When you go shopping, how do you pick your food? Do you check labels to avoid the most scary sounding ingredients? It seems that you are probably consuming what you set to avoid. You could be eating fake food. We wouldn’t knowingly consume ingredients that are detrimental to our health, but we are possibly doing just that.
What is ‘Fake Food’?
Fake Food is simply a term referring to food that is misleading. What you would consider to be natural, might in fact be highly artificial. Before it turns up on our shelves, food is processed. It’s altered in some way from the original so that it can be marketed to the consumer. What you read on the label might not actually be what is inside the package.
What Are The Labels Covering Up?
Manufacturers are terrifyingly clever when it comes to presenting the ingredients of their products. If something is labelled as “natural” or “organic”, we are far more likely to buy. Consumers will often be more drawn to something that seems more wholesome – giving that feeling of “home-made”. In her investigation for The Guardian, Joanna Blythman found that companies will try to create ‘clean labels’. All ingredients that are shown on food packaging may include everything, but there isn’t a break down of things like additives and substitutes. For example: ‘natural colouring’ translates to pigments that are found in nature, but contain the same chemicals and solvents as artificial colours. Essentially, companies will cover what is real with something that simply sounds more attractive.
Bringing Home the Bacon
Corporations capitalising on food is sadly nothing new. Once food shortage was the major issue. In two world wars, nations have had to adapt to food rationing. Now with our technological advances food is in over abundance, particularly in the West. There is so much food available, often at very small prices and with a constant supply and demand. For manufacturers, this is exactly where the market is. Humans need food for their very survival so there is an infinite amount of money to be made from a basic part of living. Unfortunately, the need for food has been and still is exploited for profit but without regard to overall health or our knowledge.
Take for instance the fad of ‘low-fat’ foods. We have often bought them with the intention of being healthier. It’s easy enough to assume low-fat would equal healthy, considering we are constantly reminded of how bad it is for us. But have you ever considered what replaces the fat when it’s taken away? Usually, it’s sugar. The problem with taking out an ingredient like fat, you’re left with something that will taste awful and that’s where the sugar comes in. Sugar companies have gone so far as to create biased “scientific” studies that outline fat as unhealthy to consumers, so that they can buy into low-fat products.
I’ve Been Eating Fake Food, All This Time?
The problem is, we don’t know the full extent. As consumers, we have every right to believe what the labels tell us and that we are simply just eating the food in front of us. It is highly worrying that corporate companies are choosing to include ingredients that only benefit their pockets and are potentially detrimental to our health in the long run. Furthermore, they have worked hard over the years to hide this sort of information and it seems that they will continue to do so. But out of all this, it still begs the question: what can we eat? Without any truth, this is an extremely hard question to answer. In future, be mindful of what you buy. Also, choose to make what you can at home from scratch. It’s easier to know the ingredients of food you’ve made yourself.