I read somewhere recently that the government are thinking of introducing warnings on chocolate, much like you get on cigarette packets – chocolate can make you fat and unhealthy – that kind of thing.
That would have to be one of the stupidest things I’ve ever heard. I mean, der! Is there anyone in the world who doesn’t know that? When you eat chocolate you know you are making an unhealthy decision. You make the choice and you deal with the consequences.
What I’d like to see are warnings on the sneaky crap, the shite sold as “health” food like health bars that contain more fat and more sugar than a bar of chocolate but, because they contain dried fruit somehow they are able to be marketed as a healthy option (note: does that mean Cadbury Fruit and Nut chocolate is also a health food?)
At the supermarket the other day, I saw a section labelled “Nutritious Snacks”. It was filled with shite like chocolate coated muesli bars and those processed cheese and biscuit packs. On what planet is that crap nutritious?
One of the supermarkets is also doing a healthy lunchbox promotion for kids and again it’s muesli bars and other crap. Most muesli bars are full of fat. They are not health foods.
I don’t know why there can’t be some kind of trustworthy food labelling system put in place. I spend hours checking labels at the supermarket because I have to know what’s in my food. A lot of people don’t, and a lot of people are getting conned by marketing – I know I used to. I’d buy foods that were “lite” or “light” or “30% lower in fat” thinking I was doing the right thing. Ha. Hardly. I would often buy this yummy “light” cheesecake/yoghurt dessert thinking it was a good choice. When I started counting calories and reading labels, I almost died. I dropped that light cheesecake dessert like it was a hot, fat soaked potato.
Another example is dips – I wanted some dip on the weekend to have with my carrot and capsicum sticks and had to scrutinise every label. There is a massive variation in the amount of fat and calories and you really can’t tell by the claims on the packaging. The product can scream “healthy” or “low fat” in big, bright letters but that doesn’t mean it’s so.
I also used to look for the “Heart Smart” tick, then a friend (who works in food marketing) told me that you have to pay to have that on your product. The product does have to meet certain standards to get the tick but say brand X is healthier than brand Y – brand Y might still be pretty good for you but, because they’ve paid to get the tick and brand X hasn’t, brand Y appears to be the better choice. Not so, my friends.
If the government is truly serious about combatting obesity, they could start by introducing some system of food labelling. I should be able to walk into the supermarket and get a trolley full of good food without spending hours looking around. We all know the villains – the chocolate, the big macs, the chippies – there’s no need to label them. And we know the good guys – fruit and vegetables and unprocessed foods. What we need is something to clear up the grey areas in between.
Update: I got caught out by this very thing today. I’d bought Yoplait Lite instead of Yoplait No Fat. Huge difference in calories, damn it.