We Say Calcium, You Say ?
If we were to say the words "calcium," "protein" or "iron" what images or words would that bring to your mind? If you were to answer milk, eggs, and beef, you're not alone. Most of us are not aware that we have fallen for the clever marketing strategies used by big food industries. This blog highlights one approach these industries use in order to boost the sale of their products.
One technique that Dr. John McDougall talks about is called "unique positioning," which involves highlighting a particular nutrient which is plentiful in the product. For example, when calcium is mentioned, we think of milk and cheese. Omega-3 fatty acids is synonymous with eating fish, iron with beef, and eggs are well known as the best source of high quality protein. "Focusing on the abundance of an individual nutrient," Dr. McDougall says, "diverts the consumer's, and often times the professional dietitian's, attention away from the harmful impact on the human body of consuming all kinds of animal foods." Highlighting one particular nutrient while downplaying the risks has proven to be a very effective and profitable marketing tactic. "Because these highly sensationalized nutrients are always plentiful in basic plant foods, illnesses from deficiencies of these nutrients are essentially unknown, as long as there is enough food to eat. Thus, there are no real nutritional advantages to choosing red meat, poultry, dairy, and egg products with an especially high density of one particular nutrient. Ironically, milk and cheese are iron deficient, and red meat, poultry, and eggs (unless you eat the shells) contain almost no calcium." Dr. McDougall points out that in his 42+ years of treating patients, he has never seen one that has become ill from eating a whole plant-food diet. He does however, witness daily patients who suffer ill effects from eating animal-derived foods.
If you read our recent article Unscrambling the Truth About Eggs, you'll recall how Dr. Michael Greger's video revealed practices used by the egg industry to promote the sale of eggs. As part of their marketing campaign, The American Egg Board pays scientists $1500 to answer questions that would disassociate eggs from cardiovascular disease. This is only one example of how large food industries keep the general public confused and misinformed. Most of us would admit that we don't have the time, energy or resources to research all the conflicting data. Dr. Joel Fuhrman affirms this by saying, "Most people do not have a comprehensive knowledge of the world's nutritional literature and research and are not in a position to evaluate fraudulent claims."
Don't become a victim of clever marketing schemes. Large food companies are in business not to protect and support excellent health, they are in business to make a profit. Education is of utmost importance. We hope this article provides valuable insight so that you can make wise choices when it comes to providing healthful meals for your family.
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