Monday, May 7, 2012

Food Advertising. Is it really healthy?

I was listening to the news the other day and they were reporting on a Class Action suit against the makers of Nutella. The suit was brought by two mothers in California that were claiming Nutella was false advertising the product. Their goal was to get the makers of Nutella to admit that their ad claims healthy, but it is really no more healthy than a candy bar.

In just two tablespoons of Nutella there are 200 calories, 21 grams of sugar and 11 grams of fat. This does not sound healthy to me. I heard one critic of the law suit say that this was frivolous and that one should be checking the ingredients before they buy a product.

I, myself, agree whole hearted with this lawsuit.  There have been many studies that show advertisers gear commercials for sugary cereals and snacks towards kids. They put them on at and on the appropriate channels that kids watch and advertise with messages that make a kid say MMMMM! I know just by looking at the shelf that a granola or whole grain cereal with a clearly plain looking non exciting box is more than likely healthier than the colorful one that scream "Made with Whole Grains" on the front of the box. Just because something is made with whole grains does not mean that it is not jacked up with sugar. I think most moms and dads have figured out the cereals. But, other products seem not so easy to figure out when you are in a time crunch. I see the product and it says healthy on the front. Right where the advertisers know I, with all the kids and rushing frantically, will see it. They know I will grab it and go. I know I rely on commercials myself. Sometimes when I hear something is healthy I go ahead and buy it. I know I do not have the time to sit in the grocery store, with at least 1 infant and sometimes my 2 other children, and read every single label to determine healthiness.

Now, I am not the queen of health and I do let me kids have Yodels or Ding Dongs but in moderation. My kids will have a soda but in moderation. So, when I think I am giving them something healthy and it is really jacked with sugar and empty calories is it really fair? I am thinking that with my moderation theory I know what sugar my kids are taking in and here they are getting way more than I even know by eating thing I think are healthy because of advertisements.

Here's the funny thing about Nutella in my house. I love it and my kids hate it! I was making two half sandwiches a day as a snack. Whole grain bread, 1 tablespoon peanut butter, and Nutella. I was thinking I was eating healthy and trying to drop a few pounds at the same time. Really, I was killing my suggested calorie intake with Nutella. It didn't matter if I ate veggies the rest of the day I was already getting most of my calories with the Nutella.

Unless everyone goes around suing all these companies for all of these products this advertising issue will not end. Since suing all these companies is not feasible, the advertising will continue.

My suggestion, and what I will be doing from now on,  is when you are making your shopping list and decide to buy something new research the product. I don't have time to do it in the grocery store but I do have some free time that I can look up a product or two by doing a Google search. I am not always buying everything new at the grocery store so looking up a couple of products won't be so time consuming. I won't have a child in the store saying "I want this" and "I want that"! This is the only way to ensure you are buying healthy. Be proactive on your own part.

Just a Tip:  Remember, the way the grocery store set up the shelves are to get you to focus on the middle or eye level shelves. These are where most of your sugary items are being sold from. Look up and down you tend to find more nutritious items on top and bottom shelving.