The Dangers of Food Marketing

Ah, creative food marketing…you just have to love it. As if attempting to purchase the healthiest foods in the grocery store isn’t enough, very strategic marketing is aimed at making what should be a simple task completely overwhelming. It seems like advertisers are taking extraordinary measures to convince all of us that everything we eat is healthy. Have you noticed this trend? Peruse just about any grocery store aisle and the false marketing is not hard to miss. Advanced Surgical and Weight Loss previously wrote a post intended to help you decipher confusing food labels. Labels can be a source of bewilderment for those trying to get past the nonsense and get to the heart of what they will be putting in their bodies. Much like learning to decode food labels, understanding how advertising agencies and large food corporations use verbiage and packaging to make you believe you are eating a “healthy” choice even when nothing could be further than the truth.

Food executives and marketers know that Americans are on what feels like a never-ending quest for lifelong weight-loss. In fact, the Food Research Action Council notes that one-third of adults in the U.S. are obese while and roughly 1 in 6 children are as well. In 2014 alone, the weight loss industry brought in over 64 billion dollars. A conscious shift in how weight loss is approached has emerged as well. Those seeking to lose excess weight are taking a more holistic approach incorporating “clean” foods and lifestyle that incorporates wellness. This desire has been noted by advertising agencies who are always looking for a way to draw consumers in and create a need. You’ve seen the labels touting: gluten-free, free-range, wild caught, less sugar, natural sugars, whole grains, and the list goes on. Who doesn’t want to make the wise choice when at the grocery store? It is no wonder many of us fall victim to the schemes of big corporations who prey on people wanting to make lasting change.

Here are a few examples of foods that seem to be healthy but really are just junk food in disguise:

Veggie Straws and Baked Chips

Seriously! They say veggie in the title, must be healthy. Baked chips!! That has to be good for you. Think again. While these packaged and processed snacks may be a smidgeon better for you than traditional chips and crackers, nothing compares to the real thing. When you are looking for some crunch try reaching for actual vegetables and potatoes instead. Carrot and celery sticks, broccoli or cauliflower, even jicama will give you the satisfaction of a crunchy treat without the false promises of fake food.

Granola Bars

Have you noticed the abundance of bars nowadays? These food items have made their way into pantry’s touted as a quick and “healthy” food to keep you going. However, have you ever considered how these things are made? For the most part, granola bars take items such as oats, nuts, seeds, and dried fruit and then add an additional helping of sugar in some form as a binder. These ingredients are great on their own without the added sugar. Don’t let the marketing fool you!

Gluten-Free (sometimes)

Gluten intolerance is a real thing and we are not attempting to say otherwise. However, consumers have become much more gluten conscious over the past several years and marketers have taken notice. Labels tout “gluten-free” for foods that never contained gluten in the first place. According to an article in the Washington Post, in a survey of 1500 people, close to forty-percent try to eat gluten-free because they believe it’s better for them. While this may be the case for some, it is important to know that many gluten-free products have added fat and sugar that aren’t great for you either.

Here at Advanced Surgical and Weight Loss Institute in Melbourne, FL, we know that permanent weight loss is maintained by a combination a healthy diet, exercise, and a positive environment from which you can grow. Part of learning how to treat yourself well is understanding the things you are putting into your body. You do not have to fall victim to clever jingles and slick packaging. Do your research, seek advice from professionals, and make the best choices available to you.