The purpose of this page is to publicize - and hopefully discourage - misleading marketing practices of food processors and marketers that endanger the health of the millions of Americans who need to follow a LS/LF diet. It is not to complain about the marketing of high salt and/or high fat products, rather marketing practices that obscure the nature of such products. Thus you will not see bacon and sausage listed here since it is clear that they are not intended for LS/LF diets. I will also focus on mass marketed products. Thus even though Tofurky's advertising approach is questionable, Tofurky is a niche product from a small manufacturer. The LS/LF Hall of Shame will focus on products from prominent food processors since their sales have a larger impact on the US population.
It is clear that under present law and regulations high salt and high fat products are perfectly legal and might possibly not have adverse affects on most of the population. But there is no justification for misleading advertising about such products.
I pledge to reprint in full any response I get from these manufacturers.
It is interesting to note that the first product below is a low fat product with the cholesterol lowering advantages of oats that tries to hide its high salt content, while the second product is another oat product that really is low salt, but wants to hide the fact that it is high in both fat and saturated fat. While the need for low fat diets and the need for low salt diets are highly correlated in the American population, the salt and fat content of products from leading manufacturers appear to have a negative correlation (if one is high, the other is low and vice versa.) It is hard enough to find LS/LF products in retail store among the myriad choices present without food processors using deceptive labeling that greatly complicates indentifying LS/LF choices.
"Heart Smart", even certified by the American Heart Association, but did anyone think about salt content? A half-cup serving of Prego's Heart Smart Traditional Italian Sauce had 430 milligrams of sodium.
WebMD observes, "But since few people eat only a half a cup of pasta sauce during a meal, someone could easily consume 1,000 to 1,500 milligrams of sodium in a single sitting."
Note the big heart on the Cheerios box with the bold statement, "Clinically PROVEN to Help Reduce Cholesterol!" The Cheerios website goes on say "A clinical study showed that eating "two 1 ½ cup servings daily of Cheerios cereal for 6 weeks reduced bad cholesterol about 4 percent when eaten as part of a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol."
Let's see, two 1 1/2 cups is actually three of the 1 cup (29 g) servings that are the basis of the FDA-required nutrition label. So the suggested "two 1½ cup servings daily" have 3 x 190 = 570 g of sodium. So you get the cholesterol reducing advantages of oats with the high blood pressure raising potential of sodium. Oddly, Cheerios doesn't mention this!
Note the top line of the Cheerios box has voluntary information about sugar, fiber, and calories. It looks a lot like the voluntary UK "traffic light labels". However, the UK system includes sodium as an integral part of the labeling and Cheerios wants to obfuscate sodium content.
Not content with pushing original "yellow box" Cheerios as a heart healthy product, General Mills now has become more aggressive with Honey Nut Cheerios and advertises it in prime time TV for adults interested in heart health.
Their website for this products says, "Three grams of soluble fiber daily from whole grain oat foods, as part of a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol, may reduce the risk of heart disease. Honey Nut Cheerios provides .75g of soluble fiber per serving."
Let's do the math: 3.0/0.75 = 4 servings are needed to yield 3 grams of soluble fiber. 4 servings at the same 190 g of sodium as the original product (no improvement here although the calorie count has now increased from 100 to 110) yields 4 x 190 = 760 g of sodium!
An interesting question is why the American Heart Association condones this practice by unconditionally endorsing this product. Doesn't AHA know that the need for low salt and low cholesterol diets are highly correlated in the US population?
Exchange of messages with General Mills on Hall of Shame Entry
Dear Valued Consumer(sic):
Thank you for contacting General Mills with your thoughts about Cheerios cereal. We
are sorry you were disappointed.
Our goal is to give consumers quality products at a good value. Prior to introducing any product, extensive consumer testing is done. Each product must receive a high rating in our testing program before it goes on the market. Food products are individualized with personal likes and dislikes; therefore, we design our products to satisfy the majority of people knowing that we may not please everyone.
