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Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Dreamfields Facing A Low-Carb Conundrum


Dreamfields may be changing its tune on relevance of low-carb living

When it comes to low-carb pasta that tastes like real pasta, there is one and only one brand that stands WAY above the pack as none of the alternatives can even come close. That brand of pasta is, of course, Dreamfields.

While some people who are livin' la vida low-carb have expressed their doubts about whether these great-tasting noodles really are low-carb or not, I have never had an issue eating them as a regular part of my weight loss or weight maintenance experience. We finally get a low-carb product that tastes amazing and yet we question if it's real or not? Sigh. I guess that's human nature to be skeptical about something that is too good to be true.

But trying to find Dreamfields pasta is becoming increasingly difficult in local grocery stores because so many of them are getting rid of the "low-carb" products from their shelves. This is a real point of frustration for me and so many other low-carbers who want to get our hands on these amazing products, but they are just not available. That's why I'm glad there are online low-carb stores like CarbSmart.com, Low-Carb Connoisseur, and LO-CARB U (just to name a few!) around who are ready, willing, and able to provide these products we want and need.

In fact, you can order some for yourself right now by clicking here. :D

However, something has been bugging me for days since I got this e-mail from Dreamfields last week. I'm on their mailing list and generally enjoy reading about new recipes (including this one I shared a few days ago), contests, and so much more about this company making products for people on the low-carb lifestyle.

Yet I get the feeling they are searching for answers about what to do regarding their future as a "low-carb" company. I believe Dreamfields if facing a low-carb conundrum and this could be just the beginning of a major shift in philosophy regarding how they market their products.

What leads me to this prediction about things to come for Dreamfields?

Well, consider that e-mail for just a moment. Sure, they boast about their products having just 5g digestible carbs (many people still have a difficult time understanding what that means), being high in fiber and containing zero trans-fats. These are all great characteristics of Dreamfields pasta.

Scroll down to the bottom of the e-mail, though, to their poll about how often you cook low-carb meals. It looks like they are polling their customers to see how many of them take their low-carb lifestyle seriously versus how many simply restrict their carbs on occasion. This is telling me that Dreamfields is wondering if the low-carb consumer even exists anymore.

Then there's the link they provide to this FoodFit.com article that Dreamfields labels "To Carb Or Not To Carb." Encouraging people to take their poll, Dreamfields asks the question, "Should you stop eating carbs entirely?" and says people need to read what nutritionist and registered dietitian Christine Palumbo has to say about the subject for the answer.

Hoo boy, this can't be good.

The question from a Florida woman was about whether limiting carb intake would help her lose weight and keep it off over the long-term. Here is how the Dreamfields-recommended "expert" answered this question:

"I do not recommend that you avoid complex carbohydrates like pasta, rice, beans or bread. Although you can experience short-term weight loss, mainly due to loss of water, as soon as you start eating some carbohydrates your weight will dramatically return. These foods, especially brown rice, beans, whole wheat bread and whole-grain cereals, are critically important to good health!

The prevalence of obesity is at an all time high due primarily to increased food intake and decreased physical activity. Since changes in these two behaviors are difficult, people are on the lookout for a quick-fix weight loss scheme. In fact, any system of food prohibition, such as limiting carbohydrate intake, will reduce caloric intake and result in body weight loss. Variations in the amount of carbohydrate in the diet have not been shown to have any unique effect on weight loss. On the contrary, increased consumption of foods high in saturated fats, like bacon, steak, cheese and butter have been shown to increase blood cholesterol and risk for heart disease.

Despite the diet plan, you should make food choices with your total nutritional health in mind. Many carbohydrate foods, like fruits, vegetables, and grains, contain important vitamins and minerals not found in other foods. In shaping the food choices of a diet plan, you must pay attention to the adequacy of overall nutrient intake."


