Food Is Big Business!
Americans spend a whopping $1 trillion dollars a year on food. Food is big business to say the least. The rising health concerns that accompany the rising obesity rates have prompted many food manufacturers to focus on key marketing terms, such as low-fat, whole grain, etc., in order to promote their products. For the food industry, mixed messages and confusion are good for business. In his book Food Rules, author Michael Pollan said:
Eat Real Food
It doesn’t take a genius to figure this one out. Basically, man will never improve on what God has created.
“Consume a variety of nutrient-dense foods and beverages within and among the basic food groups while choosing foods that limit the intake of saturated and trans-fats, cholesterol, added sugars, salt, and alcohol.”
In his book, The New Wellness Revolution, economist Paul Zane Pilzer observed:
No expense is spared to hit every psychological button that matters to the target market… Like a deer caught in the scope of a hunter at close range, the target never has chance.
At times, the ruthlessness of the process troubles the consciences of the $200,000-per-year marketing executives in charge of it. Some actually refuse to attend their own focus groups. Rather than confront their future victims in person, they prefer to review transcripts in the safety of their offices.
One of the great scandals of the junk-food culture is the extent to which its most enthusiastic promoters personally avoid the very products they are pushing.
Pilzer goes on to point out:
These food companies do something even worse than targeting lower-income, unhealthy, overweight consumers for their products. Once the target actually tries the product and becomes a customer, company chemists ensure they will never be satisfied with eating just a healthy amount of it.
[They] have been altered to ensure that “nobody can eat just one” of them. This chemical alteration causes great overconsumption, promoting obesity and destroying the natural tendency of our taste buds to seek variety in what we eat.
Perhaps at this point you are beginning to feel a bit of righteous indignation. We have allowed ourselves to be led astray like pigs to the slaughter. I am reminded again of the words of Jesus, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly” (John 10:10 ESV). These things should not surprise us. It is our responsibility to educate ourselves so that we know good from bad. Which brings me back to this point. The single best thing you can do to ensure proper nutrition is to eat primarily unprocessed whole foods. Real food, not edible food-like substances. Real food meaning:
- Leafy Greens
- Lean Proteins
- Whole Grains
- Healthy Fats
- Legumes (beans, peas, etc)
If the majority of your diet consists of real food, you will get better nutrition and feel more satisfied while consuming fewer calories. A good way to make sure you are eating real food is to shop the peripheries of the supermarket and stay out of the middle.
Shop the peripheries of the supermarket and stay out of the middle
You have probably noticed that most supermarkets are laid out the same way: For the most part, fresh food-produce, meat and fish, dairy-are on the outer edge, while processed foods dominate the center aisles. Also, many stores place the organic and whole foods sections on the periphery as well. If you keep to the outer edge of the store you are much more likely to wind up with real food in your shopping cart. This strategy is not entirely fool proof since HFCS, artificial sweeteners and other non-food ingredients have snuck into the dairy case and are hiding in flavored yogurts, pudding and some forms of cheese.
Pay More, Eat Less
We have all heard the age-old adage, “you get what you pay for.” Food is no exception. Quality is more important than quantity. Pollan observed, “There’s no escaping the fact that better food-measured by taste or nutritional quality (which often correspond)-costs more, because it has been grown less intensively and with more care. Not everyone can afford to eat well in America, which is a literal shame, but most of us can.”