We appreciate your comments and hope you continue to enjoy many of our other fine
>Original Message From: email@example.com
> Congratulations on Cheerios' entry in the lowsaltlowfat.com
Hall of Shame based on your misleading advertising! Your corporate masters must be
very proud! Surf on over to http://www.lowsaltlowfat.com/HOS.htm to check out your
award. Hopefully you will decide to be more ethical in your marketing. I will be
glad to publish in full any response I receive.
PepsiCo/Quaker 100% Natural Granola with Oats, Honey & Raisins
This is ironic because Quaker Oats makes a lot of products great for LS/LF diets starting with their original product - oatmeal. But under their recent corporate masters, PepsiCo, no marketing trick appears to be unacceptable. Quaker Oats has no historical connection with the Quaker religion but the name was probably chosen in the 19th century because "(w)hen the company was being built up, Quaker businesspeople were indeed known for their honesty" (Ref.)
Note the large front label lettering "Good Source of Fiber ". True. Also "Very Low in Sodium". True. " 0g Trans Fat" Aslo true. What is there not to like?
The box also claims the cholesterol lowering properties of oats. Also true.
But notice the smaller print in low contrast yellow lettering. What do they say? The top small line says "Contains 6g total fat per serving". Indeed, the side FDA-mandated label says:
Total Fat 6g
Saturated Fat 3.5g
The bottom line under the large clear "0g Trans Fat" says in smaller, less contrast type :"See nutrition facts for saturated fat content". What didn't they just say "Contains 3.5g saturated fat" since that would have been shorter? Don't they want you to know that? They're not hiding it are they?
Now their website does adds, "And for consumers who are more closely monitoring their fat intake, Quaker 100% Natural Granola has a low-fat version that tastes great also."
So why can't they say so on the box and in other advertising? Why hide the bad news in low contrast small type and the side label and on the website?
Kellogg's/Kashi Heart To Heart Waffles
Like Quaker Oats, Kashi makes a lot of good LS/LF products. But under their new corporate masters, Kellogg's, their marketing has gone astray also. In this case there is blatant incorrect information that they have failed to correct after I pointed it out to them. Probably Kellogg's is too big a bureaucracy to respond to consumer health issues. This is ironic since the company's 19th century roots were in healthy cereals.
Now let's look at their website for Heart to Heart Waffles. Looks tempting doesn't it?
Note: Within 2 weeks of our posting the above snapshot of their webpage, Kashi deleted the false third line: "Helps Promote Healthy Blood Pressure - low sodium" from their website. Kashi has never responded to our message on the issue or explained why the waffle packaging is so similar to the cereal packaging for their LS/LF line. They will remain in the Hall of Shame until they either explain their actions or at least put a label on the front that says "Not a low sodium product".
Well, despite the claim "Helps Promote Healthy Blood Pressure—low sodium", the product actually has 370 mg of sodium per serving!!! The FDA limit for low sodium products is 130 g of sodium/serving. The continued use of this false advertising says something about both the ethics of Kellogg's and Kashi as well as FDA's interest in enforcing its rules.
How did this happen? Probably because Kashi makes both cereal and waffles with the "Heart to Heart" label and the cereal brands are actually LS/LF. The webmaster probably just recycled the HTML for the cereal pages in the waffle page probably because he too was confused by the misleading branding here!
Note in the above photo the cereals have 3 lines of red type, while the waffles have 2 lines of red type. The 3 lines on the cereal boxes are are:
Helps Reduce Cholesterol
Helps Support Healthy Arteries
Helps Promote Healthy Blood Pressure
The waffles are just missing the 3rd line. Cute!
So Kellogg's/Kashi have established Heart to Heart as a heart healthy brand because the cereals actually are LS/LFand then they are exploiting this brand identity to push high salt waffles. Ironically, their other waffle brand, GOLEAN, has lower sodium. Then they put false information ontheir website.
Now it is challenging to make low sodium waffles for reasons mentioned elsewhere, but that is no reason to use false statements on the website and misleading package labeling.
The author of this web site has absolutely no formal education, training, or certification related to its subject matter. This is only an attempt to share information he has gathered. Every attempt has been made to reference statements to their original source so you can review them.
Do not make decisions concerning your medical situation based on information herein.
Always consult your medical provider on health-related matters including diet.