Thursday, June 28, 2007
We need to stop irresponsible marketing toward children! This research study was very illuminating in that it showed how easy it is for brand-named foods to market to children via "Advergaming," which is a method where kids can play games off of the company's website, in which the advertised product is part of the game. This is a sly marketing strategy on a company's part since there is ample opportunity for the child to remember the food or beverage being advertised to them and link it with the fun game they had played, which ultimately promotes the sale of the product.
This study focused upon food and beverage brand-websites and what kind of marketing techniques/advertising they displayed upon their sites. The categories selected for the analysis were: beverages, soft drinks; beverages, other; fast food; ready-to-eat cereal; cookies; crackers; salted snacks; and candy. The researchers chose to select these categories because they are liked by and most regularly marketed toward children. 40 brands were chosen and 37 had their own websites. 85% of those websites had interactive components (sounds, animation, and movement) and 63% had Advergaming. Other marketing techniques included cartoon "spokescharacters" for the product, pictures of children consuming the product and downloadable branded coloring pages. ALL of the websites had tie-ins to TV shows, movies or cartoons.
Ostensibly, these Advergames and other fun interactive components are all a means to sell very unhealthy products to children. According to the study, children may not even be aware that they are being exposed to sophisticated marketing strategies. This is not acceptable in an age where the obesity epidemic is only getting wider. Registered Dietitians and other health professionals have to advocate for responsible marketing and ensure that the health of the children isn't tainted by these big corporate companies, only looking to raise their stock ratings.
The researchers of the study suggest that we use this new interactive technology to help children learn to make better choices in "fun and interesting ways." Already, MyPyramid.gov has a "kids area," which has some of the interactive games that websites like Nabisco and Kraft have. Unfortunately, I have been to this "kids area" on MyPyramid and they have yet to change it for the past year or so.
If we want to prevent kids from indulging in both the websites' games and their products, then we have to 1) make sure that we are keeping up with the marketing strategies and employ them in our own health websites and campaigns, and 2) keep our kids educated about nutrition and how processed foods affect their bodies so that they think twice before being mesmerized by the products and their stupid Advergames.
Check out the picture below to see how we can create games that kids can trust.
Internet Food Marketing Strategies Aimed at Children and Adolescents: A Content Analysis of Food and Beverage Brand Web Sites. Weber K, Story M, Harnack L. Journal of the American Dietetic Association. September 2006 (Vol. 106, Issue 9, Pages 1463-1466)
Posted by Marissa Beck at 2:33 PM
Wednesday, June 27, 2007
Today I drank a Frosty Chocolate Protein Drink post-workout and I was very impressed and pleased by the quality of taste, nutrients, and ratio of protein to fat/cals/sugar.
For 170 calories and 35g worth of PRO, this is a perfect way to refuel. They come in different flavors, but the Frosty Chocolate is on the mark. Check out the nutrition facts below.
One of the main things I noticed (which makes this a great drink) is that potassium trumps sodium. We want this to occur since the Na/K (sodium/potassium pump) is continuously working in our bodies to pump out the sodium from the cell and get potassium inside. Post-workout, we need potassium in our cells for recovery. One of the ways to do this is to ensure that the products you choose to eat have a greater ratio of potassium to sodium. Having sodium in post-workout snacks is not necessarily a bad thing, however. Sodium is good for helping replenish sweat-losses, since water accompanies the molecule. Plus sodium induces a physiological urge to drink water, which will prevent post-workout dehydration.
All around, I would say that if you're looking for a snack and don't want to worry about spoilage/leakage and the like, this drink has what it takes, especially if you're CHO (carbohydrate) counting. I would not, however, recommend this drink to those who are endurance athletes since a greater amt of CHO refueling is essential for glycogen losses (which accompany grueling aerobic exercise).
Posted by Marissa Beck at 12:05 AM
Sunday, June 24, 2007
SOLar energy, that is! We've all heard about solar panels, but this new design is based on the idea that the skin of spinach can generate energy. Well, it can: The protein, photosystem I, is found in the chloroplasts of all plants (basically the energy power-house. Much like our mitochondria, which are OUR energy power-house parts). Photosystem I is a cluster of 200 to 300 light-absorbing pigments located in the thylakoid of the plant. Although this project is still in the works, it appears that it can help in our quest for a more sustainable approach to our living situations.
Posted by Marissa Beck at 2:40 PM
Friday, June 22, 2007
You don't need to grow your own tomatoes or be the master gardener to support local agriculture. But if you care about sustainability and our food system, it's easy to be supportive without picking up a single rake! Many don't realize that the major work being done for local agriculture is right here on her own computer. See what I'm referring to...
Posted by Marissa Beck at 5:42 AM
Wednesday, June 06, 2007
I just discovered frozen raspberries and blueberries. I came upon it like a sly villain, buying into the two for one deal. I came home with two boxes of raspberries and two boxes of blueberries, freezing two and saving two. Well... to my surprise, frozen berries aren't just a tasty little healthy treat. Frozen berries should be the staple in every household with a freezer— period! This is the poker tip no one told me about that could potentially save my game. The berries have a soft crunch in your mouth but without the sound. The fructose is so overpowering that your tongue doesn't even know how to react. It is the sweetest candy I've had in a long time. And I will continue to succumb to the two for one sale and freeze my berries for as long as I have freezer access in my privileged little existence...
Posted by Marissa Beck at 10:45 AM
My personal blog here at Blogger is still going to remain intact; however, please visit my new website, http://marissabeck.wordpress.com, which will host more nutrition topics (because obviously you just can't get enough!)