Come for the research and stick around for the heavy dose of opinion.
Update: If you would like to hear / watch this article instead of reading it, you can do so here.
As the Paleo diet movement has grown, it has also become increasingly difficult to talk about, at times. This is because there is no single set of guidelines for what constitutes the Paleo diet, and as it grows in popularity, the variants continue to pile on.
This is both a strength and a weakness.
It is a strength, because like any legitimate field of study, there is always more to learn. With near-infinite variables, the unknowns always outweigh the knowns. As we learn more, we can modify basic starting point macro-guidelines and then the micro-guidelines at the individual level. It also makes the field more inclusive as far as people trying new things, researching new areas, and hopefully adding to the overall body of knowledge.
“When you sit down bleary eyed with a box of cereal, you may think you’re just grabbing a quick, nutritious breakfast. But, you’re also contributing to the biggest success story of the modern food industry. Inside the cereal box is one of the most sophisticated confections of invention, processing and advertising that modern business has ever seen.”
Thus begins The Foods that Make Billions, a three-part series from BBC Two, which illuminated how the food industry transforms simple, inexpensive commodities into billion-dollar brands.
Their basic formula is to add “value” to extremely cheap base materials — like cereal grains. What value do they add? The answer is many layers of processing and additives, including high fructose corn syrup, laboratory created flavorings, vitamin fortification, packaging, marketing, and, of course, toys inside.
What follows is my interpretation of an adaptation of a new book called, Salt Sugar Fat: How the Food Giants Hooked Us. The adaptation was recently published in The New York Times Magazine, in an article entitled, The Extraordinary Science of Addictive Junk Food. It tells an intricate tale of how food companies have been using food science to do the obvious — Sell. More. Food.
That’s what food corporations are supposed to do.
One of the reasons I talk about how food is marketed to us by giant corporations is that I hope to lift the veil just a bit, and that by doing so the marketing will lose some of its potency. The next time you see a fast food commercial (or soda, or food-in-a-box, or Monsanto, or fill in the __blank__), perhaps you will immediately go into deconstruction mode.
What are they really doing with this ad? How are they trying to make me feel? How are they hoping to influence me? What are they leaving out? Everything in a commercial advertisement is planned, staged, story-boarded, and executed to benefit the advertiser…not you.
Advertising is legalized lying.
– H.G. Wells
Skepticism does not bestow upon any of us a blanket of immunity, but it helps us to think more clearly. However, as the prey evolve to become faster and smarter, so do the predators adjust to survive.
Of course, Coca-Cola’s new advertising campaign is manipulative, misleading, and pure marketing BS all at the same time. Agree? Well, in that case, like me, you’re not the target audience for this propaganda.
Coca-Cola has millions of customers; they have to start talking to them about obesity right now, and those customers are their target audience for the ads. Just plain ignoring the issue (in America) has run its course. Apparently, there’s not much mileage left in just shrugging off the obesity epidemic. Blaming kids for being inactive will only get the company so far these days.
Now, they’re trying this:
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Are you getting too good at Paleo? Is that even possible?
I’d say, yes, it is. It is entirely too easy to get too good at Paleo(tm), while getting worse at the Paleo(lithic) Diet and overall evolutionary approach in the process. Allow me to explain.