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Healthy Living

Watch Out for Fake Blueberries

By Sheryl Kraft

Created: 01/25/2011
Last Updated: 10/31/2018

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The other day when I walked into my local market I was so excited to see a fruit that I miss most of the year since it only appears for a short time during the summer months...blueberries. They were back! I’ve been loading up on them ever since, thankful in a way that no one else in my house likes them so I can have them all to myself.

But I should share. Really. Because blueberries are so, so healthy. I think everyone should add them to their . In fact, they have the highest anti-oxidant levels of all fresh fruits due to a substance called Anthocyanin, which is the pigment responsible for their deep blue color.

What else? New studies show that they can reduce your risk of hypertension. Blueberries are abundant in Vitamin C, phytonutrients and anti-inflammatories. They may also help to reduce belly fat (at least, they did in a study in rats by the University of Michigan Cardiovascular Center). After adding a powder enriched with blueberries to the rat’s diet, those rats who ate the blueberry-enriched powder ended up with less abdominal fat, lower triglycerides and cholesterol and improved fasting glucose levels.

And here’s another thing to remember about blueberries: drinking wild blueberry juice may help improve memory.

Need a low-calorie, sweet snack?  One cupful of blueberries will set you back only 80 calories. And there is virtually zero fat content.

I may have you convinced to run out and buy some blueberries or to eat foods enriched with them. But before you do the latter, take heed: some foods that tout "blueberries added" are not telling the whole truth. Instead of using the real thing, the non-profit group found they’re using bits of sugars and starches that are coated with food dye so that they look like blueberries.

One culprit, I learned, is Kellogg’s Frosted Mini Wheats. Pictured prominently on the box of the Blueberry Muffin variety are fresh blueberries. But one look inside the box will not yield any of the fruit; instead you get “blueberry flavored crunchlets.” Oh, they make it sound so cutesy-like…but these little “blueberries” are nothing more than a quasi-fruit made up of sugars, soybean oil, red #40 and blue #2.

The has more on the subject, including information about a breakfast cereal that actually contains what it claims.

Comments

I had no idea that cereals that claim they contain fruit really don't. I'll have to read the article from the LA Times.

It's hard to keep up with all the news sometimes. I'm glad I could let people learn something new and hope that it helps keep you healthy - and away from harmful, fake products!

Fake blueberries?? That really got my attention. Beware non-organic berries. That is a really sad statement and I do not follow my own advice most of the time, but blueberries are now mass-produced for consumers and I fear they are like grapes, coated with pesticides.

Ewww. Good to know!

Ugh, blueberries are fabulous for you. Fake blueberry flavor is vile. I've had this on my radar for years, but thanks for bringing it to the attention of more people.

i just posted something on this topic yesterday on FB and Twitter. Are there any "safe" foods these days? This is getting to be ridiculous.

Ugh, how unappetizing. Just another example of why I should stay out of the cereal aisle and keep eating real foods - toast, oatmeal, eggs - for breakfast.

I couldn't agree more. Basics - real foods. Seems that the packaged ones get away with too much to harm our health!

I don't eat those cereals or those muffins, but it's good info to have.

It looks like the only way to really (really!) stay healthy and sure of what we're eating is to avoid packaged foods. Back to basics, baby!

I was thrilled to see blueberries back in the produce section too. As far as the cereals go I just add fresh ones into my cereal versus getting flavored varieties. My youngest could live on blueberries.

Sheryl, thanks for letting us know about this! I assume that if you buy fresh blueberries (the fruit) that you're actually getting fruit? I always assumed that the "fruit" added to cereals or other processed goods might be not 100% real, but I thought if I bought whole fruit that I could rest easy knowing I was getting the real deal.

Oh, yes Susan, fresh blueberries (the fruit) are real. It's those "blueberries" added to some cereals, muffins and other processed foods that are NOT. Sad, isn't it?

I've never cared for cereals that already had fruit in them. They always tasted fake to me. Now I know my tastebuds were right. Give me a container of real blueberries any day. Please tell me that they aren't covered with pesticides or other chemicals that are bad for me.

OH dear--are the fruits in Special K with berries really berries? They DO taste pretty good.

thanks for the heads up --and how outrageous!

Oh god, this whole fake blueberry thing makes me want to be sick. Fake blueberries? How gross is that?!

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