Health, and who to believe?

Here in Haliburton County, a healthy lifestyle and healthy living are key components of our “society”.  We’re all concerned about taking care of ourselves, without giving up some of life’s “sweet treats”.  Not enough of us take any lesson from the old saying, “if I knew I was going to live this long, I’d have taken better care of myself!”

 On the subject of healthy living, I came across a list of musings, somewhat tongue-in-cheek by a media writer, regarding 8 insights that our food industry would prefer you not know:

1. The nutrition information on food labels is regulated by Health Canada but other phrases like “made with real fruit” are not, and they have found there may be very little real fruit.

So, you have to ask yourself should a few dried seeds or a piece of rind from fruit actually count as containing real fruit!

2. The word’s low in fat and low in calories does not always mean healthy, in fact foods that are “low in fat” will, often, have only 11 fewer calories because the fat that was removed was replaced by sugar.

As bad as that may be, you can’t believe how bad it would have tasted if they hadn’t done that!

3. The Heart and Stroke Foundation’s “Health Check Label” which is found on the front of many food packages confirms the food inside can be part of a healthy diet, however, this “Health Check Label” can often appear on foods with refined flours, red meats and high levels of sodium and sugar.  All factors that can contribute to a number of diseases. 

Maybe the foundation needs to have A, B and C categories so we can tell how healthy, healthy is.

4. Canada’s Food Guide doesn’t always reflect everything we know about the problems associated with some foods, for instance, it doesn’t take into account the potential health problems that stem from consuming too much red meat.

It would seem that, since Canada is the third largest beef producer in the world, the government didn’t feel it would be a good idea to signal this to the rest of the world.

5. Some consumer advocacy defending the right of consumers to make their own food choices are actually funded by the food industry.

You may be in shock and disbelief at this news.  But, hold on.  No, of course you aren’t.   

6. Despite some efforts by the food industry with regard to how it advertises products to young people 90% of the food commercials in children’s programming still tout unhealthy products.

The other 10% touting healthy products are mostly ignored by the kids

7. Government agencies that are suppose to keep an eye on our food industry are also advocates for the interest of government and the industry itself. They’re in a constant conflict of interest which makes it very difficult for them to do their job properly….

It’s worth noting that they don’t find if difficult  when it comes to picking up a pay cheque. 

8. Studies show that when research is sponsored by a company with a financial stake in the result, the results often favour the company.

Consumer advocacy groups (often funded by the food industry) may be straining to show shock and dismay at this idea.

 What to believe?  Who to believe?  It’s difficult to know in this age of chemicalized & manufactured foodstuffs. 

Maybe, just maybe, we just need to pause and consider Mark Twain’s warning on the issue, “Be careful about reading health books. You may die of a misprint.” 

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