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I think, therefore I harm

Food Trends (and why you should not care)

Over the years, there have been a number of trends regarding food. The earliest one I can remember was the trend about cholesterol. They started labeling products as having no or less cholesterol. My favorite one was margarine labeled as having no cholesterol, as if margarine could have any cholesterol in the first place. Fact is, cholesterol is produced by animals and can only be found in meat, whereas margarine is made of vegetable oil. By the way, cholesterol is essential to life, you just must not consume too much of it.

As we speak of margarine, what do you think of all those margarine brands labeled as good for you health? I’d really like to see these marketers eat margarine with a spoon.

Later there was the trend about probiotics. All brands of yogurt suddenly had probiotics in them. Nobody knew what probiotics were, but they had to buy yogurt with probiotics in them. Fact is, no brand of yogurt was ever sold without probiotics, these are part of the manufacturing process and always were in there.

More recently, there is that trend about Omega-3. You were told it was good for your brain, and that you had to make sure your kids had enough of it so they are good at school. Actually, that’s true. So they began to put all kind of products on the market with added Omega-3 in them, one notable one being yogurt. So suddenly you will start buying yogurt with Omega-3 to feed your kids, so they are better at school. Not surprisingly you will see no difference whatsoever. This is because the amount of Omega-3 in yogurt is so ridiculously small that it won’t make a difference. Fact is, you need to eat like 384 yogurts to make up for just one fish. Omega-3 is really found in fish, and nothing else. Want more Omega-3? Eat fish, not yogurt.

And there is the classic. Salt. For as long as I can remember, there were products with less sodium. According to law of nature, there should not be any salt in anything at all by now. However, they say there is still too much sodium in our daily feeding habit, which I believe, so there are still more and more products with less salt in them. In fact, Kraft and some of the other major food brands have recently announced that they would market their major products with less sodium in them. That’s good for you. But obviously, you know they don’t do it because it is good for you; they do it because there is a chance that you will buy more of it.

I don’t know for you, but for my entire life I have been eating Lipton Chicken Noodles every time I am sick. Every single time, and in no other circumstances. Perhaps you do the same, and perhaps you don’t know why. Well, there are two major reasons for Lipton soup being good when you are sick. For a starter, noodles are easier on your fragile stomach (and if your stomach decides it’s not ready to digest food, there is that added benefit that it’s easier to throw out). Second, it helps rehydrate you. It does so because it contains a large amount of water, obviously. But also, because the large amount of sodium helps the body retain the water. Not that sodium in large amount is good for you on a regular diet, but for that rare occasion when you need to recover from sickness, a good amount of sodium really helps.

Well, I have been sick for the last two days. My boss hasn’t been happy with that, which is good, as it proves I’m a good asset to him. Yesterday my body couldn’t retain anything I would attempt to eat. Faithful to my habit, I went out and bought a 4-pack of Lipton Chicken Noodle. Only back at home did I notice the label that says “25% less salt”. Knowing why salt is good in this one particular case, I though “oh great” wishing they didn’t cut salt in that one product. And then, it struck me. How did they reduce salt by 25% in the product? Easy: The pouch is now 25% smaller, and you need to add only 3 cups of water rather than 4. Marketing at its best.

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2 comments on “Food Trends (and why you should not care)

  1. heretherebespiders
    April 11, 2012

    Tom, you have broken my heart! Lipton Chicken Noodle is my ultimate comfort food, for the same reasons as you! Best with a grilled cheese sandwich 🙂 My best friend mails it to me, any visitors bring it to me all because I cannot get it here. They’ve changed my soup!!!! Nooooo. I have to figure out to make it myself now. Sniffle.

    • Tom Duhamel
      April 11, 2012

      I figure that we should just buy 25% more and get the old recipe back 🙂

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This entry was posted on April 11, 2012 by in Opinion and tagged , , , , , .
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