For a while now we have been subjected to the wonders of the Health Star Rating System. The pic to the left showing four and half stars out of five for a chocolate flavoured liquid breakfast “meal”.
Four and half out of five? It must be good for me! Hmmm. The thing to remember with the Health Star Rating System is: it’s only applied to manufactured foods. The humble apple, tray of raspberries or even a steak won’t receive a rating. Are these foods inherently without health value? Of course not! Wholefoods, real foods, don’t qualify for the system. The implications of this are worrying.
Sliced tomatoes and cottage cheese on spelt toast and a glass of water versus a four and a half star box of liquid. Time pressure is allegedly a thing in this modern world. I have my doubts but the idea is constantly being sold as a thing. Four and a half stars out of five and liquid “on the go” and a corporate marketing budget versus three minutes to prepare real food? Real food doesn’t scream its nutritional value, does advertise its natural antioxidant properties, real food just sits waiting. Waiting for all of us to see the difference between real food and a Star rated box of chemicals from a factory.
To prove my point let’s look at the ingredients list for the pictured product, shall we?
Ingredients (Chocolate flavour)
Filtered water, skim milk powder, cane sugar (4%), wheat maltodextrin, soy protein, vegetable oils (1.5%) (sunflower, canola), Hi-maize™ starch, corn syrup solids, inulin, fructose, cocoa (0.5%), cereals (oat flour, barley beta glucan), minerals (calcium, phosphorus), food acid (332), flavour, vegetable gums (460,466,407) vitamins (C, A, niacin, B12, B2, B6, B1, folate), salt. Source: (http://foodwatch.com.au/reviews/item/product-review-upgo-liquid-breakfast.html)
We need to stop buying the food industry’s advertising and start buying food, real food. Real food is so much more than its nutritional make up. It starts with the soil, the farmer/gardener who planted the seeds. It is the growing season and the harvest. It is the caring preparation and the consumption with loved ones. Or we can throw down a box of liquid. It all comes down to our choices.