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How Food Companies Trick You Into Thinking You’re Buying Something Healthy

How Food Companies Trick You Into Thinking You’re Buying Something Healthy | Eating Well | Scoop.it
Watch out for the "nutrition buzzwords" that aren't all they're cracked up to be.
Crystal Huang's insight:

Intended consequences:

1. More health-educated public

2. More responsible advertising

Unintended consequences: 

1. Trickier labelling 

2. More confusion among consumers

It is no doubt that a more educated public - consumers knowing how to read food label and thus making healthier decision for their diet, will at least bring obesity under some control. But it is also important to note that angered manufacturer will only have advertising team come up with trickier labelling to bring back sales. Consumers will once again be at a disadvantage (and more frustrated) as there'll be more confusion. It's a cycle. 

However, on an optimistic point of view, if enough public concerns can be raised to get laws on responsible marketing implemented, consumers who are concern with healthy eating will be glad. They can trust these packaging without much effort from their side.  

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Back to the Kitchen: Escaping Processed Food

Back to the Kitchen: Escaping Processed Food | Eating Well | Scoop.it
To escape the adverse effects of consuming industrial processed food, society must learn fundamental cooking skills once more.
Crystal Huang's insight:

Documented as the fifth leading risk for global deaths, overweight and obesity is the caused of 2.8 million adults’ death each year (WHO, 2013). Health advocates, parents, and teachers have raised their concerns over the increased in-take of processed and junk food, and it leads us to the question, "If eating out is so unhealthy why not cook it yourself? 

But its easier said than done, in the present age where mummy and daddy are busy with work and the abundance of dining-out options, cooking has become an odious chore and many have decided to "let the professional do it". Moreover, cooking at home does not equivalent to being more nutritious. Encouraging the public to cook it themselves alone is not enough, educating them with health knowledge is important too. To move the society towards a healthier weight takes great effort, and it cannot be solve by "cooking at home" alone.   

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FDA Warns of Deadly Dangers of Powdered Caffeine - NBC News

FDA Warns of Deadly Dangers of Powdered Caffeine - NBC News | Eating Well | Scoop.it

The death of an Ohio teenager is prompting the FDA to warn consumers about the dangers of consuming pure powdered caffeine sold onli...

Crystal Huang's insight:

Caffeine is like a necessity for many products. From energy drinks to snacks and candies. But caffeine can also be fatal as reported in the article.

 

When Googling for more information on the negative effects of caffeine, I am reminded of Prof M. Stefanone's class where he explained about the build up of articles. For instance, the fatal incident cause by consumption of caffeine first appeared on news reports, and it will then be followed by articles or studies that show what's the fatal amount of caffeine, and ultimately by caffeine death statistics. This type of reporting method keeps readers engage for a consistent period of time and helps to sustain readership. 

 

I feel that this article builds up more fear on parents than their child as suggested by the "third-person effect". Parents have the impression that their child are over consuming caffeine products whereas their child will see the fatal case as rare and will not happen to them. 

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High Protein Diets Make You Look Good, Kill You

High Protein Diets Make You Look Good, Kill You | Eating Well | Scoop.it
Americans do not remember anything from chemistry or biology class, but they will damn sure buy anything that contains "protein," because I think it gives you muscles? Sadly, it appears that high protein diets may also cause you to die.
Crystal Huang's insight:

When articles that put down high protein-diet arose, people who manufacture such diet (like Atkins) gets really mad. When these articles are picked up by the public, their sale decreases. Similarly, people who engage in high protein-diet too get mad. Telling them that they are wrong, especially when they are satisfied with the results, makes them develop strong opposite opinion of the claims.   

On the other hand, health nutritionists/researches will triumphant over these articles. It supports their studies and published their claims. Journalists are happy too, high protein-diet has been a reoccurring topic and when such topic is proposed, you don't get rejection.

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8 Ways Your Eating Habits Affect Your Kids

8 Ways Your Eating Habits Affect Your Kids | Eating Well | Scoop.it

"I'm happy to keep my "non-fun" mom status if that means that I can help my son be a healthy eater and maintain a normal weight throughout his life."

