All Tricks and No Treats
It's Karen here, and I have been tricked. Not once, but twice. And by foods that were supposed to be treats. So, I am gonna share my story and name names while I do it...
I was recently shopping at Kohls where I fell victim to a couple impulse purchases at the checkout. Mug shots of the offenders are included with this post.
Let's start with Dot's Homestyle Pretzels. I saw some people raving about these on Twitter, so I figured I'd give them a try with the family. Indeed, they were a big hit. Out of curiosity, I looked at the ingredient list to see what made them so delicious, and then I saw it - monosodium glutamate (MSG). MSG is a flavor enhancer often added to restaurant foods, canned vegetables, soups, deli meats and other foods. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has classified MSG as a food ingredient that's generally recognized as safe. But a small number of people (including myself) experience short-term adverse effects after consuming it. I honestly can't recall ever seeing MSG in a snack food. And it would NEVER have occurred to me to look on the ingredient list for it.
Moving on to Jelly Belly Gourmet Candy Corn. My kids and I are big candy corn fans and I thought, "Wow! I didn't know Jelly Belly made candy corn. I bet they're as good their jelly beans!" Literally 30 seconds after discovering the MSG in the pretzels, I took a bite of candy corn and was instantly disappointed. Not only was the texture weird, but the sweetness tasted strange. So I look at the ingredient list and I see "sorbitol" listed as one of the sweeteners. Sorbitol is one type of sugar alcohol - a class of lower-calorie sweeteners often used in diet or diabetic-friendly foods. Like MSG, sugar alcohols are generally safe to consume, but I personally think they have a distinct and unpleasant taste (and I am not alone). And if consumed in large enough quantities, it can cause GI distress. What really gets me about this one is that the candy corn wasn't labelled in any way to make you think it was some sort of lower-calorie food or healthier version of candy corn. And the sorbitol was used while sugar and corn syrup were listed as the first two ingredients. Make it make sense!
The moral of this sad tale is to remind you of a couple things. One, even dietitians get fooled by foods, so please don't ever feel bad when you do! Two, don't make any assumptions about what is or isn't in your food, especially if there are ingredients you consider deal-breakers for any reason. Always double check. I want only treats for all of you, and no tricks