Dr. Yoni Freedhoff – What’s A Food Industry To Do?
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[Dr. Yoni Freedhoff – What’s A Food Industry To Do?]
[Dr. Yoni Freedhoff] Source: LYBIO.net
Hi, I’m Dr. Yoni Freedhoff. I’m a Medical Doctor and an Assistant Professor at the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Ottawa, I write the weighty matters blog. And a little over a month ago, I was invited to give a talk, would have been this past Friday, at a food industry breakfast on health and nutrition policy. I was invited by the Ontario Medical Association to give my thoughts on what the food industry might do to help improve public health.
Unfortunately, three days before the talk, after of course the flights were booked and the hotels were booked and I’d canceled a whole bunch of patients, without the courtesy of a phone call, the food industry disinvited me. And so I thought well, the internet is a great place, I’ve got my slides together already why don’t I put it up there and maybe I’ll reach more people than I would have, had I been able to come.
And so I’m going to talk to you a little bit about what I think the food industry can do. It’s actually quite straightforward. Why I don’t think they’re going to do it and what we should do about it. And so, I guess the easiest way to start is, I think the food industry could stop suggesting that fiber and whole grains, make sugary cereals a good idea.
I think the food industry could start putting cartoon characters on the front of cereal boxes and paying for stores to put them at eyelevel for kids. I think the food industry could stop suggesting that cookies are in fact nutritious. In this particular case more nutritious than milk, or that you could get whole grains in Tostitos and that in turn might be helpful.
I think the food industry could stop talking about no sugar being added to things. This particular product, it looks a lot like twizzlers, it says no sugar added and yet it has more sugar than actual twizzlers. It’s got ten times the sugar of apples by weight if instead you wanted your child to eat an apple, or this particular fruit product, it’s a fruit and vegetable snack, again it says it’s got no sugar added yet by weight. 79% of it is sugar.
It’s not that there is no sugar added, it’s just that it gets added from concentrated fruit purees and juices. And I think the food industry could stop being disingenuous about that. I think the food industry could stop suggesting that grape juice is good for you, it says no added sugar ever yet every single glass has 10.5 teaspoons of this stuff, that’s the same amount that you’d get if you drink a quarter glass of maple syrup each and every day.
I think the food industry could stop creating products that prey on children and parents. This product by McDonalds called Fruitizz is carbonated fruit juice. It’s got more sugar drop per drop than Coca-Cola and its television advertisement say that it counts towards a child’s five a day.
I think the food industry could stop using words to describe their products that make them sound not too bad. This particular one is the snack size, McFlurry. And if you think that a snack would be a Snickers bar dissolved in a can of Coca-Cola, well then this might be the snack for you, because it’s got the same number of calories as that Coca-Cola Snickers bar combo and it’s got 15 teaspoons of sugar.
[Dr. Yoni Freedhoff] Source: LYBIO.net
I think the food industry could stop adding grounded up oat hulls to products calling it fiber and suggesting it’s beneficial. Fiber coming from whole grains is one thing. Fiber being added to pulverized white flour is quite another. And same with pulverized cauliflower, where this particular product if you would buy it has more sodium, more sugar, and less protein and actual Kraft dinner and the nutritional equivalent of about a quarter of a serving of cauliflower. Why not just give your kids a quarter of a serving of cauliflower and some actual good food. Well, in part it might be, because you think you don’t need to, if you buy Kraft Dinner Smart.
The food industry could stop suggesting that applesauce is a vegetable. In this particular case, each one of these peach apple carrot blends has half the fiber and 140th of the Vitamin A of a single solitary carrot. This product a breakfast replacement that apparently is good and makes your kid not a zombie contains nine and three quarter teaspoons of sugar per glass, give your kid one of these a day for a year, and you will give them 31 pounds of sugar, I don’t think that’s good.
And really is there such a calcium emergency that the food industry needs to suggest that if you don’t add sweetened syrup containing three teaspoons of sugar per serving that your kid is going to suffer health wise, that would be like suggesting if they are not eating apples, you should give them apple pie.
And what about DHA? This one, here’s the copy. So the big ones read the label on the Li’l Ones yogurt and they saw that the Li’l Ones were very smart indeed, which wasn’t surprising, because little ones has DHA. Now, I found not surprising, because on the label of Li’l Ones, it actually says zero grams of polyunsaturated fats and DHA is a polyunsaturated fat. But the thing is, if you put miniscule amounts of something into a product, you are not allowed to say it’s in the product and the 25 milligrams per Li’l Ones wasn’t enough to make the label.
What it means is that, if your child eats a Li’l Ones and that you bought it, because you wanted them to get DHA. They will consume the equivalent amount of DHA as they would have, if they ate a piece of salmon the size of one-third of a pea.
