Each week, Wendyl Nissen takes a packaged food item and decodes what the label tells you about its contents
WeightWatchers Double Chocolate Pudding
$3.98 for 2 x 90g
A chocolate pudding made at home has about seven ingredients as opposed to the 24 ingredients found in here. With summer just around the corner many of us are thinking about losing those few kilograms we put on over winter or gained during our time as a couch potato while watching the Rugby World Cup. WeightWatchers has more than 200 supermarket food products to help people lose weight.
This product is a sweet alternative to chocolate pudding and contains fewer calories.
For a 90g serving of a homemade self-saucing chocolate pudding you would be consuming 250 calories compared to just 175 calories for this pudding.
But you are also eating a fair few additives in there to reduce sugar, fat and keep it preserved in the freezer until you buy it.
This is a weight-loss product so you're not going to find a lot of sugar in here. Instead you will find sorbitol. This is an alcohol found in fruit and seaweed which is often used as a sugar substitute for diabetics. If consumed to excess it can cause diarrhoea and gastrointestinal disturbances. Eating as little as 10 grams can cause diarrhoea in some children. There is 10.8g of sorbitol in each 90g serving of this pudding.
This is flour you would use if you were making your own chocolate pudding
This nutrition label lists 11.9g of sugars in each 90g serving. That's nearly 3 teaspoons of sugar.
These are the solids left in milk once the liquid has been removed.
Cocoa powder (3.5 per cent)
This is cocoa as you would use at home to make a pudding.
Nice to see butter in here instead of oil as it would help it taste better. The fat content of this pudding is 4.1g per serving which is low although 2.4g of that is saturated fat.
This is basically dried egg.
This is dried cream.
Raising agent (500, 541)
The first ingredient is baking powder and the second is sodium aluminium phosphate which is a synthetic chemical in here to help the baking powder as a raising agent.
Maize thickener (1442)
This is hydroxypropyl distarch phosphate which is basically a starch that has been treated to be more stable and work as a thickener.
Not sure what flavour is in here but it will be artificial.
Emulsifier (475) contains soy, (471)
These two ingredients are polyglycerol esters of fatty acids and mono and di glycerides of fatty acids. The first one is made out of oil which is why it lists soy as an ingredient. Both are in here to keep fat and water mixed together in this product.
Thickeners (405, 440, 415)
Propylene glycol alginate, pectins, xanthan gum
The first thickener is propylene glycol alginate(405) which is derived from seaweed. The others are pectin (440), which is a natural substance found in fruit and is essential in jams to help them thicken, and xanthan gum (415) is a natural vegetable gum also used as a thickener.
Firming agent (509)
This is a salt formed from calcium and chlorine and is used in food to prevent it from collapsing.
Preservative (200, 202)
The first preservative is sorbic acid (200) which is a naturally occurring preservative and considered quite safe as is potassium sorbate (202), the potassium salt of sorbic acid.
This is titanium dioxide which is used in foods to give a white colour. It occurs naturally in minerals but I do wonder why a white colouring is being put in what is a brown food product.
This is otherwise known as Splenda. It is 600 times sweeter than sugar and has no calories. It is made from sugar and is a relatively new sweetener on the market approved for use in 1998.
As a quick fix for someone on a diet with a craving for something chocolate this is probably going to do you little harm as there are no big question marks over any of the ingredients in here. But as a long-term solution there are a lot of ingredients in this pudding you wouldn't find if you were eating real, home-made food.
A chocolate pudding made at home has about seven ingredients as opposed to the 24 ingredients found in here which are there to sweeten, lower the fat content and keep the product moist, the right colour, thickened, firm and stop it from going off.
I also believe that replacing real food with processed food is not a great way to go from a healthy eating perspective so eating it as part of your regular diet might not be the best idea.
It would perhaps be better to make your own pudding but eat less or simply satisfy that craving with 25g of the best dark chocolate you can find which will give you 127 calories and about four real food ingredients.
* 24 ingredients instead of seven if you made your own pudding.
* Fast fix for dieters but not a great long-term solution.
Why is there white food colouring in a brown food product?
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