Healthy Food Guide… jumped the shark?

I hate it when I feel disappointed or let down. I’m a person who invests in relationships. I feel that you get out what you put in, and I typically look for the good in people or situations rather than the bad. I also think that I’m slower than most to give up on something; I find I can make excuses for people or situations where I think that, deep down, the intention was good, but the consequence didn’t reflect that. I will more than likely give them benefit of the doubt. So I’m loyal then too – kind of like a Labrador. Which likely explains why I was perusing the Healthy Food Guide magazine on Friday, as I have subscribed since day one.

Now, just to clarify – I used to love the Healthy Food Guide when it first emerged. I believed it to be a reputable source of nutrition information that the general public could easily digest. It also had some good recipes that, with the addition of some seasoning most of the time, were good options for time-poor people who didn’t know where to start with putting together a healthy diet. I found the section comparing like products a useful tool for clients to get their heads around choosing through the seemingly endless products on the supermarket shelf, and welcomed the articles that delved into current health and nutrition topics, knowing that the advisory board (consisting of top nutrition researchers in the country) would have signed off on the details.

Of course, as my knowledge base has increased over the last couple of years, and I’ve steadily moved away from processed food and coached clients towards a whole food approach to diet, I’ve relied less and less on the Healthy Food Guide as my go-to resource. I get back issues delivered to give to clients, and always appreciated that the Healthy Food Guide would send these to me to be able to do this. However I have only very recently stopped this, as its usefulness has increasingly diminished in light of increasing frustration around the nutrition messages in the magazine that don’t reflect more current and evidence-backed views on health. One of the reasons that I still get it is because I like to see if the magazine has moved at all from the conservative view on nutrition and health – it’s important for me to be aware of this so I’m informed when I talk to clients about the magazine. I’d not want to just assume something without background knowledge. I have taken a much more ambivalent view to the content, just skimming the magazine for any interesting new products or gadgets for the kitchen, and any recipes that I could adapt to fit in line with how I like to eat. I had hoped also that with the emerging messages coming out that challenges the status quo understanding of health and nutrition, the Healthy Food Guide would also move on.

Suffice to say, this hasn’t really happened. I think that the underlying message of whole food is coming through – however the recommendations that are aligned to low fat and high carbohydrate still exists with their sample diets geared geared towards this. I’m not surprised then when I see an advert that applauds the reader’s choice of Cheerio cereal for breakfast; the Healthy Food Guide endorses it in both the print and television media, consistent with their overall message. I actually doubt that anyone there would personally think it’s a good breakfast choice that sustains someone and keeps them going through the entire morning, but again, it’s consistent with their message regardless of how they actually might eat. And, when it comes down to it – the magazine is a business – and while they might be in the business of promoting healthy eating, they also have a bottom line. So, should I be surprised to see this when I was flicking through the magazine on Friday night?



Wow. An appetite suppressant. Really, HFG?

Yes. I think so. Surprised and disappointed – to advertise an appetite suppressant goes totally against the message that they promote. Garcinia cambogia purportedly boosts satiety from food after eating, thereby helping people lose weight. Unsurprisingly, recent reviews reveal that (at best) this isn’t supported by research, and at worse might not even be safe. The team over at Examine (as usual) unpacks the research beautifully. I’m not sure how it even got through the editorial team actually. This ‘quick fix’ goes against everything they stand for. It must have been an oversight, because otherwise this would be akin to selling out, really. This totally sends mixed messages to the consumers, worse than a full page advertisement for coconut oil one page over from an article on the evils of saturated fat. Maybe I’m overreacting (I could be – it’s been a busy time of year and I’m probably a touch more irritable than usual) but this really does illustrate that the magazine is, at the end of the day, in the business of making money. In my humble opinion, this totally jumped the shark.


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