I’m going to let you in on a little secret: Food companies want you to buy their food.
And why shouldn’t they? Food companies are a business just like any other business with the goal of increasing revenue. What you should always keep in the back of your mind, however, is that the majority of food companies aren’t necessarily interested in your health.
FOOD COMPANIES SELL FOOD
Because the goal of food companies is to get people to buy their products, most will make adjustments to what they sell – creating new products, re-branding an existing product, or adjusting portion sizes and packaging – to accommodate market trends and demands of the general consumer. Even basic products like cereals, condiments, yogurts and nut butters have evolved over the years.
Another example is the scenario I gave in last week’s Tip Me Tuesday (Read: Creating Your New Normal), about the increased consumer demand for convenience foods – it stated the biggest driver of sales growth in food trends in 2016 was convenience.
That means that food companies will continue to manufacture, promote and market more convenience foods for busy people on the go so that sales will continue. Health food, however, is also a top priority among consumers.
WHAT DOES THIS MEAN FOR YOU?
If you’ve ever walked through the health food isle of a grocery store, or scaled the plethora of food items at health food stores such as Whole Foods, Sprouts or Fresh Market, you may have felt overwhelmed at all of the packages, different brands, fancy wording, nutrition labels, health claims and ingredients lists. It’s enough to make you want to turn around and walk out the door without buying a thing!
The fact that food companies are trying to re-package, re-portion and re-word their products makes it more challenging for you to know what you’re buying, which brand to choose, or even when a food product is truly healthy or not.
For example, go to the health food section in your grocery store and pick up a box of organic cereal that has marshmallows in it, sort of like an equivalent to Lucky Charms but “healthy.” The ingredients may say something like “expeller pressed, unrefined cane sugar.” Guess what? It’s still sugar!
I have known many people who blindly pick up any item in a health food section or at a health food store because they automatically trust it is healthy. Many food companies are banking on that, literally. You still have to do your homework and read the nutrition labels. Sugar is sugar, regardless of the source or if it’s organic or not. The same is true for all other ingredients.
KNOWLEDGE IS POWER
Here are things to you can do to be a more informed consumer and take nutrition matters into your own hands:
• If you don’t know what something is or what it means, do your research. Don’t blindly follow a food trend or buy something just because someone said it is healthy. For example, just because a package says “Gluten Free” doesn’t mean the food item is healthy for you. What is gluten anyway? What is the nutrition profile and what are the ingredients of the gluten free food item?
• Read the nutrition label and the other ingredients, and pay attention to serving sizes. I have made the mistake of trusting that I knew something was healthy only to find out a few days later it had added sugars because I didn’t read the other ingredients (it was some kind of mixed nuts). Also, pay close attention to the serving size listed on the nutrition facts panel.
• Simple is usually best. Nicole has stated time and time again how she likes to keep her foods and meals simple. Keeping foods as simple and basic as possible is best if your main goal for eating is health, fitness and wellness. This is hands-down the most nourishing way to fuel your body.
• Prepare your meals! Buying whole, healthy foods as unprocessed as possible, prepping your own meals, and cooking/baking your own recipes is the only true sure-fire way you know 100% what you’re eating.
Tip Me Tuesday: Creating Your New Normal
Tip Me Tuesday: Stop The Nutrition Roller Coaster
Tip Me Tuesday: Getting To Know You
Tip Me Tuesday: Weight Matters
Tip Me Tuesday: Do The Best With What You Have
Tip Me Tuesday: Push Through Barriers With Fitness Therapy
ABOUT NAOMI RABON
One of the trainers on Nicole’s elite NW Fitness Training Team, Naomi is a certified Personal Trainer and Fitness Specialist through the National Academy of Sports Medicine. She is a NPC Figure competitor who has been involved in the health and fitness industry for over 12 years.