Can you believe this?! Here is Dreamfields pointing their customer base, made up mostly of people who are livin' la vida low-carb, to a dietary advice page that is actually PROMOTING the consumption of carbohydrate-rich foods like pasta, rice, and bread, claims low-carb is a "quick-fix weight loss scheme" that is merely water weight, believes you can't possibly sustain this way of eating as a permanent lifestyle change, lambastes a diet that includes saturated fats as unhealthy, and concludes a low-carb diet lacks nutritional diversity to make it worth pursuing.

Did I get all of that right, Dreamfields? Is this what YOU believe is true about low-carb living? If so, then you have a lot of explaining to do to the low-carb community and fast! What the $&(*(# are you doing advocating such a position about carbohydrates when as a company you have stood for just the opposite since you started making your amazing products?!

Are any other low-carb advocates as outraged about this as I am or am I just making a mountain out of a molehill here? It sure would be nice if somebody from Dreamfields would have the courtesy to explain what they are doing right now. If you don't want the low-carb business anymore, then say so. But if you still care about people who have made the low-carb lifestyle their dietary choice for living healthy, then stop giving a voice to idiotic, nonsensical dietitians like Ms. Palumbo. I'm sure she means well, but she's DEAD WRONG about low-carb.

If you are concerned about the direction you see Dreamfields going as a company if they continue to allow such ignorance regarding low-carb living to be spouted with their approval and endorsement, then send them your feedback and make your voice heard. Let me know if you receive a response from them about this.

7-6-06 UPDATE: A representative from Dreamfields dropped by my blog today to respond to my concerns about their philosophy towards people on low-carb.

July 06, 2006

Mr. Moore,

Rest assured, we here at Dreamfields Foods LOVE our low carb consumers and always will. We consider all of you to be our early adopters, the people who helped make Dreamfields Pasta what it is today, and who continue to crave the combination of great taste and low digestible carbs that only Dreamfields can offer.

We are definitely not walking away from low carb, and, in fact, have recently added two new cuts to the Dreamfields line (rotini & lasagna), and we continue to gain distribution at supermarkets across the country. Food Lion in the southeast, for example, is a large grocery chain that recently brought Dreamfields to shelf in the last 12 months. We have also just added the full line of Dreamfields Pasta for sale on amazon.com, and continue to offer single box sales on the various sites you mentioned, plus direct from manufacturer case sales at our web store.

Keep in mind that, over the years since its introduction, Dreamfields’ nutritional strengths have attracted millions of people...many of whom seek out food products that have other health advantages aside from low carb. People eat and enjoy Dreamfields for many reasons. Dreamfields is the one brand of pasta that has other healthy advantages aside from having only 5 digestible carbohydrates. For example, our pasta products contain more than twice the fiber of regular pasta (5g vs. 2g per serving); and Dreamfields is the only pasta brand to contain a special fiber called Inulin that has been shown scientifically to promote digestive health and support a healthy immune system, while enhancing calcium absorption for strong bones and teeth.

Dreamfields’ markets include low carb, cooking, health-conscious families, and people with diabetes, each of which seeks different nutritional features from the foods they buy. So while many people choose our pasta because of its low-digestible carbs for weight loss, some find Dreamfields’ low glycemic index helps them to manage blood glucose levels, while others (including myself) enjoy Dreamfields because as a healthy pasta that's high in fiber, contains low digestible carbs, and also has guaranteed great taste.

On an aside, the email that you cite in your post was intended for our cooking audience. Which is why we were curious and decided to poll about how many times per week this particular segment of the Dreamfields population cooked low carb meals for their families. Please understand that, in each of the newsletters we send, we strive to provide information and links for further exploration that are relevant to the particular audience so they can make their own decisions about their diets, nutrition, and lifestyles.

Also, so your readers can understand, we offer consumers a choice of three newsletters based on their particular interests. We strive to draw information from a global perspective that would be of interest to our readers and/or particular audience segment. While we do not endorse Ms. Palumbo, or any other 3rd party voice on the web we may cite in the future, she is one of the many voices today speaking on carb intake and its impact in today's healthier lifestyles.

