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Current Issues in Food: Dietary advice in the media. By: Charlotte Harrison Suzannah Woodhead. Contents. Introduction Sources of information Media pressure for woman to be thin Information provided in magazines Diets portrayed in the media Discussion Conclusion References.

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Current issues in food dietary advice in the media l.jpg

Current Issues in Food:Dietary advice in the media

By: Charlotte Harrison

Suzannah Woodhead


Contents l.jpg
Contents

  • Introduction

  • Sources of information

  • Media pressure for woman to be thin

  • Information provided in magazines

  • Diets portrayed in the media

  • Discussion

  • Conclusion

  • References


Introduction l.jpg
Introduction

  • The need for dietary advice for the general public has considerably increased.

  • This is due to the decline in the health of the country.

  • Diseases which have increased that are diet related include cancer, CVD’s, diabetes and obesity.

  • The increase in the prevalence of these diseases is mainly due to the individuals lifestyle factors.

  • It is the media who is the main influence on how people live their lives.

  • Is the advice that the media is giving out accurate and acceptable?


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Television

Advertisements

Programmes

Magazines

Advertisements

Articles

Quizzes

Newspapers

Advertisements

Articles

Movies

Radio

Talk shows

Advertisements

Internet

Advertisements

Designated web pages

Leaflets

Posters

Shop displays

Bill boards

Sources of information


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Sources of information ctd...

  • The most common source of dietary information was found in magazines for women. However, there was limited information found for men.

  • This may be due to the abundance of women’s magazines available.

  • The magazines which are directed at women available are as follows:

    • Top Sante

    • Rosemary Conely’s: Diet and fitness

    • Slimming world

    • Slimmers

    • Marie Claire: Health and beauty


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Sources of information ctd...

  • Here are some logo’s and pictures of sources of information:


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Media pressure for woman to be thin

  • There has been a lot of accusations towards the media in terms of the incidence of eating disorders in young women.

  • It is believed that the constant appearance of advertisements with thin looking women is putting pressure on women who are not happy with their appearance to lose weight.

  • An example of this is the Special K model. Special K is 99% fat free which suggests that it is aimed at woman who want to obtain a slimmer figure. It is ironic that the model is worried about her weight when she is already slim.

  • Being thin is seen to be associated with perfection. Therefore some women aim to fulfil a figure such as the models. It is thought that the average model weighs 23% less than the average women (Anon 1, 2002).


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Media pressure for woman to be thin ctd…

  • Many women think they are “fat” or not thin enough, this frequently result in the individual developing an eating disorder (Ravetto, 2002).

  • However, some see this issue as controversial as some may say that the occurrence of an eating disorder is due to psychological factors of the individual and not due to the media.

  • But the main argument is the fact that the media only aims to make money and not make people better.


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Articles

The articles focus mainly on losing weight, healthy eating, and food facts.

The advice given is not always necessarily eye catching and is aimed towards people that are interested in it. For example, if a woman that is overweight, but doesn’t want to lose weight, she may skip the article as she may feel it is not relevant to her.

Articles aimed at people to eat healthily are generally found in magazines aimed at people to lose weight. These should be found in all magazines to emphasise that we should be eating healthier diets.

Information provided in magazines


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Information provided in magazines

Advertisements

  • The adverts present in the women’s magazines consisted of a wide variation

  • The groups of adverts found were:

    • Low fat/calorie foods

    • Caloric and fat content in foods

    • Healthy foods

    • Slimming methods


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Information provided in magazines

  • Low fat/calorie food adverts

  • These adverts were the most prevalent.

  • These foods are directed towards individuals who are wanting to lose weight.

  • Low fat/calorie foods are functional foods and aim to improve the health of the consumer.

  • The availability of functional food products is forever increasing, providing a variations for the slimmer to consume

  • These products are however not always as beneficial as they seem. This is because some can be low in fat, but yet high in carbohydrates.


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Information provided in magazines

2. Caloric and fat content in foods

  • These were mainly found in the slimming magazines.

  • These aim to inform the reader of the nutritional content of foods eaten everyday.

  • They make individuals realise what they are eating every day and what foods to consume and what to avoid

  • May aid as a way to make individuals realise what their lifestyle is like and how they may change it.


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Information provided in magazines

3. Healthy foods

  • Limited adverts were found in magazines on healthy foods.

  • The foods advertised included fruit, eggs, and water.

  • These adverts aim to remind and reinforce the fact that it’s a good idea to eat a healthier diet.


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Information provided in magazines

4. Slimming methods

  • There are many methods of losing weight advertised in magazines, which include:

    • Slim fast

    • Audio tapes

    • Pills

    • Shape up programs

    • Diet and fitness clubs

    • Recipes for low fat foods

  • Some of these methods which are suggested are just a way of companies making money out of people who are desperately trying to lose weight (e.g. Audio tapes).


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    Diets portrayed in the media

    • There are many fad diets portrayed in the media.

