Do you ever find yourself asking: why is America fat? It’s certainly not due to a lack of information about nutrition. New research comes out pretty much daily. For instance, just this past week there were reports that:
- Though “the majority of Americans say they’ve been trying to eat more fruits and vegetables over the past year…” (according to a poll of 1,057 adults for the International Food Information Council Foundation) “…most people are consuming less than half of what the government recommends.” (July 10, USA Today)
- “Substituting other sweeteners for sugars may help people lose weight and help people with diabetes control blood sugar, according to a new joint statement issued by the American Heart Association and the American Diabetes Association.” (July 9, WebMD)
How many related articles appear in magazines or online every day? And I am not just talking about the “Best Celebrity Beach Bodies” articles. There is a lot of science-backed media coverage coming at us as well. Remember the stir created by New York Times reporter Tara Parker Pope’s “The Fat Trap” article? Girlfriend had no shortage of research and data to share in her article; it was far from fluff. And that is just one example of dozens of similar articles.
And yet very little, if anything, seems to be changing. In fact, there is every indication that things are getting worse.
Is it all just too confusing for us? For every argument made to “eat paleo,” there’s an “all plant-based, all the time” message. For every “eat this and not that” comment, you can hear a corresponding cry of “it’s about the calories, stupid.” It’s gotten to the point where you need a Ph.D. just to assess your snack options.
Here’s the thing: I don’t think research on its own is going to change behaviors. We need some sort of translation. How do we extract the most meaningful information and incorporate into our lives in a way that will actually work?
We need the right translator to help us navigate all the nutritional landmines. Spectrum translates a lot of complex, scientific language every day, crunching data in a way that makes sense to the people with or without a Ph.D. I know for our clients’ audiences, it helps them to make decisions – whether that decision is to purchase a particular product or even to eat a particular food.
In the meantime, there are a few things that I see as incontrovertible truths:
1) There is absolutely no debate over the fact that we all need to eat more vegetables (and some, but not too much fruit).
2) Sugar is not good for you (but it’s in pretty much everything we eat, so be careful!).
3) Even though we hear this information ALL THE TIME, the obesity epidemic is growing.
What do you think? Are you as overloaded by nutritional information as I am? Would having some translation help you assess the way you look at food? Let us know!