When I think of healthy food choices I envision broccoli, tofu or a wheat bread. What does not come into my mind? Froot Loops. But yet this sugary cereal treat has been deemed a healthy choice by a new food labeling campaign called Smart Choices.
The industry backed program will mark items with a green checkmark which will soon be found on hundreds of packages such as the above mentioned Froot Loops and nutritionally questionable choices like Cocoa Krispies.
But a smartypants at Harvard disagrees. Walter C. Willett – a chairman for their School of Public Health – said that “these are horrible choice”. He continued to state that the criteria used to measure these food was ‘seriously flawed’.
The Food and Drug Administration is also chiming in. They’ll be keeping an eye on the program and will watch how it effects consumer food choices and if they “had the effect of encouraging consumers to choose highly processed foods and refined grains instead of fruits, vegetables and whole grains.”
A defender of the Smart Choices label said that items like Froot Loops was a better choice than others, saying, “You’re rushing around, you’re trying to think about healthy eating for your kids and you have a choice between a doughnut and a cereal…So Froot Loops is a better choice.” Using that kind of logic you can say giving your child water is better than white wine or feeding them bananas is better than barbed wire. You can make any combination of comparison and make Froot Loops look good.
The president of global nutrition for Kelloggs, the maker of Froot Loops, heralded the health of the cereal saying ““Froot Loops is an excellent source of many essential vitamins and minerals and it is also a good source of fiber with only 12 grams of sugar. You cannot judge the nutritional merits of a food product based on one ingredient.”’
Would you ever make the claim that Froot Loops is a healthy choice?