While searching for a healthier mayonnaise choice, I came across one from Smart Balance. However, there was information on the label that was too smart for me and actually threw me off balance. I wrote to see if they could straighten me out…
Dear Balancers with Brains:
I’m writing about Smart Balance Omega Plus Light Mayonnaise Dressing. How is the general public, or even publics that aren’t general, supposed to understand stuff on the label like: Ideal Ratio of Omega-6 to Omega-3: 2.4:1? What is 2.4:1 and does it ever get confused with anything from the Book of Psalms?
Furthermore, you say Smart Balance Omega Plus Light Mayonnaise Dressing is an excellent source of Omega-3. You’re not even using Omega-6, so why is it part of the ratio? Why not use Omega-6 in the first place? Wouldn’t half the amount of Omega-6 be equivalent to a full dose of Omega-3 and sound even more potent?
At the very top of the label it says: “NOW WITH PLANT STEROLS.” But in the ingredients area it states: “contains less that 2% of natural plant sterols.” Why blast this across the label in CAPS if there are only less than two measly percent in a gigantic 32 Fl Oz jar? How much less? For that matter, what the heck is a plant sterol? Can I find them in my garden? Would a woman like to receive some as a housewarming gift?
Another ingredient is food starch modified. Why does it need to be modified? Does it involve using a humodifier? What’s wrong with food starch as it is? How do you modify it and can you please send some before and after photos?
The Contact section headline of your Smart Balance website says, “We Want to Hear From You.” Now that you have, in order to keep things smartly balanced, I’d like to hear from you.
Very steroly yours,
A Consumer Relations Representative responded with:
Thank you for your interest in our Smart Balance product and for your inquisitive and entertaining letter. I will do my best to respond to your questions.
Omega-6 is not a bad oil but if consumed in excess, can be detrimental to a healthy heart. In order to balance out the Omegas and eliminate the possibility of excessive Omega-6’s which appear naturally in vegetable oils, we cut down on the Omega-6’s by reducing the fat and balance out the remainder by adding Omega-3’s.
Authorities differ on the best Omega-6/Omega-3 balance; our nutritional experts recommend 4:1 to 10:1. Smart Balance products have been designed to be within that range.
The average diet is 20 to 1 (Omega-6 to Omega-3). We are not trying to get folks to cut down on Omega-6. We would like to see them increase the Omega-3 intake, that is why we market new products which contain phytosterols and fish oil.
Consuming two tablespoons of Smart Balance mayo daily, with its current plant sterol content, will help improve cholesterol. Phytosterols are compounds found in plants and are chemically related to cortisone and cholesterol. They are virtually unabsorbed in the human digestive tract, hence have no calories and no side effects. They lower blood cholesterol by complexing with dietary cholesterol, preventing dietary cholesterol from being absorbed into the blood steam.
Food starch is modified with enzymes in order to improve its functionality.
Final Thoughts: Thankfully, Smart Balance didn’t go easy on the mayo when it came to answering questions and providing lots of detailed information about theirs. They see mayo as a science, whereas until now, I only saw it as something you add to tuna and egg salad.
It used to be that mayonnaise was just mayonnaise. Now it’s mayonnaise with Omega-3 and plant sterols. It appears that to fully digest all of the key benefits provided by these ingredients, you need a mathematical understanding of ratios and a Bachelor’s degree in Botany. Even if I joined an Omega fraternity, I still would have flunked out of school if I majored in Mayo.
If you enjoy mayo, sandwich in some time during your next visit to the market and check out the Omega Plus Light Mayonnaise Dressing from Smart Balance. Although, if you can’t balance the information provided on a product label, be smart and Write The Company.
Fans of Omega-3 will also enjoy:
Fish Oil Exploration
Update: When I contact companies, they have no idea I’m Write The Company or that I’ll be posting my letters and their responses online. When @SmartBalance saw this Tweet, they also shared it with their followers…