Eating Only What’s Advertised

It’s not pretty.  Shocking, I know, but still, this is absolutely fucking absurd.

To figure out exactly how unhealthy a TV-guided diet would be, researchers studied food commercials that appeared during 84 hours of prime-time programming and 12 hours of Saturday-morning cartoons broadcast over the major U.S. networks during one month in 2004. When the research team calculated the nutritional content of a 2,000-calorie-a-day diet containing only foods that were advertised on television, they found that it exceeded the government’s recommended daily amount of fat by 20 times and had 25 times the recommended daily intake of sugar. “That’s almost a month’s worth of sugar in one day,” notes study leader Michael Mink at Armstrong Atlantic State University in Savannah, Ga.

In addition, the TV-marketed diet provided less than half the recommended daily servings of fruit, vegetables and dairy.

In fact, the sources of nutrition in the TV-ad diet were almost the exact opposite of what the government’s food pyramid recommends. Instead of making up the smallest proportion of a day’s calories, as nutritionists advise, fats and sugars accounted for the largest portion of calories in a diet based on television advertising. Couple this nutritional inversion with the fact that marketing campaigns are notoriously effective in influencing people’s behavior and the result is what many nutrition experts call a toxic environment — one that dissuades Americans from making healthy food choices and encourages inactivity.

In the year the study took place, the authors point out that foodmakers spent $11.3 billion hawking their products, while the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which oversees national nutritional recommendations, spent only $268 million — 2% of the total that was funneled into food marketing — on nutritional education.

And this is just one reason why Americans are disgustingly obese.

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