Sunday, July 19, 2009

Marketing group forecasts greater consumption of lite food

The marketing research group NPD predicts that certain types of "better for you" foods will increase over the next ten years. Unfortunately, it doesn't include animal products. Indeed, the low-calorie / lite foods are typically devoid of fat and high in carbs.

How anyone can think that a container of yoghurt with as much sugar as a candy bar counts as "health food," I'll never understand. Sure, people are bombarded with lots of conflicting advice about what to eat -- but no one ever told you that you needed more sugar.

NPD predicts that the organic category will grow the most, but that's not very reassuring either. Organic agave syrup will still mess up your liver, and local free-range corn will still rot your teeth.

The salty / savory snacks category is mostly empty carbs too -- this is chips, popcorn, etc., not duck liver mousse or dry sausage.

It's worth bearing in mind how long-term the low-carb effort will have to be if we want to see these trends reverse. Even massive popular awareness, as in 2004, won't ensure that it remains. If people view it as a fad, they'll grow bored or move on to whatever the next fashionable diet is.


  1. I think part of the problem is that the fashionable diets are all set by SWPL types. And for SWPL types their anti-fat and anti-meat bias isn't simply driven by bad science and irrational fat/meat phobia, but it dovetails nicely with their other pet causes and beliefs: environmentalism and "pro-animal" ethics.

  2. Do you make your own liver mousse, or what?

  3. I admit I'm so out of touch it took me more than several minutes to decipher SWPL.

    In the 70s, I did the Atkins diet with a friend. We drove 240 miles every week to attend hypnosis sessions to help us out with sticking to it.

    Of course these trips to the big city were more for shopping and EATING OUT than for dieting. Yet we both lost weight because we only pigged out once a week and walked much of it off in the malls.

    One thing that we both did was drink lots of diet sodas. I stopped doing that a few years later and have cut out sodas almost completely (less than one/month average).

    I drink black coffee and water now because I've come to prefer them. The taste of an artificially sweetened soda almost gags me.

    All of my children struggle with their weight and all of them drink diet sodas and I think (without knowing any evidence to back it up) that this is really bad for them.

    Do you have thoughts on artificial sweeteners?

  4. I'm just a fan of this kind of thing but ... There's some research indicating that artificial sweeteners are so good at mimicking actual sweeteners that the body responds with insulin cascades anyway. You don't get the sugar calories, but you get the insulin roller-coaster ride anyway, which in its own way promotes weight gain.

  5. Chicken-liver mousse is very easy to make, but kind of rich, especially if you eat the whole batch within 24 hrs, which unfortunately is what I tend to do.

    Diet sodas are associated with weight gain, not weight loss. The likely reason is your body reacts to their sweetness by raising insulin levels - it thinks it's got a load of carbs to process. So even though they don't provide calories or raise blood sugar, they may set you up for overeating (espectially of carbs), excessive fat storage, and other things we usually associate with high-carb diets. That being said, an occasional diet soda (e.g., once or twice a month) might be reasonable treat for someone who has concerns about their blood-sugar levels.

    Off topic, do anyone see this BBC news item "Dairy for children 'extends life'"? It's about a study showing that people who got plenty of (presumably high-fat) dairy products as children in the 1930s are now, in old age, having dramatically lower mortality rates (especially from stroke) with no higher risk of heart disease. But the spin is still low-fat/anti-fat: they talk about "artery-furring" cholesterol and saturated fat (even though the subjects' arteries weren't "furred"), then they segue into an assumption that calcium, and nothing else, is the beneficial factor, ending in an admonition to follow the standard recommended diet, including low-fat dairy.

    intellectual pariah


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