Are ‘healthy’ smoothies actually good for you?

Author: Anonymous

While current generations have become more health conscious, companies have taken note and have created more ‘healthy’ products to market to the ‘clean eating’ market. This includes companies like Naked, who have created a brand revolving around healthy smoothies, packed full of fruit and no added sugar, it seems like drinking this definitely equates to being healthy and happy.

However, when you compare the real ingredients of a bottle of Naked ‘Red Machine’ to that of a can of coke, it is not at all that dissimilar.

 

Categories Classic Coke (100ml) ‘Red Machine’ Naked Smoothie (100ml)
Energy (kcals) 42 51
Fat (g) 0 0.1
Carbohydrates (g) 10.6 11.3
–        of which are sugars (g) 10.6 11.1
Protein 0 0
Salt 0 0

Table 1: Ingredients from https://www.nakedjuice.co.uk/the-range/red-machine/ and http://www.coca-cola.co.uk/drinks/coca-cola/coca-cola

As shown in the table above, the Red Machine smoothie has 9 more calories than a 100mls of coke and has 0.7g more carbohydates. As a drink that markets itself as a healthy drink, it is not actually healthier than a can of coke when it is broken down. In fact, the ingredients in the smoothie are:

37 Grapes
4 Raspberries
2 Cranberries
2 Apples
1 Strawberry
1/2 Orange
1 Banana

This initially looks like a very impressive list, it looks like it has a lot of fruit in it. However, if you look at the numbers closely, it is not very much at all. In fact, it is essentially apple and grape juice with a very small quantity of other fruit added. It is in fact, not a smoothie but merely a juice with a coupele of other fruits waved near it! If you think about this – 2 cranberries and one strawberry is hardly worth mentioning.

Also, when I looked up the nutrients of each fruit, a convenient website informed me of what is both good and bad about each individual fruit. One very common theme with every fruit is that they all had a very high sugar content. Below I have listed all the good and bad properties of each fruit:

Grapes

The good: This food is very low in Saturated Fat, Cholesterol and Sodium. It is also a very good source of Vitamin C and Vitamin K.

The bad: A large portion of the calories in this food come from sugars.

Raspberries

The good: This food is very low in Saturated Fat, Cholesterol and Sodium. It is also a good source of Vitamin K and Magnesium, and a very good source of Dietary Fiber, Vitamin C and Manganese.

The bad: A large portion of the calories in this food come from sugars.

Cranberries

The good: This food is very low in Saturated Fat, Cholesterol and Sodium. It is also a good source of Vitamin E (Alpha Tocopherol) and Vitamin K, and a very good source of Dietary Fiber, Vitamin C and Manganese.

The bad: A large portion of the calories in this food come from sugars.

Apples

The good: This food is very low in Saturated Fat, Cholesterol and Sodium. It is also a good source of Dietary Fibre and Vitamin C.

The bad: A large portion of the calories in this food come from sugars.

Strawberries

The good: This food is very low in Saturated Fat, Cholesterol and Sodium. It is also a good source of Folate and Potassium, and a very good source of Dietary Fibre, Vitamin C and Manganese.

The bad: A large portion of the calories in this food come from sugars.

Orange

The good: This food is very low in Saturated Fat, Cholesterol and Sodium. It is also a good source of Thiamine, Folate and Potassium, and a very good source of Vitamin C.

The bad: A large portion of the calories in this food come from sugars.

Bananas

The good: This food is very low in Saturated Fat, Cholesterol and Sodium. It is also a good source of Dietary Fibre, Vitamin C, Potassium and Manganese, and a very good source of Vitamin B6.

The bad: A large portion of the calories in this food come from sugars.

Overall, the issue with Naked smoothies was not that they lied about the numbers or were inaccurate, but they did advertise their drinks in a misleading way and overwhelmed the consumer with the quantity of fruits while when you actually think about it and compare the figures, you would actually drink fewer calories and sugars if you drank coke. This would be why PepsiCo (the parent company of Naked) were sued for misinforming their customers.

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Student blog post: Average British Woman spends £70,000 on her appearance in a lifetime, research finds.

