10 things the Food Industry Doesn’t Want You to Know

10 things the Food Industry Doesn’t Want You to Know

By Adam Voiland Mon Oct 20, 5:31 pm ET

With America’s obesity problem among kids reaching crisis proportions, even junk food makers have started to claim they want to steer children toward more healthful choices. In a study released earlier this year, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that about 32 percent of children were overweight but not obese, 16 percent were obese, and 11 percent were extremely obese. Food giant PepsiCo, for example,points out on its website that “we can play an important role in helping kids lead healthier lives by offering healthy product choices in schools.” The company highlights what it considers its healthier products within various food categories through a“Smart Spot” marketing campaign that features green symbols on packaging. PepsiCo’s inclusive criteria—explained here—award spots to foods of dubious nutritional value such as Diet Pepsi, Cap’n Crunch cereal, reduced-fat Doritos, and Cheetos, as well as to more nutritious products such as Quaker Oatmeal and Tropicana Orange Juice.

But are wellness initiatives like Smart Spot just marketing ploys? Such moves by the food industry may seem to be a step in the right direction, but ultimately makers of popular junk foods have an obligation to stockholders to encourage kids to eat more—not less—of the foods that fuel their profits, says David Ludwig, a pediatrician and the co-author of a commentary published in this week’s Journal of the American Medical Association that raises questions about whether big food companies can be trusted to help combat obesity. Ludwig and article co-author Marion Nestle, a professor of nutrition at New York University, both of whom have long histories of tracking the food industry, spoke with U.S. News and highlighted 10 things that junk food makers don’t want you to know about their products and how they promote them.

Remainder of article at link, above.

“Health claims” made by the food industry – low fat, low sugar, etc. – are generally bunk; if they lower the fat, the sugar or salt content is increased to make up the difference in taste. Likewise, the low-sodium/”no added sugar” is often higher in fat… But the food companies are in the business of selling you food to make a profit, and do not have your interests at their heart.

2% (or lower) milk is often suggested (and sometimes mandated by rule), but whole (cow’s) milk is already 96.75% fat-free to begin with. I was speaking with a dietician a few weeks ago in relation to my diabetes, and she asked if I ate low fat foods. I told her no, that I prefer my foods to be the way nature intended them, and that rather than spending time trying to find “low whatever” versions, the real key was to actually eat less – be moderate.

The one item I do try to watch out for is the omnipresent high fructose corn syrup, which has made its way into just about every processed food there is, from biscuits to yoghurt; even Sara Lee, my favorite frozen dessert company is now using it, and so they are off my grocery list.

Do you want to be healthier?

Here are some steps that can help in many instances:

1. Eat less, but more often. Have 6-7 SMALL meals instead of 3 large ones. Breakfast, elevenses (sometimes known as ‘second breakfast’1), luncheon, tea, dinner and, supper….sound familiar?
2. Snacks of celery, carrots and fresh fruit when you can. It’s often been said that celery is a zero calorie food, as it takes more calories to eat than it provides…
3. Turn off the computer and TV and go outside. Walk, jog, or just stand around and look at the trees, flowers and clouds. But get up off your butt and get some physical movement into your life. Any amount will help, but half an hour, three or four times a week, of some sort of physical activity is a really good thing for most people.
4. Cook your own meals from fresh ingredients, not ready-to-eat. Want a real treat? Find a real cook book that tells you how to make things like tomato sauce and quit buying the processed stuff. don’t know where to find one? We’ve managed to find several copies of early editions of the Betty Crocker Cookbook at thrift stores and online booksellers. Or, subscribe to the Vintage Recipes feed and get suggestions from a variety of older collections on a regular basis.
5. Smile and laugh – a lot! That old saw about “laughter is the best medicine” has some truth behind it.
6. Get an adequate amount of sleep. The amount you need varies by your age, sex and overall health, but if you aren’t sleeping well, that is going to manifest in other areas of your life as well. If your bed is uncomfortable, maybe it’s time to replace your mattress…
7. Eliminate or minimize fear in your life. If this means you quit watching the nightly news, then by all means do so. When the politics of fear are in abundance, switch them off. Put on music that makes you feel good or happy. This doesn’t mean you need to become an ostrich and hide your head, but do not let fear rule your life. Remember, “the only thing we have to fear is fear, itself”.

As Eleanor Roosevelt said, “Yesterday is history. Tomorrow is a mystery. Today is a gift” (that’s why it’s called the present.) Or, if you prefer, “What lies behind us and what lies before us are small matters compared to what lies within us.” (Ralph Waldo Emerson)

Use it wisely.

1 – Yes, I am aware that second breakfast and elevenses are not the same, however the source I used for the ordering had them listed as above.

This was originally posted to one of my other blogs in October 2008; I’m reposting it because it’s still good advice, and I needed the reminder!