Thursday, December 6, 2007

The Media’s Role in Making Us Fat

Yes, the media has a role in prompting us to eat large portions of high calorie fatty and sugary foods. These include fast-foods, sugary deserts, fatty meats and dairy, processed foods, and other “nutritional offenders”. So, how is the media doing this and why?

The “how” part is simple: the media bombards most of the western world with endless television commercials, magazine ads, billboards and signs, internet ads, and so on. These ads show delicious-looking foods, along with hungry, ecstatic people eating that food. Included with these ads are often catchy statements and slogans of how wonderful it would be for you to eat these foods. Examples: “you deserve ____”, “mmmmmm, ____”, “follow your taste buds”, etc.

The “why” part is also simple: the companies putting out this advertising do so because they want to sell you a lot of their food products and MAKE A LOT OF MONEY. They don’t care about your health and your weight. They are businesses, not health care establishments.

The results of all of this advertising? We consumers make poor food choices and buy larger proportions than needed. The foods we buy are often the ones with the best marketing, rather than those best for our health, our energy, and our waistlines.

Several suggestions to minimize the effects of food advertising:

1) Plan you meals and snacks ahead of time in writing. Make these choices as healthy as possible. Then, resist buying and eating emotionally outside of your plan.

2) When encountering food ads, focus on the fat, sugar, or calorie levels in the food, versus the ecstatic person eating the food.

3) When encountering food ads, restate their positive slogan with something negative. For example, change “you deserve this” to “I don’t deserve to be fat”.

I wish you health and happiness!

Dr. Randy