A foodie's quest to turn up the heat through strength and conditioning with whole food and a hungry mind.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Food News and Views

The article listed below from Fooducate.com ties in with yesterday’s post on snacking. The study further supports why we should take control of what we put into our bodies and not fall victim to the “health” claims companies print on their packaging. We must remember, a company may say they care about our health (and maybe really mean it), but they also care about their bottom line since that’s what keeps them in business. As the food industry becomes more competitive, companies will look for ways to twist nutrition information on their unhealthiest items as if it’s a good thing. Try to reduce your packaged food snacking and look for healthier, but still enjoyable snacking alternatives. Take the quote from Michael Pollan to heart and “Buy your snacks at the farmer’s market.”
The meal as we know it is disappearing. A recent report from Packaged Facts – Snack Foods in the US (4th Edition) – shows an ever-growing consumer shift to snacking as a result of “frenzied lifestyles”.

The packaged snack market grew from $56 Billion in 2006 to $64 Billion in 2010 and is expected to rise to $77 Billion by 2015.

That’s about 12% of our total food spend at the supermarket!

The saddest part:

“The children of today, comfortable with replacing entire meals with snacks, will pass these lifestyle traits on to their children, ensuring that snacking will remain a big part of American life.”

And of course, marketers and brands are all over this. According to research director David Sprinkle:
“As consumers seek ways to achieve a healthier lifestyle, snack foods that are marketed as better for you will remain popular. Companies are realizing that they must highlight attributes such as vitamins, minerals, fiber content and lower sodium to both educate consumers and take advantage of demand for such products.

What this means for us: more confusing health claims, promises of simple solutions, and less real food. Maybe we should blame our frenzied lifestyles and not the food companies. But at the end of the day, even if we do want to eat healthful real meals, our modern way of living does not make it easy.
To further delve into the misleading packaged food information, this article on Fooducate.com covers a study on how more dieters than non-dieters can be misled when choosing a product. Here are two of the findings from this study that will be in the latest edition of The Journal of Consumer Research:

• Dieters rated food called “salad” healthier than an identical product called “pasta”. Non-dieters made no such distinctions.

• Dieters rated a candy labeled “fruit chew” as healthier than the same candy when labeled “candy chew.”
I know it sounds redundant, but don’t let yourself fall into “naming traps” as so many diet-conscious people do. This study seems to show that people, who care about what they eat, are more likely to be sucked into the name of a product rather than its actual contents. Don’t be fooled by the names and front-of-package labeling; if you’re going to buy a packaged item, go directly to the list of ingredients and nutrition label for your info.

The last article, also from Fooducate.com, covers the much debated topic of pesticides on produce. The editorial speaks of the latest report on pesticide use in the US and sorts common produce into the “dirty dozen” and “clean fifteen.” Don’t be one of the people who swear off fresh produce claiming pesticides as an excuse. People of all ages obtain essential vitamins and nutrients from including an assortment of fruits and veggies. Here is a quote from part of the article on how to look at the situation:
Obviously, buying organic is the surefire way to avoid pesticides. But 99.9% of us won’t pay the high price for an all organic diet.

“Though buying organic is always the best choice, we know that sometimes people do not have access to that produce or cannot afford it,” said EWG President Ken Cook. “Our guide helps consumers concerned about pesticides to make better choices among conventional produce, and lets them know which fruits and vegetables they may want to buy organic.”
Don’t stop buying fresh produce just because of the fear of pesticides. Make sure you wash fruits and vegetables as best you can, buy in season to lower costs, and where you can splurge on organic.
If you’re going conventional, try to stick with the “clean fifteen” listed on the picture below; purchase organic for the “dirty dozen” as much as possible to steer clear of any pesticides. If you buy conventional apples thinking you can just wash them really well, remember that the pesticides are found inside the fruit too.

I hope you find these articles interesting and useful. This information is unpleasant, but necessary to arm yourself when making food choices for you and those around you. I’d like to end today’s post with links to two articles on Kellogg’s and hopefully their drop in popularity for consumers.
Be wary of all companie's labeling and make sure to know what you’re putting in your body!

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