To Your Health
April, 2021 (Vol. 15, Issue 04)
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Take Back the Power

By Editorial Staff

Who are the people most susceptible to marketing by fast-food chains and similar companies that offer generally unhealthy food? As you might expect, it's people with weight issues. However, there's good news: losing weight makes you less vulnerable to their marketing efforts.

That means two things: 1) Essentially, these companies are marketing to the most vulnerable – people who have weight issues and will only continue to have weight issues by responding to marketing messages for poor-quality food. 2) Losing weight gives people tremendous power of these companies and their marketing efforts. It shifts the power from them ... to you; and in so doing, gives you the power to stay healthy.

Recent research underscores the power of weight loss on people's ability to ignore food marketing messages (at least the messages about unhealthy food choices, which are often designed to "frame" foods as healthier than they actually are). Published in the Journal of Consumer Psychology, the study tracked three groups of women: severely obese patients before they had gastric bypass or other weight-loss surgeries, and three and 12 months after surgery; obese people who were not undergoing bariatric surgery; and people who were not obese.

marketing billboard - Copyright – Stock Photo / Register Mark To evaluate study participants' responsiveness to food marketing, researchers relied on three common marketing tactics; for example, labeling French fries as "mini," "small," "medium," etc. – a  tactic designed to make portions of an unhealthy food seem more reasonable despite the item's high calories and saturated fat. (After all, if it's labeled "mini," so it can't be bad for you, right?)

People who lost weight (or did not need to lose weight in the first place) were less responsive to these types of marketing tactics and thus more capable of making more sensible choices about food. They took back the power from the fast-food chains and other companies trying to convince them to eat their unhealthy food (and to believe it wasn't that unhealthy in the first place). If you're struggling with your weight, talk to your doctor about ways to take back the power – over unhealthy food, deceptive food marketing, your body ... your life.