Gluten-free junk food disguised as a health food

So, I open my emails this weekend and there’s one from Amazon, giving the rundown of its top-sellers for the week. Do you want to take a guess what the site’s best-selling gluten-free cereal was?

Fruity Pebbles.

I was shocked. No, worse. I was downright appalled.

Don’t get me wrong–the fact that Amazon is selling gluten-free products at all is a major step forward. Just a few years ago that would have been unthinkable (“not a worthwhile business model,” as I’m sure their marketing team advised).

The claim game

But today, gluten-free is becoming more mainstream. Which should be a great thing. Except look what Americans are choosing as their “gluten-free” product of choice–a junk food disguised as a health food.

The problem is, too many people rely on labels to tell them what’s “healthy.” But just because a product can claim it’s gluten-free…or fat-free…or trans-fat-free…or whole grain…etc, etc.–doesn’t make it good for you. Fruity Pebbles are a prime example, but there are hundreds, probably even thousands, more where that came from.

What’s really happening here is that the food industry is trying to make a buck on people who want to make healthy choices, but don’t really know how. So they add a healthy-sounding claim to their packaging, under the guise of making it easier for consumers. But all they’re really doing is misleading people…and contributing to the obesity and diabetes epidemics these unsuspecting folks are trying to escape in the first place.

Here’s a reality check for all of those poor saps: You don’t need a label to tell you what’s healthy!

In fact, the healthiest foods you can eat usually don’t even have labels! If you stick to those as much as possible, things suddenly get a whole lot easier.

And as far as those packaged foods you do buy? Ignore the fancy logos and the trumped-up claims, and go straight for the ingredient list. If there’s anything you can’t pronounce, it’s probably not the best choice.

Simple as that.