I was dumbstruck this week after reading the article about Weight Watchers endorsing some McDonald’s products under their Points Programme. With 120 comments attached to the article by the end of Wednesday, it seems others have strong opinions on this as well.
Personally I think it is dumb and Weight Watchers have definitely topped my “Wombles” idiot scale this week. Anyone on a diet will understand the daily pressure and will-power required to stick to your eating plan / diet. Weight Watchers are delusional if they think that their clients will go into McDonald’s and only buy an allowed item (Filet-O-Fish, Chicken McNuggets, or a Sweet Chilli Seared Chicken Wrap) and not “up-size” it. Even if their willpower is high the first time they stand in the queue, how long will it be before they are back in the queue salivating with the aroma of french fries surrounding them?
Instead more effort should go into providing education on how to read a nutrition label and interpret the values. Sure, your Filet-O-Fish is only 6.5 points but what about the 18g of fat, 663mg of sodium, and 40g of carbohydrates? I suppose I should be thankful it will give me 16g of protein. But I’ll be frank, you couldn’t pay me to eat that food and not even selling it as “only 6.5 points” is going to make me buy one.
The general public lack of knowledge was highlighted brilliantly recently. I sent an email to Food in a Minute (a Watties TV promo slot) suggesting they provide the full nutritional details of their recipes. Their response:
Unfortunately, many of our consumers are unable to interpret the meaning of a NIP [Nutrition Information Panel] on a recipe into their everyday eating, so instead of confusing them we have made it easier by analysing and categorising those that are healthier as a ‘Healthy Pick’.
Well how do you respond to that? Don’t even get me started on the fact that they encourage you to buy food such as frozen mashed potatoes or frozen spinach to make a meal. After carrots, they would have to be the easiest vegetable to grow in the garden. If a food giant won’t play the game, then no wonder society is so uneducated about the nutritional values in food. I do however give full credit to people like Healthy Food Guide and Real Nutrition who work hard to educate consumers.