This past Sunday I volunteered at a bake sale.
All the usual suspects were there – cake, cupcakes, chocolate chip cookies, and brownies, provided by yours truly. No, there was nothing “healthy” about these brownies. I take my brownies seriously – butter, whole eggs and the riches chocolate. One brownie could earn you 100 squat thrust.
In spite of the sugar and fat laden baked goods, we tried to do the right (read healthy) thing at our bake sale by selling a selection of fruit and bottled water. Something for the health conscious – I was quite pleased.
Another non-traditional bake sale item made it’s way onto the table – Welch’s Fruit Snacks. I took issue.
The fact that these sugar laden globs made it to the table wasn’t the issue. It was the fact that people kept referring to them as fruit. FRUIT! Really?! In fact one of our members insisted that they be placed next to the actual fruit, her argument being that Welch’s Fruit Snacks qualify as FRUIT.
Let’s set the record straight – Welch’s Fruit Snacks are not REAL fruit. It’s sort of like calling KoolAid fruit juice.
REAL fruit doesn’t come in a bag – OK, except dried fruit, apple slices from Wawa and oranges bought in bulk – but you get my point.
And, when was the last time that you had a gelatinous strawberry and enjoyed it? Welch’s Strawberry Fruit Snacks (they also come in Mixed Fruit, White Grape Peach, White Grape Raspberry, Fruit Juice, Concord Grape, and Berries ‘n Cherries) are just gelatinous globs of fruit flavored sugar.
To be fair, Welch’s Fruit Snacks contain “real fruit” in the form of concentrated fruit juice and fruit puree.
The first six ingredients are: juice from concentrates, corn syrup, sugar, modified corn starch, fruit puree and gelatin. Basically your body reads (metabolizes) the ingredients like this: sugar, sugar, sugar, sugar, sugar and gelatin.
Concentrated fruit juice is usually made from the least “healthy” of juices (grape, apple, pear). In the case of the Welch’s strawberry snacks the juice concentrate is made from peach, pear and pineapple. Very little fruit and very much sugar remains after the juice is concentrated. In addition, ALL juice, including 100% fruit juice is devoid of the beneficial fiber that is found in whole fruits. Welch’s Fruit Snacks contain ZERO fiber.
Fruit puree (made from apples and strawberries), number five on the ingredient list, is so low on the list that I again question how much fruit is actually in these snacks.
The manufacturers have also added vitamins C, E and A (I guess so you can say you’re getting your vitamins) and Red 40 (umm umm good).
To boot, the “fruit” snacks contain 24 grams of sugar per serving but each bag is 1.5 servings (are your really going to leave half a serving in the bag?), so in reality you’re getting 36 grams of sugar per bag. Yes, part of this sugar is from fructose (fruit sugar) but remember, how much “real fruit” is truly in these snacks?
So, I guess my point is – call a fruit a fruit and call glorified candy gloried candy. Indulging once in a while in sugary snacks is OK but don’t fool yourself by thinking that you’re eating real fruit when you’re eating “fruit snacks”.