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This packaging promises big, healthy benefits — but a Marketplace investigation reveals what’s really inside these foods
High fibre, high protein, real fruit. It sounds healthy, but a Marketplace investigation reveals the labels on some products may make them seem healthier than they really are.
“A ‘health halo’ is basically the perception that a food is better than it says it is, with very little evidence to back that up,” said Toronto registered dietitian Stefania Palmeri.
Take Welch’s Mixed Fruit Snacks, for example. Big, bold lettering advertises “fruit is our first ingredient” and “made with real fruit.”
But experts point to the ingredients listed that show the product is mostly fruit purée, a method of processing fruit that can eliminate much of what makes it healthy.
“This is nothing but a candy and should be advertised as such,” said Dr. Robert Lustig, an endocrinologist and professor emeritus of pediatrics at the University of California, San Francisco, noting there are 10 grams of sugar per serving.
“When you eat fruits and vegetables, you would expect more fibre, you would expect more vitamin C, more potassium,” Palmeri said. Instead, according to the nutrition facts, Welch’s Fruit Snacks “are not a significant source of … fibre, vitamin A, vitamin C.”
In a statement, the company told Marketplace that it stands by its label and “all brand communication,” and that its customers “understand” the snack is not intended to replace fresh fruit in the diet. Read more
In tonight’s episode, we dig deeper into the claims these labels are making and offer tips for some healthy alternatives.
Tune in tonight at 8 p.m. (8:30 NT) on CBC TV, or on CBC Gem.
This London, Ont., hospital has found a way to shorten waitlists for surgery — and it’s working
When a surgeon saw patients stuck waiting for orthopedic surgeries, he designed a better operating room — one that’s publicly funded and can do the procedures faster and more efficiently.
Now, it’s a model other hospitals are interested in copying.
Dr. Abdel-Rahman Lawendy, chief and medical director of the ambulatory surgical centre at London Health Sciences Centre, reimagined the OR — one of the most resource-intensive places in a hospital — for select orthopedic surgeries.
His “Surgi-centre” idea takes certain patients away from the large, standard operating rooms full of staff and equipment, paring that down to just what is needed to operate on ambulatory patients — people who can walk after surgery and go home the same day. An example of the surgeries performed include repairing a torn ACL in the knee, a common sports injury. And the surgeries are done at ORs outside of the hospital, though they’re managed by the institution.
In comparison, standard hospital operating rooms need to be prepared for complex surgeries that require about six staff per room and a full set of sterilized instruments, just in case they’re needed.
“By cutting all of that stuff out, you essentially drive the cost down significantly and then increase the efficiency, which in our system doesn’t necessarily translate to saving more money,” Lawendy said. “It translates into treating more patients.” Read more
In case you missed it, Marketplace investigated surgical wait times last week. You can catch up any time on CBC Gem.
Contractor and TV personality Mike Holmes’s ‘approved homes’ are riddled with defects, alleges $8M lawsuit
It was a housing project with promise: a subdivision of unique homes in picturesque Meaford, Ont., advertised as “Mike Holmes Approved.”
Holmes helped promote the development, TerraceWood, which included appearing on a billboard in Meaford.
Holmes is a contractor and television personality known for rescuing homeowners from botched construction jobs.
But according to allegations in a lawsuit filed in Ontario’s Superior Court of Justice, “The TerraceWood Project involved a perfect storm of errors and neglect by multiple parties” involved in the creation, inspection and/or promotion of the development.
The suit was filed in December 2021 by Tarion, a consumer protection organization established by the Ontario government to help ensure that new homes’ defects under warranty are repaired.
Tarion alleges 14 TerraceWood homes were built with numerous deficiencies, such as mould problems due to leakage, HVAC issues and major structural flaws, “many of which raise serious safety concerns.”
None of the allegations have been proven in court. In response to an inquiry, The Holmes Group referred CBC News to its lawyers. They declined to comment while the Tarion lawsuit is before the courts. Read more
Got gift cards collecting dust? Now’s the time to use them
Square, a financial technology company that sells mobile payment devices, found Canadians are sitting on more than $33 million worth of unspent gift cards through its platform alone.
As inflation rises and wears down people’s wallets, those gift cards are becoming less and less valuable.
“Use them immediately, as soon as you can,” said Bridget Casey, a finance expert based in Edmonton who admits she even has stacks of her own unused gift cards.
“Especially right now that we’re in this high-inflation environment, there’s a good chance that the good or service that you want to purchase will be more expensive a few months from now,” she said.
But don’t use it just to use it, Casey said. Then you run the risk of overspending on the latest piece of technology or buying something you don’t need. Instead, put your gift card toward things you would do or buy anyway.
“I’m saying spend your gift cards, and save your actual money.” Read more
What else is going on?
Canada’s Competition Bureau says it’s launching an investigation into the grocery industry
The bureau says the move isn’t in reaction to any specific allegation of wrongdoing, but it comes as consumers grapple with food prices rising at their fastest pace in more than 40 years.
Air Canada is apologizing after not letting a blind woman fly with her guide dog
The woman, who flew with Air Canada into Toronto with no issues, says she will never fly with the airline again after being forced to leave Toronto by train, cross the border by car and take a domestic flight home, costing her more than $2,000.
Food bank usage across Canada has hit an all-time high
High inflation and low social assistance rates were cited as key factors in the rise, according to a new report from Food Banks Canada.
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