The Message

Today I’d like to speak about something that has been on my mind all week, and that something is “the message.”

As we all know, over the past 100 years the processed food industry has developed ever more sophisticated strategies for influencing the public to purchase an ever-growing proportion of processed edibles to replace real food.  And the industry has been so successful in this endeavor, if you want to call it that, that ⅔ of Americans are now overweight, and 50 percent are expected to carry a diagnosis of diabetes by age 65.

Under the guise of education, industrial marketing strategies have encouraged consumers to purchase more and more stripped grains (remember: though all grains are carbs, not all carbs are grains), for the most part wheat- and corn-based, and more and more industrial fats, mostly soybean-, cottonseed- and corn-based. The message is consistent: These products will improve your health and moderate your weight.

That message is a fallacy. Even still, the marketing of these products has been so profoundly successful that we have all integrated these messages into the fabric of our belief systems.

All of this bothers me a lot, but it’s not the worst part. Here’s the part that just kills me:

When consumers eat those processed foods, and those products do not then deliver on the health and weight promise (because how could they?), consumers don’t think to themselves “wow, there is something really wrong with that message.” No, that’s not what happens. Instead, because the marketing has been so wildly successful, consumers think “wow, there’s something wrong with me.”

And that’s just sad.

3 thoughts on “The Message

  1. I find it disconcerting how the food industry, with much bravado, touts removing harmful ingredients that they previously slipped into their processed foods.

    • Love it! The exact opposite of calling white flour “enriched” and “fortified,” as if these were an improvement over the real thing.

  2. Nicely said. I could not agree with you more. There weren’t body image issues until the food started changing!

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