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Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Diet Coke Not Functional Food

Functional foods are growing to be the next big food fad. Adding nutrients or probiotics, or claiming that they have extra nutritional value, makes a regular food "functional."

You know that this will be a huge fad because it is already being abused.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) called Diet Coke Plus "misbranded … because the product makes a nutrient content claim but does not meet the criteria to make the claim."

Diet Coke Plus does have nutrients added. In the Atlanta Journal Constitution Joe Guy Collier wrote that:

Its labeling says that each 8-ounce serving provides 15 percent of the daily reference value for niacin, B6 and B12 and 10 percent of the daily reference value for zinc and magnesium.

This is about as meaningful as adding a sprinkle of vitamins to a kid's cereal and then claiming that it's healthy.

Diet sodas are slightly better for you than regular sugared sodas, but mostly are expensive carbonated water. Nobody should have such a ridiculously unhealthful diet that a smidgen of nutrients added to diet soda would make a difference. It's total marketing hype and not worth your dollars.

Be a smart consumer and think about any "healthy" claims that products make. A label plastered across a package touting its wonderfulness isn't always going to be real. If a food really isn't functional, don't bother with it. And don't believe that functional foods will magically make you healthier. Only a good, balanced diet will do that.

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