Wednesday, 16 January 2013

Marketing Food

While travelling around Europe  last week I took advantage of the fact by reducing my carbohydrate intake dramatically (it's quite easy when you're having meetings all day and staying in hotels). I compounded that yesterday by staring the 5:2 diet while I was in Aberdeen for the day (nearly more than a day, as the airport closed because of snow in the evening for several hours). The aim is to lose just over a stone in weight (and hopefully reduce my reliance on statins and hypertension medication while eliminating any chance of type II diabetes later in life.

The 5:2 diet means starving yourself on 2 days a week, although you are allowed up to 600 calories on these days (which seems rather a lot to me). Apparently it mimics the way our ancestors lived and how we evolved - a large kill, producing plenty of food for a few days, and then a short period of starvation while looking for the next kill. The logic behind it is that we've forgotten what it feels like to be hungry and contintally load ourselves with simple carbohydrates. As I'm off to London for some meetings, today is my next starvation day.

Anyway - I was looking over the fare at Aberdeen airport - deep fried Mars Bars, haggis, etc., and my eyes alighted on 2 ranges of sandwiches; normal ones and special diet ones. Believe it or not, the normal butties contained exactly the same calories as the diet ones. A veritable triumph of marketing.

It's rather confusing that while scientists refer to calories, the food industry uses kilo-calories - but they are the same thing. Logic dictates that a kcal is 1,000 calories, but that's not the case.

Did you know that lard, sugar and chocolate are slimming - as part of a calorie-controlled diet (i.e., if you leave them out completely). That's how marketing works.


  1. As our ancestors had a life expectancy of about 30, I am not too keen on mimicking the way they lived. Why not try a 5.2 diet instead of a 5:2 diet - if you search the beer shelves at the local Tesco carefully enough I am sure you will find something at 5.2 ABV

    1. Alan - I'm hardly likely to get gored by a sabre-toothed cat or die from some virulent bacterial infection that we don't have the technology to cure (well, not in Old Sodbury - not sure about Huddersfield, I head you still have herds of mammoths there)...