Ok, admit it. You’ve often stood in the check out line and looked in the cart of the person in front of you, or behind you, to see what they are buying. Just me? Hmmm. Well, it has become evident to me that there are a couple ways to shop. Now, I don’t want to alienate anyone, and please don’t take offense if this sounds like you, but the first category is what I call The Pawn. I know them well…I used to be one. My name is Cynthia and I am a reformed Pawn.
Pawns have a general idea of what they need, and go to the local grocery store with an open mind. Hey, open minds are good, right? Well, I’m here to tell you, as with most of life, an open mind can also be referred to as naivety, and can be be a dangerous thing!
Danger, yes…DANGER, is lurking down every aisle, and around every corner just waiting to pounce. Typically it comes in the form of marketing and believing everything you hear.
THE MARKETING PLOY
You need spaghetti sauce…you see a brand…you recall a TV commercial depicting fresh tomatoes being picked off of a vine and a nice Italian family enjoying camaraderie around the table. Yes, I will put that jar in my cart! I want some of that fresh tomato taste, and to be part of a big happy family! Maybe the label even says, “Contains Heart Healthy Olive Oil” and has a pretty red and green, authentically Italian looking label. You’re a goner.
Here is the ingredient list on one of the most popular spaghetti sauces…and keep in mind…this is tame compared to others out there!
INGREDIENTS: TOMATO PUREE (WATER, TOMATO PASTE), SOYBEAN OIL, SALT, SUGAR, DEHYDRATED ONIONS, EXTRA VIRGIN OLIVE OIL, SPICES, ROMANO CHEESE (PART-SKIM MILK, CHEESE CULTURES, SALT, ENZYMES), NATURAL FLAVOR.
THE OUTDATED/MISUNDERSTOOD SCIENCE TRAP
The Pawn falls into this trap based on what they’ve been led to believe as a kid, or even now during these years of confusion. “I’ve heard that saturated fat causes heart disease, so I only buy low fat products. I know that sugar is bad for you, so I buy sugar free stuff instead. My kids need calcium for their bones, so I always pick up some milk. Surely all the ads I see touting low fat and sugar free products have my best interest at heart! And, of course, the government wouldn’t allow anything in our food that will hurt us.” I really don’t know where to start here, but I’ll leave the government comment out of it for now. And, come to think of it, getting calcium from milk is also best saved for its own post.
HERE’S WHAT WE NOW KNOW
The saturated fat scare that was perpetuated from the 70’s through the 90’s was based on flawed data. There was never solid evidence linking meat and dairy products to heart disease. In fact, a very large study two years ago confirmed that there is no evidence that saturated fat is linked to heart disease. I know, crazy, right? I’ll get into Smart Fat/Dumb Fat to quote Dr. Steven Masley next week. But to continue…that’s when low fat marketing hype started pushing products that had added sugars and more inflammatory toxins added to them, plus more refined flour products that has eventually led to the demise of our health. This includes diabetes, obesity, cancer, and a whole host of other diseases…not to mention literally taking our lives. The very Diabesity epidemic that Dr. Mark Hyman has coined, was caused by the misunderstanding of science and the following of our famous (now infamous) Food Pyramid.
You may see the chain reaction that links to the sugar free movement. In comes artificial sweeteners, and other disease inducing toxins in order to manipulate food like substances to taste like real food. I think we all know by now that artificial sweeteners are linked to disease, and should be avoided like the plague. Diet this and that, candies, jelly, baked goods…do you see how The Pawn is manipulated? Just turn on the TV or browse through a magazine, and you’ll still see the propaganda. In all fairness to advertisers…for the most part, I don’t think they know that they are also pawns in this game of food wars.
It can be pretty confusing between marketing hype, putting our trust in other people to take care of us, and the well meaning doctors, nutritionists, and dietitians who continue to communicate what they heard in school and still believe to be true. Then, there are the high profile doctors who want to argue the point about fat…which made my nutrition education quite interesting (confusing) at times. In Part Two, I will share what I now know about fat, animal products, and what a good looking shopping cart looks like – one that you don’t have to be nervous about in the check out line.