1/31/2005

You can't cheat on health

In an aritical from USA today reported a new study of frying foods in phytosterol, and additive that reduces LDL cholesterol, or bad cholesterol. I find it fascinating that technology has enabled humankind to make donuts that will reduce your cholesterol. I think even Homer Simpson might be impressed by this new discovery. However, though the overall wellbeing of human kind has improved, and the resources available to generate long prosperous lives are more attainable, I find that, especially in America, the human populous has been trying to cheat themselves of true good health. In addition, I think that foods processed with cholesterol reducing additives may have high selling rates at first, but eventually decline in the market. A few years ago companies made all kinds of chips fried in Olean. Olean made chips fat-free without too much loss in flavor. The rave was huge, until people started having symptoms of stomach craps and diariah. Consumers were confused with the idea that bad food is bad, even if it is fat-free. Bob Goldin stated, “Consumers will have a big problem linking fried foods or snacks with ‘better for you.’ I think there’s so much skepticism” I disagree, America is increasingly becoming obese for a reason, and that isn’t because people who eat high cholesterol foods are worried about how much cholesterol it has. Foods with cholesterol reducing additives give additional value to eat more of that product, which I feel, will create a high short-term demand. I think the idea will be, this food was in my diet before, and now it is “healthier for me and will reduce my cholesterol,” I should eat more of it. The idea of finding a way to cut corners to better health overtime will decline in the overall value it intended.

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

Is this economics?

Mack said...

This post does have a small tie to economics. If the rave foods are bought less and less but the economy as a whole is getting bigger they must be an inferior good. That might be a stretch but I tried to link it to economics.

Marie said...

The short, high term demand for bad "healthy" food has continously occured in economics. For example, the Atkins diet, which now is not in high demand, was a quick way to lose weight and keep it off. Sure the benefits are great, but the over all well being that was created by quick weight loss wasn't practical or real. The food industry came out with all kinds of products to accommodate the demand that was created from the diet to produce low carb foods. Now you can hardly find any foods out in the market to support that huge, almost obsessive, demand, and I'm not talking about meat. I'm talking about products like low carb peanut butter, low cab bread, or low carb snickers, and companies that are producing those goods are finding low profits on those products. This idea that you can now fry already cholesterol rich food in phytosterol, which will reduce bad cholesterol, will create a huge demand for foods fried in phytosterol. People will have a larger need for those foods fried in phytosterol because now they give those individuals more of a reason to eat those foods. Now they are eating the foods they want plus reducing cholesterol with foods that oringinally made their cholesterol bad. Because it serves a larger need, it will be more highly demanded. But then......the population eating these foods will find that for some reason they are having other problems that take away any benefit that was produced from fried foods with cholesterol reducing additives. The demand for these product will come almost to a stop. I think this idea is no different than any other way to cut corners to bad eating. I think it is predictable and obvious what will happen.

Marie said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Dr. Tufte said...

-1 for spelling mistakes in Marie's post and comment (waived)

What gets me about this (and I can describe what's happening economically, but I can't explain it) is that the demand for foods with health connotations is so volatile. For example, the demand for beef has been stable or slowly declining for decades, and then a fad diet comes along and sends it through the roof. This implies a very high elasticity with respect to diet and health news. It just seems very strange to me. I can see this happening for something intrinsically useless like beanie babies, but I have a hard time accepting this for more conventional products.