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Oh my Gawd!!!
It’s the phrase we uttered most during our holiday BestBrands shopping spree. Yes, your trusted food sleuths were regularly freaked out by the plethora of Healthy Food Imposters they found lurking on grocery store shelves from coast to coast.
With so many foods and drinks trying to pass themselves off as “healthy,” we decided it might be insightful – not to mention fun – incorporating “The Healthy Food Imposter of the Month” award into our e-newsletter lineup. In order to be eligible for this award, a product must meet the following criteria:
Criteria #1: Extremely misleading information on the front label
Criteria #2: Three or more harmful junk ingredients
Criteria #3: Deceptive health claims (blatant or implied)
Criteria #4: A high shock value… the OMG response, if you will!
This award will be given out once a month on Label Lesson Day – and today is the kickoff! Drum roll please. Our first recipient of this infamous award goes to (the envelope please)…
Crystal Light Immunity On The Go Cherry Pomegranate
Serving: 5 calories, 0g fat, 10mg sodium, 1g carbs, 0% vitamin A, 0% calcium, 20% vitamin C and 0% iron)
INGREDIENTS: Citric Acid, Maltodextrin, Modified Cornstarch, Natural Flavor, Aspartame (Phenylketonurics: Contains Phenylalanine), Red 40, Contains Less than 2% of Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C), Vitamin E Acetate, Beta Carotene, Calcium Carbonate, Sodium and Potassium Bicarbonate, Magnesium Oxide, Acesulfame Potassium, Blue 1.
Criteria #1: Extremely Misleading Information on the Front Label
These individually packaged drink mixtures are intended to be added to water to boost flavor and improve your health. The front label clearly states “Immunity on the Go” and “Cherry Pomegranate.” Both terms imply that the powder will boost your immune system and provide antioxidant health benefits via the fruit.
However, after decoding the fine print, the Nutrition Facts label and the ingredients list tell a different tale.
- For starters, each serving only provides 20% RDA for vitamin C, 0% for vitamin A, 0% calcium, and 0% iron; we’re not really seeing a whole lot of immune boosting going on here.
- Then, we find very little evidence that natural cherry and pomegranate exist in the mix. We did however find two artificial color ingredients clearly used to give the mixture the illusion that there was some real fruit involved.
Criteria #2: Three or More Harmful Junk Ingredients
We found a total of 15 ingredients – eight are potentially harmful chemical additives (junk ingredients), including:
- Two artificial colors (Red 40 and Blue 1)
- Two artificial sweeteners (aspartame and acesulfame potassium)
- One refined sweetener (maltodextrin)
- Two preservatives (sodium and potassium bicarbonate)
- One thickener (modified cornstarch)
Criteria #3: Deceptive Health Claims (Blatant or Implied)
According to the Crystal Light Web sit, this variety is part of their “enhanced line that contains essential nutrients designed to hydrate you, energize and enhance your body’s natural defenses.” The site also states, “our bodies need water to function, to flush out the bad stuff…”
Really? This product is the BAD STUFF that needs to be flushed out! It’s filled with some of the worst chemical additives and they counteract any benefit that you might receive from the water. In fact, this product could actually be detrimental to your health.
Oh my Gawd! (and, thus we meet Criteria #4)
Bottom Line: We found no immunity properties, no significant antioxidants (read: health benefits) and certainly no cherry or pomegranate!
Crystal Light Immunity On The Go Cherry Pomegranate exceeds the criteria needed to win our first-ever HFI of the Month Award!
Nothing replaces the benefits of plain old filtered tap water. It’s detoxifying, cleansing and keeps you from getting dehydrated. We recommend you save your money and stick with the real deal. You’ll avoid the chemical additives that can sink your resolve to get healthier in the New Year! If drinking tap water just doesn’t do it for you, then trying adding a squirt of REAL lemon or orange to spice things up!
Remember, when you’re armed with a little eBrandAid know-how, you’re in control at the grocery store.