Marketers are attempting to make unhealthy products seem more nutritious for health-conscious shoppers. 7Up, for example, is now being billed as "100 percent natural" now that it has been reformulated to remove an artificial preservative. TV ads will soon show 7UP cans being picked like fruits.

A $44-Billion Market

They are attempting to get a share of the $44 billion a year natural and organic food business. Since 2003, the number of new products making health claims has increased 44 percent.

"Health" Foods

Other foods attempting to bill themselves as "healthy" include:

  • Wrigley's gum, which launched the Wrigley Science Institute to produce studies indicating that gum chewing helps in dieting, stress reduction and concentration.
  • Dunkin' Donuts, which sponsored a media event touting the studies indicating that caffeine from the coffee they sell could reduce the risk of Parkinson's disease.
  • CocoaVia, which advertises itself as a chocolate treat with high levels of heart-healthy flavanols.
    • USA Today April 20, 2006

      Dr. Mercola's Comment:The natural health movement is clearly making an impact. The consumption of soft drinks is going down and the junk food sellers are changing their marketing pitches to you so they can catch the "health wave." Their goal, of course, is toobtainundeserved profits from deceptively convincing you that their highly processed junk foods are actually good for you.

      Since this site is one of the primary movers and shakers of the health movement -- after all, we are the largest natural health Web site in the world -- it is our responsibility to warn you about the dangerous deceptions that lie ahead. I commit to lettingyou know as soon as I find out about them.

      Of the four "health foods" mentioned in this awesome USA Today article, the first three are absolute scams. It is important to understand that it is physically impossible to have a healthy soda, chewing gum or doughnut, so don't let any purveyor of such miserable junk food tell you otherwise.

      The last option, a healthy chocolate, actually is the real deal. When this news first came out in the late '90s, I thought it was more deceptive marketing, as the initial research was funded by Mars.

      However, now I am convinced that chocolate can be a powerful health food, as it is full of useful polyphenolic bioflavanoids. You just need to be cautious about the other junk thrown in the mixture. The healthiest form of chocolate is raw cacao nibs. Unfortunately, only a very small percentage of people actually enjoy them, because they are quite bitter.

      The CocoaVia discussed in the article used to be healthier than it is now, but like most large food companies, they tend to compromise the quality of the ingredients to maximize their profits.

      If you want to eat chocolate and get its benefits, I urge you to follow some simple guidelines to keep your eating habits safe and healthy:

      One: If you eat chocolate, only eat DARK chocolate. Dark chocolate has antioxidant properties andis far better than milk chocolate, as adding milk cancels out the chocolate's antioxidant effects.

      However, even if chocolate is dark, that does not necessarily mean it is healthy; most chocolate, dark or milk, is processed in ways that destroy the majority of the beneficial polyphenolic bioflavanoids.

      Two: Only eat chocolate if you're healthy. Chocolate, even if it is dark, still contains large quantities of sugar, and eating sugar is a profoundly negative influence on your immune system.It should be avoided if you are sick.

      Three: Consumechocolate in moderation.If you are constantly craving sweets, you are likely not eating the correct balance of protein, fats and carbohydrates for your metabolic type. If you tend to crave chocolate when you are upset, bored or lonely, then you could benefit from resolving these underlying emotional issues that are driving you to seek comfort from chocolate.

      Author's Bio: 

      This article is reprinted from Mercola.com, the world's #1 most visited and trusted natural/alternative health website. For a limited time only, you can take the FREE "Metabolic Type Test" to help you learn the right foods for your particular body type so you can achieve optimal fitness & health. Just go to http://www.mercola.com/forms/mt_test.htm right now to take this quick test!