A survey generated by Groupon has reportedly found how women in Britain ‘spend an average £70,294 on their appearance in their lifetime’. This survey asked 1000 women, who use the sight ‘Groupon’ about the items they buy, focusing on buying habits centred on their looks. This report presents how the ‘average woman’ spends around over £100 a month for beautification purposes, however does not define their term of an ‘average British Woman’. This report is viable for critiques as it is inaccurate due to the British women being generalized, claiming how on average British women spend a gargantuan sum of money on their appearance, when in reality this survey doesn’t represent the whole population of British women and only represents the average in the 1000 female participants. As this survey calculated the ‘average’ the number may not be an accurate representation, this is because when determining an average of data, it only take one or two very high results to determine the overall average. Therefore, if a one of the 1000 participants in this survey spent an average of £8000 a year on produced centred on appearance and another participant only spend £200 a year, the average would be high as the higher number would increase the overall average. If this survey were to question a different 1000 women, the average may be lower therefore the article would be diverse and less shocking. Also this news article claim is biased as it only samples members from a particular organisation, which limits the number of participants.
As only 1000 women were asked, this article generalizes the population claiming that the ‘average British woman’ spend the same amount as each other and are similar. If not read critically this article may be misleading as people may believe that all women on average in the Britain spend the same amount of money on their appearance as each other. However this may not be the case, as the news article generalizes its data to describe all women in the Britain, when the news article only focuses on 1000 who are members of the specific group. This survey is a representation for women who may not wear makeup and therefore do not spend money on it, or women who are not members of the sight; therefore is an inaccurate generalization and an unreliable claim.
Further into the article, the claim of ’23 percent of women said they would consider cosmetic surgery’ is fashioned. Although this percentage is most likely to be taken from the research conducted to form the rest of the article, it does not specify where the percentage is calculated. This claim also generalizes the population as it doesn’t state that the percentage is from the 1000 participants of the survey, therefore people who read the news article may believe that the 23% is based on all women. It is important for articles to establish were there results are from as 23% of 1000 is going to be a different number of women compared to 23% of the female population in Britain. For example 23% of 1000 women is 230 women, however 23% of women in the whole of UK-not just Britain- is 7,406,000 as the population of women in the UK is around 32.2 million. This evidently shows how important it is to define the terms in the claim such as the population as a claim which represents a larger population than the one surveyed is generalizes and therefore frequently inaccurate.

http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/fashion/average-british-woman-spend-70000-appearance-lifetime-cosmetics-beauty-products-groupon-uk-a7623201.html

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Student blog post: Majority police think marijuana laws should be relaxed – U.S.News (January 2017)

A survey completed by Pew Research Centre has found that more than two-thirds of United States’ police officers think marijuana should be legal for either personal or medical use. Looking closely at the data it is clear to see that this statement, if not read carefully could be seen to be misleading. With 69% of police officers agreeing that marijuana should be legal for certain things it appears that well over half of the US police force believe marijuana is wrongly illegal. However, further on in the article it states that the survey found that only 32%, just one-third of the survey, believe marijuana should be legal for BOTH medical and recreational use, whereas 37% of the survey believes the substance should be legal for medical use only.

During the survey, the research centre used a sample of nearly 8,000 officers nationwide. While this may seem like a reasonably large sample, considering there are around 1.13 million full time police officers across 50 different states, it may not be large enough to be able to generalise to the country as a whole. Taking this into account and assuming that the survey sampled an equal number of officers in each state, they would only have spoken to around 160 officers in each state, damaging the representativeness of the survey.

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The statistic that I have found to analyse is from the ‘NSPCC’ website stating that ‘around 1 in 5 children have been exposed to domestic abuse’. This statistic appears towards the end of the page which is specific to domestic abuse, after explaining what domestic abuse can include and also what it can do to children if they are exposed to this environment.

Underneath the statistic they had provided readers with a drop-down with the source of the findings and also the findings that had been used to create this statistic. From the findings it was shown that 17.5% of 11-17 year olds have been exposed to domestic abuse between adults in their home. Despite them sourcing the statistic within the report, some children may have been scared to say that they have been exposed to domestic abuse. As well as this some children might not consider what they have seen to be a form of domestic abuse, instead they could have thought that it was something normal that happens in a family environment. This therefore could limit the accuracy of this statistic, resulting in the claim either signifying that there is either more or less abuse then they have recorded.

From researching this statistic, another website has also quoted it when giving statistics that they have found about domestic violence for all ages. Underneath ‘children’ they have included the claim about the percentage of children being affected by domestic abuse, however they have also added further research about the topic. This includes the statistic of children who were in the same or the next room when the violence was occurring, also the amount of children who are directly harmed when living in a household which contains domestic abuse. Although they have used some data which was conducted 15 years ago, showing that this data could be outdated and incorrect, resulting in the claim given not being accurate as domestic abuse could have increased or decreased within this time.

