Recently at a festival specialising in vegatarian foods, I noticed a canned drink by Whole Earth being presented for sale on quite a few of the stalls. Whole Earth drinks come in various flavours such as cranberry and elderflower as well as an alternative cola.
There are many good health products available but it is getting hard to see the wood for the trees with all the false advertising and packaging around.
I looked at a can. It screamed things such as “Organic”, “Natural ingredients” but on the flipside, there was quite a different story.
Compare Whole Earth Elderflower’s below ingredients with Belvoir’s underneath which is recommended in researched articles on non-alcoholic drinks.
Back to Whole Earth’s elderflower flavoured fizzy drink. Firstly, elderflower, the main ingredient, was supplied by elderflower flavouring and extract as the smallest ingredients. For a product that claims to be organic and natural, that is not good, especially when there are plenty of good elderflower drinks on the market that don’t claim to be natural or organic but have real elderflower in as a main ingredient.
How does Whole Earth get sold by so many vegetarian and vegan food stalls at festivals, rather than a selection of much better and healthier products?
As shown in the ingredients all the fruit juices in the product are listed as organic but also are all from concentrate. As mentioned, the main product elderflower is from flavouring and extract. Firstly, let us look at who provided the organic certification: a company called Integra.
As well as the agave syrup in this product, more on that soon as that is a very deceptive product for a drink that sells itself as healthy, Integra have provided organic certification for a product called Seitan by a company called Bertyn that produces alternatives for vegetarians such as a “veggie protein steak”. Bertyn advertise this product for a “low-carb diet”, which means they are very behind the times as it has been well proven that we need carbs and need to avoid sugars.
So Integra have certified the products in Whole Earth drinks as organic, including the sweetener that comes from the agave syrup.There are many credible articles online about how agave syrup or nectar compare to normal sugar and other sweeteners. It exploits the fact it comes low in the glycemic index but it wreaks havoc with the body as this article explains very well. It is not the main point that this syrup comes from the same Mexican succulent as tequila, but more the fact that agave syrup is sold as a health food product and yet is made up of 70-90% fructose, not to be confused with the natural sugar that comes with fibre in real fruit.
There seem to be some less than honest companies involved in the whole organic industry.
There seems to be so much collusion amongst companies in the “health foods” sector who are able to hoodwink a lot of people into thinking their products are going to be good for you. Although every individual has unique biochemistry, sugar, including that in fructose, can cause a reaction is almost everyone, and yet one website called Wholesale Market Organics, had a series of badges listed under Intolerances:
As well as names such as “Whole Earth” and “Integra” ringing bells for me, follow this windy road to try and see which Whole Earth products use palm oil:
Whole Earth say their products contains certified sustainable palm oil linked to the website of an organisation called Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil. Aren’t there alternatives to palm oil they could use, surely?
First step: see the RSPO badge right at the very bottom of Whole Earth’s product page.
Secondly, they have good old FAQs. where appears the question appears: “Do you use sustainable palm oil?”
Lastly, the answer given is to: ““See our Palm Oil Education Centre page” which leads you to a page which, surprise surprise, talks all about palm oil and DOES NOT ANSWER the question. Fishy. It sounds as if Whole Earth do not seem to want you to know which products contain palm oil.
Is there anything actually healthy or natural in these drinks or is it all downright corporate lies? The fruit juice is all from extract, the sugar is from a plant that is high in damaging fructose, the main ingredient is not natural at all (perhaps there in lies the palm oil) and the smallest ingredient and the organic certification comes from Integra who also certify other seemingly questionable products such as “veggie protein satein”,
Therefore first and foremost, organic or not, the inclusion of agave syrup in Whole Earth drinks is enough to make it a deceptive product, sold as healthy and supplied without sufficient facts to many genuinely healthy food sellers and here is a doctor’s perspective:
“Fructose is converted into fat fairly efficiently, and this can result in weight gain,” Dr. Nitin Kumar of the Bariatric Endoscopy Institute says. “Therefore, there is increased risk of metabolic syndrome, insulin resistance, and fatty liver disease. Basically, a lot of the downsides of high-fructose corn syrup apply to agave nectar.” Which makes sense, since “high fructose” is right there in the name “high-fructose corn syrup.”
How did we get to the point where we could find any information online and yet so many people are talking absolute rubbish and even drowning out the proper scientists, doctors, nutritionists and other health professionals who are trying to tell us the truth. Again you can look to corporate interests and political engineering for the answer:
Lastly, no matter how many times I have changed the blog around and put the ingredients in inverted commas, changed positive, moved the pictures, see when I look at the post uploaded (on phone and on computer) the ingredients for Whole Earth disappear. Am seriously wondering if corporations can pay to suppress embarrassing criticism of their products online as I sure couldn’t find any today.