THE CONFUSION AROUND FOOD
The health of our country is declining very quickly. I believe a lot of it has to do with the facades that people have been shown. These food facades are now making it very hard for people to get their health in order. Going down the rabbit hole of what to eat and drink when it comes to our health can become so overwhelming that people don’t even try anymore.
There are so many contradicting opinions and research material out there that no one knows what is healthy and what isn’t. You can look up ANYTHING about things that you think are super healthy and find multiple articles and videos of why these things are NOT healthy.
Eggs are a perfect example.
Some people say that eggs are one of the healthiest sources of protein and should be a staple in your diet and are a great way to start your day. But other people would say that eggs are terrible for you because they are full of cholesterol and can increase your chances of diabetes and even cancer. I know some people who eat eggs every day and others that firmly refuse to eat them. It all stems on what information you are willing to believe.
I saw a video on Instagram the other day of a girl recommending to people that they stop drinking water. Water. The main thing that we need to survive.
While I agree that a lot of our tap water has not been great for us over the years and there can be toxins in water in areas of the country, telling people to stop drinking water altogether and just ‘eat it’ is a little risky. Especially when you have hundreds of thousands of followers. These are a few examples of why it can be confusing when you are trying to figure out how to get on a healthier routine and what to do with food and beverages.
There is an article or video for everything. If you are looking for an article to tell you that eating pizza every day is healthy, you can find it. If you want to convince people that eating broccoli will kill you, I am sure you can find it that too. This sounds silly, but it is the reality of living in the era of the incredible information highway.
THE MARKETING MONSTER
While opinion pieces are one part of the issue – because that is what a lot of these articles are, opinion; what I get up in arms about is companies that market their products under false pretenses. There used to be an ethical issue with false advertising and quite a few lawsuits to go along with it. Now it seems a LOT of things that they market to us fly under the radar. Or they simply approve them for profit.
There are many products out there that have been flagged or forced to change their product ingredients because of scientifically proven health concerns. But all they do is replace this ingredient with a very similar ingredient under a different name that hasn’t been flagged yet. There are many unsafe chemicals and sugars in food and drinks that they market as safe and even healthy… when they are not.
One of the biggest marketing schemes in history has had a devastating impact on America’s health.
In the early 1900’s there was a consistent rise in heart disease with it peaking in the 60s. Studies showed that this was due to an increase in smoking and dietary changes. These dietary changes were in direct correlation with the rise of processed foods and sodas at the time. By the ’60s, Coca-Cola and other sodas were a huge part of the market. As well as a TON of sugary cereals. Think of the fun ones: Frosted Flakes, Froot Loops, Captain Crunch, and Coco Puffs. As doctors were noticing that heart disease was on the rise, they were curious to know why. Something you may not know is that it is not always doctors that go looking for what causes certain conditions in our bodies.
It is scientists and organizations that regulate our food and beverage.
In the 60s researchers were trying to figure out what could be causing this massive rise in heart disease. Oddly enough, the SUGAR industry funded a lot of research that downplayed the risks of sugar and pointed the finger at fat. With this research project being funded by the sugar industry, they swayed scientists into concluding that cutting out fat from the American diet was a surefire way to cut down heart disease.
Marketing was driven by selling the American people ‘heart-healthy’ food that was low in fat.
While it is one thing to buy lean meat or foods that are low fat, it is another to slap a red heart on all your cereals and sugary foods saying it is ‘heart healthy’.
Remember that logo by the American Heart Association?
It was put on Lucky Charms and Coco Puffs, along with many other processed, sugary foods. Luckily the American Heart Association took these logos off as more and more research came out about added sugars and sucrose being a big factor in heart disease. But it has essentially been false advertising for years!
There have been ‘heart healthy’ logos on everything from sugary cereals to canned soup to packaged pasta, all because they aren’t high in fat.
But they don’t draw attention to the sodium levels, the sugar levels, and the chemicals and dyes found in so many of these foods.
Foods that we have been consuming all these years under false pretenses. Foods that have become part of our normal, unconscious eating habits. Habits that we have created without realizing it because we didn’t have the right education and neither did the generations before us.
