Thinking Thursday- Where’s the blueberries?

Posted: August 18, 2011 in thinking tuesday

It’s Tuesday Thursday- time for my weekly science/food/nutrition discussion.  Excuse me while I put on my lab coat and step onto this soapbox. Check out past thoughts here: week 1 here, week 2 here, week 3. 

Well hello.  Let’s talk about food fables.  I don’t like being fooled, but here’s a great example of how the food industry tries to trick us.  

Where’s the blueberry???

Blueberries are so hot right now (much like Hansel).  

They’ve got antioxidants and they’re linked to a whole bunch of great benefits like improved memory and they have Vitamin C and fiber.  No wonder companies are scrambling to showcase blueberries in all their products.  

We see blueberries, we think healthy, we buy.  Right?  Wrong!  Many times these “processed” foods showcasing blueberry don’t actually contain any blueberry!  At ALL!  Just Blue #2 and Red #40 dye.

Think I’m crazy?  Read the labels.  A certain “blueberry mini-wheat” lists a blueberry “crunchlet” on the label.  Uhhh and where exactly is crunchlet farms? Other labels include things like “artificial blueberry flavor bits”.

The sad thing is people are buying these products and thinking that they’re gleaning antioxidant benefits from them.  Unless food dyes have some super powers yet to be discovered then…you’re not.  Blueberries ARE amazing AND delicious.  I adore them.  I wonder how they feel about these berry bad imposters???

Here’s an excerpt from For Your Health on this very topic showing “blueberries” in various products.  Source.

Blueberry Bagels – Target
Made with “blueberry bits” comprised entirely of sugar, corn cereal, modified food starch, partially hydrogenated vegetable oil, artificial flavor, cellulose gum, salt and artificial colors (Blue #2, Red #40, Green #3 and Blue #1). We get it. “Cellulose Gum Bagels” just doesn’t have the same sparkle.

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Total Blueberry Pomegranate Cereal – General Mills
Contains no actual blueberries or pomegranates (another food getting a lot of attention for its antioxidant properties). Found instead: red #40, blue #2, sucralose, sugar, corn syrup and brown sugar syrup. This kind of reminds me of the time I discovered the fine print recommending that I take not one, but two of my One-A-Day VitaCraves Gummy vitamins each day. Those bastards!


Frosted Mini Wheats Blueberry Muffin – Kellogg’s 
Fresh blueberries featured on the package – blueberry “crunchlets” on the label. WTF is a crunchlet? Apparently, it’s a mixture of sugars, soybean oil, red #40 and blue #2.


Special K Blueberry Fruit Crisps – Kellogg’s
According to thewebsite, the product is “made with real fruit and drizzled with vanilla icing.” In this case, “real fruit” amounts to apple powder, partially hydrogenated soybean oil, fructose, sugar, artificial colors red #40 and blue #1, and a dash of blueberry puree concentrate.

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Blueberry Muffin Mix – Betty CrockerThere’s blueberries in the name and on the package, but the truth is in the fine print: Does not contain actual blueberries. The items masquerading as berries in the mix are in reality a combination of dextrose, corn flour, partially hydrogenated soybean oil, sugar, citric acid, artificial flavor, Blue #1, and Red #40. Mmmm…there’s nothing like the smell of freshly baked food additives in the morning! 

In truth those are all “processed” foods that should be avoided.  But I think it’s good to take the “blinders” off and see what food industry is really doing.  If you ask me it’s making money and creating an obese, nutritionally void society.

Hey, can someone help me get off this soapbox.  All these “” are making me nauseous.

What’s your take on the blueberry burglary?

Love and deep thoughts,
Carissa & Kyle

  1. Great post! I think it just reinforces that we have to label read!

  2. Holy cow! Thank goodness I read my labels 🙂

  3. That's a great point- you HAVE to read the labels. There are some good brands out there like Cascadian Farms and Nature's Path.

  4. Wow! So many people don't even think about the labels. It goes to show you what's really in your food!

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