by Dr. Craig A. Maxwell
Have you seen the new commercial for Fiber One bars? It is shot to the tune of the 80s pop hit, “Take My Breath Away” by Berlin. (Remember, the one from the Tom Cruise flick, Top Gun?)
Here’s how the piece goes:
As the music plays in this ad, it opens on a disheveled-looking man grilling a carrot while his buddies chow down on burgers and chips.
“Watching everybody eating what they want all day.”
In the next scene, he is eating broccoli from a bag on a fishing boat while his friends ignore him and stuff their faces full of more chips.
“All this tasteless cardboard brings me nothing but more shame.”
Now we find our sad and hapless hero sitting alone next to a motorcycle with a plate of fruits and vegetables while his friends, you guessed it, lean up against a sports car and plow down more processed food.
“Turning every turn until I find something right.”
In this scene, a hand moves into the frame from above, offering a Fiber One bar. Our long-haired friend smiles tentatively and the next shot shows a close-up of his hands as he slowly breaks the bar in two, allowing the gooey, chocolate-chip center to tempt viewers with a tasty break from produce.
“And it takes my breath away.”
Suddenly, our main character is standing tall, leaning up against the motorcycle and hungrily tearing into the bar while his own private breeze whips back his hair, male-model style.
The slogan that closes the ad is:
“Fiber One – Lose the Drama”
According to this ad, people who eat fruits and vegetables are half-starved friendless losers with poor hygiene and questionable mental health. It sends a clear but subtle message that vegetables and fruit are too boring and that Fiber One bars are the clear choice for the healthy but “with it” consumer.
Not so fast.
Fiber One Ingredients are Anything but Healthy
The list of ingredients in a Fiber One bar are about a paragraph long. For this article, I’ll just list those that have been linked to health problems:
- Soy Lecithin
85% of the soy produced in the United States is genetically modified to contain Bt toxin. This means it contains pesticides that can do damage to your intestines, kidneys, and liver. Furthermore, unfermented soy, whether organic or not, has been linked to malnutrition, digestive complaints, thyroid dysfunction, and reproductive disorders.
- Canola Oil
Canola oil is made from rapeseed but the name was changed to canola to make it sound more appealing and marketable. When it was first produced in the 1970s, this ultra-cheap oil, if not the best choice, was at least sustainable. Now, however, most canola oil is genetically modified and has been linked to an increased risk of coronary artery disease.[1. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/clc.4960170902/abstract]
- Palm Kernel Oil
Palm kernel oil is the low-cost oil now being used to replace trans fats in processed foods. Unlike red palm oil, palm kernel oil is highly processed and extracted from the pit with a gasoline-like hydrocarbon solvent. The result is cheap, unhealthy oil that is not safe to consume.
- High Maltose Corn Syrup
High maltose corn syrup is chemically similar to high fructose corn syrup, which has been linked to obesity. Since 85% of the corn produced in the United States is genetically modified to contain Bt toxin, it can put your health at significant risk.
More than 75 percent of the sodium in the average American diet comes from salt added to processed foods. Just one 1.4 ounce Fiber One Chewy Bar contains 90 milligrams of sodium. Although other processed foods may contain more, this is a fairly significant amount for a small bar.
- Cellulose Gum
Cellulose gum is used as a stabilizer and thickener and makes up much of the fiber content of Fiber One bars. It is made from wood pulp or cotton linter and while it mostly passes from your system without incident, it may cause gastrointestinal difficulties if you’re sensitive to it.
- Caramel Color
Caramel color is made from heating or burning a carbohydrate (wheat, corn, or lactose) and mixing it with ammonium and sulfites.
One of the most important things to remember about Fiber One bars and similar products is there is little nutritional value in these foods. The cellulose gum and vegetable glycerin (that’s one of the ingredients) may make you feel as though your digestion has been regulated but the effect will only be artificial.
“Natural flavors” is listed on the wrapper a few times. These flavorings could be just about anything, including beaver anal secretions.
Read Food Labels Carefully to Avoid Buzzword Confusion
As I mentioned in my article about natural food hype, buzzwords like “natural” and “whole grain” are meant to lull healthy eaters like you into a false sense of security. Be sure to read the back or side of the box or bag of food you’re buying. You’ll often be surprised by how many questionable ingredients it contains.
The best thing you can do for your health is to eat whole and minimally-processed foods. Foods like organic produce, grass-fed beef, organic poultry, wild-caught fish, eggs, and healthy fats like nuts, coconut oil, avocado, and dark chocolate offer the nutrients you need to stay satisfied and healthy.
Healthy eating doesn’t have to be boring and it’s certainly nothing to mock. Don’t let commercials for junk food confuse and bully you into buying their products. Their tactics only reveal how desperate they’ve become for customers as more and more people turn to a holistic diet.
Speaking of Ridiculous…Have You Heard of These Diets?