If you’ve turned on your TV in the past week you’ve no doubt been inundated with ads and messages from some of the biggest packaged food marketers around. The New Year is like Black Friday for the billion-dollar weight loss industry, as this is the best opportunity to catch new dieters. Marketers from commercial diets to pills and yogurt want your attention, and your dollars, as you make an effort to stick to a resolution to better yourself; a resolution that for most people has to do with losing weight.
As you start making changes this week, be a conscious consumer and don’t accept those advertising claims at face value. The more Yoplait, Diet Coke, and frozen foods you toss in your cart, and eventually in to your mouth, the more you’ll continue to fall short of your goals.
Yes, the package says they’re healthier. It even says things like fortified, low-calorie, natural, or a host of others that they get away with via some tricky loopholes in food labeling. They’re nothing more than a clever disguise.
“These foods are ‘nutritious’ because they are fortified by adding a few nutrients,” said Mary Hartley, RD, our resident dietitian. “Because so many other nutrients are removed during processing, they pale in comparison to natural foods. The foods do not contain any particular ingredient to promote weight loss; rather, it is either the small portion, or single serving, or boring repetition recommended by the manufacturer that relatively reduces calorie intake.”
Those fewer calories you’re consuming are also empty calories, meaning they’re void of nutrition. So you’re feeding your body unnecessary calories and not getting anything else out of it.
Some of the biggest culprits falsely advertising their weight loss capabilities, include Special K, Yoplait, diet soda, Slim-Fast, and Lean Cuisines. Continue reading to see why they’re on our list, and what the healthier alternative is.
Nestle Prepared Foods has recalled over 10,000 pounds of Lean Cuisine frozen spaghetti and meatball meals amidst a mountain of complaints received from consumers in Minnesota. Lean Cuisine sites the possible presence of foreign materials as the cause for the recall, according to the Department of Agriculture.
Although there is only a remote possibility of adverse health consequences if people consume the product, a recall was still necessary. Some complaints involve finding hard plastic in the frozen meals. All of the products in question were sold east of the Rocky Mountains in 9.5 ounce containers. The title shows “Lean Cuisine Simple Favorites, Spaghetti with Meatballs” and the establishment number on these recalled meals is EST 7991, with “best before” dates of November 2011.
Lean Cuisine is a very popular supermarket prepackaged meal, so it’s a good idea for everyone to be aware of this: There has been a recall of 879,565 pounds of frozen Lean Cuisine chicken meals that may contain small pieces of hard plastic, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service.
The following Lean Cuisine products are subject to recall:
9.5-ounce packages of “Lean Cuisine Pesto Chicken With Bow Tie Pasta.” Printed on each side of each package is a production code of “8280595912” as well as a use-by date of “Best Before May 2010.”
10.5-ounce packages of “Lean Cuisine Chicken Mediterranean” brand frozen meals. Printed on the side of each package is a production code of “8231595912” or “8241595912” as well as a use-by date of “Best before SEP 2010”; a production code of “8263595912,” “8269595911,” or “8274595912,” as well as a use-by date of “Best before OCT 2010”; or a production code of “8291595912” or “8301595912” as well as a use-by date of “Best before NOV 2010.”
12.5-ounce packages of “Lean Cuisine Chicken Tuscan” brand frozen meals. Printed on the side of each package is a production code of “8234595911” and a use-by date of “Best before SEP 2009”; a production code of “8253595911” or “8269595912” as well as a use-by date of “Best before OCT 2009”; or a production code of “8292595911” or “8296595911” as well as a use-by date of “Best before NOV 2009.”
Each package also bears the USDA mark of inspection as well as the establishment number “EST P-9018.” The frozen chicken meals were produced on Aug. 18, Aug. 21, Aug. 28, Sept. 9, Sept. 19, Sept. 25, Sept. 30, Oct. 6, Oct. 17-18, Oct. 22, and Oct. 27, 2008, and were distributed to retail establishments nationwide.