I am usually disturbed by the food commercials that appear on television. This is because it is very rare that a food that you actually should eat is actually advertised. Fresh organic peaches from a local farm at the market certainly are not, neither are heirloom beans, nor artisan bakers for that matter. Not only do they do not have the money to pay for ad space during the Today Show, but I also think it must seem ridiculous to the producers of these products to advertise something that in its purity advertises itself. This leaves junk food, or what unfortunately many people think is normal food, to be targeted at millions of people daily.
There is one ad on the television these days that I find particularly offensive. The ad is for a name-brand cereal bar with fiber in it. Even though I am used to the ridiculousness of these commercials, this one threw me over the edge. In it, there is a man who is handing out samples of these bars, which have added fiber in them. They also have chocolate chips, which always seems like a strange addition to supposedly “healthy” foods. Why on earth are there chocolate chips in breakfast bars (why are there breakfast bars?), energy bars, and granola? Anyway, the first woman in line who samples the bar cannot believe that it is that delicious and has fiber. She is convinced that the sample man is playing tricks on her. When a second woman (a similar demographic to the first) comes up to sample, the first one continues to ask in an excited tone what she thinks of the bar. How can it taste good and have fiber in it is the question they ask. The comparison of fiber to “cardboard” is mentioned.
I was stunned when I saw this commercial. The fact that we are so dumb to think that we need a bar with added sugar and who-knows-what-else-in-it to give ourselves a basic nutrient speaks very strongly about the depth of our country’s nutritional crisis. What I find so offensive about the commercial, though, is that the company is convincing the viewers that fiber, in fact, does taste like cardboard, and not like apples, strawberries, oatmeal, rice, beans, beets, almonds, or any other delicious food that is in fact healthy for us. Let me add that these foods are delicious in their natural state or a very basic preparation. It is also trying to persuade us that fiber is this hard to attain star of a nutrient that we can only rely on a bar with chocolate chips to provide us with. I could go on, but I think I made my point.
Do yourself a favor and avoid foods you see advertised on television. Chances are they are not made with your health in mind.