When it comes to lies, individuals would be hard-pressed to fib as much as companies do when they are trying to sell you something … especially since so many of us seem to be looking for healthy alternatives to the junk in our food stream.
Let me give you a couple of examples. Recently, a rabid watchdog named Mike Adams caught General Mills, the sixth largest food company in the world, and the company whose slogan on their website is “trusted food brands the world over,” in a big, fat lie.
Seems their “Total Blueberry Pomegranate” cereal contains no blueberries and no pomegranate whatsoever!
And you thought you could tell whoppers!
Instead, the strange foodstuff relies on artificial colors Red #40 and Blue #2, combines these with oils and sweeteners (eight of them, in fact) to create the illusion of real blueberries and pomegranate. Wow, and we trust these companies?
Then there’s that bastion of truth Coca Cola company, whose “Vitaminwater” should really be renamed “Sugarwater,” since sugar and water are the first two ingredients on the label (anyone reading labels?). At least in Europe they are trying to hold these companies’ feet to the fire. The Advertising Standards Authority, a UK advertising watchdog, slammed Coca-Cola for the second time in 18 months over its UK advertising slogan “hydration for the nation” above a picture of bottles of Vitaminwater, with the words “delicious and nutritious.” In fact, every bottle (which actually is 2.5 servings) contains 32 grams of sugar! True, its less sugar you’d get if you drank a can of Coca-Cola (39 grams), but obesity is a problem everywhere now. Do we really need a product that purports to be healthy, and then puts the pounds on us?
The Authority’s earlier ruling was that Coca-Cola had to remove the word “nutritious” from the label.
Thank goodness for people like Mike Adams, and organizations such as the Center for Science in the Public Interest and Britain’s Advertising Standards Authority. Without these folks, the corporations would be getting very little scrutiny.
By the way, if you want to let General Mills know how you feel about their fake blueberries and pomegranates, you can go to the consumer section on their Website and leave them a message.
Any readers out there have other examples of big, fat advertising lies you’d like to share?
James Townsend is editor in chief of WellWise.org, a nonprofit organization for the dissemination of science-based information about supplements, nutrients and strategies for health. You can read more of James Townsend's health blogs here.