I couldn't sleep last night, and I turned on the TV. I don't usually watch live television so I - thankfully - miss most of the commercials. Last night though, I happened to catch a commercial for Pediasure Sidekicks. There were a bunch of kids playing soccer, and a mom was complaining about her child being sluggish. Cut to the kid, who is running around in a french fry suit, and to the goalie who is inside a giant chocolate sprinkly donut.
"Well kids are what they eat!"
And then the kid who drank the Pediasure Sidekicks comes running out of nowhere, makes the goal, and saves the day.
I'm admittedly not a big fan of foods marketed towards kids in general. Not just things like the techni-colored sugary cereals, juice drinks, and gummy fruit snacks (which most people will agree are not good choices)... but also the Gold Fish, the granola bars, and my personal favorite: the Lunchables. My issues with these foods are lengthy, but my biggest complaint is that they offer no nutrition, and are aimed towards children: people who are rapidly growing and developing and need good nutrition more than at any other stage of their life!
You can imagine then, my enthusiasm over this drink... this artificial, chemical laden cocktail that is supposed to take the place of actual food. When the commercial was over, I couldn't help myself; I had to go look up the ingredients.
This is what you're getting for your money when you invest in a vanilla flavored Pediasure Sidekicks drink:
WATER, SUGAR (SUCROSE), MILK PROTEIN CONCENTRATE, SOY OIL, SHORT-CHAIN FRUCTOOLIGOSACCHARIDES, SOY PROTEIN ISOLATE; LESS THAN 0.5% OF: CELLULOSE GEL, WHEY PROTEIN CONCENTRATE, POTASSIUM CITRATE, NATURAL AND ARTIFICIAL FLAVORS, POTASSIUM CHLORIDE, MAGNESIUM PHOSPHATE, CALCIUM PHOSPHATE, SALT (SODIUM CHLORIDE), POTASSIUM PHOSPHATE, CELLULOSE GUM, CALCIUM CARBONATE, CHOLINE CHLORIDE, ASCORBIC ACID, CARRAGEENAN, SOY LECITHIN, MONOGLYCERIDES, m-INOSITOL, POTASSIUM HYDROXIDE, TAURINE, FERROUS SULFATE, dl-ALPHA-TOCOPHERYL ACETATE, L-CARNITINE, ZINC SULFATE, CALCIUM PANTOTHENATE, NIACINAMIDE, MANGANESE SULFATE, THIAMIN CHLORIDE HYDROCHLORIDE, PYRIDOXINE HYDROCHLORIDE, RIBOFLAVIN, CUPRIC SULFATE, VITAMIN A PALMITATE, FOLIC ACID, CHROMIUM CHLORIDE, BIOTIN, POTASSIUM IODIDE, SODIUM SELENATE, SODIUM MOLYBDATE, PHYLLOQUINONE, VITAMIN D3, AND CYANOCOBALAMIN.
Um. It doesn't matter if you can't decipher what any of that says. Does any of it sound like food to you? I'll save you the time and decode it for you: it's basically sugar water with some artificial flavors and a whole bunch of other harmful stuff thrown in. It's even worse than something like soda in my opinion, because where soda doesn't claim to be anything other than what it is: a fun, sparkly junk food that everyone and his brother knows isn't a healthy choice, this is masquerading as something that is good for your child, something that will help you fill in those nutritional gaps.
It is NOT good for your child, and it won't help fill any nutritional gap. Kids need protein, yes. They need carbs, and good healthy fats, and vitamins and minerals. They need food.
Fresh fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, beans, whole grains, eggs = food
Sugar, fructooligosaccharides, soy protein isolate, cellulose gel, artificial flavors, monoglycerides = not food.
It's an old adage (and it was created for drugs, not food), but please, please, when it comes to products like this, Just Say No.