Tuesday, May 12, 2009

KFC Craze Deceiving Consumers

If someone handed you a package of chemicals, hormones, MSG, denatured fats, and other toxic garbage, would you eat it? Millions of Americans were ready and willing last week when a story featured on the Oprah Winfrey show offered a promotional coupon to Kentucky Fried Chicken for their grilled chicken with two sides meal. This meal was promoted as being a "healthier" alternative to the fried counterparts typically offered by the food chain. But if you examine just what ingredients are found in this chicken, you might change your mind about how "healthy" it is:
Fresh Chicken Marinated with: Salt, Sodium Phosphate, and Monosodium Glutamate Seasoned with: Maltodextrin, Salt, Bleached Wheat Flour, Partially Hydrogenated Soybean and Cottonseed Oil, Monosodium Glutamate, Spices, Palm Oil, Natural Flavor, Garlic Powder, Soy Sauce (Soybean, Wheat, Salt), Chicken Fat, Chicken Broth, Autolyzed Yeast, Beef Powder, Rendered Beef Fat, Extractives of Turmeric, Dehydrated Carrot, Onion Powder, and Not More Than 2% Each of Calcium Silicate and Silicon Dioxide Added as Anticaking Agents. Contains Wheat and Soy.
Here are the main issues with this food:
  • MSG - an excitotoxin which disables and destroys neurotransmitters in the brain
  • Partially hydrogenated soybean oil and cottonseed oil - trans fats and unhealthy vegetable oils that are treated with pesticides, genetically modified, and inflammatory substances with too high levels of Omega 6s
  • Autolyzed Yeast - salt added to yeast, which effectively kills yeast by causing those digestive enzymes to eat itself. Like MSB, it is a flavor enhancer and falls under the category of an excitotoxin as well.
  • Calcium silicate and silicon dioxide - altered chemicals added for consistency and preservatives
  • Bleached white flour - processed and rancid flour with zero nutritional content
  • Chicken meat/broth/fat and beef fat - what is the source of this meat? You can bet it's not pasture-raised or free from chemicals, hormones, and antibiotics. If the merchant is not advertising it's meat has these qualities, it's usually from a factory farm. If you knew what type of conditions existed at these operations, you'd never eat factory meat again.
Ironically, some customers were unhappy after they tried to redeem their coupons and were turned away because KFC ran out of the grilled chicken entree. KFC responded by saying they would continue to honor coupons after a kitchen resupply of the advertised product. What is truly amazing is the overwhelming response had by this offer, and the fact that so many millions of people were deceived into believing that not only was this offer too good to pass up, but that this alternative was in any way shape or form a healthier alternative to the fried choices typically offered by KFC in the past. This occurrence is indeed proof that marketing and advertising works, no matter how untrue are the claims made by the company.

The unfortunate truth is, most of the time when you go to a restaurant, a grocery store (or even a friend's house, for that matter), what you are getting when you purchase meat is the most abhorrent quality available - that is, meat produced from animals in feedlots who are pumped full of chemicals and antibiotics.

The lesson here is - do your research! Don't automatically believe that because an ad or company tells you on television or a label that their products are healthy, that it means they really are healthy. Corporations, media, and marketers have learned that certain words they use translate to the consumer mind as something they want to buy - in this case, "grilled", in other cases "all-natural", "low-fat", "no sugar", or even "organic" can trick consumers into purchasing something that is completely unhealthy and eating it. When you consume something, remember the possible hidden cost of eating it, and you may think twice the next time you are deciding about what to eat for lunch.


Dr. Susan Rubin said...

I like Michael Pollan's newest guideline for healthy eating: If it's advertised on TV, don't buy it!

Have you ever seen a TV ad for broccoli? Or any decent food for that matter??

Why spend your good money on a product that devotes more to an ad budget than to the quality of the food?
This would eliminate KFC and lots more.

Raine Saunders said...

Yeah, there are NO ads I've seen for anything healthy - food or otherwise. The only ads I have seen for anything remotely close to real food is the beef ads we used to see all the time, "Beef, it's what's for dinner". But then when you consider that the beef which was being advertised was probably factory farmed, it kills the "decent food" aspect of it immediately. Sad.