Crystal Huang's insight:

Each year, 2.8 million people died from overweight or obesity (WHO, 2014) and each year, more than $147 billion are spent on health care costs (Granderson, 2012). With an estimated 30 million people (currently: 1.4 billion adult and 40 million children under the age of five are overweight/obese) to be overweight by 2030 (Park 2012), health care costs are expected to soar to $550 billion a year. 

 

Obesity is no longer an issue about individual health, but also imposes burden on the country's economy. It is therefore no surprise that articles about educating the future generation on healthy eating habits are surfacing. Similarly, the article on the left "8 ways work is making you fat" serves the same agenda - to save our country's financial issue (read the insight's on the right). 

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It's not too hard

It's not too hard | Eating Well | Scoop.it
Crystal Huang's insight:

Sometimes we need to know, healthy food isn't always an option. Research has shown that one’s socioeconomic status is closely related to one’s waistline. Using the stakeholder analysis we can deduce that people who gets mad when exposed to this quotation are likely: 

1. People who find healthy eating a chore 

People may have struggled with making the right choice in dieting - they have tried many ways but it's not improving  

2. People who live in poverty

Sometimes living a healthy lifestyle is not so simple neither it is made difficult on purpose. But many circumstances, for instance, the lack of money or access to health food forces people to settle with junk food.

3. Health advocates

They have spend years finding out what food is healthier, and what's not. But their effect has just been brush off by a simple statement.

4. People who do not have health knowledge education

"Limiting calories" does seems like an easy to achieve task. But for people without health-knowledge education, it's all frustration when trying to find out how much the calories are in each food.

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The True Cost of a Burger

The True Cost of a Burger | Eating Well | Scoop.it
Only by including external costs, or “externalities,” can you arrive at the true cost of something. And cheeseburgers have externalities in spades.
Crystal Huang's insight:

What's the cost of a burger? $5? Nope, apparently, price isn't cost. True costs are usually much higher than the price. Technically a burger costs $4.49, but its external costs ranges from 68cents to $2.90. What contributes to these "external" costs? - The costs of obesity, chronic diseases, air pollution, water pollution, etc. 

 

Apart from the $4.49 that comes from your pocket, the environmental harm and medical costs all add on to the country's economy burden. If we look at the issue of obesity from a macroscopic point of view, the concern is actually not so much on personal health but rather how personal health can in turn jeopardise country's economy. If obesity is harming the society both individually and economically, why then don't the Government close down all the fast-food chain? The reason, ironically, is the same as what they're losing right now. These fast-food restaurants are profitable assets. Many countries would rather risk the health of millions for a profit. Therefore instead of shutting it down, fast-food restaurants are attempting to make some of their products more nutritional. 

 

We need to understand, overweight or obesity is not a "disease" children are born with. In fact to even call it a disease gives people excuse to be denied of all responsibility. McD can continue to sell its burger, but we as consumers need to practice and develop healthy dieting habits. 

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Intermarché - "Inglorious Fruits and Vegetables" - YouTube

Intermarché launched the Inglorious Fruits&Vegetables, a film, print, poster and radio campaign, celebrating the beauty of the Grotesque Apple, the Ridiculou...
Crystal Huang's insight:

The society's definition of beauty has long been skewed but so is their definition for the appearance of fruits and vegetables. Fruits/Vegetables that are abnormal or imperfect are disses by public, worst still they are thrown away. But one thing many people fail to notice is that their nutritional content will not change with their appearance. The "what is beautiful is good" concept is so deeply engraved in us that we rather throw hideous food away. 

 

Through this campaign we realised how advertising can influence individual. The sales of imperfect fruits and vegetables was successful and many articles reported about its creative advert and has garnered attention over many social media platforms. If we can use advertising, an omnipresent form of media, to change people's eating habits towards healthier and better choices, many health problems may be solved.

