Bag, Box or Bottle – Diner Beware!

blog 3 of 16 -3[This is #3 of 16 blogs that will be the basis of a book project – “16 Simple Truths to Lose Weight, Gain Strength and Be Happy.” The goal is to send the manuscript to a publisher by mid-October. Each of 16 chapters will cover one specific “truth.” Each blog, published every Monday, will be a synopsis of each chapter. You are now cordially invited to join the process. Please leave a comment and offer your thoughts, ideas and insight. Thank you.]

Be very aware when you eat from a bag, box or bottle. Think about what you are about to eat. Read the label. And, ask yourself, is it worth it? Think, again. Is this moment of false satisfaction worth giving up that feeling of being your best. At least be cognizant of the fact that it wasn’t always this way. Believe it or not, back in the day, we ate fresh fruits and vegetables from the community in which we lived. The same is true of meat and grains. And our milk likely came from a cow with a name. A simpler time indeed. But eating, in a way, has become complex. In fact, over 1/2 of Americans, that were polled, believed doing their taxes was easier than figuring out how to eat healthy.1


So, what makes getting your fill on, more like the algebraic wizardry of a lift-off? The reasons are many, but the countdown to a poor diet begins with limited time, more options, disposable income, advancing food science, and of course marketers (it always ends with a zero). In 2011, a study by researchers at Prevention Institute looked at packages with front of package labelling – symbols that identify healthier products – and found that 84% of products studied didn’t even meet basic nutritional standards.2 Now that’s marketing!

But wait, there’s more; marketers regularly use at least 16 synonyms for sugar including hydrolysed starch, maltodextrin, agave nectar and of course high-fructose corn sweetener. C’mon man! That’s a low blow when too much of the sweet stuff can lead to a bitter end. And currently the average American eats 32 teaspoons of sugar a day when the recommendation is just 10. Keep reading to see how the fast food industry piles on, contributing to an extra 22 spoons per every 24 hours. This does not end well.

snacksThe one tip I will give you, in this limited space, is stay on the perimeter of your favorite grocer. It is here you can load up with fresh fruits and vegetables, lean meats, whole grains and diary. Don’t allow yourself to meander down each aisle, rather dash for something on your list. Your basket will look different than most, given Americans consume 31% more packaged food than fresh food.3 I know, it’s unbelievable.


Now upon exiting with some serious produce to chop up, you’ll likely pass dozens of eateries on your drive home. All with a simple, and similar value proposition; a bag of reasonably good food, at a fair price, quick – no prep, no clean-up. Pretty compelling when you’ve been working all day and you still got chopping to do. Then deep within your cerebral cortex you hear the melodious notes “you deserve a break today.” Damn marketers. But you, no doubt, will drive on knowing that one out of four Americans will catch the beat and succumb each and every day. In fact, on any given day McDonalds serves 45 Million people around the world. I suspect they are “lovin’ It.”4

blog 3 of 16 - 4Of course you know the problem – your body is saying, “Have It Your Way – ‘Really?!’” The calorie counts are ridiculous, many times a single meal utilizing your entire daily caloric budget. And it’s not that the meal just cheats you out of the nutrition you need, it’s that it delivers a flurry of body shots. Yes, in the beginning they seem harmless enough, but in the later rounds, that six pack caves like an aluminum can. And the next thing you see is the canvas and its coming your way – really fast – but somehow an out of body experience allows you to see it in slow motion. That said, we in the US spend $142 Billion on this nutritionally deficient high calorie food each year – that’s $460 per person5 – nearly enough to end world hunger forever.

3 Reasons It Really Matters?


I know, I know everyone has a right to consume as much as they want. It’s America. But, hold on there, Yankee Doodle, what about the children? Barring some physiological abnormality (which is rare when it comes to obesity) there is no good reason for a child to be obese. And the price emotionally and physically are high. Yet, it seems few alarms are actually ringing. For example it’s probably news to you that today, right here in the “Land of the Free,” that 40% of our children’s diets come from added sugars and unhealthy fats,6 and 19% are already obese. Where’s the battle cry to save the children. What should be our response to the fact that only 20% of youth age 6 – 19 eat the recommended five or more servings of fruits and vegetables each day.7 Two out of 10!

At Cooper Field, Fort Hood, Texas, the U.S. Army 1st Cavalry Division Headquarters, hold a retirement ceremony in honor of Gen. Leon J. LaPorte.  Gen. LaPorte, is retiring after nearly 38 years of service.  The ceremony ends with the 1st Cavalry Division Horse Detachment traditional cavalry charge. (U.S. Army Photo by Christopher Varville, Civ) (Released)

Call It a Cultural Response: A study conducted by Prevention Institute in 2007, found that over half of the most aggressively marketed children’s foods advertising fruit on the packaging actually contain no fruit ingredients whatsoever.8 Marketers beware, one day our political and legal Calvary will mount-up.


Sixty percent (60%) of Americans are now overweight or obese.9 That’s sick. Well, it turns out big bottoms or rather big bodies are in fact likely to become sick.  As in really sick, like coronary heart disease, stroke, hypertension, diabetes, cancer, gall bladder disease, osteoarthritis, and respiratory problems. And along the way you can add sleep apnea, impotence, headache, esophageal reflux, infertility, gallstones, osteoarthritis, depression, asthma, and lower back pain.

  1. One Huge BOTTOM LINE

So, you’re unmoved by a cause that really was and is totally avoidable. While in essence that is true, everyone faces challenges and it’s a blessing to be in a position to offer help. And lots of help is going to be needed – so roll-up those sleeves tough guy. By 2030, healthcare costs attributable to poor diet and inactivity could range from $860 billion to $956 billion, which would account for 15.8 to 17.6 percent of total healthcare costs, or one in every six dollars spent on healthcare.10

THNKER2232092Now the next time you reach through your open car window and stretch for that bag . . . think. When you realize your grocery cart has more boxes than produce . . . think. And unless you have good ole H2O in those bottles . . . think. Actually permit me to request that together as a community we adopt this mantra: Think. Read. Repeat. Before You Eat! Write it down. Put a copy on the fridge, on the corner of the mirror you look in before you go to work, one or two (extra for a friend) copies for your wallet or purse. And most of all use it as often as needed. Good Luck!

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