Why food companies really get on my nerves.

Nutrition can be a pain to understand, on the one hand, the simple idea of eating a well balanced meal consisting of a wide variety of healthy nutritious options seems basic enough.  But developing a menu plan that is both cost effective and healthy can all of a sudden seems daunting.  certainly the food industry does not always do us any favors in regards to its marketing of what is healthy. Let me give you a few examples.

Back when I was in my 2nd year of studying Kinisology, which must have been around 10 years ago by now. What I remember distinctly about that time was the low carb craze going on. I can remember reading through one of my books while the TV was on in the background. A KFC ad ran which caught my eye; it showed a woman trying to encourage her reluctant boyfriend or husband to eat healthy. The surprise healthy food she has brought home for the couple? Yup, an entire bucket of deep fried chicken, you know, it was low carb.

Before that there was of course the anti fat craze, fat was what made you fat right? so cutting it out of your diet must be good, or so many people seemed to think. Of course nutrition experts as most people today understand fat is more complicated than that. Fats can be good, depending on the type of fat, and even fats such as saturated fat in moderation is important. Tans fat is another story, one where manufactures would hide that fat inside the total fat of a product. The only way to understand the trans fat content some years back was to subtract the total fat from the labeled fat. If a product had 2g of polyunsaturated fat, 2 g of monounsaturated fat and 1 g of saturated fat, but had 10g of total fat, the product would have contained 5g of trans fat. Companies at the time did not have to label trans fat, and so could get away with this. Trans fat by the way has all the negative aspects of saturated fat without any benefits what so ever. Soon companies where marketing there new “reduced trans fat” products, the very fat  they put into the product int he first place. Another example of the low fat craze being manipulated was in watching products become “low fat” while adding massive amounts of sugar in the process. This was to make the product still taste good, however in a product like peanut butter, which contains healthy fat and is a good product in moderation, it became a much less healthy alternative than it was, having lost its healthy fats to be replaced with sugar.

Needless to say there are more than a few misconceptions about nutrition out there. Fad diets, weigh loss pills, strength boosting supplements. I have to admit, as someone who has both a passion for weight training I was very much into the whole massive protein and vitamin craze years ago.  Now I find myself much more balanced in my approach. Marketing health and nutrition is a tricky thing, especially when the science of healthy eating is constantly changing.  I think there is a limit to what people should tolerate as a grey area in health when they are being sold 12 pieces of deep fried chicken as healthy. But that’s just me.

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