May 22, 2006
Healthy food: a new low in consumer self-delusion
From an article on the struggles many Americans face when trying to lose weight:
It turns out those "healthy" foods were just as fattening as the chips and soda they replaced: The yogurt was filled with Reese's Pieces and the low-fat cookies were brimming with sugar that kept her hunger on razor's edge.
Her healthy yogurt had Reese's Pieces in it?! Why, that's candy! How ever did that candy get into her healthy yogurt?
Some consumer product research suggests that the yogurt that Ms. Kowalczyk selected as one of her "good-for-you" purchases was this:
which as you can see has a big REESE'S logo right smack on the front of the packaging. "It's all in the advertising — you see this bright packaging that says it's good for you," said Kowalczyk, 34.
That's where I have to disagree with you, Kate. That bright packaging doesn't say it's good for you, it says CANDY. Plus you can totally see the Reese's Pieces right there in the lid of the yogurt.
Dieticians say that people will pretend that all kinds of ridiculous things are a good to eat while trying to lose weight: "Some weight watchers manage to convince themselves blueberry pie has its place in a diet — simply because it features a fruit, said Marlene Clark, a registered dietitian at Cedars Sinai in Los Angeles. 'Just because the basic thing is healthy doesn't mean it's a healthy dish,' Clark said."
The article then goes on to point out that just because a snack food item may be organic or all-natural, it may still have the same number of calories as the regular variety (example: an ounce of Pringles potato chips: 160 calories, an ounce of Barbara's Bakery chips: 150 calories.) It's no secret that food companies work hard to maintain an illusion of healthiness in many of their products, but people, please. That defense only goes so far. Deciphering deceptive packaging and obsessively comparing fat content can be tedious, so let me make it really simple.
If you want to lose weight, don't eat chips. Or candy. Or cookies. I hate to be the one to break it to you, but Kraft and Snackwell are a bunch of liars. Tough love!
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