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. Ummm...it'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 FAT...is 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