Feeding the Obesity Epidemic

Scale with differnt foods.

31It is clear that the food industry profits from making us overweight. Every food product is tested hundreds of times in various iterations so that the flavor and “mouth feel” of the product make us want to eat more and more. And let’s not forget about the advertising campaigns, often targeted at children, that have twisted our perceptions of what constitutes a meal. What is less clear is that the food industry continues to profit from us once we’ve gotten fat and want to lose the weight we’ve put on.  

The same food giants that have fattened us up with processed, high fat, high sugar foods, are selling us products that promote health or weight loss. The diet programs Jenny Craig and Weight Watchers, which come with their own lines of prepared, diet meals, are owned by Nestle and Heinz respectively. Additionally, most food companies offer low-fat, low-carb, low-sodium, low-sugar, or light versions of their processed food products.

In the words of journalist Jacques Peretti, “We think of obesity and dieting as polar opposites, but in fact, there is a deep, symbiotic relationship between the two.” Food corporations get us hooked to their salty, sugared, high fat snacks, and then profit from how fat we get by selling us diet versions of their products. It’s no wonder that the food industry is taking so little responsibility for the obesity epidemic—they are profiting from it at both ends.