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Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Designer Foods


photo by peko-chan

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Life Water. Vitamin Water. Protein Water. Are any of these worth the two bucks a bottle that they commonly sell for? In my not-so-humble opinion, no, they are not. These are glorified soft drinks that, admittedly, do contain fewer calories, but they are still empty calories, and they still accumulate to put additional fat on your body. Water is still the best choice. No calorie diet drinks are still ok in moderation, but there are some recent studies that suggest that people who drink lots of diet drinks gain more weight than those who drink regular sugar-containing soda. Researchers hypothesize that people who drink lots of diet drinks are overcompensating by eating more food because they think that they are making healthier drink choices. This is known in scientific circles as the "I'll have a Big Mac, large fries, and a Diet Coke" syndrome.

The latest marketing trend is fortifying nutritionally bankrupt products with "vitamins and minerals" in order to introduce an aura of health. The epitome of this tactic is Diet Coke Plus. Diet Coke = bad! Diet Coke with vitamins and minerals = good! I can say with a high degree of confidence that most people reading this post are not deficient in the vitamins and minerals in Diet Coke Plus. And if you are, should you really be drinking Diet Coke to supplement your bad eating habits?

Another hot marketing trend is "whole grains". Everything with a single gram of wheat bran is claiming its piece of the whole grain market. Whole grain bread. Whole grain cereal. Whole grain cookies?! Again, do you really think that whole grain cookies are better for you than non-whole-grain cookies? Same high calories with maybe a gram more of fiber does not turn a chocolate chip cookie into a health food.

Don't outsource your health to the marketing department at Nabisco. As a consumer, you, and only you, are responsible for what you consume. Read those nutrition labels and make informed decisions about what you are eating.

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