 

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Student blog post: Net migration into UK up by more than 38% to 243,000 – BBC News

  1. I found this article on BBC News. The article uses the Office For National Statistics as its source in order to support its numerical data. The BBC is not the most reliable news source as it is company website, not an official organisation which means it is prone to its own biases.
  2. The International Passenger Survey collects information about passengers entering and leaving the country and it only does so on a legal basis. Immigrants who enter the country illegally would not be recorded in the system, therefore, the ‘560,000’ immigrants arriving in the UK over the 12-month period is an approximation, not a precise statistic as it is stated to be.
  3. BBC News states that, ‘’For the first time in nearly three years, the number of people migrating to the UK from outside the EU increased, to 265,000.’’ However, after comparing the statistical data in the article, to the data provided in the Office For National Statistics website, I found that this statement is incorrect. According to the Office For National Statistics, there has been a decrease in migration from people outside of the European Union since 2011, when 334,000 non-EU citizen migrated to the UK.  Rather than an increase in migrants as the article proclaims, there was a decline of 69,000 non-EU individuals in the last 2/3 years.
  4. Furthermore, BBC News fails to inform us about certain information. Although there has been an increase of net migration in just under the last two years, it remains below the peak of 320,000 (2005). I believe that this is a valid point that should have been mentioned at some point in the article, as the increase in net migrants could rise public concerns and may cause panic within the community as it is presented in such a negative manner. This point would support the fact that net migrant statistics are changing constantly. People often migrate to the United Kingdom due to lack of employment. If unemployment rates are high in their current country, it is likely for them to migrate elsewhere, where their chances of finding work could be higher.

 

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Student blog post: 5% of adults in America are now Vegan

https://news.therawfoodworld.com/16-million-people-us-now-vegan-vegetarian/

The article claimed that almost 16 million people in America are now vegan. To calculate whether 16 million represents the 5% of America, I searched the total population of the USA, which came to 318.9 million. I divided 16 million with 318.9 million to get a sum of 0.05 and then I multiplied this value with 100 to get the percentage sum of 5%. According to my calculation, 16 million does in fact represent 5% value and so the claim is true.

I wanted to dig deeper and find the methodology used to obtain the “16 million” value. The method used can be found in the source:

http://www.vrg.org/blog/2011/12/05/how-many-adults-are-vegan-in-the-u-s/

Harris Interactive study (commissioned by the Vegetarian Resource Group) used telephone interview on a sample of 1010 adults above the age of 18 across nationwide. Participant’s age, sex, race, education, region, number of household and number of telephone lines were considered when necessary when reflecting the actual proportions in the population. Telephone interviews can be critiqued for having a low reliability as respondents may give a dishonest answer, as there is no sense of chemistry between them and the interviewer (make it easier to give false answer).

The data overall can be criticized for being unreliable as they “did not ask about honey” which is crucial to the definition of veganism. Respondents who do not eat “Never eat meat, fish, poultry, dairy, eggs” may be considered vegan to that description but if they consume honey then they would be disregarded as a vegan.

Lastly, the sample size used is extremely poor as 1010 is a very difficult to generalise to the whole of USA with a population size of 318.9 million. Also, as the sample size only consists of those who answer and are willing to participate in the survey, the sample may be considered as biased. This is due to the reason that participants who answer may have shared characteristics (e.g. education, which state they come from, diet, etc.). This would mean that non-respondents are not included in the sample, which could’ve affected the overall result (may potentially could missed those who are vegans which would change the overall number).

 

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Student blog post: Life on Earth started hundreds of millions of years earlier than previously thought, fossils reveal.

Firstly, I think that this headline is misleading because “hundreds of millions of years is very vague it doesn’t reveal anything. Also, I thought reading the article would provide more information, but it also didn’t give a specific time. it seemed like someone just gave a time frame but we don’t know if it’s true or not. In the article, words such as “previously thought” can be deceptive because they never told us what or how It was before. So, if we are countering it, how do we know what they are saying. we can’t compare anything. Perhaps it wasn’t millions of years ago rather it could be hundreds. Lastly this fossil they are talking about could be any type of fossil such as dinosaur fossil. They used fossil as an example to give as an idea of how long it has been but If they were more precise then it would have giving us an estimation of how many years it was. The headline was exaggerated.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Reference:

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/science/life-on-earth-appeared-hundreds-of-millions-of-years-earlier-than-previously-thought-ancient-a6700841.html

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Student Blog post: ‘Record hate crimes’ after EU referendum

“’Record hate crimes’ after EU referendum” is a news article published by BBC News about the apparent rise in hate crimes after the EU Referendum. Before analysing this article it is important to first define what a hate crime is. According to the home office a hate crime is “any crime where the perpetrator’s hostility or prejudice against an identifiable group of people is a factor in determining who is victimised”.

