It’s time for another “Misleading Product Roundup” recapping the food items I’ve shared with you on Facebook. I can’t stress enough how important it is to read the ingredients before buying any packaged food. It can feel tedious at first, but as you read through these examples below I think you’ll agree it’s a necessary evil! For more posts like this, be sure to check out Misleading Product Roundup I, II, and III.
I used to love this stuff, but then I read the back to see what they really put in it. High fructose corn syrup is the 2nd ingredient on the list! Not to mention the other questionable additives I do not cook with at home (sodium benzoate anyone?).
Real Food Alternative: How about mixing a few things together at home to make your own teriyaki marinade instead?
Try ½ cup soy sauce (low sodium recommended), ½ cup water, 3 tbsp honey, and 1 tbsp peeled & minced fresh ginger. You could also add some optional canned pineapple juice if you really want to emulate the pictured bottle.
The Lindt Chocolate ads drive me crazy. They say their chocolate is “pure” and “premium” and “expertly crafted with the finest ingredients.” Yet, when you turn it over to look at the ingredients you’ll find that almost all of their products are artificially flavored …not even the real deal! This is clearly misleading, and a reminder not to trust what these companies tell us and to instead read the ingredients to find out what’s really inside!
Real Food Alternative: I personally buy Green & Black’s 85% dark chocolate bars for a treat. The ingredients are: Organic Chocolate, Organic Cocoa Butter, Organic Cocoa, Organic Raw Cane Sugar, Organic Vanilla Extract. I also like Alter Eco brand products.
Rold Gold Pretzels
I know pretzels are often touted as a healthy snack, but let’s not forget the national brands are mainly made from refined white flour (labeled as “wheat flour” without the word “whole”) and a few other additives. The issue with white flour is it’s just empty calories that have been stripped of all the important nutrients (and why it’s required to be enriched).
Real Food Alternative: They’re not easy to find, but there are a couple whole-wheat pretzel alternatives out there including one by Unique brand.
Does anyone else think it’s strange that this brownish looking Life Cereal has artificial yellow dye in it? This is the same dye that requires a warning label when used in Europe (that states “may have an adverse effect on activity and attention in children”). Between this and the fake strawberries (that are really just artificially flavored/colored dried apple pieces) in their oatmeal packets, I am really not trusting Quaker anymore.
Real Food Alternative: When it comes to boxed cereal look for one that is 100% whole grain with nothing else (or at least not much else) added. Some examples are Shredded Wheat type cereals and puffed whole-grain cereals (like brown rice).
How can Dasani get away with calling this “Pink Lemonade” when it doesn’t even contain any lemons? Not to mention it says “Naturally Flavored with Other Natural Flavors” on the front when it contains multiple artificial sweeteners AND artificial colors – what the heck is natural about that? This to me looks like a lawsuit waiting to happen. In the meantime *please* don’t put this chemical concoction in your water!
Real Food Alternative: Either drink plain water (which can be an acquired taste for some) or use real lemons to add some flavor.
I must admit I was taken aback when I saw this little guy in the grocery store and turned it over to look at the ingredients. The first ingredient (and what it contains the most of) is propylene glycol?? And on top of that it’s full of artificial flavors and sweeteners. If this isn’t a “food like substance” I don’t know what is – PLEASE do not feed this stuff to your kids!
Real Food Alternative: It’s super easy and takes only 2 ingredients to make a more wholesome chocolate milk from scratch: Just mix 1/2 teaspoon unsweetened dark cocoa powder with 1 teaspoon pure maple syrup and about a 1/2 cup cold milk. It takes a few minutes of stirring to get the chocolate sauce to come together.
It makes me sad that some well-intended individuals will buy this V8 Splash in the hopes of adding veggies/fruit to their diet when it means they’ll also be getting a nice dose of high fructose corn syrup, artificial sweeteners (sucralose), and – that mysterious additive – natural flavoring. I don’t trust brands who use ingredients like this.
Real Food Alternative: Unfortunately, even if it were a higher quality juice, it would still mainly be the naturally occurring sugars from the fruits and veggies in concentrated form without any of the other stuff (like fiber) that nature intended. So for that reason, juice is just an occasional thing for us personally. I say go for a glass of water or a smoothie (that retains the whole fruit/veggie) instead!
Ken’s Balsamic Dressing
I found this one interesting. This dressing is called “Balsamic with Honey” yet it contains more high fructose corn syrup and (refined) sugar than it does honey. Just another reminder to ignore the claims on the front of the package and read the ingredients instead. Oh and please don’t trust companies who do stuff like this!
Real Food Alternative: Many of you know by now, this is my most favorite kitchen tool for making homemade salad dressings a breeze.
WeightWatchers Smart Ones
I have no idea what is “smart” about this. Factory farmed chicken covered in fake grill marks mixed with white flour pasta and a bunch of additives I would never cook with at home (including corn syrup solids, shortening powder & carrageenan)? No, thank you.
Real Food Alternative: I’d much rather make my own organic creamy sauce from scratch with 3 ingredients (including real cream) instead. And thankfully it’s surprisingly easy to do!
SunMaid Yogurt Raisins
Has anyone else noticed how these yogurt covered raisins (that used to be a snack fav of ours in the old days) contain partially hydrogenated oil – a.k.a. trans fat? That’s the same artery clogging trans fat that the government recently admitted was no longer “generally recognized as safe” and therefore will be banned going forward. There’s also some other questionable stuff on this ingredient list so I’d say skip this bag of coated snacks.
Real Food Alternative: How about some plain (and preferably organic) raisins instead?
Progresso Bread Crumbs
Italian bread crumbs should simply be good quality whole wheat bread plus some seasonings. Yet, Progresso makes theirs with dozens of unnecessary refined additives including high fructose corn syrup, partially hydrogenated oil (i.e. the same trans fat I mentioned above), several dough conditioners that I can’t even pronounce, preservatives, and the wonderfully evasive “natural flavors” ingredient.
Real Food Alternative: Why put this mess in your body when it’s so easy to make your own? I’ve got a super simple recipe in my cookbook, and all you have to do is add Italian seasoning when you’re done!
Mt. Olive Relish
Isn’t it amazing how a product as simple as relish can be tainted with artificial food dye (the same dye that requires a warning label when used in European countries)?
Real Food Alternative: For a relish without unwanted ingredients look for a brand called Bubbies.
So what did you think of this list? Learn anything new?