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Yes, it has no bananas! THE FOOD THAT ISN'T ALL IT SEEMS TO BE.


YOU'RE thirsty, in a hurry and grab a refreshing banana milkshake from the chiller cabinet in your local shop.

You guzzle it down, feeling pleased with yourself for making a healthy choice by choosing a fruit drink.

But then you look at the label and realise that you've slipped up - your so-called banana milkshake has never been near a real banana.

Scarily, this is the case with many of our everyday processed foods.

A new report has revealed that many top varieties of ham contain more than a third of their weight in added water. The worst-offending brand being Ye Olde Oak.

Often fruit yoghurt has virtually no fruit in it, while certain brands of orange juice are only 10 per cent orange. And, ironically, cheese flavoured corn chips contain meat, yet beef flavour crisps don't.

The Mirror's nutritional expert, Angela Dowden says: "Names and descriptions on food are often deliberately meant to mislead. You have to look more closely at the labels to see exactly what you're getting."

Here, Angela picks out some of the worst culprits...


Banana content: zero

IT tastes of bananas and smells of bananas, but is fruit-free.

Angela's verdict: "It's all artificial, there's no real fruit. It's a low calorie high calcium drink, although the colour comes from beta carotene - a natural pigment found in orange/yellow veg.

"Making your own by whizzing skimmed milk with a real banana would be so much better - and count as a fruit portion."


Turkey content: 60 per cent

A FAVOURITE with weight-watchers, but the reason this "turkey ham" is so low in calories is that it's over one third water.

Angela's verdict: "To keep so much water inside while also giving a decent flavour requires a host of additives, including stabilisers, flavourings, milk proteins, potato starch and yeast extract.

"None of these have any ill effects, but the same can't be said for its salt content. This contains three-quarters of your safe daily limit per 180g pack."


Pork content: 41 per cent

THERE'S a good reason why the word "pork" is missing from the front of this packet of bangers...

Angela's verdict: "With just 41 per cent pork meat they're not legally allowed to be called 'pork' sausages. They also contain 10 per cent pork fat, plus rusk, potato starch and soya protein to bulk them out. With so little pork you'll get less protein, vitamin B1 and iron."


Turkey content: 27 per cent

THESE are shaped and packaged to appeal to youngsters, but take a closer look at the label before putting them in your shopping trolley.

Angela's verdict: "Turkey only makes up 39 per cent of these Jetters - in comparison, Bird's Eye Chicken Dippers are 52 per cent chicken. They also contain 22 per cent fat, which makes them nearly twice as greasy, mouthful for mouthful, as McDonald's fries."


Orange juice content: 10 per cent

IT says "made with natural juice" in big letters on the back - and just how little in tiny letters below.

Angela's verdict: "Add the word 'drink' after orange juice, and you can make any kind of low-grade soft drink with any number of additives and as little as five per cent juice - or even less.

"This is basically a fancily-packaged version of a diluted high juice fruit squash - and the full sugar version to boot.

"You also miss out on all the other benefits of drinking pure orange juice - folic acid and flavonoids, for example, which can help keep the heart healthy."


Cheese content: Trace

ACCORDING to the label, these Dorito corn chips are "now even cheesier", but a closer look at the label reveals this bag to be a virtually cheese-free zone.

Angela's verdict: "The 'cheesiness' comes from the flavour enhancers monosodium glutamate and disodium 5'-ribonucleotide, plus an unknown dose of cheese powder - a highly processed ingredient that may itself only contain a small proportion of real cheese.

"According to the Hyperactive Children's Support group you shouldn't give any of these additives to your kids if you suspect that certain foods affect their behaviour.

"And although you might expect cheese flavoured snacks to be vegetarian, these aren't."


Olive oil content: 21 per cent

OLIVE oil is meant to be good for your heart, but this healthy-sounding spread is not all it is cracked up to be...

Angela's verdict: "This product trades on olive oil's healthy reputation for helping to lower cholesterol and look after your heart.

"But most of the healthy monounsaturates contained in this particular spread actually come from cheaper rapeseed oil.

"This is still a fairly healthy product compared to other popular spreads."


Beef content: zero

VEGGIES will steer well clear of anything with the word "beef" on the packet, but they can actually tuck into these crisps with a clear conscience.

Angela's verdict: "The beef 'flavour' is just that - it comes from added monosodium glutamate and processed soya, plus a sprinkle of paprika to make the crisps look "beefy" too.

"You can eat most chicken and smoky bacon crisps if you are vegetarian, too. But do check some of the upmarket ranges which might contain real meat derivatives.

"Walkers Sensations Chicken And Thyme Variety, for example, contains "chicken powder" and the lamb and mint one has lamb powder."


Pork content: 78 per cent

IT looks light and delicious, but a closer look at the ingredients list shows this is only around three-quarters pork.

Angela's verdict: "The rest is water, stabilisers, preservative and salt. It makes a low-fat, low calorie sandwich filling, but going for tuna or cold chicken instead will mean you are eating less additives.

"Dry cure hams don't have added water, but will still have high salt and preservatives."


Strawberry content: 2 per cent

DESPITE the picture on the front, these snacks contain virtually no strawberries.

Angela's verdict: "All yoghurts, are a good source of calcium. But if you expect a decent amount of fruit content in these, you'll be disappointed.

"They contain hardly any whole fruit at all - they rely on added strawberry flavour, plus a splurge of pink colour from beetroot and other plant pigments.

"It's all down to wording - a 'strawberry' yoghurt must, by law, contain real fruit, but a 'strawberry flavoured' one doesn't have to."
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Copyright 2005 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Nov 9, 2005
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