The power of marketing

Have you walked through a grocery aisle lately? I’m not talking about rushing through the aisle as quickly as possible to cross things off your shopping list. I’m talking about just walking through and looking at stuff—in particular, labels. Both front and back.

You might be surprised.

One of the things both Andy and I started doing after his Type 2 Diabetes diagnosis was reading labels. Okay, maybe you’re one of those people who’s been doing it for years. The point is we did start looking, and found ourselves putting stuff back on the shelf on a frequent basis. To say our eyes were opened is an understatement. High fructose corn syrup is in everything. Everything! Why would you put HFCS in dill pickles of all random things? It blew our minds.

I have a background in marketing so I’m very familiar with “spin”. Ever look at a movie poster and wonder what those ellipses (…) might be omitting? That’s spin! In the food industry spin is all over the packaging—from the flashy color labels that distract you from what’s really in the product, to the word burstss that proclaim: Fat Free! Sugar Free! All Natural! Organic!

The fact of the matter is, you can’t really trust the front of the label. I wish you could. It would make shopping so much easier. The only way to truly know what’s going into your body is to turn the product over and read through the ingredients list on the back. You’d be amazed at what they like to hide in that fine print. A while back, someone gave us a bottle of salsa that had both chicken and beef paste in the ingredient list. Meat paste. In salsa. Bummer dude.

If you’re just starting out on your own lifestyle obstacle course, I encourage you to start peeking at those food labels. Yes, it does require some work, and you’ll probably start putting some of your favorite foods back on the shelf when you realize what they’ve been sneaking into your body. The more we read, the more we realized the only “real” food we ate came out of our own kitchen. Even those awesome, time saving, rotisserie chickens from the grocery store have questionable ingredients.

I’m not saying you have to avoid all boxed food, but I encourage you to, at the very least, turn the box over and look at the ingredients list so you know what you’re getting into with your eyes wide open.

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