We appreciate your interest and support for Dreamfields Pasta, and am pleased that you enjoy reading our email newsletter. If you would like to receive each of the 3 email newsletters we send, or perhaps would like to only receive the low carb audience version, please let me know. We will continue to do our best to ensure the information provided in each email stays relevant and on topic for the audience for which it was intended.

Yours truly,

Liz Reinhiller, Director of Marketing
Marcdavid Cohn, Newsletter Writer
Dreamfields Foods


THANK YOU Ms. Reinhiller and Mr. Cohn for responding. I know my readers appreciate it as much as I do.

I guess my point is if low-carb supporters are the ones who "helped make Dreamfields Pasta what it is today," then you wouldn't support such ignorance about low-carb in your newsletters. I understand reaching out to a larger customer base, but you don't do it by ostracizing your existing clientele. And that's exactly what you do when you allow people like this Palumbo lady speak for you even on a third party basis because the ideas they spout reflect on YOU as a company. How about letting a low-carber share his thoughts about carbs (HINT, HINT!)? Hmmm, how about it Dreamfields since you are so interested in a diversity of "many voices" on carb intake?

Dreamfields, I have supported you strongly as a company, but you have to make the ultimate decision about what you are going to do to remain profitable. If that means ticking off low-carbers with more links like the one you provided in your previous newsletter, then you may have a smaller and smaller core consumer base in the very near future.

Again, that saddens me, but you cannot mock us and expect us to continue supporting your company. THANK YOU for commenting at my blog and I hope you will consider my comments in the spirit they were intended.

6 Comments:

Blogger Debi said...

Jimmy,

I'm so sad (and also outraged) to see this direction being taken by Dreamfields. I just recently returned to the Low Carb lifestyle and have been excited that I'd still be able to enjoy great tasting pasta, while sticking to low-carb lifestyle. Now, however, I get the feeling that those days may be numbered. All other low-carb pasta I've had tastes, just plain horrible (and I'd rather just do without, quite frankly) but Dreamfields tastes like the real thing. This is truly sad, sad news.

Thanks for keeping us all up to date on the latest developments in our striving to remain low carb for life!

7/05/2006 7:58 PM  
Blogger AnOldHouse said...

Hi Jimmy,

I've discussed Dreamfields at length with a variety of low-carbers. Personally, I've been served it a couple of times at a friend's house but have never purchased the product myself, nor do I have any intention of doing so in the future. I don't buy it because it still fits squarely within the definition of "refined carbs", and even extra-especially highly refined at that, to make the starch resistant to digestion. And, I'm also of the crowd that believes that only fiber is a ligitimate deduction in order to derive "net carbs" as it is non-caloric. This cannot be said of inulin, sugar-alcohols or glycerin.

Although I am not currently using any grain products, when I have and when I do again in the future, I will only use 100% whole grain products. I have found the 100% whole duram wheat pastas to be excellent in regard to both taste and texture. Yes, it is somewhat darker, but it also does lighten up some when cooking. It's nice to know that all of the miriad complex of original nutrition of the wheat is still in there as it is the only ingredient listed on the label. It therefore does not require, by law, as Dreamfields and other white pasta must, have only certain select "vitamin-pill" grade vitamins reintroduced to the product with a rather highly marketable term of "enriched" applied to it, as though the product were actually better than the original 100% whole grain product! (I already take plenty of supplements, I don't need my foods to be "enriched".) Also, Dreamfields may have twice the fiber than other refined pasta, but 100% whole duram wheat pasta boasts SEVEN times as much fiber as common refined/enriched white pasta!

When discussed, there's been some argument that it's easier to get families to eat Dreamfields since it certainly resembles the familiar common pasta in all sensory aspects, and I can see some limited value in that argument, but covered in sauce or in a lasaga, who cares?

The only truly ligitimate argument I've heard is that from low-carbing diabetics who find that Dreamfields truly does not spike their blood glucose levels where regular white pasta and even 100% whole wheat pasta certainly will.

