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Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Promise not to

I recently commented on Cardio vitamins from Centrum because of their hype on plant sterols and what is actually in the product.

Now along comes Unilever with their actively advertised product Promise Activ, also containing plant sterols.

I thoroughly searched the Promise Activ and Unilever web sites and could not find an ingredient list. I did find the Promise margarine ingredients and it made me worry about exactly what is in Activ. Like all inquiring minds I wanted to know exactly what is in this product.

I phoned the company this morning and received help from a nice woman at the consumer service section of the US offices (yes, Unilever is a multi-national).

My advice is not to purchase this product.

This is what you are paying for - about $3 - $5 for the little 12 ounce 4 pack.
Water, cultured non-fat milk, peach or other fruit puree depending on the flavor, sugar, plant sterol esters from soy oil, canola oil, citric acid, mixed tocopherols, guar gum, xanthan gum, natural and artificial sweeteners, sucralose, vitamin E, maltodextrin, vitamin A, B12, B6, yellow #5 and red # 40.

The representative could not tell me if the soy and canola oils are genetically modified, but based on the corporate model I would guess they are, as is Cardio.

Soy oil is a toxin and it increases the requirements for vitamins E, K, D and B12.
Soy blocks the absorption of essential minerals and creates deficiency symptoms of calcium, magnesium, copper, molybdenum, iron, manganese and especially zinc - in the intestinal tract. It is known to inhibit the synthesis of estradiol and other steroid hormones and can lead to infertility, reproductive problems, thyroid and pancreas and promote fatty liver as well as breast cancer. Soy can also interfere with protein digestion and assimilation and promote clumping of red blood cells.

Canola is toxic to the liver because of erucic acid and is a trans fat resulting for processing the seed into oil. (See other articles here on canola)

Most processors use toxic hexane or benzene in the process of making these oils.

Guar Gum and xanthan are thickeners. Guar Gum is not FDA approved although it is the base of the Big Pharma product, Benefiber.

Sugar, sucralose (Splenda) and maltodextrin add to the over stressing of your taste buds for sweet tastes. And of course we know that sucralose is an insecticide primarily.

The additive vitamins are synthetic and the food coloring is questionable.

If you need to lower your cholesterol below a health promoting level of 250-300 then try safer things like skipping Big Mac, and start the New Year off to a good start with liver cleansing (check with us for info or products).

And then read this food review -
Promise Activ Peach SuperShots
By Malcolm Gay
Published: August 15, 2007
Question: What organ can expand and retract by a factor of 80?

Here's a hint: It secretes up to three liters of acid per day, but like the gall bladder, it's not entirely necessary.

Yep, we're talking about that sack of roiling gastric acid, the stomach. But even though the stomach is not a vital organ (it's more of a food storage device, really — a sort of digestive foyer to the small intestine, where the real action happens), few areas of the body are subject to such widespread concern. According to one study, a normal eater spends 10 to 15 percent of their waking lives thinking about things to put in their stomach. The same study, "Afraid to Eat" by Frances Berg, found that so-called "dysfunctional eaters" spent as much as 65 percent of their time thinking about food.

That's a lot of time, but it's nothing compared to the amount of time the food scientists at Unilever spent coming up with Promise activ Peach SuperShots. Saccharin-sweet with a watered-down kefir consistency, the "promise" in a three-ounce bottle of Promise activ Peach SuperShots is that the yogurt-like drink will "actively remove cholesterol." The drink's active, or activ, ingredients are plant sterols, which compete with cholesterol in the gut to be absorbed into the blood stream. The result? Foods like Promise activ Peach SuperShots that contain plant sterols lower LDL (bad) cholesterol.

That's quite a promise!

But like most any of the new generation of nutritionally or biologically-enhanced foodstuffs (a calorie-burning can of Enviga, anyone?), a quick read through the fine print on a box of Promise activ Peach SuperShots reveals that Unilever's claim is more of a speculation than a "promise."

For instance, the folks at Unilever write that if you "Enjoy Promise activ SuperShots at least once a day with meals, as part of a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol, and you could reduce your LDL (bad) cholesterol level." Another "promise": "Promise activ part of a low saturated fat, low trans fat and low cholesterol diet, may reduce the risk of heart disease."

Call me crazy, but doesn't current nutritional thinking argue that a diet "low in saturated fat and cholesterol" will lower our LDL cholesterol levels and reduce our risk of heart disease? Maybe bottle after bottle of Promise activ Peach SuperShots, along with a healthy diet, will reduce LDL levels even further. But that's not what the folks at Unilever are saying: what they're saying is roughly equivalent to stating that Diet Coke — along with a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol — may reduce your LDL levels.

So is Promise activ Peach SuperShots simply riding a good diet's coattails? Or would the drink have a fighting chance to lower cholesterol in a diet high in saturated fat and cholesterol? So far, the folks producing Promise activ Peach SuperShots are mum. So after hours and hours of thinking about what goes into our stomach, we're no further along than Mark Twain was when he wrote: "Eat what you like and let the food fight it out inside."


Anonymous said...

Just a reminder than some people have genetically high cholesterol. Their diet could consist of raw fruits, veggies & tofu & their numbers would still be way out of the normal range.

Other people cannot take any of the statins. Even though the RX may lower the "bad" cholesterol significantly the side effects can be so debilitating the med cannot be continued.

Big Macs & living the life of a couch potato may indeed cause some people to have high cholesterol levels but not necessarily.

Anonymous said...

I took Promise activ™ SuperShots to lower my cholesterol. It worked great! I could not find it in the grocery store each time I ran out, so the doctor placed me on a statin drug. What a mistake that was. The medication almost disabled me 100%. I was in so much pain -everyplace, I could not walk, my body swelled up, etc. I learned I can't take the statin drug. Now I am looking for the Promise activ™ SuperShots again but I can't locate a store that carries it. Is it still available? What other natural products is available to lower cholesterol-that really works?