In this article the focus is on crime motivated by race and religion. One of the first claims that is made in this article is that between July and September 2016 more than 14,000 hate crimes were reported, by looking at the statistics provided by the home office you can see that in fact only 13,925 incidents were reported. The article also claims that the numbers of reported hate crimes in July rose by 41% compared to the previous 12 months. By looking at the data you can see that this is true.  Although correct, the way they have been interpreted is very misleading. From the article the reader gets the impression that the reason the levels of hate crimes has increased is because of the EU referendum, however, by looking at the Home office’s data you can see that every year since 2013 there has been a peak in hate crimes in July.

Additionally, you can also see that the peak is increasing in size every year. Therefore, this suggests that the increase is not the result of the Brexit vote but the result of another factor such as an overall increase in hate crime or more people reporting incidents. One of the other issue with this report is how the data was collected. From that statistic you can see that the data only includes crimes which were recorded by the police. This means that hates which were not reported do not count towards the official number of hate crimes. Furthermore, what counts as a hate crime is very subjective as it covers any crime which is perceived by the victim or any other person, as a crime which is motivated by hostility or prejudice. Therefore, hate crimes may appear to be higher in certain areas when in fact those areas simply have a different definition of what a hate crime is. Overall, it is possible to see that the levels of racial and religious motivated hate crime is the highest it’s been, however, this article only looks at the claim from one point of view. In order to fully understand the levels of hate crime it is important to compare the data to previous years and question the methodology rather than just associating it with the closet political event.

Sources:

Article: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-38976087

Home Office Data: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/hate-crime-england-and-wales-2015-to-2016

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Student blog post: NHS could save £1.7bn from 20 minutes of cycling or walking a day

The article from the Evening Standard made a headline that could possibly display signs of a ‘fake story’.
It is using the NHS to complete the story about Sadiq Khan’s new proposal for healthy streets.
Random statistics are thrown into the article without referring to how and who found them. Even though it mentions a ‘transport for london analysis’ and ‘tfl research’ it is untraceable to fact check the accuracy of the statistics. Therefore the correlation made with the NHS and the minutes dedicated to walking or cycling is not something readers cannot take serious.

Also, the headline says the NHS could save 1.7bn from 20 mins of cycling or walking a day, but does it mean it saves this amount for a year? a month? a day? It does not make it specific.

Another flaw to this article is the stats used about how many people would need treatment. How do we know this is down to 20 minutes of walking and cycling? There may be other factors that can result in less people needing treatment, for example not smoking or drinking alcohol. These are huge statistics, not just hundreds but thousands but how did they find this? Surely it is not a complete accurate measure? Was it an average or a median? What population was this gathered from?

For all we know this can be made up statistics unless there is some back up to show how the two statistics correlate which is yet to be discovered.

http://www.standard.co.uk/news/health/nhs-could-save-17bn-if-londoners-walked-or-cycled-for-20-minutes-a-day-a3468396.html

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Student blog post: Mental illness affects 1 in 4 people

The statistic I am analysing is, ‘mental illness affects 1 in 4 people’ founded on the website ‘Rethink Mental Illness.’ The statistic appears on the front page of the website because it’s purpose is to make the reader feel as though they are not seperated from the community or isolated due to their mental health state.
However, a limitation of this statistic is that it does not give context as to how they are measuring a person who is ‘affected’ by mental illness. The figure may be over estimating how common mental health illnesses are because on the ‘Find Data’ page of the NHS there is ambiguity over the figures because they count autism and learning disabilities with the numbers. Also, the statistic does not determine the time span which someone has to be affected by a mental health illness to be included in the numbers, and whether it is still counted if you have suffered from it a long time ago.
Another website quoting this statistic is the charity, ‘Mind’ however the way they have interpreted the statistic is different, rather than using it to shock people about how popular it is, their analysis is that actually mental health is not particularly rising each year.  A survey by the Government is completed by people every 7 years to measure mental health, yet it is difficult to place labels on mental health disorders so the numbers may not be accurate due to the stage and level of mental health illness in which you may have. Also, some people suffer from two different types of mental health disorder so being able to measure it and fit in to a category will be difficult and produce inaccurate results.
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