Is All Food Advertised on Television Bad For You?

My wife left her Facebook page open today on my computer. When I sat down to use it what was staring back at me was one of the dumbest memes or motivational pictures I have ever seen (well, actually, I’ve seen a lot more that are worse, but hyperbole sometimes gets the better of me) and it was shared by one of her health care professional contacts. The meme read;

“The key to eating healthy? Avoid any food that has a TV commercial.”

Hmmm. So I guess that means we are avoiding this food…

Or this one…

Or even this one…

So that’s avocados, bananas, and natural oats. All of these make many nutritionist’s Top Ten, Top Seven, or Top Five (will the internet ever be full?) Superfoods lists. Yes, go on, google “avocado superfood”; you’ll see it listed. Then google “banana superfood”; it’s there too. Go on, I dare you. “Oats superfood?” Let’s check the Family Feud board. It’s there (ching, ching you have won $50,000). Yay. Um, no…

WARNING: If you’re a vegetarian or vegan, you may not want to view the next two, but these commercials that also appear on television are also foods that are recommended by many health experts, dieticians and nutritionists and they basically make the meme sound like it is not really that well thought out.

I present salmon… yes ANOTHER superfood…

I love this one starring Northern Ireland born, New Zealand raised, made famous in Australia, Hollywood actor Sam Neill. Funny, I always thought he’d end up doing commercial for goat meat. #jurassicparkgoatscenereference

kids watching television
Photo Credit: Photographer’s Choice

Now I know the intention of the creator of this meme was to highlight that television commercials for fast food, sugary cereals and soft drinks are advertising foods that one should not consider if they are on a healthy eating plan, but really, many of the health food experts with websites, Facebook pages and Twitter feeds are promoting their wares to many who are uneducated and those people may get really confused, and next time they see an advertisement for avocado they will question the benefits that this superfood has to offer, as pointed out in MANY television commercials.

And if you are to simply tell your kids “if it is advertised on television, it MUST be bad for you” then how are you going to get them to eat a banana?

Sorry meme maker, you’ve missed the mark on this one. Sadly, misinformation like this is shared every day. For all the good the information age has brought us, there are plenty who are using it to spread the wrong message.

So next time you see one of these motivational memes, stop and think before you share. Okay, these aren’t as bad a urban legends or scams, but still, we can all aim to be a little smarter, don’t you think?

Now excuse me, I’m off to make my body sing (that’s eating a banana, okay?)

4 thoughts on “Is All Food Advertised on Television Bad For You?

  1. I understand what you are saying, however, when I watch tv with my son we don’t see any adverts for bananas, avocados or salmon. We do see a lot of stuff full of sugar, as well as McDonalds, Dominoes and other such crap. Perhaps what you are highlighting are the exceptions that prove the rule.

    1. Maybe that’s an Australian thing to show adverts for fresh foods. Sure we have those KFC, Maccas (Aussie slang for McDonald’s), and Pizza Hut ads, but there are other healthy foods I have thought of since that I could have added to this list.

      1. I have been thinking about this since I wrote my original comment. There is a lot of fresh and healthy food available here in Brazil and we are kind of at the beginning of the trend towards processed and industrialised foods, so perhaps that is why we have more adverts for the crap type of food.

  2. Most overarching sweeping comments can be proved wrong. But the rule of thumb may have some value. I would be interested in seeing the breakdown of healthy food commercials vs unhealthy food commercials per hour of tv viewing.

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