Last week I shared a post regarding the new Girl Scout cookie, “Mango Cremes with Nutrifusion.” I used that cookie as a springboard to discuss my general concerns with “nutritionism” claims on packaged, processed foods and the way in which those claims can easily seduce less food-educated parents, or parents struggling with children who spurn fruits and vegetables, into thinking that consuming the processed food is the equivalent of consuming whole foods.
Soon after the post was published, I was contacted by William Grand, founder and president of Nutrifusion, the company which makes the nutritional additive in the Mango Creme cookie. He asked if he could share his views in this forum and I agreed. He also took issue with a statement in the original post in which I speculated that his powder “comes straight from a lab;” Mr. Grand says it comes from “processing facility,” not a lab, and that in creating it the company only “removes the moisture from the fruits and vegetables while preserving the micronutrients,” a process more fully outlined here. I have gone back to the original post and changed “lab” to “processing facility.”
Here is Mr. Grand’s rebuttal to my post:
What we have done to food, even in the raw state, is criminal.
Where we agree:
- “… getting kids to eat fruits and vegetables can be a real and constant challenge.”
- Our diets are very deficient in fresh fruits and vegetables and the critical phytonutrients needed for growing children.
- Our fruit and vegetable powder is, in a small way, a means to try to help the consumer achieve natural, plant derive nutrition that they are not getting from their regular diet.
- We need to alter our “addiction” to over-processed and generally unhealthy foods.
- As we all work towards improving our poor eating habits, NutriFusion can supply the important and necessary micronutrients NOW [from fresh fruits and vegetables] in most food products – yes, even processed foods. This can be healthier yogurt, beverages, pastas, or even a cookie.
- NutriFusion is beneficial for the consumer’s immediate [and long-term health].
- “… once children have experienced the pleasures of highly processed foods, even in relatively small quantities, I believe those experiences make it that much harder for them to accept the “imperfect” tastes and textures of fresh produce …”
- We do indeed show addictive behavior to processed foods, wheat, sugar, etc.
- Processed foods are ingrained in the food system worldwide with its pending health crisis.
- Unhealthy eating, without sufficient phytonutrients from fresh fruits and vegetables, impacts a child’s intellectual and physical development for a lifetime.
- … You can easily see how a less food-savvy parent might conclude that feeding a child Mango Crèmes is actually a net positive, the same as offering fruit, …”.
(a) A cookie is a cookie with all its processed flour, fats, sugar, and artificial flavors.
(b) However, children, parents, and adults do indulge in snack foods. They are what they are – a treat. We cannot hide from this!
- Our thinking diverges slightly here.
i. We know we do not get enough fruits and vegetables.
ii. There is no easy quick method to change the consumer’s bad eating habits.
iii. People will still continue to eat cookies, crackers, chips, and other snack foods.
iv. Consequently, adding our fruit and vegetable NutriFusion powder in snack foods can be a positive step to at least help people achieve some better nutrition.
v. Our product can help the health of people NOW; including those who have bad eating habits with no intentions of changing].
- “…society’s overly simplistic way of viewing food’s value based solely on individual nutrients.”
- Spot on! Our bodies need the complexity of food state nutrition! Synthetics cannot do this.
- DW Cavanaugh, MD of Cornell University: “There is only one major disease, and that is malnutrition.” Malnutrition of the affluent is the natural result of the foods of commerce. [Processed Foods].
- c. “Vitamins are not individual molecular compounds. Vitamins are biological complexes. Vitamin activity only takes place when all conditions are met, and when all co-factors and components of the entire vitamin complex are present and working together. Vitamins cannot be isolated from their complexes and still perform their specific life functions within the cells.
When isolated into artificial commercial forms, like ascorbic acid, these purified synthetics act as drugs in the body. They are no longer vitamins, and to call them such is inaccurate.”
Where we do not agree:
- “Despite the fact that this powder presumably comes straight from a lab, … ..”
- NutriFusion does NOT come from a lab.
- Our product is 100% American grown, first grade, fresh fruits and vegetables.
- There are NO chemicals or excipients in the product.
- NutriFusion uses non-GMO produce from US farms.
- We only stabilize the vitamins and phytonutrients from fresh fruits and vegetables.
- Our product is supported by independent third-party lab analysis.
- See: http://www.nutrifusion.com/production.html. This link will explain the production process from receipt of fruits and vegetables to finished product.
- We only remove the moisture from the fruits and vegetables while preserving the micronutrients.
- The lawyers!
- Mislabeled and misrepresented food products are common.
- “God bless the class-action lawyers”! They are protecting the consumer from wild claims and misrepresentations on our food shelves and forcing many unethical or marginal food companies to clean up their claims (while getting rich). This covers many large consumer package goods companies and products such as General Mills, Kellogg, Dannon, Kashi, Nutella, etc.
So, How Do The Girl Scouts Fit Into All This Complexity?
- Is the glass half empty or half full?
- The Girl Scouts, in a very small way, are helping children with their nutritional needs. Of course, cookies are a snack but at least it is healthier.
- Today’s children need the nutrients that are so deficient in our diets! Remember, only 14% of children get sufficient fruits and vegetables on a daily basis.
- Health first! But continue to correct society’s bad eating habits!
- Given the depth of knowledge that we have on the food industry, the deficiencies of the food industry, our collective poor nutrition and diets, the cumulated effect of our poor nutrition as we age, and our desire [corporate and personal] to do the right thing, we feel the Girl Scouts are contributing to help us to a healthier state.
* * *
If you’d like to comment on Mr. Grand’s post, you may want to do it here rather than The Lunch Tray’s Facebook page so he can more easily see your responses and reply to them.