Reading the Fine Print
March 1, 2004
Reading the Fine Print
By Molly Strzelecki
Consumers are going cross-eyed trying to figure out what is good for them and what is not. No food is safe from scrutiny. They look at supermarket shelves with one eye and see the latest health trend with the other, and they soon realize there is nothing left to eat.
For example, you've all read that carbohydrates are bad, and you should eat high-protein foods instead. But then again, you've seen that high-protein foods can also be high in fat and cholesterol, so you really shouldn't eat those either.
Then there's trans fat, which is the new evil fat to add to the bad fat/good fat list that no one really understands. But then again, if trans fat is bad fat, we should avoid it at all costs.
On top of that, let's not forget that sugar is bad for you and so is sodium. And beware of sprayed chemicals on your fruits and veggies and watch out for all of those preservatives in most of your food.
So it looks like I'll be having a big glass of water and steaming bowl of air for dinner tonight. Yum. Of course, that's until we read a new scientific report next week that all water and air is polluted and we should scratch them off our list as well.
With talk of this food and that product being bad, it's no wonder Americans look to the vast amount of diets out there to guide them in food selection. We don't want to think. Rather, we want some so-called expert to make the decision for us. We want to hear how people lost 50 lbs. in 10 days on the latest diet. That way, we can blame everyone else when the most recent fad doesn't work, and our weight balloons 40 lbs.
Dieting is neck and neck with baseball for the "America's Favorite Pastime" title. People will do anything for immediate results in weight loss, including eating unappetizing foodstuffs like cabbage soup for weeks straight. Cabbage soup. Are you kidding me? That is simply not normal.
In the most prominent diet camp these days, the low/no-carbohydrate zealots are getting some comeuppance as of late. According to the most recent flood of news reports, carbs are still bad, but even the Atkins' promoters suggest that their loyal followers should cool it on scarfing down slabs of red meat and saturated fats since they are rampant factors in causing cardiovascular disease, the No. 1 killer in the nation. After being force-fed a truckload of reports on the low-carb mania the last few months, this news made me so happy I wanted to eat four loaves of bread in one sitting, just to celebrate and gloat.
But where is the common sense, guys? Sure, it's great to read packages promoting products that are light, sugar-free, no-fat and reduced-carb. But where is the label that campaigns for people who need some sound advice? Why do labels scream, "ONLY 2 NET CARBS PER SERVING!" instead of, "DON'T EAT ALL OF THIS IN ONE SITTING AND YOU WON'T GET FAT!"?
Where's the campaign to bring back moderation? Huh?
It's not like it's a hard concept to grasp. The only thought process involved is thinking that maybe you should eat only one slice of pie instead of the whole thing. Diets can only go so far before they blow up in your face, leaving products that were once touted loudly in meek shambles on the grocery shelves. Moderation is a lifestyle change that doesn't involve fancy foods or charts. You can eat normal foods. You don't have to live on low fat or sugar free. Because quite frankly, most of these products don't taste good. They just don't.
In a year or maybe 18 months, a new diet craze will emerge telling us to eat one thing but not another, and then stand on our heads to melt the pounds away. If you want to lose weight, get off your butt and exercise and eat right.
And you can print that on a label.