Tag: marketing

Can You Guess How Many Schools Have Vending Machines?

See the rest of the alarming facts about childhood obesity in America.

[tags] children, obesity, vending machines, soda, school [/tags]

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Ridiculous Health Claims: Mark’s Daily Apple Goes to the Grocery Store

A PICTORIAL, IN WHICH YOUR BEES CONSIDER THE VARIOUS OFFERINGS OF THE MIDDLE AISLES Was it a mischievous mood, or simply the carbs? Over the weekend your Bees decided to explore (cue drums) the middle aisles of the grocery store. Here’s what we found: We know that candy bars aren’t healthy (duh). How about a nice protein energy bar instead? Surely that’s gonna be nutritious! The Promax Cookies ‘n Cream bar even says so on the upper left corner: “Really Delicious. Really Nutritious.” It’s in red, so you just know it must be true. Plus, it is all natural. But wait! Looking at the ingredients, we are confused. Granted, we are only bees. The list starts with some decent things, like whey protein and antioxidants (the new glamour children of processed foods). But it quickly turns to the usual suspects found in your average candy bar: high fructose corn syrup, canola oil, dyes and artificial flavorings, starches, and gums. Hmm. Maybe we’ll just get some juice. Juice is healthy, right? Especially if we choose the juice aimed at children, right? Now this looks great. Nothing artificial, and more antioxidants! Hooray! Let’s take a look at the ingredients. 10% juice. Hmm, maybe we are just bad at math, but we’re pretty sure that means 90% high fructose corn syrup. Oh, look at this! It does contain 90% sweetener! Maybe you have to be a surfer, but this does not seem cool to us. Time to move on to actual nourishment. Let’s find a convenient meal that is great for adults and kids alike. How about corn dogs? Hey, it says “trans fat free” so that must be healthy! Wait a minute, everything in the frozen section is now trans fat free. But we’ll stick with the corn dogs since they have that special double-dipped honey sweet coating. It’s not real honey or anything, but we’re not really Pooh Bear, so who cares? As long as it sorta-kinda tastes like honey and helps our bellies look decidedly Pooh-esque, it’s all good. Oh, wait! One of us (ahem) has a problem with corn dogs. Apparently she is too good for mechanically-separated spinal meat. Fine (coughsnobcough). How about some vegetarian sausage? That surely must be healthy! See, low fat! Processed foods can be nutritious! Oh, but wait. There are over two dozen ingredients in this “sausage”, including all the same things used in the “healthy” energy bar. This is really getting to be depressing. What other aisles are there? Surely there must be some healthy prepared foods somewhere in this dizzying labyrinth of Natural! Trans fat free! Low fat! A good source of some stupid vitamin! No sugar added because it’s already jammed full of it naturally! Aha! The “snack” aisle. Because the other five aisles of processed, sugar-filled, sodium-bloated crap weren’t “snacks” but rather a healthy part of a balanced obesity epidemic. (Ever notice how all these processed foods say “a healthy part of a balanced meal”? And the picture is always the … Continue reading “Ridiculous Health Claims: Mark’s Daily Apple Goes to the Grocery Store”

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Water Scam Alert!

