Saturday, January 23, 2016

"Health" foods are the new diet gimmick

Anyone who knows me personally knows how annoyed I get with diet gimmicks.  Half of them are pyramid or MLM schemes, and most of them are total snake oil.  Add that to the fact that they're contributing to a distressingly unhealthy body image for many women, and you have a perfect recipe for pissing me off.

So of course I haven't missed that diet schemes are overwhelmingly being replaced with "health" foods -- supplements, diets, gimmicks, and more, oh my!

It's good to see that the intelligent media is recognizing and reporting on what is going on, because I am amazed at how many people I know are being suckered by the products and MLM schemes -- people I thought would be smart enough to know better.

"Dieting is not a fashionable word these days," says Susan Roberts, a professor of nutrition and psychiatry at Tufts University. "[Consumers] equate the word diet with deprivation, and they know deprivation doesn't work."

But many people do still want to lose weight, and increasingly they're hoping good nutrition and "healthy eating" will get them there, says R.J. Hottovy, a senior equity analyst with market research firm Morningstar. "Consumers are looking for a more holistic, more health and wellness approach," he says. "The shift in food trends is toward fresher and more natural ingredients."

And that would be all well and good, if people were just focusing on buying more produce as part of this trend.  Unfortunately, a lot of people are making up for their inabilities to eat the way they think they should by taking supplements -- snake oil, basically, since supplements have little to no oversight and are often taken based on exaggerated or flat-out untrue claims.

I don't think there's anything wrong with eating a fresher diet or trying to add more natural activity into your life, and I'm glad that people aren't focusing as much on dieting as they used to -- but I wish more people would see that this new "health" trend is just the same industry, pushing the same sorts of products that they always have.  Only now, instead of just capitalizing on people's (mostly women's) insecurities, they're also misleading a market that genuinely wishes to be healthier, and doesn't understand that gimmicks and snake oil are not the way to do it.

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