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Here at No Green Smoothies I’m all about dispelling food myths and quelling food fear.
What does the media like to do, however? Amp up the fear and anxiety around food and eating. It’s very easy then, when you see ridiculous articles in the media, to distrust what you think is true. Especially when headlines are always charged with words designed to evoke an emotional response from you. Here are some I have seen recently and why they are just ridiculous words to use to describe food.
wth does this even mean?
Does it mean that there are no nutrients in a food? I guess the only thing that truly has “no nutrients” is water? But then that’s really important for hydration so you can’t really call that “bankrupt”
Yes, foods have different amounts of nutrients in them. But I promise you, all foods have a place in your diet.
See, these days this is getting harder and harder to define.
If I’m having cheesecake with my friends is this “unhealthy”? Social connection is really really important for good health.
Everything is a chemical. Every. Single. Thing is made up of chemicals. This laptop that I am writing this on, the apple I am eating while I write, the table which I’m sitting on. Chemicals. It’s useless to try and convince people to have foods free from chemicals. It’s impossible.
Arsenic, lead and mercury are toxic. Like actually, really, may lead to death toxic. Flour and sugar and not.
See this post I did a while back. The “clean eating” trend is particularly problematic for people prone to obsession and eating disorders. The implication is, if some foods are “clean” then others are “dirty”.
Why language matters
The language that the media uses to talk about food is important because it is influential.
Journalists, food bloggers, health coaches, personal trainers, if you are someone who talks about food and nutrition in anyway, I guarantee you that when you talk, people listen. People listen, internalise and go and tell all their friends and family what they are hearing. The will parrot nonsense like “cereal is nutritionally bankrupt” if they see or hear this from you.
All this does is promote a culture of food fear and obsession. And this does not actually make people healthy, in fact it does the opposite.
I’m calling on all of us to stop promoting an obsessive, orthorexic culture. It’s not healthy.