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Drinking our fruit
September 20, 2011 - Kathie Evanoff
How busy do we have to be that we can’t take the time to eat a banana?
I mentioned in my last blog that I often get requests to review cookbooks, but I didn’t mention that I also get asked to review some products as well. I don’t often accept the offers, choosing not to limit myself to particular brand names, but this morning I was invited to try a new product that has me questioning what kinds of foods we are being marketed.
Years ago, food activist Michael Pollan wrote a book called “The Omnivore’s Dilemma” and over the years many people have read this book and discussed Pollan’s motives. One of the things he mentions is that food companies must increase their sales by 10 percent each year in order to stay competitive on the New York Stock Exchange. But unless our population increases exponentially, we can only eat so much food. By increasing our consumption by 10 percent, we also increase our size.
To try to entice us into eating more, food companies make their products more convenient. They put cookies and snacks into individually wrapped packages and charge us more for them. They create entire meals in one package so it only takes us five minutes to make dinner and we don’t even have to chop a real vegetable.
Thanks to Pollan and other food writers, more of us are concerned about all the processing that our food goes through, prompting companies to adapt their marketing to address those concerns. Now we are offered whole grains in our convenience foods, added nutrients that aid digestion and easy ways to get our daily requirements of fruits and vegetables. To address our health concerns, companies jump on the latest trend to try to entice us with marketing. I thought it was funny when years ago the packaging for pretzels began touting “low in fat.” They didn’t change their formulas to make the product healthier, pretzels have always been low in fat, but by reminding us of this when the low-fat craze was popular, companies hoped we would choose that product instead of other snacks. Marketing works. I won’t name the product that was offered to me this morning in the hope I would accept the offer for a free sample and write about it in this blog. I will only say the company will be offering a product soon that claims to give us multiple servings of fruit and vegetables, as well as fiber and protein in a convenient six-ounce drink.
Perhaps this is a good way for some people to get fruit and vegetables into their diets, but I have to wonder if instant nutrition drinks really do contain everything we need. Even science doesn’t know exactly how our bodies process all the nutrients we get from food.
So back to my original question, how busy do we have to be that we can’t take the time to eat a banana, or an apple or a peach, or have time to eat a salad for lunch instead of a giant burger with bacon and cheese?
I hope I never get that busy.
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