And here is Wonder Plus Headstart food for thought again geared towards parents to make them think, it’s a good plan.
If your child eats 214 slices of Wonder Plus Headstart, they will have as much DHA as a single serving of salmon, but you sure wouldn’t get that from that ad copy that the food industry could stop making. And for adults too, here is one that will help nourish your brain pomegranate blueberry plus DHA. And if you drink eight liters of this stuff along with the five cups of sugar and the pound of calories, you too will get the equivalent amount of DHA as you would in a single serving of salmon.
And if you don’t want juice or bread or yogurt, well, you can get basically Oreos with Omega 3s in them too.
And last of course in this cavalcade of wonderful ads is this one. If poutine is part of your routine, try vitamin water. Poutine if you don’t know is French fries covered with cheese curds and gravy. And this ad suggest indeed that somehow this sugar water will confer some protection against Poutines regular consumption.
[Dr. Yoni Freedhoff] Source: LYBIO.net
What I think the food industry could do is stop lying. Here is an ad, can’t remember the last Coca-Cola ad targeted at children, there is a reason. And I will read you the bottom, because it’s tough to read online.
“Parents tell us they prefer to be the ones teaching their children about beverage choices, that’s why for over 50 years, we would hear to a company policy that prohibits advertising soft drinks to children.”
That’s awesome, thanks Coca-Cola. I guess this comic book ad that says Coca-Cola Classic is always great for good sports is geared towards adults.
And that this race put on by Coca-Cola for children and they do this all over the world isn’t designed to associate the Coca-Cola brand with that kids happiness and fun, nor of course is this float from the Santa Claus parade. This float isn’t designed to associate joy, happiness, Santa with Coca-Cola at least not to kids, no this is for adults.
And this year for my wifes birthday, I’m going to buy her a Coca-Cola Barbie, because this couldn’t partially be geared at children, nor could this hundred piece puzzle for ages five plus be geared towards kids, or this matchbox car or this lego set or this stuffed cute bear. These are adult toys, because Coca-Cola for 50 years has adhered to a policy of not advertising their beverages to children.
Haaa- you know, I don’t really blame the food industry. You might find that’s surprising, but honest to goodness I don’t. I do think the ads are deceitful. I think they are unethical, I think they are misinformational. I think that the food industry folks who put them out there absolutely know that, but I still don’t blame them for doing it, because it’s not their job to do anything, but try to sell food.
They have a fiduciary responsibility to their shareholders to make profits. They have zero responsibility to society to protect health. If you want to know who I blame, I blame us. I blame public health officials, I blame governments because we could theoretically do something about it.
Here’s a flood, this is hurricane Katrina’s flooding. And what did we do when there was a flood with hurricane Katrina? We built levees, we stack sandbags. And as you can see not every sandbag in this pile is actually doing anything, there are plenty of sandbags just sitting there, minding their own business. But that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t have been stacked.
And we do have a flood right now. We have a flood of horrible foods of misinformational advertising of predatory marketing. We have a flood of processed foods even in our homes, looking at this graph from 1982 to 2002, we’ve seen the purchase of processed foods and sweets double. We have a flood, we need sandbags. But what we can’t do is expect the food industry to fill them for us.
We need to level the playing field. In order to do so, we need to set rules for the food industry, regulations for the food industry, whether it’s calorie postings on menus, soda taxes, subsidies for healthier foods, banning the zoning of fast food restaurants near schools, there really aren’t many shortages of things that we can do to try to regulate the food industries practice of misinforming consumers.
It’s their job to do so. It’s our job to do something about it, and I’ll tell you. These regulations wouldn’t just benefit us, they’d also benefit the food industry. There are ethical people in the food industry. There are probably even ethical food and product manufacturers. But they are harmstrong by the fact that there is not a level playing field.
We need to stop allowing the sorts of advertisements that I showed you up above. We need to stop allowing the food industry to target our most vulnerable and precious population, our children. We need to start doing and stop talking, and that is where we are failing. The food industry, they are doing their job and there will be sometimes where profit and health collide and wonderful, but other than those rare occurrences, their job is to sell cheap calories and to sell as many of them as humanly possible. And to sit around and expect them to do something about it on their own without a level playing field is nonsense.
[Dr. Yoni Freedhoff] Source: LYBIO.net
We need to get off our own asses. We need to start pressuring people to legislate change, because until we do, there will be lots of talking and there will be no doing. Thank you very much.
Yoni Freedhoof, MD, CCFP Dip ABOM
Assistant Professor, Medicine, University of Ottawa
Medical Director, Bariatric Medical Institute
Dr. Yoni Freedhoff – What’s A Food Industry To Do? What I think the food industry could do is stop lying. Complete Full Transcript, Dialogue, Remarks, Saying, Quotes, Words And Text.