human beings require about 1,500 - 1,600 calories per day. This sugar-filled drink (the main ingredient other than water is high-fructose corn syrup, i.e. sugar) is thus about 20% of the entire day's calories. Since there is no nutritional value in the drink whatsoever (it contains trace amounts of echinacea, a substance recently proven to be of no value in fighting colds), then what the drink effectively does is either add 20% empty calories to a person's diet, leading to added pounds of fat (that is, more calories consumed than calories expended), or it replaces calories from actual food with worthless sugar.
Either way, the consumer of this beverage is the loser. If product labeling regulations required the posting of a typical serving rather than deceptively tiny servings, the the consumer might have the chance to figure out that this beverage is loaded with worthless calories from sugar without turning to a calculator.
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copyright © 2005 Charles Hugh Smith. All rights reserved in all media.
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