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Food News & Reviews: KeVita, Jif Hazelnut Spreads and Special K

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Food News & Reviews: KeVita, Jif Hazelnut Spreads and Special K

Sixteen ounces of bubbly, feel-good, probiotic happiness best describes this fermented drink fromKevitaCapture the company that shares its name.  Billed as a “sparkling probiotics superdrink”, every bottle contains four strains of live probiotics that support gut health and a healthy immune system. All the good bacterial strains are delivered in a light refreshing sip that’s certified organic, non-dairy, non-GMO, gluten-free and vegan.

Unlike some other popular fermented drinks, KeVita  is not made from kombucha, which is derived from black tea. Billed as a proprietary blend of probiotics brewed using a “hand-crafted, cold-processed” method , KeVita uses coconut water, tea or purified reverse osmosis water in its fermentation process. The bonus?  Besides these nutritional pluses, it tastes pretty amazing too.

Most of the flavors are stevia-sweetened, while two of the varieties use a small amount of cane juice, which the founders say “taste so much better” than using stevia as a sweetener.  Varieties include coconut, lemon ginger and pomegranate, with two new “mystery” flavors rolling out this month.  Choose varieties like the coconut, which has one gram of carbohydrate and 5 calories per 8 oz. serving, for smaller impacts on blood sugar or if you are strict Paleo. Whatever flavor you try, this departure from the tart, vinegar-y tastes of traditional fermented drinks is worth checking out.

Jif2CaptureJif Hazelnut Spreads
This American cousin to Euro-birthed Nutella is offering not one but two notoriously poor nutrition choices for the spreadables market.   Available in Chocolate and Mocha Cappuccino varieties, each offers a not-so-modest 21 grams of sugar in a 2 tbsp. serving, with hazelnuts listed as a distant third ingredient after the first two ingredients, sugar and industrially-produced vegetable oils. The fourth ingredient, the alkali-processed cocoa, seals the yuck! deal as the alkaline processing method can  destroy up to 98% of the flavanol levels—one of the healthier benefits that cocoa offers.  The lack of any redeeming health qualities in this new Nutella knock-off should make choosy moms, and everyone else, NOT want to choose Jif.

The Special K Challenge
With talk of the best New Year diet plans underway, we had to take issue withSpecialK Special K’s, which tells folks on its website:  “stay inspired with Special K – Lose up to 6 pounds in 2 weeks with the Special K Challenge”.  Any diet created by a breakfast cereal giant has to raise an eyebrow or two.  Especially when we read how Kellogg’s touts the “scientific study” supporting their diet that shows that 3 out of 4 people who followed the plan achieved a slimmer waist and hips and lost up to six pounds over a two-week period.  The “university scientists” concluded that most of this could be attributable to fat loss.

The diet is not designed to be followed for any longer than two weeks and provides an average of 1590 calories per day.  When the recommended plan foods are cereals for two meals, and snacks like Kellogg’s low-fat snacks (which can be high in sugar) and low fat yogurt (also high in sugar and/or artificial sweeteners), it’s likely that there’s a reason it’s not designed to be followed for more than 2 weeks:  your blood sugar is going to make you a raving, hungry lunatic! Total percentage of daily carbohydrate could be upwards of 65% on this” Special” program.

Fruits and vegetables are allowed on the plan as snacks and offer the one redeeming quality as fresh, natural food.  And while there is no “cost” for joining the program and meal plan suggestions and recipes are accessible for free on the website, your grocer and Kellogg’s will be being paid in kind with all the Special K cereal, bars and shakes you’ll be buying to follow the plan.  Buy real food, eat real food and Go Paleo! instead.

kimheadshot30Kim Tobin is a graduate of Northwestern University and the University of Michigan and holds an MSJ in journalism. As a nationally-published freelance writer and health blogger, she’s passionate about informing others about how to achieve and maintain wellness for an optimal life. For her, this has included embracing Paleo nutrition and the Primal lifestyle . She currently contributes to the Go Paleo blog, which can be visited at