Photo by: laffy4k.
During my childhood, my mom rarely kept cookies and cakes around the house. But once a month she allowed us to pick any box of cereal we want (normally we only got Cheerios). And I always picked Cookie Crisp because it offers “a mouthful of chips in every bite.” That was the closest I got to chocolate chip cookies in my childhood, unless we have a classroom party. The cereal is a loser in the nutrition department, but I love the idea that I was eating cookies for breakfast.
As a college student I often purchased Cookie Crisp. I know the cereal is full of sugar. But with the red heart and white check mark (American Heart Association logo) on the side, I figured I am doing something good for my heart. Boy, was I fooled by this marketing ploy of the food companies.
Health endorsements from the American Heart Association are slapped on the packaging of many sugary food products hoping to convince us that their packaged sugary food products are good for our families. This post discuss how the American Heart Association endorsement on packaged food products is not to be trusted.
Criteria to qualify for the American Heart Association””s endorsement
To qualify for the American Heart Association””s endorsement, packaged food products must:
• Be low in fat (less than 3 g)
• Be low in cholesterol (less than 20 mg)
• Be low in saturated fat (less than 1 g)
• Be low in sodium (less than 480 mg based upon a 2,000 calorie diet)
• Have at least 10% if the Daily Value for one nutrient such as Vitamin A, Vitamin C, calcium, iron, or fiber.
So the bar for health endorsement is set pretty low since most sugary cereals, snacks, or drinks qualify based upon the above criteria. The criteria for the American Heart Association””s endorsement have no guidelines for sugar or refined carbohydrates.
Is someone missing the link here? Sugar has calories. Calories contribute to weight gain. Weight gain leads to obesity. Obesity leads to heart disease.
The heart healthy endorsement on these packaged sugary food products are suppose to inspire confidence in us when we are purchasing these products.
Photo by: Scott Robinson.
Participation fees for the American Heart Association Endorsement
According to Food Politics by Marion Nestle, current (the book was published in 2003) fees require for the endorsement are “$7,500 per product and $4,500 for annual renewals, with a discount if more than 25 products are submitted in one year…”
How is the American Heart Association logo on a food product going to help us when the AHA are handing out these logos like candy during Halloween? As long as the food companies come knocking with the correct fees for participation in the American Heart Association endorsement program, the AHA just give it to them? Plus a discount for getting more of their sugary products endorsed?
The only exception is Post cereals because it is made by a tobacco company. I guess the American Heart Association has to set some endorsement standards. But with the amount of donations and volunteers the American Heart Association get, do they really need these fees to operate?
Until next time and thanks for stopping by Small Steps to Health.
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