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    Archive for the ‘everything in moderation’ Category

    Hershey’s: When In Doubt, Hype and Deflect

    For my penultimate post relating to the American Dietetic Association’s Food and Nutrition Conference & Expo (fun wrap-up post tomorrow!), I want to focus on the rhetoric one often hears at Big Food booths.

    Whereas companies that sell real, whole food products focus on what they are actually selling (be it hemp seeds, green tea, or snacks made from whole, non-GMO ingredients), Big Food tends to rely on hype and deflection.

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    Food for Thought: Everything In Moderation? I Don’t Think So!

    foodforthoughtOne of the most common pieces of dietary advice I have come across for as long as I can remember is the quasi-cliché sounding “everything in moderation.”

    While food companies love it (no matter how heinous their products are, they can always fall back on the ‘everything in moderation’ recommendation and attribute it to nutrition professionals), I have my share of issues with it.

    I understand what “everything in moderation” attempts to communicate — sharing a side of French fries with a friend at lunchtime is not equivalent to eating a King size order from Burger King on your own.  Similarly, treating yourself to three Hershey’s kisses is very different from snacking on a dozen Oreo cookies.  It is useful in combating “all or nothing” thinking.

    This piece of ‘sensible advice’, however, begs the question — what is moderation?  Who is defining it?  Is it ‘moderate’ to eat a small bag of Doritos for lunch every day?  Or it is ‘moderate’ to eat them just once a week?

    This recommendation also unnecessarily equalizes the nutrition playing field.

    “Everything in moderation” implies that the same eating practices should be applied to chicken wings, baby carrots, skim milk, Twinkies, soda, and basil.

    If someone who was at a healthy weight (and was eating out of physical hunger, as opposed to emotionally) told me they ate half a bag of baby carrots and six tablespoons of hummus every day when they got home from work, I would not caution them to “exercise moderation.”  After all, that snack only adds up to 225 calories, and provides a substantial amount of nutrition.

    The “everything in moderation” advice would be much more applicable to someone who ate half a loaf of sliced bread and six tablespoons of peanut butter every afternoon.

    Lastly, if moderation implies the frequency with which foods are eaten, then this advice is also not nutritionally sound.  I fully recommend that fresh fruits and vegetables be consumed on a daily basis.  Pop Tarts?  Not so much.

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