Friday, June 3, 2011

Healthwashing - Have you heard of it?

Lately, I've been reading a lot of food labels. I've always been a food label reader, but I used to focus on the nutrition fact chart, you know this one, that's on everything. 

But more and more at the grocery store, I've started looking at that ingredient list first, and the nutrition facts chart second, if at all. Marketing can be a mean game and more and more company's are trying to sell their products based on their "low-fat" or "low-calorie" or now more and more "gluten-free" or "organic" labels. These companies are trying to brainhealthwash you!

The very best example I have of this, comes from a fabulous nutrition blog I read daily, written by Meghan Telpner, a Toronto-area holistic nutritionist. In this post, she writes about guessing what the food is based on the ingredient list. You'll never guess. And furthermore, you'll never guess that this is being marketed to consumers as healthy! 

More and more we need to stop looking at the number of calories and pay a million times more time reading the ingredient list. If you find things on there that you don't know what they are, it's likely some sort of chemical that you really don't need in your body, let alone your child's. Just because something is "organic" or "gluten-free" doesn't equal healthy. Organic sugar is still sugar, for example, and hydrogenated oil of any kind is a trans-fat and should be avoided like the plague.

So all of this was brought on today, by a little visit into Shopper's Drug Mart. I was killing time out for a walk at lunch time and just popped in to see how much they charged for a particular item. While in the "Live well. Be well. Vitamins and Nutrition" section, I happened upon this:


What do you see? I see energy drinks and flavoured liquid marketed as water. Down in the corner just out of the frame are a few bottles of flax oil and 3 tubs of coconut oil – the only thing of value in the whole display.


There are so many more examples of this everywhere. Got any good ones to share?

1 comment:

  1. A coworker of mine reacts to food colouring! I never really knew that it is in almost everything! Apparently red food colouring is banned in many European countries! This is a bit disturbing. If it is a chemical banned in one country, shouldn't other countries be taking notice?