Advertising Vs. Truth

Forget, for the moment, about Carbs, calories, candy, colas, or cauliflower.

Let’s get simple.

Of all of the rules which we might follow about our cuisine and our culture, one stands out:

Avoid anything that’s advertised.

Advertising exists to inform, (facts), and to persuade, (opinions).

All advertising works between these two points. To inform is to provide information. It can be about the updating of a service, or the transfiguration of a product. To persuade is more subtle. It can be to get your business from a competitor or just to get more of your business. Both are prone to abuse, because the truth is not always convenient. (See last week’s post on Orange Juice).

Now, think about your food. What information do you need about it? Are you likely to get that information from the ad?

As for persuasion, what do you need to be persuaded about? What opinions about your food will be valuable to you? Would these be likely to come from its maker?

This is a framework to build on, and it’s important because it will help you shape your diet dramatically and rapidly. Nothing will serve as a more reliable guide than to choose your diet based on its media presence. Even the phrase media presence should help steer you in the right direction. Why does an apple need a media presence, or a steak?

So now the question is: what will you not be eating, and what will you be gaining.

The apple you eat will cost less if its grower doesn’t have to pay for ads. The potato chips made by a local artisan will cost less if they don’t have to pay for pictures of it, and spokespeople to speak for it.


The $32,000,000,000 dollars per year that food companies pay for advertising come from us.

When you buy a box of cereal, 20% of what you pay goes to TV commercials which help sell the stuff, even if you don’t watch them. You pay for TV commercials, not Cheerios. They just collect the money from you and give it to ad agencies and TV stations. So when you buy bulk oatmeal, or granola, or cream of wheat, you’re saying that you know what you want, and you don’t need to see pictures of it or hear opinions about it. You just want to eat it.

Your palate should tell you what to eat, and your stomach should tell you when.

That’s simple, isn’t it?

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