The good thing is, now we do. We DO have more education and a lot more information on what we should be consuming and also what we shouldn’t. The problem NOW is, that we have SO much information that it can be hard to tell who to believe. We are also so hooked on sugar now because we are getting so much of it without realizing it. So it can be hard to change up our habits with one of the hardest temptations to resist being around us all of the time.
Another issue I have with the marketing of certain foods in your basic commercials are the people who receive money to market for certain brands and establishments.
One of my biggest pet peeves right now is seeing all the athletes advertising for Subway.
For years, Subway has been selling itself as a fast food ‘healthy alternative’ when it has been proven multiple times over that the bread Subway makes is PACKED full of sugar with the bread’s sugar-to-flour content being five times too high to be qualified as actual bread. This was ruled in a court of law and in Ireland, the chain was legally forced to change its recipe to meet certain requirements to make it bread you can actually call bread.
There was another ingredient they forced Subway to phase out of their bread – azodicarbonamide.
They called this ingredient the ‘yoga mat chemical’ because it is quite literally used as a foaming agent to make yoga mats. This chemical has been linked to asthma and cancer.
The Center for Science in the Public Interest urged the FDA to ban its use in food altogether. They finally removed it from Subway bread in 2016. But it is not just Subway that removed it! Other fast food chains like Mcdonald’s, Chic-fil-A, Wendy’s, Jack in the Box & White Castle removed it from their foods as well, without you hearing about it. While it is great that they removed this ingredient, the fact that they did it in 2016 is pretty wild if you think about it. I know I was eating at these food chains way back in the 80s and 90s.
Back to the athletes that market for them…
I cannot tell you how many Subway commercials I watched during football season with these athletes pushing these ‘healthy sandwiches’. I personally doubt these athletes’ personal trainers and nutritionists are telling them Subway’s bread and half-real meat are ok to eat.
There have been many studies showing just how processed the meat at Subway truly is with some studies showing that the chicken is only %50 chicken and the turkey and ham are also full of artificial ingredients, fillers, and processing aids. These types of foods are not good for elite athletes who need to perform at their best, and they are not good for the everyday citizen either.
These foods bog you down and cause brain fog, headaches, weight gain, and severe digestive issues.
I know first-hand about these digestive issues with a link to Subway. Digestive issues that lead to depressive issues.
When I was 30, I got VERY sick and had to really focus on my digestion. It took me about a year to narrow down the things that were making me sick and causing severe stomach bloating and gastrointestinal problems. I had to do a giant cleanse and reintroduce food into my system. I also went to see a doctor and a colon therapist.
One of the biggest things I found while doing this, was how many things that I thought were healthy food choices, were actually the complete opposite. When I told my doctor the foods I was eating in an average week, the first thing he told me, was to STOP EATING SUBWAY. He was the first one to tell me that Subway is not healthy and I should not be eating it as it was all too processed for my weak digestive system.
I was so taken aback by this at the time, ’cause I loved my turkey bacon sub with all the veggies. I thought I was being healthy by not eating Mcdonald’s! But I was very wrong.
This pushed me toward my passion for researching what processed food is really doing to our bodies. I began realizing how we as consumers are being marketed to 24/7 and being told that places like Subway are healthy food options. And being told this by elite athletes. I cannot and will not believe that they eat what they sell, at least not regularly. So many young people look up to these athletes as role models and if they are eating Subway to be healthy, then they should, too.
Sadly, now these young people are eating more sugar in a week than they should in a few months, all due to seductive marketing.
THE SODA SHAM
Sodas have been at the forefront of getting us hooked on sugar since the early 1900s, even earlier for some.
Coca-Cola started in the late 1800s and these sodas have an interesting track record of what ingredients they have put in their products.
Coca-Cola got its name from famously using cocaine because it was legal at the time as an extract from the coca leaf.
It was obviously dropped as an ingredient and the drug became illegal but the fact that it was an ingredient is kind of funny when you think about it. It is a reminder that these products are made in a lab using synthetic products and chemicals. There is no REAL sugar in any of them. Coca-Cola has many products and has had to switch up their ingredients in different products as studies would come out that certain chemicals they were using were causing health issues, mainly cancer.
Soon, diet products like TAB came out and were marketed as healthier options for diabetics and other people needing to avoid sugar.
