Talking Bodies | November 2017

By Tia Norris, November 2017 Issue.

Eat fewer carbs. Eat more meat. Drink more milk. Drink less coffee. Supplement with fiber. Watch your cholesterol. Wake up, my friends. You’ve been lied to, for your entire life.

It’s time we discuss the scandalous charade of dietary guidance in this country. You can’t trust the government, and you definitely can’t trust the food producers.

Everyone has an agenda. Everyone wants you to keep buying their products, at whatever cost. What you need to know is this: Big Food is not your friend. When I say Big Food, I’m referring to such mass-producers as Kellogg’s, Nestlé, Nabisco; agricultural agencies including Dairy Farmers of America, North American Meat Institute and National Corn Growers Association; and even such entities as the American Heart Association, American Diabetes Association, and so on.

Many of the studies are dangerously biased, and lots of documentaries are misleading and tragically incomplete, so you have to be very careful who you believe. As your health and fitness expert, I’m here to keep it real by letting you know what’s really going on behind what food industry is telling you to eat:

  1. It’s A Business

Big Food wants to make their products as cheaply as possible, to maximize their profits. Ultimately, Big Food wants to make money. They don’t care about you, your health or the long-term consequences that you will face as the consumer of their mass-produced products – they only want to keep you eating more, more often and at a lower cost to them. Consequently, however, that cheap production inevitably means cheap nutrition for you, the consumer.

One example of this is the difference between white bread and wheat bread. The white bread has literally been stripped of almost all nutritional qualities in order to be processed – some might say it is nutritionally dead, aside from empty calories. The more processed (and less natural) the ingredients are, the less your body will recognize those foreign ingredients, the less your body will be able to use those foreign ingredients, and the more malnourished you will be in the long run.

  1. Most Advertising is False — or at least misleading

Advertising for junk food is incredibly appealing but tragically misleading, especially to children. Advertisers spend billions of dollars per year, solely on marketing junk food to kids. On TV alone, it is estimated that children are exposed to about 15 advertisements, for everything from sugary cereals and snacks to drinks and candy, per day. These advertisements are oftentimes infectiously catchy, upbeat and portray consumption of the junk product as being cool or trendy. It is downright offensive how these garbage products are so cleverly packaged to be desirable to kids.

  1. Statistics Are Skewed

The studies that producers and agricultural agencies cite are overwhelmingly biased, and employ incredible skewing of the statistics to draw favorable conclusions for their products. Of course, the dairy industry is going to cite 10 studies supporting dairy consumption and, of course, they do not cite the other 10 studies showing that dairy may cause inflammation, gastrointestinal distress and endocrine disruption. The market is riddled with bias, lobbying, and shockingly shady behavior between Big Food, the government and everyone in between. Every single government agency that “advises” you on what you should be eating, has taken millions of dollars in exchange for propagating certain opinions. Additionally, these intimidatingly wealthy agencies spend a significant amount of their resources on discrediting whistleblowers and anyone who exposes the corruption and distrust. That is the single most important thing you can take away from this article.

  1. Labeling is Designed To Sell Products

Labeling, nutritional claims and selling points are often misleading. Producers will stamp any claim they can get away with onto their products to make you believe they are healthier choices. For example, peanuts are commonly marketed with a “low carb” claim. Many naïve consumers will see “low carb” and instantly equate that with “healthy,” not realizing, that nutrition is extremely complex and can be completely different from one person to the next, further complicated by individual fitness goals. Be careful what you read and be INFORMED about what each component of your diet actually does.

But, don’t just take my word for it. Your best weapon against this industry’s hot mess of lies and deception is becoming informed. Therefore, I challenge you to find neutral sources, refrain from blindly believing industry stakeholders, educate yourself on nutrition basics and what each component of the diet does, develop a highly critical filter for advertisements, statistics and food labels, look for evidence contradicting what you’re reading and make sure you know what all sides of the issue are saying. And then, of course, good luck at grocery store!

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