Food Trends

Where’s the water?

A friend walks into a grocery store and heads down the drink aisle to buy bottled water. Checking high and low and even in the bulls-eye zone, she finds no water. Check that. No plain water.

Sugar water (AKA sports and energy drinks) and vitamin water were plentiful; of course, soda shelves were laden but water? Where was it?

How did we get to this point? Good advertising and marketing strategies is my best guess. If they can convince us that we could challenge Usain Bolt by drinking a sports drink or have energy like we did 20 years ago, we’ll buy it. And we do.

Add some vitamins to a snack food and you’re going to increase sales. The Food and Drug Administration allows manufacturers to add vitamins and minerals to foods. It’s termed food fortification. While the FDA says their policy “discourages” fortification of cookies, chips, carbonated beverages and such, they don’t forbid it.

The rest of the story? Manufacturers add vitamins to water and we buy it. Fortified chips? Yep, toss the bag into the cart. In fact, a study of over 5000 shoppers showed they will buy unhealthy foods if they were labeled “vitamin-fortified”. Shoppers were less likely to read the Nutrition Facts label, more likely to perceive the product (chips!!) were healthy, and less likely to choose a healthier product based on the “advertising” side of the label – the front of package.

Let’s review. Water doesn’t need sugar nor added vitamins. We can’t make traditional “snack” foods healthier by adding vitamins. We can’t outrun Usain Bolt.

If you want healthier snack foods with vitamins, shop the perimeter of the store. With all the produce at markets and stores now, tis the season to be well,

Marcia

PS “Bulls eye” shelves are the 2nd and 3rd shelves counting from the top. Highest price and highest mark-up foods are stocked on these shelves, the ones an adult sees first.

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Coconut oil craze-y

Coconut Oil

Darn those marketers and headline writers. And you-know-who on TV. Once again they have beaten down consumer health by fostering the crazy notion that coconut oil is healthy.

The survey shows 72% of Americans believe coconut oil is a healthy food.

The fad started in 2014 and I honestly thought it would die out quickly. But when I noticed promotional articles saying it was “proven Alzheimer’s disease natural treatment”, “cancer prevention” and “hair care”, I realized we were destined to follow this fad to, uh, at least the next fad.

The American Heart Association issued an advisory in June against the consumption of coconut oil. Their statement was actually a general look at dietary fats and cardiovascular disease – the leading cause of death around the globe. The article was published in Circulation, June 15, 2017.

Serious studies (randomized controlled trials), showed that lowering saturated fat intake and replacing it with polyunsaturated vegetable oil made a significant decline in the “bad” cholesterol in the blood. In fact, they cited the dietary changes could match drug (statin) treatment. Super news.

So the craze began when one researcher said using medium chain triglycerides coconut oil (not what we buy at the store) could increase metabolism and hence weight loss. And we were off to the races. The investigator, Marie-Pierre St-Onge, PhD., was shocked that her study was taken out of context. Dr. St-Onge, it’s what the press does with about every new study. We take a tiny fact from a study, inflate it then extrapolate it to the whole population and create a costly fad.

So, saturated fat is what we should be avoiding; animal meats are the richest source in the carnivore’s diet. Lard, cream and butter are predominantly saturated too. And if you’ve been on the coconut oil train, it, too, is a rich source of saturated fat. Get off at the next station.

Eat more plants to be well,

Marcia

PS The abstract if you’re interested: http://circ.ahajournals.org/content/early/2017/06/15/CIR.0000000000000510

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