Many years from now, historians will look back at 2011 and label it The Stupidest Year Ever. From Tweeting Weiners, to the Congress that Couldn’t, to anything involving tigers (Tiger Moms, Tiger Blood, Tiger Woods), the whole year was an exercise in bad judgment and questionable choices. (And yes, it’s okay to ask Kim Kardashian to return your wedding gift.)
With all the nutsiness going on, the really dumb things the food industry did this year might have slipped off your radar. Too bad, because unless you know what’s really happening to your food, you won’t know what’s really happening to your body.
And it isn’t pretty.
A 2011 Rodale study found that 28 percent of Americans purchased more natural foods this year. No wonder producers are slapping the “natural” claim on everything they can. Frito Lay, for instance, slapped “all natural” on half its snacks this year. The problem? There are no regulations on the “natural” claim. Case in point: A 2011 Cornucopia Institute study found pesticides and genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in a variety of “natural” cereals. Another downside of “natural” products: They can lead consumers to ignore nutrition labels. Butter, salt, and lard are natural. So are poison ivy, arsenic, and flash floods. Just because it’s natural doesn’t mean it’s good for you.
If you want to make 2012 your leanest year yet (and I know you do!), you should do two things: First, fill your fridge and pantry with healthy options (the all-new Eat This, Not That! Supermarket Survival Guide can help you with thousands of smart food swaps); and second, read on to discover the food trends that will make you fat—or help you get skinny—next year and beyond.