Sometimes it feels like the entire food industry is trying to fatten us up. A study of supermarket discounting practices in New Zealand found that stores are more likely to discount sugary drinks, such as sodas and sports drinks, than they are healthy beverages like low-fat milk or soymilk. Even when the healthier items are discounted, the discounts are better for drinks overloaded with sugar, fat, and calories.
It’s difficult enough to eat healthy when we’re constantly bombarded with marketing messages that scream, “You’ll love it! You’ll want it! It’s entertainment! It’s fun!” says David Kessler, former FDA commissioner and author of The End of Overeating: Taking Control of the Insatiable American Appetite (Rodale, 2009). Slashing prices on already-cheap and very unhealthy food during a challenging economy sets up one more hurdle we have to all overcome in our quest to eat a more nutritional diet. "Some of my colleagues in the obesity-research field are not very optimistic that the individual alone can overcome this constant bombardment of food cues that they’re encountering,” says Kessler. “It sets the average person up for failure."
Unfortunately, since government subsidies support the massive farms that grow the cheap corn and soy that make all those unhealthy foods cheap and affordable, the deck is unfairly stacked against people who want to eat healthy and affordably. Yet there are ways to do it, provided you know how to navigate supermarket sales tactics.