Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Study Checks Out ‘TV Ad Diet’ for Soundness

Source: New York Times (Summary by NIM)

Ever wonder what you’d look or feel like if your diet consisted of all the foods advertised during your favourite TV program? Maybe not, but some clever researchers did, and the results were not pretty!

Published in The Journal of the American Dietetic Association, the study consisted of examining TV advertisements during 28 days of prime time TV as well as Sunday morning shows, identifying 800 key foods that were in 3,000 ads. Limiting these foods to a reasonable 2000-calorie intake, the researchers concluded that the outcome would be disastrous for most people. Based on this diet, individuals would consume 25 times the recommended amount of sugar and 20 times the amount of fat they need each day, but less than half the dairy, fibre, fruits and vegetables as outlined by the food guide. This diet would also seriously exceed the daily recommendation for cholesterol and salt, but don’t come close to providing enough iron, calcium or key vitamins like A, D and E.

According to the lead author of the study, “Just one advertised food item by itself will provide, on average, three times your daily recommended servings of sugar and two and half times your daily recommended servings of fat,” he said. “That means one food item could give you three days’ worth of sugar.”. And the worst part? In being such visual creatures, most of us crave the stuff we see in those commercials while watching TV!

Find out more by reading the article called “Nutrition: Study Examines a Diet From TV Ads" from the New York Times (June 4, 2010).