I bought a 7up today. Doesn't seem like a big deal, but it quickly turned into one.
As of late, it seems to me that everywhere I turn there is another diet scheme. Every thing I buy at the grocery store has some kind of healthy food label; it doesn't matter if I'm buying spinach or pop tarts. When did it become not only acceptable, but normal to find health claims on a soda for goodness sakes? It's hard for me to think of a more taboo "unhealthy" food or drink than soda, but it contains antioxidants now! That must mean if I drink five per day, my skin will suddenly become radiant and flawless, regardless of the sugar content.
I need to be careful here. What seems like my entire 2012, I have been learning how to eat these "unhealthy" foods. In fact, I will even admit, if you promise not to tell, there are a few frozen meals that I look forward to eating. Sometimes I even get excited. These meals are far from healthy, but there are still labels on the box that claim that they are.
A few of my favorite label lies include: all natural, whole grain, heart healthy, no sugar added, sugar free, immunity boosters, free range, fat free, light, made with real fruit, and organic. Sadly, these are just a few of the most common fibs we are told every single day. There was a time when I bought into all of this; it's hard not to. Who doesn't want to think they are doing something great for their health?
Well, I'm here to call out the bullshit.
All of the confusion and lies surrounding what we put in our mouths, makes it nearly impossible not to worry about whether it's "healthy" or not. Cereal, fruit roll ups, and peanut butter become staples at an early age for most Americans, myself included. But when did they suddenly become "healthy" options? Just because the labels have changed and now say things like all natural, whole grains, and made with real fruit, doesn't mean the manufactures changed any of their recipes.
The age of children developing eating disorders continues to decrease significantly each year. It makes me wonder if these misleading food labels have anything to do with it. Even certain brands of baby food now claim to be made with real fruit, when in fact they don't contain any real ingredients at all. Well, except for sugar.
I also believe that the today's dieting industry has lead to a number of eating disorders. Sugar free and fat free cookies might sound like a good idea to most dieters, but generally the calories are exactly the same, if not higher than full fat cookies. This can lead a person to believe binging on the entire box of diet cookies won't lead to weight gain. Yo-yo diets are a vicious cycle of restricting, starvation, binging, guilt, and then back to the restricting, which only ends up in weight gain. A simple restrictive diet is exactly how my eating disorder began many years ago.
In my perfect world, I would put an end to this madness. People would eat what their body's craved, health food or not. Food labels would be simple, not misleading. I have learned that a calorie is a calorie is a calorie, and after months of pounding this into my head, it's finally sinking in. Food labels are bullshit.