I’m genuinely interested in food, health and nutrition. I can’t work out whether this is my one true passion and I should’ve studied it at University instead of ‘Media’ or, whether I’m just vain and want to look better, for longer. In any respect, if there’s any new thinking related to food, diet or exercise, to read, watch or listen to then I’m there.
Recently I’ve learnt that not all calories of the same value react with our bodies in the same way. Processed foods, laden with refined carbohydrates and sugar are the foods which most rapidly turn to body fat. This includes most current weight loss foods which is particularly ironic or more to the point incredibly annoying!
This week, Tesco’s move to adopt the traffic light system on packaging after years of delay is signalling the universal adoption of the system by UK supermarkets. But isn’t the system now proven to be flawed? Whilst a food might have a low fat, salt, sugar and calorific value (so every traffic light will be green indicating health) if it’s highly processed and uses refined ingredients, it’s now been proven that this choice isn’t the healthiest one a consumer can make. Perhaps it could be argued that the 5-a-day logo could go some way to helping with this. The official DEFRA stamp would again have to be universally adopted by manufacturers and matched to strict government guidelines as to what can constitute part of your five-a-day in processed food. At the moment these don’t exist.
Unfortunately though, I don’t think these things will help consumers to fully understand what is and what isn’t healthy and what will or won’t help them to manage their weight. In front of us lies a massive opportunity to educate consumers on healthy food through mass on-pack information. In the end it seems that this will just be an exercise in compromise and half-truths but perhaps a nice NHS poster campaign could fill in the gaps!
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