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Fittingly Mad: "Functional" Junk Foods

Fittingly Mad: "Functional" Junk Foods

Companies are always coming up with new ways to entice customers to buy their products. Recently, a whole line of functional foods has evolved — regular foods that are enhanced with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and fiber. These products sound really healthy, so the average consumer sees "Now With Added Fiber" or "Packed With Vitamin A" on the package and places it to the cart without even looking at the label. If they did peek, they would be appalled to see that these products are often just junk food disguised as healthy food. Many of these products contain loads sugar, corn syrup, sodium, and the dreaded trans fat.

Food companies are preying on lazy consumers who see buzz words like "antioxidants," "fiber," and "omega-3s," which make us think we're not getting enough, so we feel compelled to buy these products. The truth is, if you eat a healthy diet full of a variety of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, healthy fats, and lean proteins, you don't need all these enhanced foods. You get enough of what you need from your diet alone. If you're worried about making your quota of certain nutrients, then opt for eating a food that naturally contains what you're missing, instead of foods that are artificially enriched.

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insanitypepper insanitypepper 7 years
I swear those fiber bars by Quaker & Fiber One are more corn product than oatmeal.
GlowingMoon GlowingMoon 7 years
I agree -- it's more about marketing. It's about having that product stand-out in the shelf among similar products. Also, I agree it's better to eat a food that naturally has a certain nutrient than foods that are artificially enhanced.
Spectra Spectra 7 years
It's a marketing thing more than anything. Food companies can always sell more of a product if they can claim it has some sort of nutritional value, even if it IS full of other crap. I went to the movies yesterday and saw that Raisinets had a label on it saying "Full of Antioxidants!". C'mon, give me a break; it's CHOCOLATE.
MariahGem MariahGem 7 years
I totally agree! A few years ago I totally got hooked on V8 Splash! It FULL of veggies and fruits right? No. It's got some of that, but it's more full of High Fructose Corn Syrup. (Yeah, corn *is* a veggie, but...) You just have to be a good label reader!
zeze zeze 7 years
I agree with the other, I try not to be a lazy consumer, and read up, but there is only so much we can do in addition to our day job. You figure you can't eat the perfect healthful natural meal all the time, so the Fiberone Chocolate bar at least provides you with 9g of fiber?! And until I see the quaker bar up there now, I honestly thought that while it wasn't as healthful as a veggie omelet, it is still lots of fiber for a 130 calories. I don't get it, besides the obviously healthful stuff like fruits and veggies, how do we know when some of these other buzz-word filled products are actually doing what they claim.
kia kia 7 years
I don't think it is only "lazy" customers. I have said it on this site before and I still contend the U. S. government has not done its citizens a service by giving a green light for food manufacturers to make empty calories by stripping food of its nutrients only for them to be added back in an artificial form. The FDA has been letting too much slide for years and big food companies have some amazing lobbyists working on their side. I don't think people are lazy in believing a food is good for you when it is "regulated" by their government.
ShedItandGetIt ShedItandGetIt 7 years
I don't think it's just "lazy" customers; I really think it's just overwhelming info/news/buzzwords. With SO much info about health/fitness out there, it's hard to sort through it, and someone who just isn't super interested in that stuff may not have the patience to pick through the info and figure out what they need. Just like my eyes glaze over when I see an article about how to save money. For the people who eat a ton of processed foods, they think they are doing something good. Sad though.
cg130 cg130 7 years
I can't imagine how anyone could think that anything with the word "froot" in it would be healthy...
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