Filed under: Food + Health, J500 Week 8, Society + Media | Tags: americans, food, food advertising, honest advertising, obesity, trans fat
Feeling a little under the weather, I rented the movie “The Invention of Lying”, which portrays a world with people who do not know how to tell a lie.
I pictured myself pushing my cart through the grocery store in this mythical town, with these mythical people.
Do the boxes of cookies lining the snack aisle claim to be “the most fattening cookie” and the “cookie that has no fat, and no taste either”? How many items on the shelves of that grocery store would have boxes with “organic” or “all natural” written on them? My guess is very few.
Advertisers would have it easy, they would only have to be honest.
I consider myself to be healthy; I take vitamins, workout consistently and watch what I eat, but this doesn’t even seem like enough after learning that what I think I am eating isn’t really what I am eating. If I only lived in a world without lies…
These “what-if” questions also led me to wonder if consumers would change their eating habits even if they knew the truth. It seems that in the American culture, taste trumps health benefits. I know how bad an Oreo is for me and I even know from experience that eating just one is nearly impossible, but that doesn’t stop me from my Oreo indulgence. The combination of deceitful advertising and Americans’ unhealthy relationship with food may just be the culpret in the growing obesity problem in our country.
Studies show that obesity-related diseases account for ten percent of medical spending in the United States (an estimated $147 billion a year). The problem is directly related to the foods we, as Americans, eat. We have adapted to an on-the-go lifestyle and it is killing us faster than ever. The United States is one of the most progressive and wealthy countries in the world, but you would never know from looking at our diet. We have technologically advanced to a point where we can produce foods that last longer and can be produced in mass quantities, but with these advances come a loss of nutritional benefits of food, or the food part of food.
The scary part is that it is affecting our children. Children are exposed to approximately 10,000 food advertisements a day, most of which are advertising unhealthy foods.
I recently saw a commercial for Smart Balance margarine that warned consumers that sometimes 0g of fat does not mean 0. If zero doesn’t mean zero, then I don’t know what consumers are supposed to think. The commercial seems like honest advertising, but who can tell anymore? It is certainly difficult to tell. I guess I realized that a person has to inform themselves about what they are eating, because we really cannot rely on marketing and advertising.
I am not feeling any better after this, maybe I’ll go have some chicken broth…after investigating the label for an hour or so and then researching the unpronounceable words on the label.
At least we can trust ourselves.
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