Is That Right? Juicy Juice for Brain Development
The other day I blogged about the FDA's nabbing General Mills for inappropriately printing specific health claims (the kind reserved for drugs) on Cheerios boxes. I'm not the only observer who felt that, while the FDA was certainly within its rights to call out the cereal maker for not playing by the rules, the food-safety agency must surely have bigger fish to fry.
Since then I've been noticing a lot of package-label claims that, while perhaps technically accurate enough to pass FDA muster, could mislead consumers. So starting today, The Checkup blog will on Fridays feature "Is That Right?," a look at nutrition-related products and the ads that promote them.
First up: Nestle's new Juicy Juice Fruit Juice Beverage featuring 16 mg of the nutrient DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) per serving. A big blue banner across the front of the package screams, "Brain Development," while the smaller type just above the banner says, "DHA -- A Building Block for"...
Imagine the eager moms and dads who'll grab that Juicy Juice in hopes of making their kids just that much smarter. DHA, derived from fatty fish and other omega-3 fatty-acid-rich food sources, is indeed credited with promoting neurological health among babies, and it's been added to many infant formulas for nearly a decade, though there's no real science showing that DHA makes anyone smarter.
But in this instance, trumpeting DHA's brain-development capacity seems like a way to hawk a product that otherwise has very little nutritional value. My own pediatrician years ago steered me away from fruit juices -- even "100 percent" fruit juices such as Juicy Juice -- because they're essentially empty calories. An article in the journal Pediatrics last year lumped 100-percent fruit juices in with sodas as culprits in American kids' increasing tendency toward overweight. This particular Juicy Juice product has added water to keep the calories-per-ounce down, but except for a bit of potassium and the Vitamin C that's added to Juicy Juice, this "fruit juice beverage" has little to recommend it, nutrition-wise.
I hope you'll chime in with examples of iffy health claims you've noticed while watching TV, reading magazines and clipping coupons -- and, of course, your comments thereon!
Jennifer LaRue Huget
May 15, 2009; 7:00 AM ET
Categories: Family Health , General Health , Nutrition and Fitness , Prevention , The Business of Health
Save & Share: Previous: Does Acupuncture Help Your Back?
Next: Learning to Love the Female Condom
Posted by: theintrepidone | May 15, 2009 8:33 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: cbr1 | May 15, 2009 9:18 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: Bguhl | May 15, 2009 9:46 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: DupontJay | May 15, 2009 10:03 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: RedBird27 | May 15, 2009 11:11 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: oldguy2 | May 15, 2009 3:45 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: copdoc | May 16, 2009 7:33 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: floof | May 16, 2009 8:24 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: trace1 | May 16, 2009 9:27 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: bkshane | May 16, 2009 10:07 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: howdydoody1 | May 16, 2009 10:31 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: wpmars | May 16, 2009 5:48 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: floof | May 16, 2009 10:03 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: syeatts | May 19, 2009 11:18 AM | Report abuse
The comments to this entry are closed.