The next time you’re wandering the aisles at the supermarket spend a little time looking at labels and packaging. Then look at the label on the back (or side). If the packaging touts “reduced fat” you’ll probably find it’s higher in sugar, or high fructose corn syrup, and sodium. If it has added fiber, you’ll probably find it isn’t natural fiber. The label won’t tell you, but the list of ingredients will—and if you can’t pronounce it and if it sounds like a chemical, it probably is. Hmm . . .
Statistics tell us that two of every three Americans are overweight or obese, yet a recent Consumer Reports study found that nine out of 10 Americans think they eat healthfully. In fact 90 percent described their diet as “somewhat,” “very,” or “extremely” healthy. Hmm . . .
Are you aware of the nutritional value in the foods you choose to eat? Are you familiar with what healthy choice, 100% natural, whole grain, good source of fiber, reduced fat, fat-free, low-fat (and the list goes on) really means? Do you know soft drinks are low-fat? Hmm . . .
And, what about all those foods that promise to help your heart, lower your cholesterol, trim your waistline? These foods with health benefit claims actually have a name—functional food. Well, guess what—all of these functional foods are more about marketing than nutrition. Hmm . . .
The Nutrition Business Journal says sales of those “functional” foods alleging to fix what’s wrong with us totaled $37.3 billion in 2009, up from $28.2 billion in 2005. That’s up 32.3 percent in just four years. It looks like a lot of us are buying-in to those “healthy” packaging claims. Yet we’re spending $150 billion a year paying for health problems related to obesity. What do you think would happen to our overall health if more of us started comparing labels and ingredients against the product sales pitch on our food choices? Hmm . . .