By Marisa Fusinski
DETROIT (CBS Detroit) – To feed or not to feed the kids boxed, processed foods? For some moms and dads these days, that is the question.READ MORE: Michigan Matters: Civility & Politics?
In response to consumers asking for nutritional upgrades, Kraft announced this spring that synthetic dyes (“artificially colors”) would be removed from the blue-boxed family favorite “Original Kraft Macaroni & Cheese” — replaced by spices paprika, annatto and turmeric to retain that orangeness we know so well.
That may sound good, but it leaves some wondering: Does it matter?
“It’s a step in the right direction,” Henry Ford Hospital registered dietitian, Rebecca Trepasso told CBS Detroit. “Is it huge in terms of health? I don’t think so.”
Trepasso said it’s a good idea to make these foods more natural, from a common sense standpoint; but, whether or not little kids should be eating Kraft Mac & Cheese is a complicated question.
“Are there better options, yes,” said Trepasso. “All things in moderation kind of comes intro play here . Should you be eating this every day? No. But once is awhile is probably OK.”
Trepasso, herself a mother, said she did, on occasion, feed her kids Kraft Mac & Cheese, but homemade is better when it comes to health. When possible, Trepasso said, she preferred to prepare a superior recipe handed down by her mom.
Obviously, making a box of Kraft Mac is usually quicker and cheaper than starting from scratch; and, Trepasso said, depending on logistical and economic circumstances “there are arguably worse choices” for parents feeling the economic pinch.READ MORE: Panera Fundraising Event To Raise Transplant Funds For Local Young Adult
“This product could, you know, fill in some of the gaps,” Trepasso said.
Holt, Michigan, mother of three Melissa Lincoln said that while she believes taking out the artificial dyes is important, “It’s still a processed food with all the powdered everything…Until all that is addressed, I probably wouldn’t be much more excited to buy it.”
For those concerned they’ll miss the pasta’s glowing color, they’re in luck.
The Huffington Post this week did a cooking comparison, in which they found the old and the new versions looked about the same (reporting the original formula’s color was “slightly more unnatural-looking”) — and only one tester detected only “the tiniest difference in taste.”
Kraft also said it’ll be removing some artificial-preservatives from its products — but what about those GMOs everyone’s been talking about?
Trepasso said, while she understands concerns about GMOs (foods that have had their DNA artificially altered) the whole issue is really individualized.
“The reality of it, to my understanding, is that it’s pretty hard to get away from GMOs,” she said. “The key is finding a product that suits your needs.”MORE NEWS: This Weekend: I-275 Lane Closures Continue Between 7 Mile Road And I-96/I-696/M-5
The changes to Kraft Mac & Cheese are slated to go into effect in January, 2016.