Can Clever Marketing Make You Sick?

The Christmas cheer has taken its toll. Your head hurts, your digestive tracts churn and your blood stream is 2 parts pudding, one-part honey-glazed ham and pavlova.

The only trousers that fit have actually an elasticated waistband.

As the New Year approaches you promise yourself that this will be the year of healthy living.

So you chuck out all the unhealthy food and enter search of healthy fare thinking that early intervention in your diet is better than leaving it till you hastily make a new years resolution that you never really stick to anyway.

However exactly what does that even include these days? Supermarket shelves are stacked with wholesome-sounding “breakfast biscuits, vitamin water and vegie chips”, while fast food joints are promoting “healthy burgers”.

How can you make certain that your “health food” isn’t really a fraud and your efforts to get into shape will not make you overdo the kgs?

As Australians get ready for the annual brand-new year health kick, Jane Martin, executive director of the Weight problems Policy Coalition, alerts to be careful of slick marketing dressing processed food up as healthy fare.

“Health sells and the food industry is very aware of this so a lot of foods are promoted in ways that make them look healthier than they are. When a company comes out and says a beer is sugar-free they’re capitalising on people’s concerns on sugar and it is really misleading,” she said.

“People shouldn’t have to have a degree in nutrition to be able to make good decisions about what they eat but the industry takes advantage of people and makes it very difficult for them to know what is actually healthy and what’s not.” However, it wouldn’t be a bad decision to see a Geelong physiotherapy specialist to get your body back into shape to begin your fitness regime.

Alison Ginn, dietitian and head of the Cancer Council Victoria’s Live Lighter Project, stated people should pay attention to nutrition labels.


“If you’re looking to eat more healthily the best products to include more of are ones that don’t actually come in packets. So try to have more fruit and vegetables, more wholegrain foods and things like legumes and lentils that are generally healthy and don’t have anything added so it’s a quick win,” she said.
Other techniques consist of requesting dressing to be left on the side when dining in a restaurant, or picking tomato-based sauces over creamy dishes.

When it pertains to “healthy” beer, she warns that if it sounds too great to be real it most likely is.

“The main thing with beer to watch out for is that it’s actually the alcohol that’s got most of the kilojoules in there so when they’re focusing on saying that it’s low-carb or low-sugar beer that may be true but that’s not really the point, it’s the alcohol to watch out for. Choosing a lower-alcohol beer would be a better option or limiting your alcohol intake altogether.”

Health groups including the general public Health Association of Australia, the Weight problems Policy Union, the Heart Foundation and the Cancer Council have long grumbled that the food market is purposely misleading consumers by marketing foods loaded with fat and sugar as healthy alternatives.

They say the present self-regulatory marketing system is not working and have actually required tighter limitations on health food claims. They also desire clearer nutritional info on product packaging, lobbying for a traffic signal labeling system.

However with fierce opposition from the food market such a plan might be a long way off.

In the meantime, when you’re browsing those grocery store racks and take away shops, how can you spot the worst pretenders when it pertains to “healthy” food?