  

"The inglorious fruits and vegetables, a glorious fight against food waste" 

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15 Organic Foods That Won’t Make You Healthier

15 Organic Foods That Won’t Make You Healthier | Eating Well | Scoop.it
The organic food market is booming. In 2011, sales of organic food reached $30 billion, according to the Organic Trade Association. For consumers, here’s the
Crystal Huang's insight:

The controversy between organic food and its price is an ever on-going topic. Some people argue that its more health beneficial than commercial food while others insist its just another expensive way of eating. Especially for consumers who are unfamiliar with the food labelling, it is easy to misinterpret "organic" with "more nutritious" (refer to the article on the left, "How food companies tricks you into thinking you're buying something healthy"). Consumption of organic food, other than health concern, can be because of ethics, preferred farming methods or concern over pesticides, however, the bigger picture in all organic-information packed article aims to deliver the same message - "Organic" does not equals to nutritious. Many companies use such word to attract buyers. Therefore, consumers should know which food pack the same nutrition punch in organic and non-organic varieties and not be tricked by the packaging. 

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Fast-food fashion: Moschino accused of 'glorifying' McDonald's logo

Fast-food fashion: Moschino accused of 'glorifying' McDonald's logo | Eating Well | Scoop.it
Health campaigners say Italian label's use of golden arches on bags and iPhone cases is promoting poor eating habits
Crystal Huang's insight:

Moschino may be the most recent brands accused of encouraging public to buy into fast-food. But its not the first. Previous cases of "glorification' of fast-food are common, you see Christiano Ronaldo biting into a deep-fried drumlet, Despicable Me's Minions flying off the shelves along with Kid's Happy Meal, and McD logos surrounding World Cup stadiums. But all these attention giving to articles slamming products or endorsement may be doing more harm than good. It creates additional publicity. If fashion industries' usage of french fries or burgers promotes unhealthy eating habits, so are the articles coverage.  

 

Instead of generating multiply articles about how fashion or celebrities are urging or seducing public into consuming junk food, maybe we need to look at a bigger picture of the ever rising obesity rates - individual responsibility. It's easier to put the blame on others. We sees articles that says, McD selling french fries, coke, and quarter pounder is making people fat. But we forgot, we, as consumers have a choice and we chose to buy it.

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Why Coconut Water Could Replace Your Sports Drink

Why Coconut Water Could Replace Your Sports Drink | Eating Well | Scoop.it
Coconut water is the focus of much hype, but is it really good for you? Experts weigh in.
Crystal Huang's insight:

We've fantasized - about gulping down sports drinks while beads of sweat drip down our forehead. But sports drinks are not for everyone (read more about the dangers of caffeine (present in some sports drinks) on the right - FDA warns of deadly dangers of caffeine powder) and studies have thus provided a safer and more nutritious alternative - coconut water.  

 

The bigger picture here is actually to limit consumption of sports drinks, especially among non-athletes. It doesn't necessary has to be coconut drink (though its pretty healthy). But sports/energy drink has been linked to many health issues and even death in individuals, especially children or teenagers and there is an urgency in the society to prevent further harm.  

 

The article puts down sports drinks like Gatorade or Powerade is sure to anger their manufacturer. But such results may help boost the economy of coconut producing countries like Indonesia, Thailand or Philippines. On a microlevel, athletes will be glad with the news - its a cheaper, healthier choice. 

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New green Coke Life launched to fight obesity

New green Coke Life launched to fight obesity | Eating Well | Scoop.it

"Coca-Cola will launch a naturally sweetened drink with a third less sugar and calories than its regular cola as part of an industry wide effort to tackle obesity."

Crystal Huang's insight:

The agenda of the article is set to tell us, "It's ok to drink Coca-Cola Life, in fact, its even better. Its au natural, no additional fats." But is 89kcal really a safer choice? 

Using stakeholder analysis, people who get angry by the introduction of Coke Life are: 

1. Health Advocates

Along with its introduction comes articles that slammed Coca Cola for its attempt to shut critics. This little green can is in no way developed to combat obesity neither is it a health drink. It's only another way to sustain Coca-Cola survival in the health conscious industry. 

2. Parents (who are concern about health issues)

With an additional Coke line, children have more options/reasons to consume Coke Life. Parents are going to have a harder time stopping them. 

3. Teachers (especially health conscious teachers)

The little green can is just another sweetened drink in disguise. Students are still consuming sugar that are bad for their health.

