Growing up, every time I would get sick, my mom would offer to make Jello. She thought it was easy on the stomach, like so many other moms out there. In grade school, I would get Jello almost every day either in my lunch via those cute little snack packs or in the lunch line. Into my early adult life, every time I would visit the local K&W cafeteria restaurant with my parents, I would choose Jello and put it on my tray right next to the other dessert I would get. The cafeteria restaurant categorized Jello in the same section as the salad, so logically Jello was just a side, right? Then when I was 22, as soon as my inflamed appendix was cut out of my body, I ate Jello at the hospital too. It was the only thing I could eat…so I thought.
I think it’s pretty obvious that Jello isn’t healthy to many of us that now read ingredient lists, however, I still think something isn’t clear to the majority because this Kraft product is still on shelves making big money. The information I want to share today will hopefully make it more apparent to everyone around us that Jello is one of the sorriest excuses for a treat – one that no one should be eating! Period.
Why is Jello still around?
Jello was losing market share about 10 years ago, so Kraft targeted their marketing of Jello to people following the Atkins diet by pushing their sugar-free puddings and Jello as acceptable snacks – and it worked. Lots of people were buying up sugar-free Jello to satisfy their sweet tooth while on the Atkins diet and saying ridiculous things like “it’s a sweet cheat and it’s only 1 carb!”.
Years later, it has somehow kept its reputation as a diet food. I was flipping through a magazine yesterday and came across a recipe for a low-calorie “Faux Fondue” using sugar-free Jello chocolate pudding, as if it was a healthy alternative to real fondue. I’ve seen several other low calorie recipes on Pinterest that use Jello to make treats. I even read that a food blogger was thinking about replacing one of her meals with sugar-free Jello to help her lose weight after hearing that it worked for John Malkovich. That has got to be one of the unhealthiest ways I’ve seen to lose weight, so of course, I am going to send her this blog post.
Sure, sugar-free Jello is low in calories – but at what cost?
Now that Atkins has declined in popularity, Kraft announced that they changed their target – and are now targeting families with an advertising campaign that they call “Fun Things Up”. Dan O’Leary, Kraft’s senior director of marketing for desserts said, “The goal is to re-establish Jell-O’s ‘core purpose’ of ‘food for fun’…what Jell-O has that a lot of brands don’t have is that fun angle….In the ads, we’re really trying to play off the imaginative quality of the brand.”
There is nothing “fun” about the ingredients in Jello.
This is what you will really find in the average box of Jello: