One of my favorite chefs, Marcus Samuelsson recently posted an article titled Can A Ban On Junk Food Ads Reduce Its Consumption and after reading it I thought to myself that is not the way to do it. The highlights of this article are as follows:
- Quebec, Canada banned fast food ads between 1984 and 1992 which resulted in the consumption of ~11-22M fewer fast-food meals per year, or about 2.2-4.4 Billion fewer calories.
- Soft drink manufacturers were found to target minority children with their marketing since those demographics were found to consume more sugar than their caucasian peers.
- US Government would have to put out an all out ban on ads and not relegate it to just television but also the internet for a ban to work.
I think the answer might lie in an article that I received from BDD a while back. When he sent me the article about lowering the consumption of junk/fast food by showcasing the amount of exercise that would need to be done to counter balance the number of calories in that food I was very interested. I thought a lot about this and whether or not it would effective.
I don’t think it is the end all be all because I can envision a scenario in which a person looks at a can of Coke and sees 30 minutes of exercise and just laughs and then says ‘I’d just rather drink another and make it an even hour’ and then never follow through. With that being said I do think that this is a step in the right direction, similar to the Surgeon General’s warning on a pack of cigarettes. While I don’t think it is the end all be all I think that a label that showcases how much exercise would need to be done to combat the calories is a start.
I also don’t think this should be limited to junk/fast foods but to all foods. Just because it is healthy does not mean that we can eat all we want without exercising. Excess calories in still need to be burned, so why not list the amount of exercise on everything. If you picked up a frozen meal from Lean Cuisine and it showed 210 calories and you needed to exercise for 1 hour to burn all the calories and compared that to the chicken, rice, mushrooms and green beans (in serving size) and saw 291 calories with 1 hour of exercise which would you choose. Before you answer that take a look at the ingredients in Lean Cusisin:
COOKED CHICKEN TENDERLOINS (CHICKEN TENDERLOINS, HIGH FRUCTOSE CORN SYRUP, WATER, CORN OIL, MODIFIED CORNSTARCH, LEMON JUICE CONCENTRATE, SODIUM PHOSPHATES, SALT, CARAMEL COLOR, POTASSIUM CHLORIDE, GARLIC, ONION, PAPRIKA, SPICE), WATER, BLANCHED ENRICHED LONG GRAIN PARBOILED RICE (WATER, RICE, IRON, NIACIN, THIAMIN MONONITRATE, FOLIC ACID), GREEN BEANS, MUSHROOMS, ONIONS, 2% OR LESS OF BLANCHED WILD RICE, MODIFIED CORNSTARCH, SUGAR, SALT, CULTURED WHEY, CHICKEN FAT, LEMON JUICE CONCENTRATE, CARAMEL COLOR, DEHYDRATED ONIONS, SPICES, DEHYDRATED GARLIC, PAPRIKA.
Wouldn’t you rather consume chicken, rice, mushrooms and green beans and exercise for an hour rather than consuming additional sodium caramel color?
A listing of the amount of time to exercise may eventually fall on deaf ears but it is a start and in now way prohibits companies from selling their products and just might increase sales of a certain product.