Food marketing follows trends as corporate marketers purposefully use hot buzzwords to describe all kinds of food products, whether or not they are true in relation to that item.
Joyce Slaton posted a fabulous overview of trendy food marketing words over the past 50 years or so along with a witty explanations of what these popular words really mean when viewed as applied to packaged foods. I love that she also notes the marketing colors that were commonly used to further the implication of the power of that particular food.
It made me think of the food marketing buzzwords that I once found appealing in the grocery store but now know enough to put the item down and back away slowly. I, too, drank the sugar-free Kool-aid, Crystal Lite, and Diet Coke by the liter; ate Lean Cuisines instead of meals; and used Equal in my morning coffee. After several decades of this, I awoke one morning blind in my right eye. I learned the hard way to resist these marketing ploys. See what you think:
Low-fat/No-fat/Fat-free. Unfortunatly, when conventional food companies take the fat out things like potato chips, cookies, frozen meals, etc., they have to replace it with something else so that the item still tastes good. Usually these things are completely synthetic, like Olestra (remember this one? The chips are fat-free, but the side effect is anal leakage!) or glutamates (the most famous of these is MSG, but there are many more and all are just as hideous), and are often worse for your health than the fat in the full-fat version would be.
Sugar-free/Diet. Yeah, they’re right about these products not having cane sugar; instead they’re loaded with Aspartame/Equal, Splenda, Saccharine, or even high fructose corn syrup. All of these can wreak havoc with your endocrine system and cause problems that can be severe enough to mimic multiple sclerosis and other disorders that cause chronic physical distress.
Lite. Again, when they take something out, like calories, they must replace it with something equally as tasty and satisfying. You can bet that will be something cooked up in a laboratory that your body was not designed to digest.
Low-sodium. Usually this translates directly to “glutamates,” which are chemical flavor enhancers that act as neurotransmitters in your body. Yuck. Many people are sensitive to glutamates. A better choice for your body is to switch to sea salt.
Have I missed any?