Thursday, August 19, 2010

the truth about those annoying commercials

This morning started with a non-typical breakfast. It’s been hot, and I just couldn’t take normal oatmeal for one more day. Enter this muesli mix of yogurt, peaches, oatmeal, walnuts, and cinnamon.


The only thing I’d change is to use non-dairy yogurt. I really want to try to make yogurt using Almond Breeze. Has anyone tried and had success with making non-dairy yogurt? If so, I’d love to hear from you.

One of the advantages (?) of being unemployed is that I actually have time to watch tv. However,the number of commercials for unhealthy, quick fixes drives me insane; no wonder people are so confused about nutrition.

Here are some of the commercials I’ve seen lately and their flaws:



  • [Disclaimer: I LOVE Nutella, but their latest commercial makes me cringe].
  • Nutella’s commercial claims that combining the rich hazelnut butter with whole grain toast is a balanced breakfast. Their website adds this qualifier: when used in moderation with complementary foods. I doubt many people visit the website to see this little statement.
  • How does Nutella stack up against peanut butter?
  • Jif natural 2 T Nutella 2 T
    calories 190 calories 200 calories
    fat 16 grams (3 g saturated) 11 grams (3.5 g saturated)
    sodium 75 mg 15 mg
    fiber 2 grams 1 gram
    sugar 3 grams 21 grams
    protein 7 grams 3 grams
    calcium 2% 4%
    iron 4% 4%
  • Nutella has more calories, saturated fat, and 7x the sugar as Jif Natural peanut butter, but it does have less sodium and more calcium.
  • Because of the sugar content, Nutella should not be standard breakfast fare. It definitely fits more appropriately into the dessert category!

Kashi GoLean Cereal

  • I really do like Kashi’s products, so I’m not bashing the company in any way. However, I do think that their latest commercial is misleading.
  • The commercial states that Kashi Go-Lean Crunch contains “as much protein as an egg.” What they don’t mention is that egg protein and cereal protein are not equal. Egg protein is high biological value protein (HBV) and contains more essential amino acids than cereal protein.
  • Animal products typically contain HBV protein, while plants, legumes, grains, nuts, seeds and vegetables contain low biological value protein.
  • Note: this doesn’t mean that vegetarians are protein deficient, it just means that they need to focus on eating a varied and balanced diet in order to receive an adequate combo of amino acids.

Motts’ Medleys Juices


  • Supposedly, this juice contains two fruit and veggie servings magically hidden in every 8 oz glass
  • whole apple (med) Motts’ Medleys Juice (8 oz)
    calories ~95 calories 140 calories
    sugar ~19 grams 22-30 grams
    fiber ~ 4 grams 0 grams
  • While this may sound fantastic, I don’t buy it. This juice doesn’t contain any fiber and is loaded with calories…it’s not a great substitute for a whole apple or fresh veggies.
  • It may take 10-15 tries before a child will accept a food. It may take even longer for some of us adults, whose taste buds have been ruined by eating high fat, sugar, and sodium diets. Work on developing a healthy palate before you resort to drinking juice.

Has anyone else seen similar commercials (or these commercials) lately? So many Americans watch tv, and I really wish that the government would put money into nutrition education via positive media messages…can’t remember when I last saw a commercial encouraging kids to eat their veggies!



  1. All of these commercials really bother me too. I would love to see a commercial that encouraged kids to eat an actual apple or carrots like you said, rather than sugary junk!

  2. Hi Emily, what do you mean by high biological value protein? I've been reading up on raw food, and the nutrition books usually say that animal protein is very hard for our body to digest and assimilate. That protein is denatured when it is cooked, and thhe body has to work harder to break it down into amino acids... What do you think of that statement?

    On another note, commercials for such unhealthy food irk the shit out of me too. I roll my eyes vigorously when I see ads for Coke Lite being the 'healthier' option, etcetc.

  3. hey emily!! you're so right...those commercials are beyond ridiculous. I especially get annoyed by the V8 ones with the number of veggies eaten in a day appear over their heads as they're drinking the juice...

    things are good here in st. louis...back to the same old work routine! still haven't made it out to the new lulu in frontenac but i will get there one of these days! i also can't wait till the weather cools down a bit there--it's been way too hot this summer!

    hope interviews are going well!!

  4. Yeah Nutella is not part of a "balanced" breakfast. I don't see the problem with eating it, but it should not be consumed for breakfast everyday.

  5. I laughed the first time I saw that Nutella commercial. The sad thing is that some people are going to believe it! Although, I guess a little Nutella on whole wheat bread is better than poptarts...

  6. love this post emily! so informative... i love how you break things down so clearly, very helpful =) and yes i think sometimes we are too susceptible to hype in commercials .. that's why we're so willing to try the newest "health" food... good thing we have people like you to help us figure out whether or not the food is REALLY healthy!

  7. I've tried making yogurt from almond milk before and it didn't work so well. I used sweetened almond milk thickened with tapioca starch and then let it ferment for a while but it never reached the consistency of even thin yogurt. I'd love to try again if you or someone else figures out a way to do it!

    Have a good day! :)

  8. As I read this post,I was jumping around inside (hi, I'm Caroline, a lurker, by the way)...yesyesyeysyesyes....these commercials (the V8 one too) PISS ME OFFFFFFF.

    May I add that the Kashi GoLean may have as much protein as an egg, but it also has waaaaay too much sugar and more calories than an egg. Carbs and calories are good but you are waay better off having two eggs with two pieces of WW toast for less sugar and the same amount of calories as a bowl of Kashi GoLean (b/c a "bowl" is usually 2 or so servings).

  9. i don't watch tv but you're 100% right! it drives me bonkers whenever i see ads like those. i really wish that there were more ads promoting actual good health (fruits veggies etc) too

    and great looking breakfast. maybe i'll try that this weekend :)

  10. such great points!!! I had commercials and usually dvr my way through them. Sometimes Chris and I watch infomercials just for a good laugh :)

  11. Oh my gosh. The first time I saw all of those commercials, my jaw just dropped...especially the Nutella one! Since when did chocolate become a balanced breakfast?? And I love Kashi, but I don't think it's fair to lead people to believe that eating their cereal is better than the protein from an egg. Great post! :)

  12. The amount of sugar in nutella is crazy! Good to know!

    You're spot on, I think commercials are so misleading. The one that really makes me angry are the Latisse eye lash commercials. I know some people really do have hair growth issues, but I'm pretty sure that the celebrity spokeswomen they use don't have "medically deficient" eyelashes. Pretty sure there are more important things the pharma industry could be working on....

  13. OH YES! I love this post. This is my biggest pet peeve. I hate misleading advertising and it seems that is all we see these days. Most people do not actually do the research, and if the label looks healthy, the forget about reading the nutrition facts on the back. As an RD, this makes my job that much harder.

  14. Yes! I started seeing those ads last summer (and wrote a post about them too). Nutella is NOT health food by any stretch of the imagination.

  15. That Nutella commercial drives me CRAZY! Nutella is not for a balanced breakfast. It's freaking chocolate. Delicious chocolate. But chocolate. Gosh!

    But YOUR breakfast looks absolutely amazing!! I'm so into peaches lately :)


  16. Thank you for doing these comparisons!! Especially the Nutella one... we always have a huuuge jar of it in our pantry :)

  17. I don't watch TV often but I can't believe that nutella has 7 times more sugar!!!! That's definitely a NO for me!
    I tried making yogurt using soy milk once.. .it was just okay, it turned out more like a tofu/pudding than yogurt. I need to explore more! :)

  18. the nutella commercial totally fooled me. when they said all natural with just skim milk powder, roasted hazelnuts, and a hint of cocoa powder i thought "WOW AWESOME" until i looked at the jar and read SUGAR in the ingredients...hmmm they sure didnt say THAT in the commercial.. and now we know why ;)


  19. YES I have these ALL written down on my list of commercials and ads I HATE!
    The Nutella gets me because they say, "add it to nutritious foods, like BREAD". Umm, ok, so whole wheat bread may be healthy, but why not say BANANA, or STRAWBERRIES?!

    The juice commercials always kill me. Same with the V8 commercial, UGH. I hate it.

    The Kashi commercial is so lame. I made note of this on my egg post. It wasn't obvious, but I wrote something like, "it may have the same amount of protein as a certain cereal, but it's much better quality!".

  20. I hardly watch TV so I have not seen the commercials yet. I like Nutella but I don't think it's nutritious food though.

    Thanks for the side by side comparison to the healthier peanut butter alternative

  21. whenever i see those nutella commercials, i think the same thing! reserved more for dessert than breakfast!

  22. there was one about some drink called "fruit today" or something that used to make me gag lol it mentioned "real fruit chunks" in the juice but it sounded like a jug of sugar. gross!

  23. That Nutella commercial ticks me off every time!!! Grrr! :)

  24. Have you seen the commercial where there are two teenage boys about to eat cereal. one scoffs at the other saying there is corn syrup in that cereal! The other retorts "corn syrup has the same nutritional value as sugar!" Then they both happily eat the corn syrup cereal. Since when did sugar have nutritional value?

  25. THANK YOU for posting this! I find those juice ads apalling, and as for Nutella, I love the stuff but they should be ashamed of themselves for promoting it as health food. I spent a month in Germany as a child (before Nutella was widely available in the states) and I sure did have it for breakfast every morning; at least it was spread on sunflower bread...

    Anyway, these marketing ploys bug the hell out of me; it saddens me to know there are so many parents out there that will fall for it :(

  26. gahhh AGREED about the protein in kashi! thats so annoying that they claim that because it's completely different!

    hope you have a stellar weekend girl :)

  27. Man, perfect timing! I was just being skeptical of the Nutella ad the other day. I'm sad that the commercial stretches the truth so much. I'll take any excuse I can get to eat hazelnut-chocolate spread for breakfast!

  28. hey girl!! WOW SO INTERESTING!! you are full of amazing info! WHO KNEW about the sugar in the nutella! I had no idea!

  29. I think you could have an entire blog about absurd commercials. I tried to adopt the kashi go lean into my diet a few years ago. To be modest, it and my GI did not get along. Are you transitioning to vegan diet?

  30. nutella is the BEST treat. i need to invest, it's been a while!!

    hope you have a splendid sunday, dear
    love, becca

  31. I hate commercials about juice and such! I really think they're just sugar water, not a way to claim you're getting in your servings of fruits and vegetables.

  32. Loved this post! So informative! Your tables comparing foods are great! Thanks :).

  33. Amen re: the recent Kashi vs Egg ads- I guess it got people like us talking, but just to shout out further against that type of processed cereal garbage. Check out my post from yesterday!


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