I'm trying to treat my body better than I have in the past. That's tough for anyone, let alone a person with a passion for food and a genetic predisposition toward hips of the birthing-a-baby-in-the-snow-while-cutting-firewood variety. When I'm eating well, I try to avoid processed foods. I've never given the science behind this much thought. To me, processed foods = fat making. Turns out, it might not be that simple.
The studies that link obesity with processed foods don't account for the other environmental causes of obesity. So yeah, the breakfast cereal I like might have vitamins added to it chemically. But why does the word 'chemical' have to be a synonym for bad? It's an example of perception being everything when we grocery shop or eat. And it doesn't stop there.
One major feature in this article from The Atlantic really stuck with me: It’s our environment and advertising that color our perceptions when it comes to trying new foods. I know as a fan of food, I’m always looking to try something new. It trumps healthy every day of the week.
Take a bag of veggie chips on a shelf. If I saw a new brand hanging out, marketed toward me like a new brand of Doritos -- with no mention of its health benefits -- I’d be much more likely to try it than I would if it were marketed as a “healthy” food. That's because as health conscious as we have become as eaters, taste will triumph over health every day of the week.
We need to put taste back in the forefront of the food world. It's something a lot of food-makers have already realized. If we approach healthy food from the same angle that we approach the not-so-great stuff -- from the taste angle -- even processed food makers could try out healthier options and not fear consumer repercussions.
Do you buy food marketed as being "healthier"?
Image via Jutta Klee/Corbis