Unlike Hood Carb Countdown and other products now repackaging themselves into "low-cal" items, that is certainly not something Dreamfields can ligitimately claim. If they abandon the their "low-carb" niche, what can they possibly claim other than that the product is about 4 or 5 times more expensive than other refined pasta? Now they're using a run-of-the-mill textbook nutritionist to tout the standard mantra of a high carbohydrate diet?

Looks like they're really setting themselves up for serious failure. I for one will not mourn their passing.

7/05/2006 8:28 PM  
Blogger Newbirth said...

I hope they don't take Dreamfield's away. Once I hit goal I would like to eat it about once a week. I've had it before and really like it.

7/05/2006 9:32 PM  
Blogger Shayne said...

After having been off of grains and potatoes and that type of stuff for a long time, when I have "splurged" and had some of this "normal" food, I've found it to be a disgusting waste of my time.

If you want a pasta substitute, spaghetti squash or zucchini strips or sliced cabbage are SOOOOO much better than "the real thing" in taste, texture, and nutritional content.

7/06/2006 7:56 AM  
Blogger Dreamfields Foods said...

Rest assured, we here at Dreamfields Foods LOVE our low carb consumers and always will. We consider all of you to be our early adopters, the people who helped make Dreamfields Pasta what it is today, and who continue to crave the combination of great taste and low digestible carbs that only Dreamfields can offer. We are definitely not walking away from low carb, and, in fact, have recently added two new cuts to the Dreamfields line (rotini & lasagna), and we continue to gain distribution at supermarkets across the country.

People today eat and enjoy Dreamfields for many reasons. Since its introduction, Dreamfields’ nutritional strengths (what we call the ‘Dreamfields Healthy Advantage’) have attracted millions of consumers…many of whom seek out food products that have other health advantages aside from low carb. Dreamfields’ markets include low carb, cooking, health-conscious families, and people with diabetes, each of which seeks different nutritional features from the foods they buy. So while many people choose our pasta because of its low-digestible carbs for weight loss, some find Dreamfields’ low glycemic index helps them to manage blood glucose levels, while others (including myself) enjoy Dreamfields as a pasta with high fiber and other health benefits that has the added advantage of guaranteed great taste.

Also, so your readers can understand, we offer consumers a choice of three newsletters based on their particular interests. We strive to draw information from a global perspective that would be of interest to our readers and/or particular audience segment. While we do not endorse Ms. Palumbo, or any other 3rd party voice on the web we may cite in the future, she is one of the many voices today speaking on carb intake and its impact in today’s healthier lifestyles.

We welcome and value consumer feedback and questions about Dreamfields Pasta. Please visit our contact form here, we will do our best to answer you promptly.....thank you for supporting Dreamfields Pasta.

7/06/2006 3:59 PM  
Blogger aj said...

I have noticed several low carbers have a hard time believing the claims of Dreamfields Pasta. I, being a type 2 diabetic, must restrict my carbs daily, and I must also test my blood glucose several times per day. If I ate a serving of regular or even whole wheat pasta, my blood sugar would go through the roof, in a very short time, and stay there for a long time (not good). I'm kinda lucky, in that I can see exactly what a food does after it enters my bloodstream. And I can attest that I find a very little or no rise in blood glucose after eating Dreamfields Pasta. Dreamfields has been a blessing to me, who was raised in an Italian home and for whom pasta is practically a mainstay. I thought it was over until Dreamfields came along, and now I do not hesitate to enjoy an occasional pasta meal. I also use it broken up in soup (or elbows), for salads, chopped with a little barley for a great rice substitute, macaroni & cheese and in many other ways that I used to use rice or potatoes. I have also been low carbing for about three years now, and have lost and kept off the weight for over two years eating this way. And Dreamfields sure has rounded out my diet! I hope they stay around forever. They're the best product out there for those of us who must restrict our carbs.
I hope you don't alienate them by being too harsh. Many products only survive on the market by appealing to the masses, especially in light of this idiotic media bashing of low carb living!I personally don't care who they market to, as long as they keep making this wonderful product.

7/06/2006 8:32 PM  

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