Dispelling nutrition myths, ranting, and occasionally, raving

Warning labels on food


I was reading an article in the National Post on the new recommendations regarding food labeling by the Ontario Medical Association and was a little taken aback by a comment made by a health analyst (Brett Skinner) at the Canadian Health Policy Institute. Mr. Skinner stated: “I suspect that obesity affects a very small percentage of people who consume less-healthy kinds of foods and that the vast majority of people who eat those kinds of foods are not obese.” Huh? Considering that a relatively large portion of our population is obese, roughly about 25% and that many, if not most, Canadians are consuming “less-healthy” foods I’m not convinced of the validity of this statement. I think I understand what he’s trying to say. That is, any food can contribute to obesity if consumed in excess. Is it fair to demonize foods that have little or no actual nutritional value? Maybe, maybe not. I’m not convinced that the tobacco campaign of graphic images has actually been that effective in reducing smoking rates in Canada. I’m also not sure that graphic images on food packaging will reduce their consumption. I think that most people will probably be a little grossed out but will think “that’s not going to happen to me” and dive right into that bag of chips. But I digress…

Why is Mr. Skinner, analyst at a “non-profit, independent thinktank” so strongly opposed to the use of graphic warning labels on food? As far as I can tell, even if most people who are consuming “junk” foods are not obese, there’s no harm to them by placing warning labels on these foods. It seems to me that the only poential harm would befall the food companies making the “junk” foods.

Author: Diana

I'm a registered dietitian from Nova Scotia, living and working in Ontario, Canada. My goal is to help people see food and nutrition from a different perspective and understand that nutrition and health are not necessarily a result of personal choice.

3 thoughts on “Warning labels on food

  1. I’d suggest anybody that does not believe that highly palatable junk food contributes to obesity go take a look at some of Stephan Guyenet’s work. Also, regardless if you are obese, I highly doubt that said junk food is making you healthier.

    And while I’m not a huge fan of the calorie-in/calorie-out model, even if I were, stating that “any food can contribute to obesity if consumed in excess” ignores the fact that REAL FOOD is highly satiating. Most processed food has been engineered to encourage over-eating.


  2. Hi di!

    Idea: bpa lining in cans… i heard some experts – not sure if drs or dieticians or what – say they avoid this and esp canned tomatoes bc the acid or something can extract even more bpa. Thoughts? I also note some organic canned goods now come in bpa free cans.

    In Toronto now back in hfx on Halloween hopefully see you soon!

    Xo m

    Sent from my iPhone


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