I don't worry so much about junk food. If you eat right most of the time, you can treat yourself to dessert, a bag of chips or something deliciously fried every now and then. You know what you're getting and you work it in. What makes me crazy is sneaky junk food. The ad campaigns and companies that try to disguise not-so-good stuff as healthy and nutritious.
Check out the glamour shot (right) of PepsiCo Tropicana's newest product, Tropolis, described in the Wall Street Journal as an 80-calorie fruit puree. It comes in brightly colored pouches and will be marketed to moms and kids. Looks appealing and it probably tastes great.
The news release says it's 80 calories, but I can't find any other nutritional information. A professor quoted in the WSJ article says "they start out with real food, so let's give them credit," but "the rest of it is sugar. Kids would be better off with an apple or a banana."
Here's what PepsiCo Company Chair Indra Nooyi says (again from the Wall Stree Journal article): "We see the emerging opportunity to 'snackify' beverages and 'drinkify' snacks as the next frontier in food and beverage convenience."
"Snackify?" "Drinkify?" That sounds like a cartoon version of food.
Pepsi will also launch Tropolis World, an online game for kids that "will allow them to discover the fun in fruit through interactive games." Whee.
I don't give my kids perfect meals or all the veggies I know I should. Sometimes we're going to go with convenience over the best nutrition. What's troubles me about this kind of product, and the marketing that goes with it, is the push that, of course, convenience is the goal, fun is next and nutrition is a distant third.
It's a stretch to say we're heading toward the Pixar world of Wall-E where the ridiculously obese people slurped all their food in-a-cup. Even so, how can you not worry that we're heading in the absolute wrong direction?
I've started a new segment on Health Headlines: The Show called You're Not Helping. It's a chance to debunk some health myths and take a look a new diets and products that aren't doing us any good. Like this one. We're also talking about success stories with another feature called What Works.
Have to point out that my co-host Dr. Russ Greenfield gives PepsiCo credit for trying to move into more healthy fare (at least this isn't a new line of potato chip geared to kids!). But I hate that "snackify' and "drinkify" may have entered the lexicon. Can't we just eat?
Pepsi, you're not helping.
Stacey, Dr. Greenfield and physical therapist Alan Tyson are The Bod Squad. Sign up with us to receive health news and info (no sales pitches or fruit slush will arrive in your email).