Jess Parsons

Jess Parsons

Posted February 19, 2011

Published in Food

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Time for an ad break?

Read More: Advertising, advocacy, confusion, consumer, education, Food, food guidelines, government, information, ingredients, labelling, lies, nutrition, psychological reflex, regulations, responsibility, scams, truth, victims

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Retire the USDA guidelines?

This article states the truth - that the USDA guidelines are so corrupted by food business interests that they bear embarrassingly little resemblance to actual nutrition science.  Therefore, why spend taxes and effort on negotiating, writing, publishing, such a weak compromise that will not advance public health in any measurable way?

I would go further.  Most of our scientifically sound efforts to educate the public on healthy nutrition fail - not because we compromise with business interests, but because we are at war.  And we are losing.



pcrmpowerplate.jpgThe PCRM Power Plate

Who's to blame?

Some scammers get prosecuted and the victims get compensation and sympathy.  Not so for food advertising.  Our society accepts that food advertisements will lie to us and blames people for believing the lies.  But the lie was expensively and expertly designed using psychological research and marketing groups of human consumers.  Blame Pavlov's dogs for drooling, if you will.   Or seek the true cause.


Truth in advertising?????

The slightest hint of restriction on the "food" companies who have abrogated their role of actually selling food provokes the barking chorus of "Personal responsibility!  Parental responsibility!  You don't have to buy it..."

You can always say "No."  Sure, but like any skilled questionnaire designer, an advertiser knows exactly how to lead you to that magic "Yes" instead.

Until food advertising is heavily and independently restricted, until the government and the megacorps cease their greasy handshakes, there is no way for simple health education to succeed. 


  • is not sexy
  • doesn't sing and dance with clowns and free playgrounds 
  • doesn't come wrapped up with a toy in a colourful bag smelling of grease and salt
  • doesn't smile at you and tell you to have a nice day
  • is not convenient - there's almost never a drive-thru and good nutrition is so often harder work
  • is sensible, not exciting
  • gets less funding every year, not more
  • exists as isolated drops of water in an ocean of advertising

There is no competition.

But unlike a substance who has stolen the health of more than one generation now, education actually does add life.  What good does advertising do?

Until we stop defending advertising in the name of business welfare or free speech, the truth can't win.

Until food advertising is replaced by accurate food content labels, we will continue to suffer. 

Reaping what they sow:  Confusion

I'm a communications professional.  I dream of my supermarket filled with packages with categorised ingredient lists in 20 point type on the front (instead of a run-on sentence in 6 point type under the seam flap in the back.)  In plain language.

Why not?  Where is consumer choice when the information is hidden? 

Consider this recent exposure - a great piece although the word "blueberry" was repeated so many times it started to sound strange.

I challenge all health advocates to stop spitting into the wind and work to outlaw the lies.  Not one by one as they are committed, but to unchain our food chain.