Another ‘Big Food’ Trick: The Health Halo

Halos are usually an indication of good.  The whole angels and demons thing.  Unfortunately, a health halo turns an indication of saintliness into devil horns.

A health halo is the act of using a healthy characteristic to make an unhealthy product seem more worthy of your dietary rotation.  They’re another tool in Big Food’s bag of tricks.  Let’s look at an example:

That’s a sugary soda touting its antioxidants.  You’re likely aware antioxidants are good for you.  Even if you’re not sure why.  A food manufacturer will use that to fool you into thinking sugar-water is healthy.  Or, at least, better than Sprite.  Make 7 Up yours.

Another more sinister, and more common, example:

I LOVE these chips.  But for the taste, not the organic seal.  Organic is all the rage these days (I’m a big supporter).  In fact, organic sales grew nearly 8% in 2010 compared to only 1% growth in total US food sales. Food manufacturers have taken notice.

So you’ll now see everything in organic form.  But an organic unhealthy food remains, alas, an unhealthy food.  They’re using the organic “halo” to make my delicious chips seem healthy.  Bastards.


4 responses to “Another ‘Big Food’ Trick: The Health Halo

  1. My favorite is the package of sugar advertising “only” 16 calories per teaspoon. It’s also “fat free”.

  2. They are a bunch of bastards – Have you read Dr. Mercola’s expose on chips – even organic baked ones yet? There’s a carcinogenic substance that is created in the processing that doesn’t get labeled on the packaging.. . This is why I try to make my own baked corn chips by taking sprouted corn tortillas and cutting them in triangles and baking them with olive oil.

  3. Pingback: Eat by Stars: A Bad Chef | Essentials of Nutrition

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