It seems that there is a positive association between the media and healthy eating, but do not get deluded. The media is not concerned with healthy eating and healthy lifestyle. The media is profit oriented and sensation seeking, so they promote healthy eating only if they can make a profit out of it.
Also, the media often promote anxiety and public misunderstanding of science (Goldacre, 2009). Therefore, people have conflicting ideas about healthy food.
However, there are other factors as well that affect our perception about healthy eating. According to a recent study (Bisogni et al., 2012), the explanation of the healthy diet depends on life experiences (such as parenting and disease onset), identity (self-concept), social settings, resources and food availability.
According to another study (Harris and Bargh, 2009) television and food advertising on children's diets are associated with increasing rates of obesity. Their research demonstrated that children's food preferences are acquired through learning processes and that these preferences have long-lasting effects on diet. In line with previous studies, they found that television experience continued to predict diet and unhealthy food preferences in early adulthood. They also find that taste had a direct relationship with both healthy and unhealthy diets. Furthermore, both television experience and parenting factors independently influenced preferences and diet. They also suggested that alternative media interventions can possibly counteract the unhealthy influence of television on a diet and it can help children defend against unwanted influence and reduce the exposure to unhealthy messages.
It is well known that social learning develops imitating models (TV, magazines, etc.). An association between thinness and admiration or success/popularity could be learned, which can lead to eating disorders. Cross-cultural studies support the idea that eating disorders are more common in industrialised countries where food is plentiful and the ideal shape is slim.
Do not get confused. Healthy eating is not a rocket science. It is just often overcomplicated (by the media and by some other institutions). Find yourself the best diet without following trends as trends.
Know yourself. Find out what is best for you.
Take responsibility for your diet, you are the one who needs to find out what is good for you. We are all different, our diet is different as well and it depends on your age, gender, profession, blood type, metabolism, genetics, and so on. Even the way you think and how you feel can affect how your body works, consequently, your nutrition needs are affected as well. Find out what is the best for you.
Here is some general advice for healthy eating:
- Do not buy any food you have ever seen advertised
- Have a balanced diet and eat fresh and unprocessed food.
- Make your own food and avoid ready food when possible.
- Avoid fast food restaurants, such as McDonalds and KFC.
Do not stress if you eating unhealthy food occasionally or if you have gained a few extra pounds as anxiety may be much worse than you think, especially because it can negatively influence your eating habits. Just relax, try to eat healthily as possible and live a healthy lifestyle in general.
If you have any doubt about your diet, ask your doctor or nutritionist, but do rely on media.
(Holy Globe is an alternative media. We have a different orientation than the mainstream media and we are encouraging independent thinking.
Goldacre, B. (2009) Bad Science. London: Harper Perennial
Bisogni et al. (2012) 'How People Interpret Healthy Eating: Contributions of Qualitative Research' in Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior, 44(4), doi: 10.1016/j.jneb.2011.11.009
Harris, J.L. and Bargh, J.A. (2009) 'The Relationship between Television Viewing and Unhealthy Eating: Implications for Children and Media Interventions' in Health Communication, 24(7), doi: 10.1080/10410230903242267Read our previous article about Healthy Eating and Mental Health