Welcome to the second installment of What’s In It Wednesday! We are less than two weeks away from school and the preparations have begun in our home for the big day. New markers and shoes have been purchased. Hair cuts are on the agenda and packing lunches is once again on my mind. I thought it would be perfect timing to take a look at a common beverage that ends up in lunch boxes across our country.
I remember drinking Kool-Aid as a kid – lime was my favourite. I found it very interesting to watch that cup o’ sugar dissolve in the large plastic pitcher. As a kid, it was a cool science experiment and now, the idea of swallowing that much refined sugar makes my stomach churn. Kids are hooked. And with good reason! The 24 grams of carbohydrate listed on the label is from ADDED SUGAR in the form of high fructose corn syrup mainly. One package has 24 grams of sugar. That’s 6 teaspoons! In. Each. Drink. No wonder kids bounce off the walls and then want MORE. Children should be not be consuming any more than 3-9 tsp of added sugars per DAY, depending on their age. With one ‘jammer’, most children will have exceeded their daily allotment and have will have received no actual nutritional value whatsoever except for a sugar surge followed by a crash.
A 6.7 oz serving of the Cherry Juice Pouch contains allergens such as MSG, corn, flavouring and other controversial ingredients. Why are we feeding our children multiple controversial ingredients on a regular basis? With the rise in childhood obesity, learning disabilities and cancer, to name a few, proper nutrition should be our top priority.
Another big beef that I have is with all the marketing aimed towards children. The friendly looking pitcher with eyes that meet mine as I travel down the juice aisle with my parent. The bright colours.
As an adult visiting the Kool-Aid website, I am instantly brought back to childhood fun. The first thing I read is “Fun Times Ahead, No Kool-Aid Mustache Required!” “I’ve Got Some Exciting Free Kool-Aid Activities Just for You!” I can’t look at all the fun unless I sign in via Facebook. Now they have access to my profile and they call me by name. Clever! I hope this doesn’t post to my page…it is research…I promise!
Up pops a recipe for Kool-Aid Frosting. Fun Times! Of course giving me the option to share with all my peeps. Kool-Aid Cheesecake! Might as well Pin that!! Next up Kool-Aid Lip Gloss. Oh the humanity. Again I click, SHOW ME MORE! Ah, finally…something I can relate to. A SMOOTHIE! No, wait…a KOOL-Aid Smoothie. You get the drift. No actual information provided on the site regarding the kool-aid ingredients. As parents, it really is up to us to become detectives in the grocery store and know how to read labels. Relying on food manufacturer’s websites are not a reliable source of well rounded information.
Water, Corn Syrup High Fructose, Pear Juice From Concentrate, Contains less than 22%, Ascorbic Acid, Artificial Flavours, Citric Acid, Sodium Benzoate, Potassium Sorbate (to preserve freshness), Calcium Disodium EDTA, (to preserve freshness) Red 40 and Blue 1.
High Fructose Corn Syrup: High fructose corn syrup (HFCS) is commonly referred to as glucose-fructose in Canada. It is derived from corn. Most sweetener is derived from genetically modified corn. If the package doesn’t say, GMO free, than it most likely isn’t.
HFCS doesn’t actually exist anywhere in nature. It is a manufactured product created by using enzymes (two natural, one synthetic) to increase the fructose content of corn syrup to about 90%. This super high fructose syrup is then blended “down” with a 100% glucose corn syrup to create various mixes. HFCS 55, for example, which is 55% fructose and 45% glucose is the mix used most commonly in beverages. HFCS 42 is the blend used more commonly in baked goods.
As a point of comparison, table sugar (sucrose) is a disaccharide comprised of a molecule of fructose and glucose bound together. It is very easily digested in the stomach into its component sugars, and in that respect is not unlike an HFCS 50 mix. However, it should be noted that table sugar, like HFCS, is not a naturally occurring substance itself and must be “refined” (although not chemically altered) through manufacturing processes before it sits on your table. And keep in mind, it’s no badge of honor for the HFCS industry to claim that there’s no difference between high fructose corn syrup and sucrose since heavy consumption of sucrose has been linked to everything from obesity to diabetes.
Yes, it’s absolutely true that high fructose corn syrup is made from corn, but it doesn’t mean anything. Biodiesel is made from corn too, and you wouldn’t want to see that used as a food additive. -Jon Barron
Artificial Flavour: The main difference between a natural and artificial flavor is the origin of the flavor chemicals. Natural flavors must be derived from plant or animal material.