Counteracting Corporate Influence
With obesity rates on the rise, synthetic ingredients, addictive additives, toxic packaging, hormone-disrupting chemicals, contaminants, and dyes are being recognized as major contributors.
The very foods that we have been given ample access to are beginning to undermine our health, not only individually, but globally. The obesity epidemic is now worldwide, and we must stop blaming poor will-power as the primary culprit.
Modern Culture: Is that is the problem?
With the influence of the west advancing into other countries, obesity is becoming a worldwide epidemic. The media has promoted Western culture and lifestyle as the issue. Although there are components to our modern western existence that are definitely contributing to our decline in health, it is important to recognize the roles that the corporate food industry is playing in this epidemic. Our social lives, our pocket books and our biology are preyed upon by marketers, chemists, scientists, and advertising professionals, in a way that often slips by our realization.
Look at the creators of these foods
Today, two billion people worldwide are overweight. When the foods we eat, cause us chronic bodily harm, we must look at why that product is so destructive. The creators of many processed foods have designed them to be addictive. Many of these addictive substances are also highly inflammatory and influence the hormones in our bodies that regulate our hunger and feelings of fullness.
We are chemical beings
Many of the ingredients in our food have been studied, manipulated, crafted and utilized specifically to enhance our reactions to what we eat. In addition, fiber, protein, water, vitamins and minerals are important not only for our health, but they are also responsible for making us feel full. These components are often stripped out of foods to make them easier to manipulate. When these have been eliminated, we eat nutritionally depleted foods that encourage us to consume more, making regulating food intake and weight management difficult.
Ads create hungry people
Companies spend billions every year to create marketing ploys that will have a psychological impact on consumers, and this can be subtly powerful. Studies have found that people think the same foods taste better when they are represented by someone famous. People are also more likely to eat more, regardless of hunger, after viewing snack food advertisements. Seeing the commercials, trained them to want the food.
The solutions to this problem may be found in learning about how our foods are manipulating us, and returning to the food of our roots. The foods we ate traditionally, were actually very protective of our health. And many ethnic foods that are still prepared and handled in their traditional ways are touted as models of healthy diets, for example, the many benefits of the Mediterranean diet. Exploring our whole foods, edible-past is one place to begin looking for resolutions. Next week we will tell you the top 10 things you can do, to manage this food struggle.
10 Ways to Counteract Corporate Food Marketing Influence
- Identify your susceptibilities. Determine what foods you crave. This will give you an idea of which products you have been influenced most by. Look at how you were introduced to these foods, and what environments encourage the consumptions of these foods.
- Identify what meals are most often impacted by unhealthy choices. For example, if snacking is what derails your healthy diet, then you can focus on exploring your snack choices. What foods do you enjoy as snacks that are good for you? Do you snack on unhealthy foods because the unhealthy snacks are easiest for you to get a hold of when you are hungry? What healthy snacks would you enjoy that you could put in place of the unhealthy snacks?
- Identify where you are most often exposed to advertisements. TV, radio, billboards, magazines, newspapers, posters at work, at the cash register, on the shelves, throughout a movie, on social media, advertisements are slipped into many places that we don’t even realize. Both our conscious and subconscious selves respond to these ads. Reducing and/or becoming more aware of our exposure to propaganda is important. Fast forward or silence commercials during TV time.
- Discuss what is not being told about the foods in commercials. For example, when they show an athlete drinking soda, talk to your friends and family about the truth of the ad and how the athletes influence is being used to affect the public.
- Keep unhealthy foods away from areas that you inhabit and frequent. The term out of sight out of mind actually does have validity here.
- Shop in areas or stores that have a higher amounts of healthy foods.
- Do not shop when hungry.
- Buy healthy snacks to have on hand for in-between meals.
- Shop along the outer walls of the grocery store and avoid walking down most isles. The fresh produce tends to be placed along the outer walls in general. Some health food stores such as Sprouts have organized their produce to be the center of the store, with isles on the sides.
- There are many pressures at play when it comes to choosing the foods we eat. Advertising, social interests, economical influences, energy levels, and manipulation of our chemistry and hormones have a very powerful impact on our eating habits and on our health. As a society we have fallen prey to a food industry that has more interest in profits than in the well-being of consumers. Understanding how we are being manipulated and affected can make us better equipped to protect our health and make better choices.
Credit: Dr. Ethelbah ND, RDH.
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