The headline in Food Navigator USA
on read, “Weight Management 2011: Diet is out but zero is in…” The reporter, Elaine Watson sited, “The number of new products launched in the US market featuring the term ‘diet’ in the brand or product name has plummeted in the last five years as weight conscious shoppers seek out more positive messages.” It also seems that claims like ‘low-fat’ and ‘low-calorie’ are no longer shoppers’ wish lists either.
Does this info come as a surprise? Consumers are saturated with stories about what not to eat. They are tired of plastic- and cardboard-tasting foods that are supposed to be “good” for them…and they don’t want to be duped by misleading labels. The tricky terms that bug me the most are highlighted in my book, Read It Before You Eat It. Food labels that entice you into falling for the words on the front of pack may not necessarily reflect the facts on the back. Fat-free products are often laden with sugar and sugar-free items can carry more fat than you bargained for. Serving size listings could be misleading, creating portion distortion resultignin overeating. With “55% of Americans trying to lose weight,” according to a 2010 Datamonitor survey, and “22% trying to maintain their weight,” truth in labeling is in demand.
You shouldn’t have to be a mathematician, librarian, or dietitian to put healthy food in your cart. A healthy, balanced diet is imperative to help Americans feel better and prevent diseases like diabetes, heart disease, and cancer, which drive health care costs up and keep a sense of well being at bay. Perhaps the best place to find the most effective “diet” foods is the produce aisle of your store; ironically these foods don’t even wear labels.