How You’re Being Manipulated by the Food Industry

159406067Do you ever go to the grocery store to pick up a few things and leave with a full shopping cart? Do you ever think you’re purchasing something healthy, but you fail to read the fine print (extra chemical ingredients)? It’s not really your fault. It’s the hypnotic and manipulative work of the villains of the food industry.

The food industry can sometimes appear as the hero by offering food at low prices. Once you take a closer look through the microscope, the food industry hero is actually the manipulative villain.

What are the first things you should fill your shopping cart with? It is best to eat mainly whole foods such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts, seeds, organic meat and poultry, and wild fish. There may still be a need for some minimally processed foods such as nut butters, extra virgin olive oils, or coconut oils.

When you do put products into your cart, be sure to check the ingredient list. For example, are your cashews or almonds only nuts, or are they filled with unnecessary food additives and chemicals? It is best to research the brand names you buy. When there is only one ingredient in the product, it is generally the better product for you to purchase.

Big food corporations will throw around healthy buzzwords, which lead you to buying so-called healthy products. You can put a pretty dress on a processed product; however, it is still processed. The food industry will use various healthy buzzwords to mislead consumers such as “natural,” “fresh,” and “organic.” Certain vegetables, dairy products, and grains are also becoming buzzwords, not because they aren’t healthy, but because the products they are found in contain mostly suspect ingredients.

The main question to ask is why would people think they are eating healthy foods? Many holistic nutritionists and health experts don’t even consider these processed foodstuffs food.

Here are a few types of products you should keep in mind when you unconsciously load your shopping cart with so-called “healthy foods.”

Whole Grain Breads

There are beneficial whole grain breads on the market; however, always do your research. I would purchase multi-grain breads that contain sprouted and organic ingredients such as flaxseeds, millet, khorasan wheat, barley, buckwheat, sunflower seeds, brown rice, spelt, amaranth, and quinoa. I have seen particular breads turning “quinoa” and “flax” into buzzwords because they are combined with GMOs canola and soy, and suspect food additives. Seek healthier non-GMO and organic breads for your sandwich or butter spread.

Veggie Chips or Sticks

Just because you read the word “veggie” does not mean when you eat these chips or sticks that they are contributing to your necessary daily intake of vegetables. They are still a processed chip alternative and the buyer must beware. Often the salt intake is comparable and sometimes higher than potato chips. Many veggie chip brands will use canola, safflower, or sunflower oil. The oils are high in calories and canola is well known as a GMO. These are just a few reasons to get your veggies the whole foods way.

Corn Chips

People may also think corn chips or blue corn tortillas are the healthier snacking alternative. Wrong! You’re again being manipulated by the food industry. Unless your corn chips are organic, they are made from GMO corn, and may even have suspect ingredients and food chemicals. Also, whether or not they are organic or even blue corn chips, corn is commonly known to cause digestive problems and food sensitivities. Best to find a healthier option for your salsa and guacamole.

Trail Mix

People often believe they are eating a healthy snack when they consume trail mixes. I have noticed that chemical preservatives are part of the ingredient lists of packaged trail mixes. Sure, nuts and seeds have an abundance of health benefits; however, it may also contain dried fruits that are usually heavy on the concentrated sugar. The better option is to make your own trail mixes with organic or raw nuts or seeds. You want the health benefits that a handful of nuts and seeds can provide as a snack without any unwanted chemicals.

Protein Bars

When I was working at a health food store, a coworker and I would look at the many ingredients within the protein bars. Very few of the bars actually passed our “healthy” test and would contain GMOs such as soy. Also, consider the “protein” sources being added to the protein bars. Many protein isolate forms often added to protein bars contain the harmful toxin monosodium glutamate (MSG), which may also hide in the form of hydrolyzed vegetable protein, textured vegetable protein, and hydrolyzed plant protein. A lot of these bars are advertised as meal replacements or for after a workout; however, you really have to search out the better options. There are about one or two I’ve found that are entirely plant based without any chemicals or additives.

Don’t be fooled by the food industry. Your nutritious food heroes are primarily in your whole foods. You always have to be careful when you are consuming anything processed, even when you’ve been told for many years that it’s the healthier option.

Gunnars, K., “Top 11 ‘Diet’ Foods That Make You Fat Instead of Thin,” Authority Nutrition web site, January 21, 2014;
“Veggie Chips: Are They Healthy?” The SparkPeople Blog web site, May 30, 2012;
Schoffro Cook, M., “The Shocking Truth About Protein Bars, Shakes & ‘Enhanced’ Foods,” Care2 Healthy Living web site, Aug. 30, 2013;