Living: Food: 'HEALTHY' FOODS ON TRIAL; DO You Trust the Food Industry? We Put 10 'Healthy Eating' Products on Trial by Seeking the Views of a Professional Nutritionist. Lifestyle Editor Zoe Chamberlain Reports

Sunday Mercury (Birmingham, England), April 27, 2003 | Go to article overview

Living: Food: 'HEALTHY' FOODS ON TRIAL; DO You Trust the Food Industry? We Put 10 'Healthy Eating' Products on Trial by Seeking the Views of a Professional Nutritionist. Lifestyle Editor Zoe Chamberlain Reports


Byline: Zoe Chamberlain

NEXT time you visit the 'healthy food' aisle of the supermarket, think again before you happily throw those guilt-free goodies into your trolley.

For while they may be emblazoned with comforting messages like 'low in fat', 'lite' and 'looking after you', they could be packed with salt and sugar to boost their flavour.

We asked Birmingham nutritionist Penny Livingstone for the cold, hard facts on exactly what the labels mean.

The results make very interesting reading...SAINSBURY'S BE GOOD TO YOURSELF MILK CHOCOLATE DIGESTIVE BISCUITS - 97p THE JARGON: '25 per cent less fat' PENNY SAYS: 'These contain 3g of fat per biscuit so eating just two or three is about the equivalent of a whole Mars bar - and I know which I would sooner have.

'The third ingredient listed is sugar which speaks for itself.'

THEY SAY: 'We are re-launching the Be Good To Yourself range in May to see not only new and improved products - all meeting tighter nutritional criteria - but also a brand new logo and packaging design which we hope will make it easier for our customers to find the products they desire.

'In light of the changes in criteria, these biscuits will be removed from the range.'

SAINSBURY'S BE GOOD TO YOURSELF ASPARAGUS & RICOTTA STUFFED CHICKEN WITH HERB RICE - pounds 2.99 THE JARGON: 'Less than three per cent fat' PENNY SAYS: 'This contains 3g of salt which is bad news for people with high blood pressure or cholesterol.

'The product also has a long list of ingredients which shows just how processed it is.'

THEY SAY: 'This salt content is approximately half the guideline daily amount5g salt for women, 7g for men - for a 400g meal, so it meets our criteria.'

SAINSBURY'S BE GOOD TO YOURSELF DOUBLE CHOCOLATE SPONGE PUDDINGS - pounds 1.69 THE JARGON: 'Less than five per cent fat' PENNY SAYS: 'You cannot perform miracles with food that is sugary and fattening.

'This product is fairly low in fat, but less than three per cent is generally accepted as the standard 'low fat' food guideline.'

THEY SAY: 'This pudding is currently being reformulated to meet the new criteria for our relaunch in May.'

SOMERFIELD HIGH JUICE BLACKCURRANT DRINK - pounds 3.09 THE JARGON: 'Contains 50 per cent juice' PENNY SAYS: 'Unfortunately 'high juice' makes it sound like a nice natural juice drink when in fact the number one ingredient in this is sugar.

'At 124 cals per serving, it is quite high in calories. It's better to opt for fruit juice, which contain 100 per cent juice, rather than fruit drinks which can contain lots of sugar.'

THEY SAY: 'All the nutritional information required is on the label and the drink is correctly described as per food labelling regulations.

'All these types of drinks are made with water and sugar and a proportion of fruit juice. This product has a high juice content for this type of drink.'

MARKS & SPENCER COUNT ON US MEXICAN CHICKEN PIZZA - pounds 2.79 THE JARGON: 'Less than three per cent fat, 420 cals, salt balanced' PENNY SAYS: 'This isn't bad but you can't really have a 'diet pizza' unless you prepare it yourself without cheese.

'It's low in saturates but quite high in calories. It would be OK to eat a slice with some salad but I fear most people will think it isn't bad for them to eat the whole pizza which is wrong. …

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Living: Food: 'HEALTHY' FOODS ON TRIAL; DO You Trust the Food Industry? We Put 10 'Healthy Eating' Products on Trial by Seeking the Views of a Professional Nutritionist. Lifestyle Editor Zoe Chamberlain Reports
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