We are proud to be health-oriented. With doctors, media and government officials prompting us what to do to be healthier we at least listen. We learn that we should be smoke-free, drop salt, and hit the trails. We know we should eat less sugar and have more protein instead. And although not everyone translates “shoulds” into action, market trends are reflecting our newly gained health knowledge.
We want to be healthy!
We are ditching sugar and opting for “better for us” artificial sweeteners. We search for low-carbs options and put more protein on the plates.
With two thirds of Americans being overweight or obese swapping sugar and fat for zero calorie sweets and low-fat protein would only make sense. So we grab nutra-sweet, aspartame, acesulfame-K, pro-standard whey, sports best protein bars, and delicious protein cereal from special K just to get that body closer to perfection.
We are going…. nowhere?
But despite the efforts we don’t seem to be achieving the expected results. With a history showing that about 97% of all attempts to lose weight fail miserably regardless of the method we are not so encouraged to take our efforts that seriously. And we don’t. According to 2014 Gallup poll although close to 60% of people wish to lose weight but only 25% mean it earnestly[i].
Yet we keep on trying, yet we are not perfect. Recently we mustered enough courage to admit that the healthy part frequently goes out of the window when faced with tasty goodies. As many as 91% of Americans admitted they snack on chips, ice cream, or sweets all day long[ii].
Eating healthy is not as straightforward as one may think. Half of all Americans are so confused about proper nutrition that they can figure out their own taxes before they could figure out what to eat to satisfy the government guidelines[iii]. But artificial sweeteners and more protein is a no brainer as half of the population already adopted these nutritional suggestions[iv].
But aren’t we fooling ourselves? With healthy foods being snatched off the shelves we are even fatter and less healthy than before. What’s also strange is that despite our hearts beating in the right direction our planet seems to be doing the opposite. Environmentalists are crying foul that bees are disappearing, oceans are full of plastic, and soon we will run out of clean green spaces. How come our healthy ways aren’t saving the planet?
Beyond the stomach
Consumers are known to purchase items by impulse without giving it much thought about consequences. Let’s not deny that we buy items that are useless, unfit, overpriced, or frankly stupid. Food is not any different. Lured with perceived benefits we reach for things that seem to help us, at least on the surface, achieve healthy goals. Unfortunately with many misguided choices we only shoot ourselves in the foot. Not only we achieve very little in our health quest, but we also contribute to concepts we strongly oppose. Let’s have a look.
- Are you for or against animal cruelty? Then consider than your whey is likely coming from a factory farm, where animals are treated in a most inhumane way.
- Are you for or against more garbage on the planet? Then consider where your foil wrap or plastic container will end up.
- Are you for or against a huge wealth disparity between individuals? Then consider that processed food products are stuffing pockets of large corporations, not small-scale sustainable farmers.
- Are you for or against pollution? Then consider than any food processing and distribution means unnecessary waste from food processing factories, packaging plants, labeling processes, trucks on delivery, and administration overseeing the profits.
- Are you for or against higher cost of food? Then consider that the cost of processed food includes non-food related costs such as cost of additives, import-export fees, transport, marketing and distribution cost, as well as a shareholders cut.
- Are you for or against having access to clean water? Did you know that sucralose (Splenda), the most popular artificial sweetener is found to be contaminating wastewater, ground water, and surface water? It affects wellbeing of wildlife and now you can find it in your tap water as well.[v] Sucralose has been shown to negatively impact gut bacteria, which is the backbone of health.[vi]
You get the point.
Doing the right thing
Switching to more wholesome choices is rather simple. Forget about designers proteins. Go for grass-fed cottage cheese sold at your local farmer’s market. Your muscles and immune system may not know the difference, but your pocket and the animals will.
Similarly do not get swiped off your feet by the benefits of low-cal sweeteners. If they are so magical you would be half your size by now. If you are ready to drop this artificial nonsense, get yourself a home-made cherry pie full of real butter and sugar once a month and stop dipping your fingers into a chip bag every few minutes.
Whether whey protein, artificial sweetener, pre-packaged dinner, boxed cereal, or any healthy for you plastic-wrapped “goodness” it makes no difference. Your dollar is your vote, so before your next “healthy” purchase be sure where your heart (not the stomach) is and what you really stand for.