However, there are people who look forward to the release of coke Life.

1. Stakeholders of Coca-Cola

With the healthier option, the market widens - money are coming in.

2. Coke Fans; children 

It's a reassurance now that with a "healthier" options. Not only gives fans more reason to drink the sweetened drink, but also makes them feel better psychologically - hey it's lower in calories. 

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8 Ways Work Is Making You Fat

8 Ways Work Is Making You Fat | Eating Well | Scoop.it
Get out of your chair.
Crystal Huang's insight:

"Dear Butt, I'm utterly sorry I'll have to break up you and Chair because your love is making me fat."  

 

Medical leave due to health issues like hypertension or cardiovascular diseases caused by obesity can "costs" the company to lose up to billions of dollars each year. The decrease in manpower and thus work efficiency is why many corporation are moving towards a healthy lifestyle at work. You will realised many companies allocate a certain day of the week as, for instance, Healthy Friday, where fruits are given out to all employees. Similar to the article on the right "8 ways your eating habits affect your kids" these health tips are written to ease the nation’s economic burden by hoping to curb obesity issue in individuals. 

 

Using stakeholder analysis, the implementation of the 8 steps in the article may cause some people to get mad: 

1. Working people who hates to walk around; couch potato,

2. Working people who are too concern with their work - time taken off for work,

3. Bosses - employees now have an excuse to leave their chairs ("hey I'm not lazy, I just wanna be healthy"), and

4. Clients - work delivery is late because workers "are trying to be healthy".    

But at the same time people who will embrace "Healthy Friday" are:

1. Lazy workers,

2. Health concerned individuals, and

3. People who move around a lot, e.g., sales personnel - work and keep fit at the same time. 

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Lay off the almond milk, you ignorant hipsters

Lay off the almond milk, you ignorant hipsters | Eating Well | Scoop.it
Water down and package a food that's just fine as is? That's just nuts.
Crystal Huang's insight:

"A jug of almond milk containing roughly 39 cents worth of almonds, plus filtered water and additives, retails for $3.99."

Almond on its own is rich in protein, healthful fats, vitamins and minerals. But drown them in water? Throw in minerals and vitamins? Just so to boost the cost price? Nah. I'll take the almond nut as it is.

 

This is a common problem the society face with manufacturers. It's all about profit making. If there are articles that praise the nutritional values of almond, the next minute you know, we have almond milk, almond pudding, almond biscuits, and everything almond on the shelves. But whether is it health beneficial, they have no idea. The main concern is that it brings in profit. 

On the other hand, over the years consumer have cultivated a mindset of "what's expensive, is good". As a result, we are dealing with overpriced food that may contain no nutritious values. Therefore nutritional education is very important. 

 

I believe that manufacturers and consumers share an interdependent relationship. If a product is in high demand, prices will “naturally” rise as consumers compete to buy it. But if consumers can differentiate between what's beneficial and what's not, the problem of "profit making and compromising health benefit" can be minimised. 

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There is a secret ingredient in your burgers: wood pulp

There is a secret ingredient in your burgers: wood pulp | Eating Well | Scoop.it

"Burger King, McDonald's and other fast food companies list in the ingredients of several of their foods, microcrystalline cellulose (MCC) or “powdered cellulose” as components of their menu items. Or, in plain English, wood pulp."

Crystal Huang's insight:

Similar to the documentary "Super Size Me" this is yet another article that tells us how unhealthy, dangerous, scary fast food can be. But why are writers writing this topic over and over again and readers never seem to get bored?

 

First, obesity is still an issue that haunts the world. No number plummeting, just increasing. And for journalists, big numbers are news. Second, its easier for readers to blame fast food for making them fat rather than reading an article that criticise their own eating habits. Third, reports that says burgers are unhealthy will not raise doubts or opposite opinions from readers, because they all believe in it. Thus it's cheaper and safer to produce. 

 

But if obesity is still an issue despite so many articles that reports on the negative health effects of fast food, then maybe we're pointing fingers at the wrong subject. I believe curbing obesity requires collective effort. There is no use in getting fast food chain to close down if we ourselves do not practice healthy eating habits. 

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