- No Artificial Colors or Flavors; A Gluten Free Food
- All Natural
- A Good Source of Fiber
- Sweetened Only with Fruit Juice
Delicious taste, but you pay a premium to substitute fructose for sucrose
While this brand is less unhealthy than other sugary jams, I don’t deceive myself that it won’t raise blood sugar, because it is essentially 100% fructose, which is just as capable of raising blood sugar as sucrose (white/table sugar)–more on this below.
Most people buy this product as a presumed health food due to it being lower in sugar than other jams. It’s ingredients are: “Juice concentrate (pear, grape), cherries, maltodextrin (dietary fiber), fruit pectin, citric acid, natural flavor.” This product contains no artificial sweeteners, which are associated with various health hazards.
This product’s primary claim to fame is that it is, as the label states, “sweetened only with fruit juice.” Any jam will have its sweetener listed first, meaning that is its primary ingredient. If you are on a low-carb diet or diabetic, you might want to know that this jam basically substitutes fructose for sucrose. Since fructose is twice as sweet as sucrose, the producers only need to use half as much as they would have of sucrose, so it has about half the calories of regular jam. (On the other hand, many cheap jams contain high-fructose corn syrup–but that’s another health issue entirely.) The problem for many people is that they are used to the taste of sucrose, and 100% fructose tastes very different from a combination of fructose and sucrose which is the case with regular jam made with white sugar. To my own taste, since I’m seeing this as a fruit spread as much as a jam, it tastes quite sweet enough to me.
The fruit pectin in this product is a standard thickener in jellies and jams and its own natural form of fiber, so I am not sure why the company decided to add in maltodextrin and call that “fiber” too. Anyone with a gluten intolerance should be wary of this product because of the maltodextrin since some people with gluten intolerance are getting sick from the maltodextrin in this jam. The producers claim on the label it is “gluten-free,” but maltodextrin can be made from either wheat or corn, and apparently this company is not being careful enough about contamination with gluten.
Another ingredient that is problematic as to how healthy this product can be is the “natural flavor.” It is possible that the producers add a cherry extract so they can get away with using less real cherries, which are more expensive than a flavoring. The definition of natural flavor under the Code of Federal Regulations is: “The essential oil, oleoresin, essence or extractive, protein hydrolysate, distillate, or any product of roasting, heating or enzymolysis, which contains the flavoring constituents derived from a spice, fruit or fruit juice, vegetable or vegetable juice, edible yeast, herb, bark, bud, root, leaf or similar plant material, meat, seafood, poultry, eggs, dairy products, or fermentation products thereof, whose significant function in food is flavoring rather than nutritional” (21CFR101.22). That essentially means that natural flavor is derived from a real food, but the process by which it is derived is unexplained and there is no way to know how safe or healthy a natural flavoring is.