Hero, Functional and Miracle Foods – or Are They?

August 9, 2011

Hero, Functional and Miracle Foods – or Are They?


At True Citrus, we believe our health depends a lot on what we eat.  And we admit that we say adding True Citrus to your diet with lots of water, or instead of salt and sugar is a healthy choice that can improve your weight and blood pressure.

But we are careful to only say what we know to be true. Our mission is to help people to complement their healthy diet and to provide value for people’s money.  We wouldn’t want you to think our products were good for you if they weren’t (but they are, so no worries there!)

But some other food companies seem more concerned about their stock price health than they are about the real benefits of their products. That’s got to be because these days “miracle” foods are a booming business, worth an estimated $37.3 billion in the United States in 2009.

Health claims are fine to make, if they are backed up by credible scientific evidence. But often, they aren’t.  Or they are kind of true, but not really.  For example, Promise Activ yogurt’s label says in big letters: “Actively Removes Cholesterol.” But the fine print says “as part of diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol.”  

Or often, the fine print reveals that you’d have to have quite a few servings on the product to get the benefits. Like Quaker Oatmeal Squares cereal. Its front, in big letters, says: “Oatmeal helps reduce cholesterol!” But the small print lets you know that you’d have to eat three bowls of it a day to get the fiber needed to reduce the risk of heart disease. Pretty tricky!

In the last few years, the FDA and FTC (Federal Trade Commission) brought complaints against companies over claims that their food products have health-promoting or wellness-maintaining properties. Foods like Pom Wonderful, Activia and DanActive yogurt, Mini-Wheats, Rice Krispies, Eclipse mints, that say they can help prevent cancer, lower blood-pressure, reduce cholesterol, increase digestion, kill germs, improve your attention span, strengthen your immune system, add years to your life.

Sure, people can buy whatever they want. But it isn’t fair to be tricked into paying more for a “healthy” food when it really isn’t. 

To sum it up, at True Citrus, we care about health, we care about honesty, and we believe brands should be able to back up their health claims.  We believe if you are paying for what you are told are health benefits, you should really get them.

But until all companies believe that too, be sure to check the fine print and nutritional labels. Because unfortunately, despite what the front of the package claims, sometimes “functional” foods don’t do much of anything at all.