Health and Wellness

The Big Picture

I just finished an article that said some food manufacturers have started labeling products with how many minutes of activity it would take to burn off a serving. This is concerning on many levels.

Just as my treadmill could never give an accurate gauge of how many calories you’ve burned (it doesn’t know your weight, height, age, etc.), offering a one-size-fits-all method in this regard will only lead to disaster.

While I’m pleased that these producers are taking an interest in customers’ overall health (or at least their increased tendency to make more health-conscious purchases), this venture opens a ‘can of worms’ that would be better left on the shelf.

Not So Simple

I remember a comedy sketch from years ago, wherein the characters had found the ‘magic formula’ to a healthy lifestyle: diet and exercise. The joke was that “all you need to do” is burn more calories than you consume.

Of course, those of us who have struggled with weight control know it’s not quite that easy. However, labeling foods with random (and unscientific!) ‘measures’ will ruin for the masses both eating and exercising.

Keep It Real

Food is fuel, to be sure. However, it can also be linked to fond memories. I recall many enjoyable evenings out to dinner, or gathered ‘round “finger foods” in the kitchen, discussing the topics of the day with family and friends. This labeling proposal would put an end to all of that. Further, it would reduce exercising to a menial chore, instead of the integral part of life it should be viewed as.

Sunset walks on the beach with a loved one would then be viewed in terms of a dinner plate. Playing with children in the backyard would become nothing more than a three-ounce serving of steak.

Instead of viewing food as simply a fuel source, or viewing exercise as merely a means to an end, we should make a daily, conscious effort to live healthy, meaningful lives, where we are able to enjoy (in moderation, of course) the foods and activities we love, with the people love, and not let ourselves become slaves to some ill-conceived and haphazard ‘formula.’

by Raul Lisneski
Health & Wellness Editor
Residential Life Magazine