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.


13 responses to “Warning

  1. Ever since I have started my whole journey to not just weight loss but wanting to be healthy, it takes me forever to shop because I read all of the NI on everything; I agree about the warnings on the sneaky shit!

  2. Yes I agree with you on the labelling. I feel like a dork attempting to read the labels all the time. (Duh get over it already ang)

    I’d love to see a bright read warning label on chocolate. WARNING WARNING You going to make yourself fat. hehe.

  3. CaramelKitKat

    Great post.

    The government aren’t serious, it’s as simple as that.

    My nutritionist friend used to work on Thursday Island where every second person has diabetes and many people die in their 50s due to poor basic eating and exercise habits. She wanted to setup a breakfast program in the schools which would involve parents, healthcare workers, community elders and local restaurants to not only give many kids their one nutritious meal for the day, but educate them in order to lessen the problems in the future. The QLD government would not fund this under diabetes (which has a healthy budget). Instead they said it fell under meals for kids who would not otherwise have them, and as all the kids eat, there would be no grant.

  4. i very much agree with this post, cadbury brunch bars and Nice n natural healthy nut bars are prime examples of this! you’d be better off to eat a better choice in choc bar like a pinky or turkish delight.

  5. What you should do, and what would probably earn you lots of money πŸ˜‰ is to document the products that truly are healthy in a book. I would definately buy it πŸ™‚ I am also constantly looking at the food labels and trying to figure out whats what. We have so little in the line of low fat / fat free food in this country. We have a HUGE obesity problem here and yet they aren’t doing very much to combat it. Unfortunately in some cultures in SA, being overweight is considered being healthy and sexy and wealthy. (not my culture though)
    I really think you are on to something and perhaps we should do a world wide petition πŸ™‚

  6. I agree completely with what youve said Kathryn, I find myself doing the same thing reading every bloody label.. but your opening made me laugh out loud. Comparing chocolate eaters with smokers and saying “as if we dont all know chocolate is bad for us” .. dont we all know smoking is bad for us as well? Yet .. people do it.. (struggling quitter here) The bottom line I guess is you can give all the people all the warnings and information there is .. it still comes down to them getting off their butts and making the choice to be healthy. Something I’m still working on πŸ˜‰

  7. What a great post and so so true. I have also spent hours checking out the fat content of “low fat” items only to find that it really isn’t that much better than the regular item.
    Have a great evening !

  8. One of the girls I work with (she’s only 21 so I try to give her a break – sometimes her neck – LMAO) says “I want something healthy so I better eat the fruit and nut chocolate!! What a dick!
    I laughed out loud when I read that you had written that here.
    Thanks for the laugh. HOpe you’re having a great week.

  9. I also spend forever in the supermarket reading labels. I agree muesli bars canbe a trap. I must admit I would rather have my unhealthy chocolate bar which I know to count than a healthy falsely labelled muesli bar.

  10. Chocolate warnings? You’ve got to be kidding but I guess if people can also sue chocolate companies for something that is their sole responsibility (like smoking cigarettes)….bloody hell. We all know it’s bad but this crazy western world allows for such stupid liability cases. Get off your ass and take responsibility for yourself I say. And yes, this is a pet issue of mine.

    Ahh and the food labelling debate. The government are saying they are going to get tougher but when? Fortunately I’ve learnt how to read most labels now but still, it’ll help if they didn’t bamboozle us with lies. Most people don’t know how to read labels.

  11. You have just convinced me to look much closer to the labels when I go shopping!! Thankyou!!

  12. Aaaah, so so true. I spend so long doing my grocery shopping for this very reason. You’ve got to be so careful!

    But then again, I actually enjoy reading labels πŸ™‚ I like hunting to find the best value for my points haha

  13. Excellent post. I reckon we should print this and send it to the Minister of Health.

    Mat drink shitloads of orange juice per day (bought 800 calories worth).. and I keep telling him it isnt healthy to do so. He always says “Beck! It’s orange juice! It isnt bad for you”

    Sadly, because I am still fat, apparently I don’t know this shit.

    Once again, thank you for writing this.

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