Today is Healthy Monday! Yay!

Today, let’s speak on a subject that affects you and I – labelling!

My daughter was given a pack of biscuits which I found (intact) in the car. It was one of these really cheap biscuits that you can purchase for about NGN10. Even though I knew not to expect much, I took a look at the packaging to read the ingredients list. Before I could do that though, this caught my eye:

Biscuit Front

1 Pack = 1 glass of milk*

I was intrigued! Really? I could eat this and literally not need to drink milk? These had to be healthy biscuits!! But then, notice the asterisk? Not a lot of people usually do. I turned the pack around to find what it meant:

*One pack of 33g Milk Biscuits has Calcium equal to 175ml glass of milk

Interesting stuff! So of course, I was now dying to know what the ingredients were:

Biscuit Ingredients

Flour, Sugar,Vegetable Fat, Ammonium Bicarbonate, Food Additives E170, Invert Syrup, Skimmed Milk Powder, Salt, Sodium Bicarbonate, Milk Flavor, Vanilla Flavor, Soya Lecithin.

I want to keep this post as short as possible so I am not going to go into all the ingredients here. They actually deserve a post of their own. Let’s stay with the Calcium story.

  • a standard glass is 250ml but here we are told that 1 pack = 1 (175ml) glass of milk. Already, the math doesn’t add up. Hmmmm.
  • Calcium is good for the strengthening bones and teeth, but sugar depletes Calcium. Did you notice that sugar is the second ingredient? This implies that there is more sugar in the biscuits than Calcium. We can infer that the amount of calcium depleted by this packet of biscuit will be more than that which is replaced by it. So really, are we getting any Calcium?

Another thing I found interesting is that they went to the trouble of highlighting the Calcium content under nutrition information. They could have easily done this for Sugar as well but that information is missing. I suspect that it is because this information would not be to their advantage.

biscuit calcium

I opened the packet and ate some of the biscuit. I cannot measure the Sugar content with my body but suffice to say that the Sugar level is really high. It tasted just of sugar to me.

To end this post, I would say that we need to be more vigilant of what we feed ourselves and our children. There are an abundance of these biscuits in the market and I know that a lot of parents pop them into their children’s school bags as a snack or even buy a carton of two and let them nosh on it at home.

These are the things that contribute to an increased rate of infant and childhood diabetes, obesity and more. It is the manufacturers prerogative to put anything they want (within reason) on their labels and push these aggressively in the market. It is our responsibility to be discerning consumers. It is also our responsibility to take the time to feed our children right.

Follow my healthy lunch series for easy, interesting recipes that can go into a child’s lunch bag…and yours.

10 Comments

Spesh

I just don’t get the need to try to pass it up as “healthy” when it clearly isn’t. Marketing strategy perhaps? Only in Nigeria 🙁

Reply
thermiprettie

God bless you for this. I do not really fancy all these biscuits because of the sugar level for children but my husband will always say that children still need sugar/. I need to check out the healthy lunch series for ideas

Reply
Natural Nigerian

Hi thermpiprettie, please show your husband this post, hopefully it will change his mind. Children need a healthy diet. They can get natural sugars from fruits but even then, not too much of those.

Reply
An Afrikan Butterfly

These claims really upset me. It’s not that I’m a very fit person, or that I eat very clean. Let’s just not be misinformed. If I’m eating junk, I know I’m eating it and I think other people should know they’re eating it too.
I remember one time I saw an advert for a soya milk drink (a year or two ago) and they advertised it as being equivalent to one full meal. It wasn’t any special milk oh, definitely not different from VitaMilk.
Who is going to step in to police all this harmful advertising before nutrition becomes a big national problem?

Reply
Natural Nigerian

I understand exactly where you are coming from. If it is unhealthy, they shouldn’t try to pass it off as something else. Unfortunately a lot of people will actually buy this product on the strength that they are getting the equivalent of a glass of milk…poor folks. Good question about the policing. I have no idea how to get a law/bill passed but that is something we can pursue, the same way Americans are beginning to insist on GMO labelling. Our siddon dey look attitude will literally kill us if we do not do something soon!

Reply
Grace

Sorry this is odd.Pls how do I place an order for tea tree oil?Am based at Portharcourt

Reply

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