Healthy Eating Means NOT Buying Foods That Are Advertised

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Photo by MegaMamaTX

Is your appetite driven by delicious advertising?

I'm guilty. A Jack in the Box commercial can lead me straight into an all-night milkshake obsession. I've been known to clammer for a block of cream cheese after passing a Philadelphia Cream Cheese billboard. And heck, if Tina Fey mentions donuts one more time on 30 Rock, I'm going to go into sugar shock!

So what happens when eating well really comes down to *not* eating all those yummy things that get advertised at us?


Michael Pollan, professor of science and environmental journalism at University of California, Berkeley, and author of The Omnivore’s Dilemma and his latest, In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto always has a lot of interesting things to say about the quandaries of eating well. He's also well known for coining the phrase, "Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants." And not sure if he was the first to present it, but he taught me to shop the outer periphery of the grocery store because that's where all the fresh food is displayed.

In Mr. Pollan's recent interview with Amy Goodman on Alternet, "Don't Buy Any Food You've Ever Seen Advertised," the two talk about the keenly honed, if not manipulative, way that advertising works in favor of the food industry.

When people were worried about fat, the food industry found a way to engineer foods to lower the fat content—but not necessarily to make those, usually highly processed, foods any better for us. And now that people are worried about foods containing high fructose corn syrup, the industry is finding a way to market real sugar with a positive and even healthful swing.

Michael Pollan once again breaks healthy eating down though, "...if you want to avoid all this, simply don’t buy any food you’ve ever seen advertised. Ninety-four percent of ad budgets for food go to processed food. I mean, the broccoli growers don’t have money for ad budgets. So the real food is not being advertised. And that’s really all you need to know."

Hmmm, more good, healthful eating advice to live by. But is it really that simple for average families?

Tell me. Could your family live off fruit, vegetables, whole grains, and other real, unprocessed foods that are not advertised?

Read the entire interview with Michael Pollan, in which he also discusses swine flu, taxing soft drinks, Cheerios' claim to reduce cholesterol, and more.

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