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Health foods are not always what they seem

Erik Lindholm | Nexus | Opinion | January 9th, 2006

Editorial opinions or comments expressed in this online edition of Interrobang newspaper reflect the views of the writer and are not those of the Interrobang or the Fanshawe Student Union. The Interrobang is published weekly by the Fanshawe Student Union at 1001 Fanshawe College Blvd., P.O. Box 7005, London, Ontario, N5Y 5R6 and distributed through the Fanshawe College community. Letters to the editor are welcome. All letters are subject to editing and should be emailed. All letters must be accompanied by contact information. Letters can also be submitted online by clicking here.
VICTORIA (CUP) -- Low fat! Zero calories! No sugar! Marketers are very conscious of what we eat these days and this is for good reason. North America is now the fattest and unhealthiest society the world has ever seen.

Today, 20 per cent of 18 to 24-year-old Canadians are obese. But this disturbing—and rapidly growing—trend is not relegated to Canadian society. Worldwide, countries previously known for their healthy populations, such as Japan, Finland, and Germany, are suffering the effects of obesity.

The World Health Organization estimates 1.7 billion people worldwide are obese. Scientists and doctors are scrambling to find solutions to the epidemic. Diet pills, meal plans, even stomach stapling.

Simply, obesity is caused by caloric intake outweighing caloric use. Yet many people who are obese eat the foods designated “low fat” and “sugar-free.” According to the smiling faces in advertisements, they should be fit, happy people—on their way to a long, blissful life. But this is not usually the case.

The cause of obesity is usually not overeating; it's making a poor choice of foods. Marketing has led us to believe previously rationed foods are utterly safe. Chocolate can be fat-free and soda can have no calories. When a company takes an integral ingredient out of a product, you have to wonder what is replacing it.

Remember, multinational food corporations like Kraft, Con Agra, and McDonalds have one thing on their mind—money. They are in the food industry. Their motives may not be benevolent. Your personal health, should it enter on their list of corporate priorities, is significantly further down.

The message is simple. Be aware of what you are eating and stay away from manufactured food products. While a product may have an appealing quality, it may also have unforeseen consequences down the road. It could affect metabolism and the ability to process food, or even cause cancer.

Look to what has worked in the past for preserving health and follow that. Daily exercise, healthy meals, and a bright social outlook create natural longevity. Eating broccoli and going for early morning runs may not be appealing, but neither is growing sick and old while eating expensive “healthy foods.”

Remember that people who are healthy in their 80s today did not grow up on pesticide-ridden grains, no-fat dairy, and genetically modified poultry. They grew up on wheat, milk, and chicken.
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