Ice cream and Coca Cola are Healthier Choice foods

From ‘Healthier choice label: Call for more clarity’, 9 oct 2017, article by Linette Lai, ST

Even as the Health Promotion Board (HPB) looks to further tighten a scheme that labels some food products a “healthier choice”, experts say more can be done so that people do not mistakenly think all these foods are outright healthy.

The Healthier Choice scheme, with its trademark red pyramid label, now applies to 3,500 products – a tenfold increase from when it was launched in 2001. The label can even be seen on ice creams, soft drinks and frozen french fries.

One in five food products bears the Healthier Choice label.

What consumers really need is not a ‘Healthy’ or ‘Healthier Choice’ label, but the ‘Healthiest’ choice. When it comes to beverages, that would usually be water. HPB should be sticking the label on water coolers everywhere. Instead they’re allowing companies to claim the label for aspartame-loaded drinks like Coca-Cola Zero and Light. In other words, that red pyramid has become a marketing gimmick for Big Food. If 100 plus has it, then the folks behind H20 will fight for it too. If McDs has it for a McMuffin, then so would KFC for Popcorn chicken porridge.

It’s like telling you to opt for frozen yogurt in place of ice cream, when the really healthy thing to do would be to eat a fucking green apple. By opening the floodgates to desserts, sauces and curry mixes, the red pyramid becomes meaningless. Having a label-free sinful meal occasionally is a better deal than eating ‘Healthier Choice’ snacks, gravies and strawberry milk every other day. You force yourself to feel good about it, even if your kale-contaminated taste buds and tummy tells you otherwise.

HPB should seriously streamline the options. With every cheese, coke and frozen wantons cutting fats and sugar in order to be awarded Healthier Choice labels, it’s going to make it more stressful on consumers who would like to actually ENJOY their food once in a while. You end up overeating on mediocre stuff and you still die miserable anyway, seething with regret that you didn’t binge on that tub of Ben and Jerry’s Ice cream after a breakup because the red triangle label on the shitty potong next to it was screaming ‘NO! Bad Consumer! Diabetes!’ in your face.

If taken at face-value without really being mindful of our food choices, the Healthier Choice pyramid, like how the ancient Egyptians built it, is more a symbol of your road to an early grave rather than the food-group categorisation it is supposed to represent.

 

 

 

 

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