Living Rhetorically in the Real World A blog about freelancing, writing, editing, business & social media.

25May/102

Analyzing Everyday Rhetoric: Looking Beyond the Health Claims

Posted by Sagan

Last week I was having fun exploring Eat It online (an organic, Winnipeg-based health food store). They have wonderful products, and one product that jumped out at me was a blueberry hemp muffin. The company claimed that the muffin is "dairy, sugar and egg free"*. I clicked over to check out their ingredients list.

Lo and behold, the third ingredient in the list is honey.

Newsflash: honey is a form of sugar!

It's irritating when a company claims that their product is sugar-free (or "sugar free"), and then it turns out that there is simply some kind of sugar in it other than granulated sugar (or, worse, artificial sweeteners). I fully understand that honey is considerably less processed and has far more nutrients than refined white sugar, but that does not detract from the fact that honey is still a form of sugar.

If a baker wants their muffin to really be healthy or free of added sugars, they should substitute fruit (pureed works well) for the sugar. At any rate, a muffin with honey in it should be advertised as a muffin with sugar rather than without any sugar.

The funny part about all of this is that if the claim on the website had instead said, "sweetened with honey", I would have been far more impressed with the nutritional stats. Rhetoric is powerful. By altering just a word or two, the producer can completely change the attitude of the consumer.

*The lack of punctuation on their website made me cringe.