You may have noticed Simon Gault looking at labels on a number of processed food packets on “Why Are We Fat” Documentary last night on Prime TV. We saw last night in the programme how ultra-processed food is the prime culprit in our obesity epidemic. I talked about ultra-processed food in this post and I’ll be expanding on it in future
If you missed the programme – you can catch up here https://www.primetv.co.nz/catch-up
Kelloggs Nutrigrain – Winner of Consumer New Zealand’s bad taste awards.
It’s touted as the breakfast cereal of future champions, but Kellogg’s Nutrigrain was this week crowned the “winner” of Consumer New Zealand’s first Bad Taste Food Awards.
More than 200 nominations were received after the watchdog asked consumers to highlight food marketed as healthier than it actually is.
Consumer NZ chief executive Sue Chetwin said Nutri-Grain received the most nominations, with 63.
“What riled people was its promotion as Ironman food, a source of protein and fibre and fuel and energy for active teens. What it actually is, is more than a quarter sugar.”
I thought I’d take a closer look.
Firstly – what do health star ratings mean? First they do not mean this is the healthiest food you can buy. From the MPI government website :
Packaged foods are given a number of stars based on their nutrients, ingredients and the amount of energy (kilojoules) they provide. Manufacturers work out the rating of their product by putting nutrition information into the ‘Health Star Rating Calculator’. Foods get more stars if they are:
- lower in saturated fat, sugar or sodium (salt)
- higher in healthy nutrients and ingredients (fibre, protein, fruits, vegetables, nuts or legumes).
Important: Check the recommended serving size (you might find the serving size is quite small and the health star ratings only apply if you have this sized serving)
Health Star Ratings can help you make better food choices, but this doesn’t mean you can eat large amounts of food with more stars. Check the nutrition information panel on the packet for the recommended serving size.
Lets take a look at the Nutrigrain label – here is the full label, note a serving size is one metric cup
Lets analyse the label:
- I found 4 different sugars, this is one way manufacturers hide sugar, for example – dehydrated cane juice is a classic.
- It does not contain whole grain – just highly highly refined mix of 3 grains
- It has added vitamins to boost content – vitamins are best in their whole form not added to food
- Fibre is not inherent – it is added, and the amount is tiny – just 2 grams per serve
- It is over 1/4 pure sugar, and if you stick to the serving size you get 2.5 teaspoons of it.
How do Kelloggs make their food look far more nutritious and healthful than it is? Packaging – carefully designed and probably thousands spent on marketing research to hit the right note.
Despite all the bluff, Nutrigrain is an ultra-processed food, far removed from real food humans evolved on.
Inside the cereal box is one of the most successful confections of processing and advertising – this BBC documentary is eye-opening