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What’s in functional foods? Here’s a primer for health care professionals and patients. Pay close attention to the labeling on designer foods. Careful math and reading skills will help decipher complex and confusing labeling.
Snapple’s Meteor, a tangelo-flavored fruit drink, is sold in 20-ounce bottles for approximately $1.19 each. The label, which is somewhat difficult to read because it is printed in white against the pale pink contents of the bottle, says it contains 120 calories per serving, including 29 g of carbohydrates. But the consumer has to read to the fine print to see that a serving is only 8 ounces — less than half the bottle. Consuming the entire bottle means 360 calories and more than an entire day’s allotment of carbohydrates for the average person — 87 g, most of it from high fructose corn syrup.
Yet the label says Meteor contains 100 mg of Siberian ginseng, 100 mg of gotu kola, and 25 mg of black currant extract — in an entire 20-ounce bottle. In the recommended serving size, one gets 40 mg of ginseng and gotu kola and 10 mg of black currant extract.