When Bullwinkle the Moose tells his buddy Rocket J. Squirrel, "Hey, watch me pull a rabbit out of my hat!" a rabbit is never what appears.
That kind of switcheroo isn't so comic, however, when certain snack and cereal bars claim on their front label that they contain real fruit. If you look at the ingredients list to see what you're really getting, like Bullwinkle, it might not be what you were hoping for.
The ingredients in these supposedly fruit-packed and, you assume, healthy meal substitutes and snack bars are listed in order of weight. Chances are good that high fructose corn syrup along with other sugars and fats are the first three to five ingredients. After that you might see mention of the advertised "real" fruit, but it's usually something like strawberry-flavored fruit pieces (sugar, cranberries, citric acid, natural strawberry flavor with other natural flavors, elderberry juice concentrate and oil). Huh? And that's followed by a parade of health-damaging partially hydrogenated oils (trans fats), artificial colors and preservatives. We found one with TBHQ (tertiary butylhydroquinone), a synthetic antioxidant used in varnishes and lacquers.
One woman sued a large food manufacturer when she noticed her "real strawberry fruit snack" contained only pear concentrate. While the Food and Drug Administration tries to chase down the companies that make these misleading claims on their labels, we say choose real real fruit if you want a midafternoon pick-me-up.
Mehmet Oz, M.D., is host of "The Dr. Oz Show," and Mike Roizen, M.D., is chief medical officer at the Cleveland Clinic Wellness Institute. To live your healthiest, visit sharecare.com. Distributed by King Features Syndicate Inc.