Junk Food Ads in Health Magazines

Hypocrisy, thy name is advertising. A new study in the European Journal of Public Health reveals 25.5% of advertisements in 30 popular British magazines are for ready-made meals, soups and sauces, which are full of salt. Another 23% are for high-fat and sugary foods, like ice-cream, chocolate bars, sweets and soft drinks. Only 1.8% of the adverts are for fruits and vegetables. And here’s the kicker, many of these advertisements appear alongside articles with healthy messages; ScienceDaily investigates.

Can’t say I’m shocked! Now, in December, research came out claiming sophisticated marketing campaigns do not acknowledge a drug’s rarer complications and hides any lack of long-term testing, putting people at increased risk of serious side-effects.

As for food advertising, last year Kellogg’s announced it would cut advertisements aimed at young children.

Via That’s Fit.

Image credit: pigdump

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Kim Belanger-Mills - January 23, 2009 8:18 AM

What's really bad about this is many people see that the ad is located in a 'healthy' magazine and think the products in the ad must be healthy too, without doing research. Too many people seem to follow and not question.

Steve - January 23, 2009 9:03 AM

Hi Gerry
In Canada there are various television shows that show someone trying to lose weight and get more exercise via some trainer (similar to the Biggest Loser only without the stupid kicking people off the show dramatics). These shows are often sponsored by Wendys or Subway or a maker of some 100 calorie snack garbage.

Hey, in America are there a lot of ads on TV for NutriSystem, the company that actually mails you the portion controlled burgers and pizzas and stuff? Endorsed by retired NFL football players who say things like "Real food for real men". Those ads leave me laughing out loud.


carfree - January 23, 2009 3:47 PM

That's not too surprising. Even on supposed nutrition websites sponsored by one of those magazines, their advice is terrible. Some examples from nutritiondata.com (from their "did you know" section):

Bacon has twice as much monounsaturated fat as the same amount of walnuts.

An ounce of brie has fewer calories than an ounce of cheddar

A cake cone has half the calories of a sugar cone.

Marinating meats before grilling makes them healthier.

Angelfood cake is a source of complete protein.

Eating broccoli can interfere with certain medications.

So is there any excuse for publishing this "good advice"? Maybe they also have pharmaceutical advertisers who benefit from this type of wisdom through greater product sales...

Natalie - January 25, 2009 10:54 AM

I stopped even reading 'health food' magazines as there is way too much focus on 'healthy calcium full dairy products'.

It's very wearing doing ETL and constantly having people telling me that I am wrong because everyone knows that dairy, lean meat and eggs are healthy and an essential source of calcium and protein.

At the same time these same people grumble about what great shape I am in. Go figure.

Monty - January 26, 2009 2:49 PM

The "health" in these magazines is just an image to sell more advertising for the same stuff. The most likely reason for Kellogg's to cut advertisements aimed at young children is somebody realizing that these children can't read. But if people are stupid enough to believe these things, you can't expect them to be very healthy.

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