Myth Monda #5: Sneaky Diet Advertising

Confession time: I am a big fan of the Today Show! I record it daily to catch up any time I’m cleaning or working on a project. There is often one or more nutrition report each episode, so I completely justify my viewing for those pieces! 

The Today Show had a report related to weight loss photos that aired on February 28th, 2014. Investigations found that certain weight loss advertisements were not using actual photos from their customers. This was not an inclusive report for all weight loss ads, but it did help shed some light that you can never be sure of weight loss results! I highly recommend clicking this link to watch the 4 minute report yourself.

Spoiler alert for the report:

I have previously heard of many stunts used to sell weight loss products. The most common tricks I have heard of are using different angles, lighting and styling to show “weight loss.” I was amazed how easy it was to fake a large amount of weight loss in this report! Watch closer at many diet ads next time, and you will probably notice the ‘customers’ are angled, have better posture and are often holding a specific pose. Photoshop is also a common tool I have heard many advertisements using, not just weight loss advertisements. The one shocking part of the report was to learn people’s photos are being stolen and used in weight loss ads now!

Have you ever watched America’s Next Top Model? Sorry I cannot remember the particular season and episode, but I remember being astonished that they were able to airbrush realistic abdominal muscles on one of the models! Do you watch New Girl? There is a scene in Season 1 of New Girl that CeCe models the “after weight loss” photo and a heavier model is the “before weight loss” photo. There are many news reports on the internet regarding models and celebrities being photoshopped consistently too. The altered advertisements appear unending!

What should you take away from this report?

Research is important before you pursue a plan for weight loss. It is important to discuss pros and cons with a dietitian! The best (general tips) for your health and weight is to increase your physical activity as recommended by your doctor, eat more whole foods and slowly decrease your calorie intake. I also take away from this report that today’s technology makes it very difficult to believe media too.

 

Myth Monday #4: Choosy Moms Do NOT Choose Jif

Let me briefly explain my love for peanut butter:

  • I could eat it by the spoonfuls.
  • If there is a dish on the menu that has peanuts, peanut sauce and/or peanut butter I’m trying it.
  • There hasn’t been too many foods that I haven’t considered adding peanut butter to at least once.

Peanut butter was a go-to snack growing up. My loving mother served me Simply Jif because she thought she was making a healthy choice for me. Have you seen a Jif commercial? I should have asked, when did you last see a Jif commercial? Their slogan leads us to believe you’re making an excellent choice by choosing their product. The truth about this peanut butter: you should not choose it.

Let’s look at the Nutrition Facts Label:

Jif Nutrition Facts

(P.S. Apologizing now for the poor quality pictures. I have not mastered the comfort of taking random food pictures at the grocery store)

I’ll decipher the label to the point by saying it reads pretty equivalent to other peanut butter Nutrition Facts Labels you’ll find on the grocery store shelves.

Let’s look at the ingredient list:

Jif ingredients

If you can read the ingredients you’ll see there are more things listed other than just peanuts. Read closer and you will see HYDROGENATED OILS! These hydrogenated oils actually lower our “good” cholesterol and raise our “bad” cholesterol. Sneaky, sneaky Jif. I did not document Jif’s “natural” peanut butter, but it does not contain hydrogenated oils thankfully. It still contains more ingredients than peanuts though.

The moral of the myth today: the Nutrition Facts Label doesn’t tell us the whole story. To make a sound decision at the grocery store, it is important to understand both the ingredients and the Nutrition Facts Label. There are some other important factors to consider when choosing your food that a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist can help you with too! I should also say that the peanut butter you choose should only have “peanuts” listed as an ingredient and maybe a little salt to enhance the flavor!

March is National Nutrition Month®!

National Nutrition Month® is an annual campaign by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics to help raise awareness of the importance of making educated food choices and developing both healthy eating and physical activity habits. 

To celebrate this special month, I am teaming up with my favorite Registered Dietitian Nutritionist, Kandace, to answer any nutrition related questions you have or provide advice and information. Kandace has a great goal to spread more smiles with kindness this year, and you can find out more about her daily acts at http://www.onesmileeveryday.blogspot.com. We are hoping to make you smile with free evidenced-based nutrition information! Email us with your nutrition questions at onesmile2014@gmail.com

The theme for National Nutrition Month® 2014 is “Enjoy the Taste of Eating Right.” Look for pictures and recipes of my meals or snacks to see how I enjoy eating balanced and healthy! Share how you enjoy the taste of eating right with comments or by using the tag “nogimmicknutrition” on Instagram or Twitter. 

Week In Review

I cannot believe the end of February is already here! No complaints from me because that means warm weather is that much closer. I had a glimpse of spring weather this last week, but it’s supposed to hang around freezing temperatures this coming week. The puppy and I took full advantage of the sunshine and warmer temps though!

Last week flew by, so I want to share some of the things I did:

1) Purchased these produce items on a big sale for snacks

Snacks

2) Walked our puppy, Sabo, nearly every day! Sabo caught me snapping a pic of our walk 🙂

Walking Sabo

3) Fit in 9 hours of dance between hip-hop fitness dancing at Phlex Fitness and Just Dance 2014!

Just Dance 2014

(Image Source)

I’ll wrap up with meal planning and prepping, house work, light exercise and watching the Walking Dead today.

What were you up to this week? 

How did you stay active this last week?

Myth Monday #3: Protein Bars

The New York Times posted this video on protein bars roughly a month ago. It’s visually appealing and provides great information.

What are the benefits of protein bars?

  • Like the video said, the biggest benefit is convenience. The bars can be a more nutrient-dense snack compared to other vending machine or gas station snacks.
  • Protein can help curb your hunger longer than a snack with only carbohydrates because it takes longer to digest.
  • Some protein bars taste like dessert!

What are the negatives of protein bars?

  • Ideally, your protein should come from whole food sources. Think dairy, meat, poultry, fish, nuts, eggs, beans… the list goes on!
  • A lot of protein bars are equivalent to the calories you’d consume in a meal. The video pointed this out along with the fact that many are HIGH in added sugar.
  • The bars often come with a high price tag.
  • Adding one or two protein bars daily can easily lead to an excess intake of protein. In general, women only need 40-60 grams of protein daily and men only need 50-70 grams of protein daily. Most protein bars have at least 20 grams of protein! A Registered Dietitian can help you determine your personal protein needs.

You may guess from my pro/con list that I will not promote protein bars.  There are convenient sources of whole foods that will likely better fit your calorie  AND protein needs. Most in the US already consume more than enough protein.  Over time, excess protein intake can lead to health problems like kidney disease or gout.

I encourage whole food choices, but I also help others find ways to fit their preferred choices into their needs. If you loooooove your protein bar, I can help you figure out how to fit one into your calorie and protein budgets.