This is a new segment we want to introduce which gives our take on new (or not-so-new) food products on the market that hit a sour note with us, nutritionally.
Item in question: Nesquik Plus chocolate syrup
Described by maker Nestle as: Nesquik® PLUS Chocolate Syrup
“Enhanced with Vitamins B2, B6, B9, B12, C, D, E, Calcium and Iron and made with less sugar, NESQUIK PLUS is ideal for moms who are concerned about their kids’ diets as it adds even more nutrients to a glass of milk. After all, kids love the taste of Nesquik and will drink more milk when it’s flavoured! Nesquik PLUS Chocolate Syrup is available in a 460mL format and contains no artificial sweeteners and 25 per cent less sugar than the original.”
So, let’s see, it’s a chocolatey sugar syrup that’s packed with nutrients?? Seems a little backward to me… Children who need more vitamins and minerals in their diet should look to chocolate syrup? What happened to apple plus and orange plus? Apples: a good source of vitamins, minerals and tastes great! Not so catchy or as attractive as chocolate syrup, I’m guessing. As you can see from our previous post on chocolate, there are many possible health benefits in cocoa but less so in highly processed chocolate products including chocolate bars and syrups.
This is a food product with potential benefits to those who drink ZERO milk in their diet however, adding vitamins is hardly the answer to tout it as a nutrient-rich food. What bugs me the most is that many people will not see this food product for what it is – a food with, what we call, the “halo effect”. The “halo” describes the potential “goodness” imparted by the added vitamins (or other nutrient features). When a food has a halo effect, like whole grain tortilla chips, vegetable chips or chocolate covered acai berries (check out our post on superfoods), for example, it gives consumers a sense that they’re making a healthy food choice. There’s evidence to show that when we eat foods like these, we’re likely to eat more of them because of this “halo effect”. Not good. Especially considering that noshing on a cup of chocolate covered acai berries will run you 720 calories, 28 grams of fat and 100 grams of sugar! (That’s a LOT, by the way).
Bottom line: be wary of foods with heaps of added nutrients and ask yourself whether you might consider including more foods that contain valuable nutrients to begin with.