Television commercials never cease to amaze me. This morning, yet again, I accidentally came upon a TV commercial that's screaming for rebuttal. This one, for Special K Protein Shakes. I guess I didn't learn my lesson after yesterday's blog post!
So, the scene: A lovely young woman in her car with a Special K shake in hand, stopped in front of a person in a cupcake suit who's trying to tempt her with a pretty looking pink cupcake in hand. She grips and sips on her Special K shake, staring back at him as if to say, "I don't need you anymore, evil cupcake." Then, a voice babbles something about the "Protein Effect" (Special K's newest marketing angle).
Yes, these shakes do have 10 grams of protein and 5 grams of fiber as claimed. That's great for keeping you full and less easily tempted by a pretty pink cupcake (if the person in the cupcake suit doesn't scare you off first). However, the commercial fails to mention that the shakes also contain a whopping 18 grams of sugar. That's more sugar than the fiber and protein content combined! 18 grams is equal to 4.5 teaspoons or 1.5 tablespoons. If you had one of these shakes daily for a month, you'd ingest almost THREE CUPS of sugar. See my blog, "Sugar 101: Everything You Need to Know" for a crash course on why 18 grams of sugar is unacceptable in a drink or snack being marketed as good for you. In fact, why not note the full ingredient list for the milk chocolate flavored Special K Protein Shake:
"WATER, PROTEIN BLEND (WATER, NONFAT MILK, WHEY PROTEIN CONCENTRATE, SOY PROTEIN ISOLATE), SUGAR, MALTODEXTRIN, CONTAINS TWO PERCENT OR LESS OF POLYDEXTROSE, CANOLA OIL, COCOA PROCESSED WITH ALKALI, NATURAL AND ARTIFICIAL FLAVORS, MAGNESIUM PHOSPHATE, TRICALCIUM PHOSPHATE, GELLAN GUM, CELLULOSE GUM, SOY LECITHIN, MONO- AND DIGLYCERIDES, POTASSIUM CITRATE, ASCORBIC ACID (VITAMIN C), SALT, POTASSIUM PHOSPHATE, CARRAGEENAN, SUCRALOSE, CORN SYRUP SOLIDS, VITAMIN E ACETATE, VITAMIN K1, ACESULFAME POTASSIUM, NIACINAMIDE, VITAMIN D3, CALCIUM PANTOTHENATE, VITAMIN B12, ZINC SULFATE, VITAMIN A PALMITATE, FERRIC PYROPHOSPHATE, PYRIDOXINE HYDROCHLORIDE (VITAMIN B6), RIBOFLAVIN (VITAMIN B2), MANGANESE SULFATE, THIAMIN HYDROCHLORIDE (VITAMIN B1), POTASSIUM IODIDE, FOLIC ACID, BIOTIN, CHROMIUM CHLORIDE, SODIUM MOLYBDATE, SODIUM SELENITE. SWEETENED WITH NUTRITIVE SWEETENERS AND NONNUTRITIVE SWEETENERS."
Drink up? Hm. No, thanks! My loves, Special K Protein Shakes are a processed food that the body was never intended to ingest or digest. Your body needs and wants food from nature, not from a laboratory.
TV commercials are created for the single purpose of getting you to comply with an agenda, whether it's buying a product or believing an idea, with truth and integrity NOT being part of the formula. Marketing is a powerful tool and we, especially children, fall victim to its manipulation every single day, everywhere we go. TV, radio, the internet, billboards, endorsed products/toys, movie and TV product placements, intentional supermarket layout and neuromarketing are constantly fed, most often covertly, into the psyche. The average child watches 10,000 food advertisements per year on television but they're never for REAL, healthy food. How can 10,000 views not affect the thinking of a child when repetition is the key to learning? Marketers study child psychology in order to be able to most effectively get children to nag their parents into buying products. There is actually a form of measurement in the marketing industry called the "nag factor". I couldn't make this stuff up!
I cannot stress enough the need for muting commercials! We use the DVR in my house so we can skip right over them. When I forget to press fast forward, I see the idiocy of marketing and then I end up here blogging about it, but only because I truly love you. :)
So, when you need a pick me up, don't believe the hype. Instead of trading that cupcake for a Special K shake, go for celery or an apple with natural peanut or almond butter, mixed seeds and nuts, chopped vegetables with humus, or berries with plain yogurt - all of which provide a serious protein and fiber boost! Is it easier to grab a ready-made shake on the go? Sure it is. But, can't we all find 2 to 5 extra minutes to make a better investment in our health? You betcha!