I can’t believe it’s not healthy

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Images of genetically good looking people surrounded by (unhealthy) food that promises “fitness” is the epitome of how dysfunctional the Western diet is. I used to watch Fabio’s ‘I can’t believe it’s not butter!®commercials all the time when I was little. No matter what channel I was watching, I could always expect an appearance from the hunky Italian icon telling me that the butter he was eating was actually not butter, but better than butter (NO CHOLESTEROL, but full of trans fat). As I grew older, I began to write satirical comics about those Slim Quick® shakes ads where they would show a skinny model flaunting her ‘healthiness’ everywhere. I would have over half the page dedicated to the negative ‘side effects’ of the shake in microfont to show the irony of how we deal with our weight and health. The Western diet embraces and promises this idea of everyone being skinny and hunky, like those people in those food ad campaigns but in reality, the Western diet doesn’t deliver. What both the imitation butter and slimming milkshakes signify, at least to me, is that we know that the Western diseases are all around us and that we are trying to find an escape; but as Poullan points out, it’s almost impossible to capture Fabio’s perfect image because the people we look to help us won’t because of invested interests. However, Pollan doesn’t have it all right: you can’t just stop eating a Western diet cold turkey like he suggests. There are pervasive images of beautiful people selling those prooducts everywhere. First we have to reevaluate our thinking about what healthy is and what it looks like so that we can actually achieve it — not cheat our way into it with those diet shakes and imitation butters.


1 thought on “I can’t believe it’s not healthy

  1. Erica Yock


    I remember those “I can’t believe it’s not butter” commercials with Fabio and I could not agree more that advertising campaigns have persuaded people to forgo what actual health looks like. Instead, people flock to products such as Slimquick shakes and fake butter to satisfy their health goals. And although it would be nice to just stop eating a western diet as Pollan suggests, it is hard to quit because there are so many consumer choices presenting themselves as healthy. In my own life, I have seen advertisements for teas that will help you lose weight, Nutrisystem meals that are frozen and delivered to your house, and frozen yogurt that is supposedly healthier than ice cream. All of these misleading images are not focussed on health, they are focussed on being profitable to a public that is desperate for quick and easy health solutions.


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