3. Junk Food Tactics
3.1 Candy Is Good For You And Other Lies
Not only does the junk food industry aggressively promote health-destroying foods through advertising, but they defend them with a barrage of propaganda, misinformation, and outright lies. Much of this propaganda is aimed at children and concerned parents.
Consider the following statements that are in a booklet distributed to over 60,000 students by the National Confectioner's Association.
Not to be outdone, the National Soft Drink association passes out literature to children and high school athletes that tell them "soda drinks are a good source of water." A better source of water is water itself—but then, you can't sell pure water for a hefty profit under some brand name.
Finally, read what the Hershey Foods Corporation has to say about proper nutrition in their "Nutritional Information" handbook: "Calories are important, and foods which supply only calories can, if used correctly, contribute to good nutrition." Of course, one of the highest calorie, no-nutrition foods is white sugar—a chief ingredient in this manufacturer's products.
3.2 The Great Fortification Rip-off
Besides deceptive advertising and outrageous propaganda, the junk food industry defends its products by emphasizing the added nutrients these products contain. "Fortified" candy bars and cereals are used to lure consumers into thinking that they might be getting a little nutrition among the garbage.
Here's how it works. Junk food manufacturers know that their products have no nutritional value and that their foods are open to attack by nutritionists. To head off such criticism, they often add vitamins and minerals to their products. Thus we have sugary bits of cereal that claim to supply 100% of all our vitamin and mineral needs. There are candy bars that give us "10% of all 19 nutrients" that we need.
Adding inorganic and useless vitamins and minerals to junk food is a cheap process. You can turn a box of sugared, processed cereal into a daily vitamin pill by adding about two cents worth of additives. In turn, these fortified junk foods are then marked up 15 to 25 times what it costs to add these useless vitamins and minerals.
Fortified junk foods still have the white sugar, the saturated fats, the high salt content, and the empty-calories. The consumer is fooled by two cents of added minerals and vitamins. Even worse, the so-called "extra" vitamins and minerals which were added to the junk food cannot be used anyway. They are inorganic chemicals, just like the other additives and the preservatives already laced through the destructive foods.
3.3 Hooking the Kids
Children are the helpless members of out society. And they are the biggest target for the junk food pushers. Children know nothing about nutrition or the necessity of eating wholesome foods. They receive most of their knowledge from television programming and advertising.
Junk foods are advertised on children's television shows at the rate of 20 times per hour—certainly enough to qualify it as brainwashing. Robert B. Choate, a television critic, told a Senate investigating committee, "When you take a child who sits in front of Saturday TV and hears sugar, sugar, sugar, chocolate, chocolate, chocolate, he picks up a habit that is going to last all his life."
"Get'em while they're young" is the attitude of the sugar cereal and candy manufacturers. And they're successful. The Surgeon General's Scientific Advisory Committee found that junk food products advertised on television are more frequently requested by children than any other products, including toys.
"Television advertising," says Dr. Judith J. Wurtman and author on children's nutrition, "is probably the most persistent force undermining good- eating habits." One father who became concerned about his children's health threw away his television set after he became tired of salesmen in my living room telling lies to my children." Maybe you don't want to go that far, but here are some things you can do to counter the effects of junk food advertising on children.
If you're a parent, you will have a massive job in reeducating and protecting your children from the effects of junk food advertising. It is amazing that we have removed ads for cigarettes and hard liquor from television, but allow ads for "Sugar Puffs-Puffs" and "Chocolate Doo-Dads" to be blast into our children's brains at the rate of 5,000 per year.
Junk food addiction begins in childhood, and this is where the problem can be most easily handled.
Home > Lesson 38 - Sociological Benefits And Economic Ramifications Of The Avoidance Of Junk Foods
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