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Real is Better

Posted Apr 29 2013 12:00am

I was eating breakfast this morning while my Dad was downstairs watching the news.

Boston Bombings. Stock Market. Weather. The usual. I tuned out of the muffled voices drifting upstairs through the open door and tuned into my breakfast.

All of a sudden I heard the newest Yoplait Light commercial.

Lost inches off your waist!  Comes in 40 different flavors! Sugar free and low calorie! Now with Splenda!

I can’t find the link, but here are some examples of the types of things we’re dealing with; I’m sure you’ve all seen them

So they claim their yogurt is ‘so good’ and I bet some people love it. I KNOW some people love it. That’s not my point. Nor is my point to personally attack yoplait for producing a product I do not endorse with advertising that I believe is misleading and unhealthy.
My point is that yoplait takes the truth out of eating by concentrating on calorie count, depravation, and body size as a measure of health and happiness.

And then there are ads like this one that have gotten flack for promoting eating disordered thought and behavior. You can see why

As someone who has struggled with disordered eating myself, I will admit to once upon a time falling for the 40+ flavours offered by Yoplait, all of which somehow had the same number of calories. Sure, I wouldn’t allow myself a real Strawberry Shortcake, but why would I need to when I could eat it for breakfast in the form of a 90 calorie yogurt!

There have been spoofs on the idea that yogurt can replace desserts, this ad even going far enough to mock the fact that yogurt could somehow replace all food and lead to consistent weight loss-as if that was the only thing that mattered and indeed the only thing women could think about.

The point is, these ads and indeed the way the yogurt is portrayed strays from the very idea and point of food in the first place: nourishment. Yes, it tastes good, but it is (or should be) also good for you. What these ads don’t show is the fact that, while the yogurt is lower calorie than regular yogurt, it also contains dyes, artificial and added sweeteners, and thickeners which are not natural to real yogurt and can be harmful to our bodies.

I won’t pretend to be a nutrition guru here, because lord knows I’m still learning in that department, but I do want to point out the power that the advertising industry has on consumption in this country and indeed wherever these products are sold. Someone consumed with body image guilt  will not get the information that yogurt is healthy, containing calcium and protein, as well as the fact that low fat  or regular yogurt can be great for skin and fertility, seeing light yogurt as a medicine and a key to thin.

The message of these ads seems to be ‘eat yogurt, then you won’t feel guilty about the way you look!’ rather than ‘eat yogurt and you will reap the health benefits’ and that saddens me. As I have taken charge of my own nutrition, done research, seen a naturopath, and experimented, I have found that the more whole and natural the food, the better it is for you. I stopped buying ‘light’ yogurts and ‘reduced calorie’ drinks. My body couldn’t handle their artificial ingredients, and it now thanks me for the real food I feed it. Yogurt with fat in it? You bet! Nut butters? Of course. There is no point in saving those calories and feeling deprived or guilty as though somehow food will make or break you. I used to feel that way, and it took me years to begin to break away the negative associations how I felt, what I ate, and my body.

Eat the real food, people. !

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