Wednesday, March 4, 2009

The State of Food

Everyone knows that 80% of the food in grocery stores is not really food. But usually we can stick to the outermost sections of the store; refrigerated sections, freezer sections, and produce. But when companies like Yoplait get their dirty little paws into these sections of the store, we can easily be fooled if we're not careful.

Yoplait had this great idea to put yogurt in a tube and market it to kids. No spoons necessary. You don't even have to sit down to eat it. Well, to begin with, Yoplait yogurt is not exactly yogurt. It contains 3 added sweeteners, including sugar, high fructose corn syrup, and fruit. When we read that it is a 99% fat free food with only 150 calories in a whole cup, we fail to see through to the fact that over half of the calories in a serving of Yoplait come from sugar. It also has two different preservatives and Carmine. What's carmine? Look away if you're squeamish. Carmine is carminic acid that comes from...boiled bugs. Yep. They use this acid to color foods. Is it bad for you? Probably not too bad. Is it necessary? I don't know about you, but I'm fine with plain colored yogurt.
To think we're putting something in our body that is giving us a very small percentage of worthwhile food is bad enough. What in the world are we giving our children? Gogurt. We're giving them a plastic tube filled with "food" they can eat as they walk around, using only their little hands. And we think to ourselves, "Look! I'm feeding my kid yogurt and they love it!" Gogurt has more sugar in it than the regular Yoplait yogurt per serving. There is more sugar in an ounce of Gogurt than there is in an ounce of Coca-Cola! Would you sit down and give your kid a few ounces of Coke in a tube as a snack?!
I get sad and frustrated when I read what is really in "food." It is so sad to think that enough people exist who care not for the well-being of consumers but for their own pocketbooks. They create and sell the cheapest version of "food" that in the past 50 years has caused the West to see the sharpest increase in disease, obesity, and mental illness ever.
So, I guess I challenge any readers today to take a look at one label in the pantry and see what's actually in there. Get real and hang on tight, because you're going to see more words you can't pronounce than you have since grade school. And consider those labels you can't read no longer worthy of being in your home. Don't throw food away (no one can afford to do that right now). Instead, make better choices next time you're at the store.

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