Regular or Sugar Free?

by Gavan on January 28, 2010

Sugar Free vs. Regular Sugar Free vs. Regular

Here we are at the end of the first month in this new year, which begs the big question, How are you doing on your resolutions? Did you know the #1 new year resolution that people made was to eat healthier? I read that somewhere so don’t quote me on it but I’m not surprised. I think we all want to get healthier don’t we? One trick to get there is to know what you eat and that means reading labels. A pain in the ass maybe, but worth it in the end (especially for your ass!)

Here’s a really simple example of why reading labels are important.

Here we have two jams, one regular and one sugar free. Right off the bat which one do you think is the best choice?

Bet you chose the sugar free one, right? I think those advertisers do a great job convincing us anything with the word “Free” in it is the way to go. But here’s why this is bogus:

1. Colour
If it’s possible to look at the products, compare them with your eyes right off the bat. You can see the difference in the colour. The sugar free one is nearly neon in color! I don’t think that’s natural, is it?

2. Labels
Comparing the two labels on the front, the 365 brand (Whole Foods’ line) claims 100% natural, 100% fruit and the Smucker’s brand claims sugar free, sweetened with Splenda and has 80% fewer calories than regular preserves.

Comparing the back labels, well take a look for yourselves (click to enlarge):

Sugar Free vs. Regular
Though the 365 brand does has more calories, it seems to be more natural with only 3 ingredients, white grape juice concentrate, strawberries and fruit pectin, and it contains no preservatives, artificial colours or flavours. Smucker’s has a whopping twelve ingredients including preservatives and Red 40 (added for colour?), which is apparently not found in regular preserves according to the label. Hmmm….I’d gladly eat a few more cals for natural ingredients vs. all that fake stuff.

3. Taste
I guess you’ll just have to trust me on this one unless you want to do your own taste test but the sugar free tastes like it’s colour–bland with a bit of the sweetener’s aftertaste.

I’ve done this same label review for ice cream, too. Which one do you think hit the spot?

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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Sheila | Live Well 360° January 28, 2010 at 4:55 pm

Amen! I did the same thing a while back with other sugar-free and low-fat products like ranch dressing, gum, and protein bars. It’s amazing what you find when you take the time to read labels.

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