November 27, 2017

Whenever we shop, we are battling the advertisers desire to get us to buy their product whether it is good for us or not. Think soda or lunch packaged meat/cheese/bread combos here for poor choices. We rarely see advertisers pushing us to buy vegetables or fruit or anything healthy for that matter. When researchers looked at the checkout line where a parent is waiting in cue, they found that the majority of foods located there were not healthy. This is the classic captive audience exposure hot spot that pushes purchasing behavior.

What would be great for us all would be for grocery stores to load this area with healthy choices. A 2014 Norwegian study found that by doing exactly that, last minute sales of healthy items spiked.

Ideally, we need to be aware of the marketing gimmicks that we fall prey to, because we do! They are better at this than we are.

Simple grocery store rules that can alter your health:

1) Avoid purchasing any food that has a cartoon character on it. Never a good choice.

This is classic marketing to encourage children to pester you into buying a product for them for no other reason than the loved character. Think about the happy meal here.

2) Stick to the periphery of the store where all of the nutritious foods reside.

3) Remember that 4 grams of sugar is a packet. Try to buy foods that are without any added sugar. If you must buy them with added sugar, try to get the number below 4 grams. Think yogurt here where the added sugar hits 16+ grams - not good. Sugar should never be one of the first few ingredients.

4) Be careful of fruit smoothies that are touted as healthy but are loaded with sugar and little to no fiber.

5) Look for labels that say wild caught for fish, antibiotic free and grass fed for red meats, local and sustainable are key words.

6) Visit for a list of the highest pesticide laden vegetables and fruits to avoid. Buy these in organic varieties. The lower pesticide varieties can be purchased either way.

7) Keep boxed foods to a minimum. Get only minimally processed foods with 5 or less ingredients on the label.

8) Avoid all foods that have ingredient lists with words that you cannot pronounce or understand.


Dr. M

Scientific American Article