Friday, November 30, 2007

Death By Yam

"When you see this distinctive symbol on a product, you'll instantly know the food has been screened and proven to meet the American Heart Association's certification criteria to be low in saturated fat and cholesterol for healthy people over age 2."

This along with the American Heart Association red heart with a white check mark are prominently featured on a variety of foods. I saw this logo and statement on a can of Bruce brand Yams in an eye-level sale display as I shopped my local Albertson's. Having heard that yams are "better" than regular potatoes, I decided to check the label more closely in case it was something I could add to my "occasional, but not all the time" foods.

What I saw being recommended by the American Heart Association as "heart healthy" almost gave me a heart attack! The ingredients alone made me cringe... sweet potatoes, water, corn syrup, and sugar.'s a SWEET POTATO! It's already sweet. IT EVEN HAS SWEET IN THE NAME! What insane person decided it also needed corn syrup AND sugar?

Anyway, the more I read, the funnier it got. It listed the carbs for a 6oz serving as 45g. Ok, technically I could eat one serving of these as long as the only other things I ate during the day were coconut oil and eggs, but whatever. Then it got sillier. That 45 carbs from the single serving is only 15% of the recommended daily carb allowance! Sure that recommendation comes from the government...but still...damn!

I guess I am lucky that as a kid I was a pretty picky eater. I thought the holiday sweet potatoes dishes my relatives made looked disgusting and wouldn't touch them. I bet they all thought I was a rude obnoxious kid. Well, I was, but it also turns out I had a healthy sense of self preservation. All that sugar on top of an already sweet item, and then what do people do with it? Cover it in brown sugar or PUT MARSHMALLOWS ON IT! AAAAACKKKK! Is there any wonder there is obesity problem? See for yourself!

Ironically, many decide to make this classic dish "more healthy" by leaving out the butter in favor of margarine, using low fat milk, and swapping the sugar out for honey and orange juice. So the only things in the dish that might possibly be able to signal your brain to stop eating this mess...THE removed.

As the evidence piles up that carbohydrates and sugars are the cause and/or major contributors to obesity, type 2 diabetes, cancer, Alzheimer's and dementia ALONG WITH heart disease*, why is their logo on a pile of sugar in a can? Does it make sense to you that a major organization that, according to it's mission statement, promotes "building healthier lives, free of cardiovascular diseases and stroke" endorses the very products that are causing the problem in the first place?

In the interest of truth and honesty, maybe their logo needs a little tweaking...

*Source: "Good Calories, Bad Calories" by Gary Taubes and "Natural Health and Weight Loss" by Barry Groves


abifae said...

i like sweet potatoes as long as no one adds anything sweet to them. whose idea was that anyway? they're really good with bacon on them, and some sour cream and cheese... fresh broccoli... YUM.

this year i made them a bit sweet for the holidays by adding fresh fruit and baking it all together.

i remember when we were taught about the food pyramid too... i've been carefully ignoring that for years. in fact, the healthiest people i know all ignore what the gooberment tells us to eat. funny that.

not to go all conspiracy theory on you, WZ... but who gets the money from the drugs for diabetes and heart problems, anyway?

Wifezilla said...

(FYI, Abi and I know each other IRL.)

Your ignoring the food pyramid has really paid off! (FYI, Abi is smoking hot, 6' tall and about 150lbs...but she cheated a bit...her dad is half Japanese. No fair having good genes! :D )

As for your conspiracy theory question, I am going to do an interview with economics and politics blogger, Captain Capitalist, about this very topic next week.

Until then let me give you one of his recent comments....

"It can LOOK like a conspiracy, but often times it is just that these people are really, really stupid."

Diamondwife said...

I agree. I eat sweet potatoes baked with butter only. I also have asked similar questions as to why do food manufacturers feel the need to add corn syrup etc. to canned fruit. I do eat fruit, but usually fresh as it is very hard to find canned fruit with no added sugars.

BTW...found you through Jimmy's blog. I'll be back...

Cecilia said...

And do not try to order sweet potato as the side dish at Logan's Steak House. The put so much caramel or brown sugar or who knows what else, you can smell the sugar from 10 feet away. :(