On the Food and Diet Industries

One of my biggest pet peeves is all the literal and figurative crap that the food and diet industries try to sell people. This recent article on Huffington Post lays it all out pretty nicely.

Here’s one of my favorite quotes from the piece:

For years, the food industry has willfully misinterpreted prevailing dietary guidance into the most profitable of distortions. No nutrition expert ever said “eat low fat, starchy, high-sugar, high-calorie cookies.” But when we were fixated on low-fat eating, that’s just what the food industry gave us. They have done much the same with every nutritional preoccupation to follow.

When I think back to the dieting of my childhood and teenage years the low-fat craze had just kicked in. I vividly remember munching on  Snackwells, pretzels, and cereal,  and having pasta or white rice with dinner most nights. Pretty much everything in the house advertised itself as low-fat. My grandparents’ and aunt’s pantries were full of the same kinds of foods. And years later, guess who ended up with diabetes? ALL of them. My grandparents have since passed away, but my mom and aunt are constantly struggling to get their blood sugar under control. And now, of course, they’re following the low-carb trend which seems advisable and necessary for their medical condition, but I’m pretty sure it’s also not in the healthiest of ways. Low-carb cakes and cookies are probably not the best way to go about it.

And then there are the multitude of crazy diets, products, and supplements out there. My mom recently tried Sensa – you know, the product that you sprinkle on your food to help you get faster fuller? Yeah. Can you guess how long that one lasted?

This stuff angers me to no end! While I do think that consumers should be more wary and educate themselves on the products they are buying and the fads that they are following, I just don’t understand how companies can knowingly create products that are not only ineffective, but also potentially harmful. Not to mention all of the junk that gets put into our food! I’m sure you’ve all heard about the yoga mat chemical in Subway’s and other fast food restaurants’ bread, right?

I wish the health and medical communities would do more to advocate the idea that we should be focused on eating a balance of unprocessed whole foods the majority of the time. It’s so simple and it really can make a difference in our overall health. But when there’s tons of money to be made, those simple messages are going to be drowned out by the clamor of companies trying to make a buck off of our insecurities, our lack of time to research for ourselves, and the draw of a “quick fix.”

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