It was later found out that the artificial sweetener they were using was, you guessed it, causing cancer. Ingredients in these sodas continued to be modified and switched out over the years as studies came out, and it was all being done AS we consume them.
Shouldn’t we have these tests done BEFORE the product rolls out?
We can forget that all these beverages are being made in a lab and mass-produced to get onto the shelves for us as consumers. The more they strategically market to us, the more money they make. And having elite athletes jump on board not only makes them more money but the athlete as well…
I love Lebron James, but I don’t love that he was endorsed by Coca-Cola and now Pepsi. I am sure he enjoys his new Mt. Dew energy drink, but I doubt he is drinking it like his young fans are. These young fans who may need to make healthier food choices, but still buy the Mt. Dew for energy because, if an athlete is drinking it, why can’t they?
We can forget that these athletes train hard for a living. We forget that they make millions of dollars to work out and burn off sugar… So even if they DO eat or drink these things sometimes, they are burning through it all pretty quickly because they train hard and eat and drink a specific way. Young fans are consuming these products thinking they are safe and ‘cool’, but I think it is safe to say that the average American is not on the same training program as Lebron, Simone Biles, or Steph Curry.
THE RESULT OF LONG-TERM LIES
We wonder why we are so hooked on these foods and on this sugar… And why it is SO hard to quit when our health is declining?
While we are learning more about what to eat and what not to, and what REAL heart-healthy foods are, the most difficult habits to break are actually the ones of convenience and of addiction.
When we hear that things are healthy when they are not, it gets incredibly confusing not only to our brains but to our bodies. And this is all so these people can make more money from sponsorships.
Subliminally, selling to people like us makes us think that it is ok to consume these chemicals regularly.
I feel like we have come to realize that so many things about a lot of the products we consume are not healthy. In fact, they are quite damaging. There should be a level of ethics when it comes to the declining health of the people, most importantly the children of the country.
In the past 3 decades, childhood obesity rates have tripled. Yes tripled. 1 out of 6 children are obese. The US has one of the highest rates of childhood obesity in the world.
I see the decline in the health of our country and even the people who are TRYING to do better when it comes to their health, are being lied to about what they are putting into their bodies. By people whom they think they can trust. There is the argument that there is no flat-out lie from these athletes and that people make their own choices when it comes to what they consume, but the message is clear:
Buy this because I eat it and drink this because I drink it.
You have to take the time to look into the ingredients of food that you are putting into your body not only for your physical health but your mental health as well.
Eating & drinking too much of these processed foods full of oils, sugar, and chemicals completely changes our gut biome and wreaks havoc on the digestive system.
When the gut biome is all messed up, it affects mental health, our hormones, and even our skin.
What we eat and drink is the most important factor in the health of our body. There is no getting around it. We have to consume highly processed foods and beverages like sodas and fruit juice mindfully, so we can see the effects they have on us. And the effects they have on the American public are starting to show… And most of it is not the American public’s fault.
It is the fault of intelligent and strategic marketing and the knowing that if you can get someone hooked on something, they will continue to come back for more.
Knowing what I know now about the sugar industry funding the heart health studies to show that they are not the problem makes me curious to see who funds these other programs that seem to be getting us nowhere when it comes to health & disease research. To me, it is very obvious why the obesity rates have tripled over the last 30 years… And yet here we are, watching elite athletes pushing Subway and soda. So many people simply don’t know any better and all they want to do is what their role model does.
But what happens if your role model is just selling to you? And, what if what they are selling to you is making you sick? This shouldn’t sit right.
WHAT IS THE NEXT STEP?
Taking care of our health should be the most important part of our lives. Something we should be proud of and teach our children. Since I have been working in health & wellness, it is something I have come to realize we can’t be proud of right now. We really need to do better. For ourselves and for the generations behind us.
We need to start raising awareness of the food facades and marketing monsters in this country. And we need to teach our children what foods they should stay away from and how everything they eat and drink can affect their long-term health. We need to teach people how the body works and what they truly should be consuming each day to prevent disease and illness. We also need to start holding people accountable for the roles they play in the marketing of these foods that are creating a rise in disease.
The science is there. The results are there. We need to put the pieces together to help people make better decisions when it comes to their health.
Food facades are no longer a facade and we need to start helping people navigate the truth around the food they are eating every day!