The Effects Of Advertising On Eating Habits

Have you ever wondered why Americans eat so much? Well, the food industry is one reason and an important one I’d like to discuss. The growth of the food industry has made high-fat, inexpensive meals available throughout the world, and bigger size has become a major selling point. McDonald’s sells the Big Mac, Wendy’s offers the Big Classic, and Burger King pushes the Whopper. Do you notice anything similar with the names of these burgers? A large coke at most fast-food restaurants is now 32 ounces and 310 calories and at one time not too long ago was just 12 ounces and 180 calories. If fact 20 years ago kids drank an average of 8 ounces of soda a day; today they drink an average of 24 ounces a day. The food abundance we’re surrounded with has secured a spot in your mind, causing intense cravings and compulsions, and you must do something about it.

Astonishingly, a 12-ounce can of soda contains 8 to 10 teaspoons of sugar and many teenagers consume as many as 7 cans a day, which equals nearly 1000 empty calories and 60 teaspoons of sugar. Try this on for size: kids today drink almost twice the amount of soda as they do milk.

To make matters worse, the fast-food industry makes promotional links with leading toy makers, giving away simple toys with their kids’ meals and selling higher profile toys at a discount. It’s a clever way to target kids, and a successful toy promotion can double or triple the weekly sales volume of children’s meals. Did you know that the second most recognized fictional character is Ronald McDonald, second only to Santa Claus? Ninety-six percent of American school children can identify Ronald McDonald before they can recognize their own name! Doesn’t that tell you something?

The fast-food industry spends about 33 billion dollars a year on advertising and most of it is done subliminally, meaning that the messages affect you without your conscious awareness; without you knowing it. You may notice the contents of a commercial, but they go right over your head and infect your subconscious with a “virus.” The purpose of advertising is to hit you where it hurts — emotionally. Recently, I watched a particular fast-food commercial showing a mom and young daughter eating burgers and fries. It seemed innocent enough, but here’s what the real message was: The mother was dressed in a business suit with her briefcase, and the young girl told her mom that she appreciated spending quality time like this with her. The mom guiltily looked at her daughter while both of them smiled and ate their French fries. A working mother watching this commercial would have subconsciously absorbed this message, felt guilty without even realizing it, and perhaps paid a visit to the fast food restaurant without consciously knowing the real reason.

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