I’ve received many questions about various H2O health issues: reverse osmosis, filtration, distillation and bottled water. I plan to discuss the various concerns throughout the month of May. For the record, I am not in favor of distilled water and I think many of the water fears we have are unfounded. But I’m especially critical of the bottled water scams I see. In general, I understand the reasons people prefer bottled water – hey, we want to be drinking pure water, not chemicals. I’m right there with you. But there are some major considerations if you are concerned about the environment, about water pollution, about resources and sustainability, and, as a matter of fact, about your health. For now, I’m going to direct you to Wise Bread’s three-part series on bottled water hype. It’s one of the best investigations of bottled water I’ve ever read. I urge you to read each segment. If you care about your health, your bank account, and your planet, you will. Wise Bread – Part 1 Wise Bread – Part 2 Wise Bread – Part 3 Truth time: I like having bottled water on hand, especially that Fiji…am I falling for great marketing or what? But now that I’ve read Wise Bread’s series, I’m done with Fiji. It’s possibly the very last thing we should be drinking if we care about our health or want a future that includes clean water. I’m not saying no to bottled water entirely. It’s a must for health and fitness. I keep a bottle in the car and I always grab one when I head out for a run, and it would be unreasonable and unhealthy to stop these habits. But I think it’s a good idea to buy a low-cost filter for the kitchen faucet as well as to refill those water bottles instead of contributing to the Pacific Ocean’s Texas-sized carpet of trash Sara discussed last week. Here’s something serious to think about: how healthy is it to drink something stored in plastic? Especially considering the enormous amount of pollution that’s dumped into our waterways and pumped into our skies just to make that plastic bottle? This isn’t about being an environmentalist; this is about fighting for our health. Our air and our water are nearing toxic soup status thanks to plastic that has to be refined and produced and then shipped on fuel-hungry boats and trucks just to get to us. I don’t think this makes me some nutty tree-hugger (although I really don’t get why, like vegetarians, nice people in general are deemed so threatening). I think this is a critical health issue, and I believe we’re being snookered by the bottled water industry. Someone’s sure enjoying the private jet. I’m not fooling myself into believing the water that comes to us via the city pipes is ideal, but taking that same city water, sloshing it into a toxic, inefficient plastic package and dragging it thousands of expensive miles away to a different city to … Continue reading “Water Scam Alert!”

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A Word on Those Juicing Infomercials

A reader recently asked me if I recommend juicing as a way to increase your intake of vitamins and antioxidants.

Here’s what I think:

1 – Juicing isn’t a good idea because you lose out on one of the principle benefits of fruit: the fiber. Fiber aids in digestion, of course, but it also helps keep your blood sugar from spiking. Drinking pure juice has an effect that is really no different from chowing a candy bar or slamming a soda.

Fiber helps regulate the absorption of fructose into your system. If you’ve heard about the glycemic index, you probably already know about the important role fiber plays in evenly releasing glucose into your bloodstream. (If not, check out the official Glycemic Index.)

2 – When you take out the fiber, you’re left with sugar. My readers know I’m no fan of the sweet stuff, especially from sources like high fructose corn syrup, refined flours and starches, and processed foods. I think for most people anything over 80 grams of carbohydrates a day – roughly three servings – is a terrible idea, yet Americans routinely eat three or four or even five times that. (By the way, I’m talking about carbohydrates from flours and starches, not nuts, fruits and vegetables! Eat those recklessly!)

There’s no reason any child or adult – excluding athletes – needs to ever drink a “sports beverage” or an “energy drink”. These things are basically a pancreatic panic attack waiting to happen. Juice gets a bill of health because we all know fruit is healthy, but juice is not fruit. The truth is that juice is virtually no different from these other sugary drinks.

3 – Juice is dirty. If you caught Wise Bread’s discussion of food manufacturing secrets the other day, you’ll remember the particularly disgusting news that orange juice is typically made from oranges that are coated in all sorts of pesticides and chemicals. And it all goes right into the juice.

When you “juice” at home, this is still a problem. Wash an orange, peel and eat it – you’ve avoided the chemicals because, perhaps even more important than washing, you removed the skin. Wash that orange and throw it into the juicer, however, and you’ve just ingested whatever chemicals were hanging out in the peel that didn’t get washed off. Juicing infomercials typically brag about how wonderfully potent juice is because it offers several servings of fruit in one glass. Think about that now with pesticides. (Also, a glass of juice is not several servings of fruit, anymore than a mug of chicken broth is several servings of chicken breast. You can get around pesticides by going organic, but you’ve still got that pesky sugar problem.)

[tag] nutrition, fruit, juice, food, health, juicing [/tag]

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‘Repositioning’ Is a Nice Way to Say Manipulation

Worker Bees’ Daily Bites:

Here’s your daily dose of clickativity from the world of health, Apples!

Puff Piece

We’re all over Food Processing’s report on Ye Ole Pizza Puff. Evidently, pizza puffers are desperate to find ways to reposition (translation: manipulate). So much so, they’re not relying on the old marketing standbys: lower fat, lower calories, reduced sodium. Trans fat? Nope. Not even.

Marketing always works better when there’s a story to buy into. Preferably older and…mythier.

