I just got done reading the “Big Fat Food Fraud”. Someone gave it to me so I felt like I should read it. I HATED it until I got into the last couple of chapters. Overall, it’s not a great book; it could have been a lot shorter with a lot less vulgar language and inappropriate references, but there were a few points throughout that I think are worth mentioning. Below are some of the author’s claims, as well as my thoughts on them.
Claim 1: Pre-prepared “healthy” meals might not be as healthy as you think because labels can be skewed…
This can be true with any food you eat that’s not prepared in your own kitchen. There are a few places that are passionate about cooking and promoting healthy food that I trust when eating out like Picnik, Hu Kitchen, and Sweet27, but most places I eat out at or buy pre-cooked meals from, I know I’m taking a chance on eating some kind of crap mixed into the healthy stuff. Unless you prepare something yourself or watching someone prepare your entire meal, there is no way of guaranteeing what’s in your food, simple as that. Is this a reason to stress? No. If you’re eating most of your food at home, the little bit of High Fructose Corn Syrup or soy is not going to have detrimental effects on your overall health (unless you have allergies).
Claim 2: The gluten free movement has caused a lot of people to spend unnecessary amounts of money on gluten free food that may not actually be gluten free…
The author talks about Pizza Hut and Papa Johns selling “gluten free” pizza, but not guaranteeing that their gluten free pizza was actually gluten-free due to “cross contamination”. He mentions this because while he was creating his healthy pre-made meals, he was pumping his “gluten-free” food full of gluten, but still labeling it gluten-free. When people with celiac disease would ask his company about it, he would simply say he couldn’t guarantee that it was gluten-free due to cross-contamination.
Friends, Papa Johns and Pizza Hut have never cared about your health, and they definitely don’t care about your gluten-free diet. It’s a marketing scheme. Don’t fall for it. If you want to truly eat a gluten-free diet, do your research and do not trust big name companies that obviously have no interest in your health (i.e. fast food companies).
Again, I would be wary of anything I was buying and didn’t prepare. Asking the hard questions to companies and doing your research can help, but trusting any company blindly means you’re taking your chances.
Claim 3: There are some labels that are not regulated by the USDA like “humanely raised”
Yep. Have you ever been to a grocery store and saw “humanely raised” meat for a lower price than you’d buy meat for at your local Wal-Mart? News flash: It’s more expensive to humanely raise animals and the farms still need to make a profit to continue their business. I’m not saying more expensive meat is always better, but if you’re worried about how the animal was fed or treated, you need to know where your food is coming from. Buy from a local farm where you can see how the animals are fed and treated. There are plenty of people out there that are into sustainable farming and passionate about treating and feeding their animals the right way.
If you don’t live somewhere where there is access to buy directly from a farm, try to see if there is a farmers market nearby where you can buy your meat or look at smaller grocery stores like Mom’s Organic Market, stores committed to quality food. If all these are not an option, there are also services like Bucher Box that ship grass-fed/grass-finished beef directly to your door!
And it finally ended…
The last couple chapters of this book are actually informative. Towards the end, the author re-builds his pre-made meals business to have organic, whole foods and completely removes all of the additives. His clients are feeling good and losing weight, however they are complaining the food is too expensive. He explains that the food he is using is more expensive because they are using higher quality ingredients, but his clients don’t care because they don’t want to pay the extra money. When the food was cheaper, full of additives and they were gaining weight, they didn’t want it either. The sad thing is, this is the way a lot of people think these days. They want the benefits of healthier, more nutrient dense food, but they don’t want to pay for it. You have to choose!
Now that I have wasted a few hours of my life reading this book (similar to how I felt after watching What The Health) I am glad I could save some money and time for people who might have considered reading this book by giving the highlights.
If you have any questions, feel free to comment or contact me!
Until next time,