    • Fad diets are tried by many women but usually ends with failure to lose weight and maintain it.

    • Another way the media portray these fad diets is by exposing celebrity diets. A good example of this is the attention given to Geri Halliwell’s weight loss and how she achieved it.


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    Diets portrayed in the media

    • The most common fad diets which are available in the media are:

      • Dr Atkin’s diet

      • Cabbage soup diet

      • The Beverly Hills diet

      • The Grapefruit diet

      • Juice fasts

      • The Pritkin diet

      • Rosemary Conley’s hip and thigh diet

      • Slim fast


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    Diets portrayed in the media

    1. The Dr Atkins diet

    • This diet consists of high protein and fat but very low carbohydrates.

    • The plan of this diet is to have a two weeks period where carbohydrate intake is minimal (15g per day), this is where the majority of the weight is lost. The carbohydrate intake is then increased gradually. Whereas fat and protein intake is unlimited.


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    Advantages

    Simple and easy

    Never hungry

    Weight loss does occur

    Disadvantages

    High protein overworks kidneys

    Expensive

    Lethargy

    Dehydration

    Ketosis

    Increase in risk of CVD’s

    Nausea

    Not suitable for every individual, e.g. not suitable for diabetics or vegetarians

    Diets portrayed in the mediaThere are many advantages and disadvantages of the Dr Akins diet


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    Diets portrayed in the media

    2. Cabbage soup diet

    • This diet allows the dieter to eat as much cabbage soup as they desire for seven days.

    • This diet claims the consumer can lose 10-15 pounds in a week.


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    Advantages

    Easy to do

    Cheap

    Does cause weight loss

    Disadvantages

    Low satiety

    Very low calorie content, can lead to changes in physiological processes.

    Does not provide sufficient amounts of vitamins and minerals

    Ketosis

    Flatulence

    Monotonous

    Lethargy

    Negative nitrogen balance

    Diets portrayed in the mediaThere are many advantages and disadvantages of the cabbage soup diet


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    Diets portrayed in the media

    3. The Beverly Hills diet

    • This involves a 35 day plan which specifies items which can be eaten at each meal.

    • The plan is:

      • Day 0–10

        • Only fruit to be consumed

      • Day 11-18

        • Carbohydrates and butter added

      • Day 19-35

        • Protein added


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    Advantages

    No calorie counting

    The outcome is a balanced diet

    Disadvantages

    Expensive

    Very time consuming

    Dangerously low in protein

    Diarrhoea

    Inadequate calorie intake in days 0-10.

    Therefore lethargy and effects on physiological processes

    This is also true of vitamins and minerals

    Diets portrayed in the mediaThere are many advantages and disadvantages in the Beverly Hills diet


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    Diets portrayed in the media

    • The Grapefruit diet

    • This is a fat burning and low calorie diet.

    • The plan is to consume half a grapefruit before every meal while not consuming more than 80 calories per day. The consumption of caffeine is highly recommended.


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    Advantages

    Weight loss occurs

    Very cheap

    Receive recommended daily allowance of Vitamin C

    Disadvantages

    Low amount of calories consumed effecting physiological processes

    Lethargy

    Dehydration

    Hunger

    Very restrictive

    Diets portrayed in the mediaThere are many advantages and disadvantages in the grapefruit diet


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    Diets portrayed in the media

    • Juice fasts

    • This diets allows you only to drink fruit and vegetable juices for 1-5 days

    • This is therefore a very low calorie diet


    Diets portrayed in the media there are many advantages and disadvantages in juice fasts l.jpg

    Advantages

    Simple to follow

    Will lose weight

    Disadvantages

    Very low calorie diets have effect on physiological processes

    No complex carbohydrates

    Little fat and protein

    Lack of food consumption causes disorientation and weakness

    Diets portrayed in the mediaThere are many advantages and disadvantages in juice fasts


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    Diets portrayed in the media

    6. The Pritkin diet

    • This diet was originally developed to treat heart disease but causes weight loss too.

    • It is a diet which is low in fat, and consists primarily of fruits and vegetables, and whole grain.

    • This diet always encourages the use of omega-3 fatty acids in limited amounts.


    Diets portrayed in the media there are many advantages and disadvantages in the pritkin diet l.jpg

    Advantages

    No calorie counting

    Portions are not controlled

    Encourages the consumption of less fat and more fruit, veg and whole grain.

    Disadvantages

    Unsatisfying

    People may overeat

    Temptation to consume fatty foods

    Can be low in essential vitamins and minerals

    Diets portrayed in the mediaThere are many advantages and disadvantages in the Pritkin diet


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    Diets portrayed in the media

    • Rosemary Conley’s hip and thigh diet

    • Aims to drastically reduce fat intake while eating unlimited quantities of vegetables, including potatoes and specified portions of meat and dairy foods

    • This diet is also accompanied with a comprehensive exercise programme to complement the plan. This is optional but can promote additional weight loss.


