BY HEATHER KENNERY
Walking down any grocery aisle you are bombarded by labels. Companies use colourful pictures of cartoons to entice buyers, or boast that the food is a healthy option. No fat, no preservatives or it is a good source of vitamins and fibre are all part of the marketing campaign by large food companies to boost sales.
But how can something like yogurt have a large caption stating “no fat” when it contains 30 grams of sugar per serving? When sugar is processed by the body it turns into fat, which defeats the purpose of eating something that is “low in fat.”
The truth is that if we were to eat a fat free, diet soda, light food diet, we would all be fat.
When anything is removed from food the company finds another way to make it taste good, such as removing fat and increasing sugar, or, removing preservatives and increasing salt.
Naturally humans crave food that is high in fat, sugar and salt. Our ancestors, when finding these rich foods, would gorge on them to prepare for famine. Fortunately most Canadians have not had to experience a famine since our lands are so bountiful. Still, we naturally gravitate toward these empty calorie foods.
Chemical flavouring is sowidely used now that companies can easily produce a food that has the perfect levels of salt, sugar and fat that will make your body crave it and force you to continue eating.
Remember the famous Lays chip slogan, “bet you can’t eat just one?” It was literally true. With the taste of one chip your body is tricked into believing that it is starving for that type of food.
I was recently amazed by a children’s juice box. It advertised that it contained vitamin C, but when I read the nutrition table it only contained five per cent of the daily intake per serving.
According to the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, this type of advertising is completely legal, if there is at least five per cent of the recommended daily vitamin intake per serving. This same juice box also contained 24 grams of sugar, a sure way to make your child have an energy crash in about 30 minutes.
I am sick of labels and food companies getting away with telling me something is healthy when it has enough salt to give me early onset heart disease.
Though I don’t want to spend hours reading at a grocery store, I also don’t want to have a heart attack, diabetes or become obese from eating food I thought was OK to eat.
If we can remember that the large companies that make most of the processed foods are just trying to make a buck, maybe we can all get a bit wiser about what we eat and what is actually making us all sick and tired.