Food marketers are no exception: pizza puffs are being repositioned as fulfilling the ancient Greco-Roman tradition of breaking bread. The Romans shared small treats to aid in digestion, stimulate the appetite, and share the much-desired warm fuzzies. Appetizers, basically. This is an age-old tradition that anyone can appreciate. What’s not to love about a small bite to ease digestion and get everyone in a cheerful mood?

The difference is that the Romans ate real food. They may have had vomitoriums, but they sure didn’t have deep fryers.

You’ll love the shameless discussion of how to convey a particular story to trigger a desired emotional response in consumers (ca-ching!). We particularly love this line:

“While these products are viewed as healthier than shelf-stable snack foods, their fat and sodium levels can be high. These ingredients are part of what makes the food taste good and increases their satiety. So the real challenge is how to create a ‘healthy halo.’ ”

Can our food processing foes rise to the occasion? Or will this challenge prove too difficult even for them?

Give Your Colon the Blues

Blueberries, that is. They’re excellent for your colon, and let’s face it, so much tastier than toast. Blueberries have practically illegal levels of fiber and antioxidants, and you can eat an entire one-pound bag for fewer calories than a bran muffin.

Check out our delicious blueberry breakfast recipe.

Reducing Stress: Not Just for Girls

WebMD has just published a nice piece advising women over 50 to reduce their stress. It’s a terrific little list, so there’s no reason everyone shouldn’t be trying these tips out. Get to it! Go on, shoo!

Yoga: it’s not just for hamsters anymore. Thanks to Seattle Roll on Flickr!

Web It Out:

Are you right- or left-eyed?

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Top 10 Health Scams

The Tuesday 10: There are hundreds of scams for weight loss, health, disease cures, and fitness, but here are the current rotten stinkers: 10. Hoodia The only kind that works must be eaten fresh. And it’s banned from export because it’s a protected flora. This weight-loss gimmick even comes with the #1 dead giveaway of scams everywhere: a heretofore undiscovered culture/tribe has finally, miraculously, revealed their secret, conveniently, to a white man who can’t wait to share this magical product with the world. Give me a break. That’s called a movie, not science. Here’s my expose. 9. Cellulite shoes Again with the mysterious culture shrouded in lore. These don’t work – period. Though I do hear they help you fall and bruise your butt. Here’s a piece of my mind. 8. Cellulite creams Sara frequently rants about this subject near and dear to many women’s hearts (or other parts). The best way to deal with cellulite – which isn’t curable no matter what the quacks like Mesunique claim – is to cut down on sugar, which stores itself in outer fat cells, and get some daily exercise. The more muscle and less fat you have, the smoother you look. 7. Colon cleansers The colon is important, delicate, and needs to stay in top shape. That said, it does not have a brain, and your body does not store fecal matter for years on end just waiting to finally be emptied by some miracle cleansing product. What comes out is just buildup of a few days, and anything beyond that is, well, b.s. This myth was actually completely debunked by surgeons a century ago. I am in favor of probiotics, such as those sold by Natren (a great company) but extra fiber from psyllium or other “miracle” cleansers is totally unnecessary. So: hooray for fiber from fruits and vegetables. 6. Algae Yes, this slimeball is abundant in protein. If you eat a truckload of it. Pay attention to serving size – often companies make claims about a product being extremely potent, but hope you’ll remain blissfully ignorant about how this potency relates to serving size. Supplementing with algae for aminos and other health benefits is about like relying on water for your vitamin and mineral needs. I like Perrier as much as the next guy, but I’ll stick with a multivitamin, thanks. 5. Male “enhancement” products Guys, come on! Try enhancing intimacy and your skills instead. 4. Female “enhancement” products Ladies, let it go. You don’t need these gimmicks – the folks selling them are just boobs (sorry). We men like you the way you are. If you still aren’t convinced, and don’t mind some PG-13 content, head on over to Bill Stieg’s blog at Men’s Health for the scoop on what we guys really think about the gals. 3. Bottled waters Read my expose on mock waters. You cannot oxygenate or enhance water. You can’t penta it, hydro it, living cell it, or do anything else but drink it. Drink … Continue reading “Top 10 Health Scams”

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