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    Advantages

    No calorie counting

    Can eat unlimited quantities of some foods to control hunger

    Weight loss can be impressive

    Includes optional exercise plan

    Disadvantage

    Difficult to cut out fat in the diet.

    Expensive

    Diets portrayed in the mediaThere are many advantages and disadvantages in the Rosemary Conley’s hip and thigh diet


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    Diets portrayed in the media

    • The slim fast plan

    • This diet uses two meal replacement shakes.

    • This results in a 1-2 pound weight loss per week.

    • Encourages intake of 1200-1500 calories per day and daily exercise of 30-60 minutes per day.

    • The meals are to be sensible in that they follow standard nutrition guidelines and are portion controlled.

    • Also available are snack bars which contain 120-130 calories per bar.


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    Advantages

    Improves lifestyle factors, and provides an exercise plan to maintain the weight lost

    Have advisor available online and by telephone

    Provides well balanced diet

    Weight loss occurs at a reasonable rate

    Disadvantages

    Shakes may not be enjoyable for everyone

    May become monotonous

    Diets portrayed in the mediaThere are many advantages and disadvantages in the slim fast plan


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    Discussion

    Advertisements

    • There were very few adverts found advertising healthy food, but many on low fat/fat free foods.

    • People are being bombarded to eat these foods rather than eating foods which are good for them e.g. fruit and vegetables.

    • These are also not always showing us the whole story. Some adverts advertise foods that are low in fat/fat free, but they may still be high in carbohydrates.


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    Discussion ctd…

    Slimming Methods

    • These methods are often centred around money making rather than trying to help people to lose weight sensibly.

    • The majority of slimming methods give false hope and are often discontinued within two weeks of starting on them.

    • On the other hand, some slimming methods such as recipes for low fat meals are helping people to eat more healthily without using gimmicks e.g. diet pills.


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    Discussion ctd…

    Information

    • Information on healthy eating and weight loss is marketed towardswoman.

    • There is little aimed at men to eat healthily.

    • If people are not given advice that is accurate, they will not learn what they should and should not be eating.


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    Discussion ctd…

    Fad diets

    • New fad diets are popping up all the time promising rapid weight loss.

    • These often give “exaggerated or false theories of weight loss and advise consumers to follow inadequate diets” (Whitney et al, 1998). “Some fad diets are more hazardous to healthy than obesity itself” (Whitney et al, 1998).

    • “Of 29,000 claims, treatments and theories for losing weight, fewer than 6% of them are effective and 13% are downright dangerous” (Whitney et al, 1998).

    • “Fad diets do NOT provide an assessment of the short- and long-term results” (Whitney et al, 1998).


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    Conclusion

    • Dietary advice in the media is very thin on the ground, but where there is advice it is often inaccurate or giving false hope to those wanting to lose weight.

    • Advice on eating healthily is nearly non –existent, which is not very good as people need to be reminded how to eat a healthier diet.


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    Conclusion ctd…

    • After evaluating the main fad diets it is clear to see that many are lacking in sound advice.

    • The disadvantages out way the advantages in 6 out of the 8 fad diets reviewed.

    • This left two fad diets that are safe, effective, and provide information about healthy eating.

    • The goal for fad diets should be health gains not weight loss.

    • Small changes to their diets need to made instead of radical changes.


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    Conclusion ctd…

    • Physical activity is an important factor when losing weight. This can be walking instead of using the car, taking the dog for a walk, using stairs instead of the lift, or even going for a stroll in the park.

    • According to Whitney et al (1998) physical activity speeds up basal metabolism, controls appetite, reduces stress, improves fitness and physical appearance.

    • “People who combine diet and exercise are more likely to lose more fat and less likely to regain weight than those who only diet” (Whitney et al, 1998).

    • There need to be more adverts about exercising.


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    Conclusion ctd…

    Accurate dietary advicefor healthy eating and healthy weight loss according to Whitney et al (1998) is:

    • Eat 6-11 servings of bread/cereal/rice/pasta per day

    • Eat 3-5 servings of vegetables per day

    • Eat 2-4 servings of fruit per day

    • Eat 2-3 servings of milk/yoghurt/cheese per day

    • Eat 2-3 servings of meat/poultry/fish/eggs/nuts per day

    • Eat fats/oils/sweets sparingly

    • Eating the least amount of servings for each group will provide adequate amounts of nutrients but will also help with weight loss.


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    References

    • Anon 1, Diets, Barbies, and beauty magazines, http://www2.gasou.edu/student/gsi22927/media.htm

    • Ravetto, Christine, Media pressure put on women to be thin, 2002, http://holly.colostate.edu/~cravetto/media_pressure.htm

    • Whitney E.N., Cataldo C.B., Rolfes S.R., (1998), Understanding Normal and Clinical Nutrition, Fifth Edition, Wadsworth Publishing Company, USA.