Sidekicks – This Is Outrageous

April 27, 2012 in Foodland, Nutrition, Nutritionism by Mary Ireland

I saw a Pediasure Sidekicks commercial and had a feeling that the product would be "bad news." The commercial was so clever, so enticing. Kids on the soccer field playing -- one (Brittany) with lots of energy, looking cute and athletically gifted.

Then there was the other kids -- one as French fries and another as a doughnut -- not playing well; looking sort of listless. The mother of the fries asking Brittany's mom what Brittany was eating. Smug Brittany's mom saying, "Pediasure Sidekicks."

I wonder if Brittany's smug mom has read the ingredients of this wonderful new "fude" that is supposed to be so healthy for Brittany?

Water, Sugar, Milk Protein Concentrate, Soy Oil, Short-Chain Fructooligosaccharides, Soy Protein Isolate. Less than 0.5% of the Following: Cellulose Gel, Whey Protein Concentrate, Potassium Citrate, Natural & Artificial Flavor, Potassium Chloride, Magnesium Phosphate, Calcium Phosphate, Salt, Potassium Phosphate, Calcium Carbonate, Cellulose Gum, Choline Chloride, Ascorbic Acid, Carrageenan, Soy Lecithin, Monoglycerides, Potassium Hydroxide, m-Inositol, Taurine, Ferrous Sulfate, dl-Alpha-Tocopheryl Acetate, L-Carnitine, Zinc Sulfate, Calcium Pantothenate, Niacinamide, Manganese Sulfate, Thiamine Chloride Hydrochloride, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Riboflavin, Cupric Sulfate, Vitamin A Palmitate, Folic Acid, Chromium Chloride, Biotin, Potassium Iodide, Sodium Selenate, Sodium Molybdate, Phylloquinone, Vitamin D3, and Cyanocobalamin.
Contains milk and soy ingredients.

Sugar-water with some milk and a lot of chemicals! Fude processors make this blog so easy to write. If it just weren't so sad. How could anyone with a conscience sell this product made of water, sugar, milk protein, soy oil, more sugar and soy protein and then the long list of unpronounceable, unrecognizable chemicals that are the "nutrients"? Below are the nutritional labels for the shake version and the clear version. Note that the shake version has 17 grams of sugar. That is over two-thirds the maximum amount of sugar that the American Heart Association recommends for adult women per day.

The commercial plays into the struggle that parents have over getting their children to eat healthy food. Today's environment is a recipe for a nutritional disaster: Take kids who are developing a taste for salt, sugar and fat from fast foods. Combine those skewed tastes with the enticement of fast food/junk food commercials on TV that are specifically aimed at young minds. Add in parents who are tired from working all day, who don't feel as if they have time to cook and who don't want to fight with the kids. You can see how easily a parent could be persuaded.

I find it especially galling that the commercial is touting the Pediasure brand, saying Sidekicks is from the "#1 Pediatrician Recommended" brand. I hope that no pediatricians actually recommend this product. The commercial ends with "Pediasure Sidekicks, an extra kick of nutrition." The kick this product delivers is the punch a child's liver will take from the sugar.

If you have been reading our blog posts lately, you are well aware of the problems associated with sugar consumption. Keep in mind that most of the blogs and research deal with the detrimental effects of sugar on adults, not the growing bodies of children whose needs for nutrition are even more critical. Dr. Grandma has also written extensively on nutritionism and the dangers of creating an inferior product, seemingly made nutritious by putting in chemical vitamins.

Beleaguered parents (and grandparents) take heart. Dr. Grandma has written an excellent blog post providing tips and ideas for getting children to eat vegetables. In fact, all of the blog posts in the Cooking Tips area of the Recipe section can be used for children. All the recipes are really great tasting. Dr. Grandma has taken special effort to make sure of that.

Another thing you can add to your arsenal of providing healthy food to your kids is the smoothie. A lot of nutrition can be hidden in a smoothie. The smoothie that I am talking about is one made from whole vegetables and fruits using a high-speed blender. I prefer a Vitamix 1782 TurboBlend, 2 Speed blender. My favorite smoothie recipe is shown below.

Carrot, Kale, Berry Smoothie


1 small carrot washed
1 cup kale leaves washed with large part of stem removed
2 cups cold water
1 cup of frozen blueberries, blackberries or strawberries
1 frozen banana slightly thawed (microwave for 30 seconds on high)
1 teaspoon sweetener of your choice (optional)


Put carrot and kale in blender with 2 cups water. Blend until smooth. Add berries, banana and Delight. Blend until berries are pureed into carrot/kale mixture. If you want a thicker smoothie, you can add ice and blend. For a thinner smoothie add more water. You can add apple if you want a sweeter taste. This makes two 3 1-cup servings. You can also adjust the amount of carrot and kale based on taste. Note that you can add Greek yogurt for extra thickness and nutrition.


Cleanup is easy - you just rinse out the carafe.