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Old 06-10-2011, 11:40 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Anger at American Heart Association

So, I am not an anarchist, but nonetheless; I take all information given to me with a grain of salt.

I was at the grocery store buying food for my younger sister; she had a party day in school and had volunteered to bring in drinks. She asked me to buy grape juice.
On the grape juice bottle, I saw an AHA label. I wondered what their definition was for "Heart Healthy" and my sugar-sensitive blood stopped in my veins.

"Products displaying the heart-check mark meet American Heart Association food criteria for saturated fat and cholesterol for healthy people over age 2"

a) It's grape juice. Why would it have any fat?
b) What are the criteria?
c) Apparently, the AHA gets paid for endorsing food products. I raised this topic with my health teacher, and she said " Of course they get paid. They're doing a service to the country." Uh-huh...

My issues with further labeling one the juice:
1) The serving size is 8oz. I do not know anyone who will drink a mere 8oz of juice. (My house has little glasses at 10oz and big glasses at 14oz-both of which are almost exclusively used for water and fruit shakes)
2) It has 36 grams of sugar per 8 oz glass
3) It advertises "Each glass contains 2 servings of fruit!*"
On the other side of the bottle, in tiny white print on light grey:
"*some-organization-or-other advises that most of your fruit comes from whole fruit"

Admittedly, each point I make is not extremely odious in itself, but combined as they are, and the fact that coca-cola has a whole 9 grams less sugar than juice... which one is healthier again?
Obviously grape juice has more going for it than coke does, but the conditions set by AHA are vague, the raw facts (i.e. sugar and calories are lower in coke) are misleading, and the fact that my sister had to argue with the teacher to bring juice as opposed to soda... I'm justifiably angry, right?
Unless I'm crazy...

(This is ended up being grander than I had expected. I suppose I needed to get this off of my chest)
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Old 06-11-2011, 12:31 AM   #2 (permalink)
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The American Dietetic Association does the same thing, as do countless other organizations and companies. You might be interested in reading some of Marion Nestle's books. She's all over this topic; very interesting reads. The politics behind food isn't something we usually think about, but it's definitely there.
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Old 06-11-2011, 02:58 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Did you really say that the teacher wanted to bring in sodas? In this day and age? Our school system would never permit that. And what teacher would want kids hyper on sugar and caffiene?
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Old 06-11-2011, 05:23 AM   #4 (permalink)
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'Obviously grape juice has more going for it than coke does,'

Obviously, it does. So there's a place for it on the grocery shelf. Believe it or not, there are people who don't know that a prepared juice wouldn't have fat. There are people who don't know that if you want fat, you go to oils and you go to cheese or to meat (where you don't even see the fat, and there's plenty...). How many people bother to remember what they probably were told in health class in high school? Not many.

Yet, this kind of information is also repeated in all the 'ladies' magazines' and even in men's magazines, where there might be articles about health.

My ONLY problem with grape juice (and it has nothing to do with the AHA at all) is that most bottled grape juices are mixed with apple juice. This is on the label, where the ingredients are listed. If you want pure grape juice, you pay quite a bit - I do buy it once in a while and it's the same price as a bottle of wine (and not even cheap wine); however, it is really good.

Jeez, if I were the AHA, I'd also mention that grape juice has resveratrol. Not found in oil, meat or cheese - and it's practically a miracle worker for heart health. They could go on and on and on about the benefits of vegetables, fruits, and juices. They put their stamp on something like that because many people (some not English speakers) shop for groceries and have serious heart problems. They're sensitized to some of that stuff and it makes their shopping easier.
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