Yesterday evening I strolled the aisles of my local supermarket with a dual purpose.
First and foremost -- buy food.
Secondly -- seek out ideas for this blog.
One thing that immediately jumped out at me was the vast number of products bearing Bob Greene's "Best Life Diet" seal of approval.
As anyone with access to a television knows, Mr. Greene rose to fame as Oprah's trainer and diet guru.
Soon thereafter, Bob's Best Life Diet was created.
Over on Oprah's website, we find the following tidbit:
"Bob says one of his great passions is to change the way companies manufacture food -- but he emphasizes that the consumers are really in control."
"This January, Bob Greene and Oprah launched the 2008 Best Life Challenge, encouraging people across the country to sign the contract and make today the day you finally commit to climb off the diet roller coaster and make a healthier lifestyle for yourself."
Wonderful initiative, but the execution falls short.
I randomly picked up four different products displaying the Best Life Diet Seal of Approval and spotted a few less-than-stellar ingredients:
Let's start with the Fiber One Oats & Chocolate bars.
A quick glance at the ingredient list reveals that they contain more chocolate chips, sugar, and hydrogenated coconut oil (hello trans fats) than actual oats.
Another red flag? The presence of high fructose corn syrup.
They contain nine grams of fiber and are fairly low in calories, so while they are not a pint of ice cream, I can't for the life of me understand why they get a Seal of Approval from someone claiming to help consumers track down healthy choices at the supermarket.
Why not award that seal to a truly healthy, simple, and deserving product like Lara or Clif Nectar bars?
Yoplait Yogurt, another highlighted product, contains added sugar and high fructose corn syrup.
Why this gets a gold star over, say, plain yogurt that can be topped with real fruit pieces blows my mind.
Then we have Green Giant's Just for One Corn Niblets & Butter Sauce frozen trays.
The 120 calories and low-fat claims make a fairly decent first impression, but the 330 milligrams of sodium get a jeer from me. What's wrong with plain frozen corn sauteed in some olive oil?
Remember, these products are not under the "Not terrible, but there are definitely healthier options out there" column.
These products are ones Bob Greene has no qualms putting his name and seal on and describing as "the best" when it comes to nutrition.
I then picked up a can of Progresso Soup, the only soup recommended soup in the diet.
I'm supposed to be okay with the fact that a can of soup containing 1,500 milligrams of sodium is recommended to someone looking to live a healthier lifestyle?
In approximately 45 seconds I spotted two others brands offering soups with half that sodium amount!
This posting may very well shatter my chances of ever appearing on Oprah, but I can't sit back and be okay with the idea that nutritionally mediocre products are, for whatever reason, receiving undeserved endorsement.