Everything we choose to buy has a cost that goes beyond the price tag on the package: a health cost, an environmental cost, and a social cost. If the average consumer were to take the time to individually research and weigh all these factors, putting together a weekly grocery list would become a full-time job!
Thank goodness for the GoodGuide– an online database that determines, ranks, and scores the impacts of the products we purchase, for us. The GoodGuide rates cleansers, personal care products, toys, and now over 5,000 of the food products we eat. Another 20,000 food products are slated to be added within the next month.
These food products have been painstakingly researched over the last two years, ranked and explained in a way that is accessible to the common consumer, and make it possible for parents to evaluate at a glance which foods are acceptable for their children to eat- and which foods most decidedly are not.
There are many surprises to be found while searching the site. Glancing over the quick facts offered in the new food guide, I was shocked to find that juices that have “no sugar added” still contain ridiculous amounts of sugar: a cup of Ocean Spray 100% Cranberry Juice offers more sugar (33 grams) than an equivalent seving of Coke (27 grams). Oops. I don’t give the kids a lot of juice, but I had assumed that choosing 100% juice with no sugar added was a healthy option.
In addition, according to the GoodGuide:
14% of yogurts exceed a recommended sugar threshold, 26% contain high fructose corn syrup, and one-quarter contain artificial colors that are under review to be banned in the U.K. and the U.S.
Recommended sugar threshold- what does that even mean? Which yogurts contain the cancer-and ADHD– linked artificial colors- just the neon pink ones?
Many parents, myself included, are being much more careful about what they allow their kids to put in and on their developing bodies. However, understanding the ingredients as listed and making intelligent comparisons can be an overwhelming task. I’m grateful for the GoodGuide and their research. Their rankings, based on nutritional, social, and environmental performance, make my job as a parent, and my “voting with my dollar”, that much easier.
Coming soon: a “Buy It Local” feature, and the GoodGuide will be offered as a free iPhone application!
Photo Credit: rick under Creative Commons
What a great tool! It is way scary how many seemingly “healthy” options turn out to be, well, terrible! For a long time, I thought the same thing about “low-fat” products and “natural” things like 100% juice before finding out that a lot of these were packing a hidden punch.
As far as juice for my kids, I used to cut 100% juice with water, until I found a product recently that basically does it for me and serves it up in spill proof, reuseable sippy cups. First Juice is organic, and has 50% less sugar than 100% juice (but all the nutrients). Plus they have cool flavors like peach+purple carrot (not to mention the bottles are BPA free).
This site is great! The only addition I wish it had was more about home products — furniture, TVs, light fixtures, etc. Anyone heard of such a site? There’s so many claims companies make … just like the difference between what the front of the cereal box says vs. the nutrition label. I’d love to know what the “truth” is …