I’ve alluded to the fact that I struggle with the food industry quite a lot recently. I don’t mean to be confrontational, but is it too strong to say I hate food marketing? Is it too much to say the food industry is making us fat?

Somehow the industry has successfully made a massive business out of ‘healthy food’ which really isn’t all that healthy.

The food industry is lying to you.

[Tweet “The food industry is lying to you #foodmarketing”]

Out of the window goes common sense around eating real food and in comes a bombardment of messages suggesting that the only way to be healthy or thin is to eat their food.

So often though, this food couldn’t be further away from healthy if it tried, and many which may actually do the opposite of what they promise. Foods which won’t keep you full and lead you to eating even more later on. Foods which are full of chemicals. Foods which can trigger cravings.

A So Called ‘Healthy’ Breakfast

Let’s take a breakfast which is often considered healthy. A bowl of one of the most popular ‘healthy’ cereals with skimmed milk

Photo Courtesy of Ben Seidelman

Photo Courtesy of Ben Seidelman

When you break down what is in the bowl of ‘healthy’ cereal with skimmed milk there are 30g carbohydrate, 11g protein and less than 2g fibre. You can see there is almost no protein in the cereal and the milk only adds a small amount more (and as you already know you need protein in every meal) and that there is more carbohydrates (sugar) than in a chocolate bar*!! You’d be starving by mid-morning. This is why diets don’t work.

 

Cereal

Nutritional Information of ‘Healthy’ Cereal

 

Chocolate

Nutritional Information of Chocolate Bar

If you really would miss cereal check out my healthier option here.

 

*In reality the actual problem is probably worse as the macros above are based on a suggested portion size and if anyone has ever weighed out 30g of cereal they will know this is tiny! I’m also not suggesting you start eating chocolate for breakfast or that chocolate is a superior nutritional product, but it does start you thinking!

The Tell Tale Words

A list of words to look out for:

– lite or light
– diet
– low fat
– no added artificial colours or additives
– sugar free
– gluten free

[Tweet “Danger words in food marketing: diet, lite, low fat and sugar free #foodmarketing”]

Sometimes these words are used and the food is naturally that way, however very often it’s a red light. When something isn’t in a food it’s replaced with something potentially worse. Fat is replaced with sugar, sugar is replaced with artificial sweeteners, gluten is replaced with chemicals.

I’m even cautious about the word natural eg natural flavourings. Just because it’s natural doesn’t mean it’s healthy. For example a lot of illegal drugs are natural. This doesn’t suddenly make natural necessarily a good idea!

[Tweet ” Just because it’s natural doesn’t mean it’s healthy. A lot of illegal drugs are natural! #foodmarketing”]

Conclusion

Processed food can be convenient and some of it isn’t all that bad, but unless you read every last word on the label (and trust the companies are disclosing everything they put into a product on the labels) it’s really, really hard. For this reason I eat as much real food as possible and keep things in packets and bottles to infrequent occasions.

How do you feel about processed food? Is there a packaged food you could swap for something real?

the food industry is making you fat blog

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