Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Can't Trust Advertising Tuesday Tip!

We are bombarded from every direction with information about our health.  But one area that is perhaps the most confusing is the grocery store.  Virtually every product has a label on it extolling the "healthy" benefits it possesses, and manufacturers are always looking for new ways to promote their old products as "healthy".  Unfortunately this leads to a lot of conflicting information, and chances are you've encountered conflicting information as to what is or isn't' "good for you".  Now more than ever it's important for the "buyer to beware" and to arm one's self with sound information to make Better decision.  The point I'm trying to make is this:  Don't make the mistake of confusing advertising campaigns for the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.  To help illustrate my point,  I'll start with Exhibit A:

"More Doctors Smoke Camels Than Any Other Cigarette!"  - Camel ad circa 1940s

One might say that sufficient information wasn't available at the time to condemn smoking like it has been recently.  There were several years in the early 1950s when the American Medical Association accepted advertising dollars from tobacco companies while they published research articles linking cigarettes and cancer.  Interesting to say the least.

But nowhere is there more misleading information than in the grocery store.

One of the biggest misleading statements I see in the grocery store is the label "fat free".  What "fat free" really means, as far as the Nutrition Facts data and FDA are concerned, is that the item contains less than 500mg, or 0.5g of fat per serving.  But what might this mean to you and I as we are trying to fill up our shopping cart for the week?  Example:  a cookie may have 0.3 grams of fat per serving, and 1 serving is equal to one cookie.  If one were to eat 6 cookies, that would equal almost 2 grams of fat total, and the label on the box can legally read "Fat Free!".

Another misleading concept around "fat free" is the fact that many items are by nature very low in fat, but high in sugar.  Many candies fall in this category.  Twizzlers for example, contain only 2 grams of fat per serving, but a whopping 57 grams of sugar; that's 92% sugar.  Now, guess where the body stores all the excess sugar?  You got it, it stores it as fat.  Don't be tricked into feeling better about a purchase because it has a label on the front that advertises some "healthy" benefit.  Look at the servings and look at the ingredients.  Don't get me wrong, I like Twizzlers and they have gotten me home on many a bonked ride.  But if I were trying to lose weight this would be very misleading spin on what a Twizzler is and what it's impact on my weight and blood sugar cycles would be. 

A typical bottle of soda (that's "pop" for us Yinzers) might have 30+ grams of sugar per serving, but the whole bottle might be 2.5 servings.  That's about 75 grams of sugar in a bottle, which might polished off very easily at lunch or on a snack break.  So beware of labels and read them thoroughly.

-Dr. D

PS If you thought this was helpful, please post this on your Facebook page and share with your friends.

No comments:

Post a Comment