29 Jun 2012

Food Ads Make You Fat?!?

We all know there's a ton of stuff in our urban lives that make us fat. Fast food makes us fat and we know it. Drinking sugary sodas and fizzy drinks makes us fat. Every day new studies and magazine articles scare the confidence out of us with new results that slowly paint a picture in our heads: this fucking world wants to make us FAT by any means.

Well, I'm here to shake that confidence a little bit more, unfortunately. Say you stay away from fats foods and sugary drinks already, and put lots of veg and fruit in your diet. Say you work out a couple of days a week and you think you're pretty much safe from random obesity. About the only unfit thing you do is the car ride to and back from work every day, so it's no surprise your reward yourself with a nice little downtime each day, say watching your favorite TV show. Nothing wrong could possibly go wrong and make you fat now, can it? WRONG.

That's right fuckface - it's the only exercise you'll do anyway
Remember that Burger King ad you pass by on your way to work? That large billboard with a 3 meter burger painted across it? Or the KFC fries and chicken ad, or the McDonald's billboard, or the Jerry's Pizza one - you get the idea. You probably don't even notice them anymore - but your brain does even if you don't. Sure, maybe that piece of information in itself is scary, but so is this new recent study that claims that just looking at high-calorie food stimulates the appetite and makes you hungry.

Because suggestive advertising is like totally below the fast food industry
Wait, there's more. Drinks with added sweeteners (including Diet Coke and other similar products with a negligible calorie count) also screw you up: they activate brain regions involved with hunger and the study I mentioned earlier links this with obesity.

So wait - you try to work out and have a balanced diet, but you brain says "fuck you" to all that every time he sees a burger ad and kicks you into get-food-now mode without so much as  your consent? Not only that, but sating your appetite for fizzy drinks and your caring for your figure by opting for zero-calorie drinks also makes you fat? God dang it! Your brain is an asshole - it's like a chubby spoiled kid who loses his shit at McDonald's and makes a scene if he doesn't get his super-sized burger bucket. And that little fat kid is pulling the strings of your body and you're basically the puppet tho this zero-self-control spawn of Jabba the Hutt.

What's missing is a fourth image, a coffin captioned "Eventually"
What's worse is that this problem seriously affects children and teenagers just as much, if not worse. Given how childhood obesity has tripled in the past 30 years in the US alone (67% of all adults are also overweight), with a full one third of children and adolescents being overweight or obese as of 2008, and over 45 million overweight children in the world  experts are beginning to pin the blame on TV broadcasters. Why is that? Because 40% of commercials  shown in children's shows are for high-sugar or high-fat products, brainwashing kids' hunger centers with chocolate, sugary yoghurts, sugary cereals, burgers, frozen pizzas etc. What with fast food and high fructose sugar-rich snacks being as addictive as hardcore drugs, you can see how that's a problem. 

It's cool bro. I can quit this anytime I want to.
Adults at least can take some degree of responsibility for their actions, but you can't expect the same amount of self control in kids and especially not in teenagers. Not only does the food itself spark the youngsters' appetite, bur there are less subliminal messages in those commercials. Many of these associate the food itself with excitement or adventure, and some even go as far as suggesting that the food itself enhances your performance or abilities (Tony the Tiger gets a super-boost after eating Kellogg's cereal, for example). However children are unaware that there's nothing farther from the truth: high fat, salt and sugar diets lead to obesity, lethargy and health issues in future years, and often lead to type 2 diabetes. So getting rid of these bad ads can potentially curb childhood obesity - one study concludes by as much as one fifth. Maybe that doesn't strike you as much, but you have to remember this is just by eliminating the ads themselves, not by changing their diet or the ingredients used in the food itself. 

"Eat shit and die" - but I'm just paraphrasing
But let's get back to us, the adults. The world is full of ads and companies trying to get you to buy their stuff, even if it's bad for you. We already know our pathetic, weak-willed brains can con us into going on a burger binge - or simply make us hungry, which means you still get fat even if you don't eat the product. It doesn't even matter if you have fast food lying around, you'll just eat more of whatever you have in your fridge or pantry. The problem is we can hardly escape this bombardment of stimuli that manipulates our behavior in ways we can't consciously control. Ads themselves aren't the only things that trick our brains like this: the person eating next to you, the neighbor's cooking, anything can trigger an eating desire, but if you're asking what can be done, the answer is nothing. Not at the general level of our society at least, but at the level of the individual. Don't have snack foods lying around, don't eat in between meals, and show some self control when passing a fast food booth.

In the end, we're surrounded by dicks and assholes telling us what to do. We have to resist the urge to listen to these idiots, even if the idiot in question is our own brain.


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