Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Hershey World & Moderation Nation

WARNING! WARNING! This post mentions chocolate corporations, chocolate products and could quite possibly cause hallucinations making you believe you can smell the chocolate wafting from your computer's fan. If you are triggered by the mention of chocolate you should not read today's post. No actual chocolate was consumed in the four minutes several hours of research that went into preparing for the writing of this rant.

I like the color combination
It all started with yesterday's post on moderation. I was looking on line for images that would convey moderation and out popped this image. When I first saw this logo I thought it was just the creative expression of a person with a chocolate fetish amusing themselves in a milky chocolate bar fantasy. I may be sugar free and milk fat free but I am not chocolate free. I use cocoa powder in different recipes.  I still enjoy the flavor and benefits of rich dark chocolate occasionally, just without the milk fat and sugar.

Umm, is is for real?
Then I saw the next image and I realized this is not some light-hearted joke. This has darker chocolate implications. It seems that the Hershey corporation, a company that exists to make money via selling you chocolate products (90% of which are loaded with sugars, fats and milk fats) started something called Hershey's Moderation Nation in 2005. They proclaim it is to encourage us all to live healthier lives by espousing moderate diet, nutrition and exercise, and it is all wrapped in their Hershey chocolate bar logo. 

Here is their mission statement:
Yes, it is for real
The HERSHEY CENTER FOR HEALTH & NUTRITION was established in 2005 to develop and support cutting-edge scientific research for products and technologies to provide consumers with a range of snacking choices. The Center studies the nutritional benefits of cocoa, chocolate, nuts and other nutritious ingredients, and uses this information to guide product development and consumer outreach.

Here is their About Statement:
*at your own risk
MODERATION NATION is a national wellness campaign sponsored by the HERSHEY CENTER FOR HEALTH AND NUTRITION (HCHN) in collaboration with the American Dietetic Association (ADA) and the American Council on Exercise (ACE). This initiative promotes achieving balance through moderation in nutrition and and physical activity while enjoying chocolate as part of a balanced lifestyle. 
I am not going to a rant against Hershey as a company or their individual products. It is simply  question of credibility. Seriously, should I trust a food corporation whose whole identity revolves around dessert products, to educate me on how to live healthy 'while enjoying chocolate as part of a balanced lifestyle?' Don't you think, perhaps, a chocolate manufacturer is not the best carrier of this message. It reminds me of tobacco companies doing their own tests of nicotine. It is like the corn growers association telling us all to listen to them because they know their high fructose corn syrup is good for us. Tobacco, hfcs manufacturers and chocolate companies are never going to suggest that it is possible they have products that should NOT be consumed by a segment of the population. 

For that reason I have a hard time taking the Hershey moderation campaign seriously. There are some good ideas and advice mixed in with their chocolate logos, cocoa-color schemed website. Nothing that I have not learned, tried, abandoned or adopted already, but certainly there are things that may be helpful to someone new to this weight loss journey. 

No link from here to their kitchen!
Let's look at their healthy eating recipes page, using the recipes of the Hershey Kitchens (another chocolate brown logo). There are ten categories of foods. I have listed them here. With the single exception of Main Dishes, every one of the categories is sugar/chocolate/unhealthy fat related. 

So, as delicious as their products are, and as wonderfully committed as a the company is socially;  do you think Hershey is the voice of integrity that can guide you in a Weight Loss/Maintenance World?



Unknown said...

Haha! That's pretty funny! They're probably doing it to avoid a potential future lawsuit from an extremely obese person who is addicted to their chocolate.

:-) Marion

Mary said...

It's amazing the difference between the Hershey site and McDonald's French site, Manger Bouger [http://www.mangerbouger.fr/] - there's no mention of McDo on the site at all, it's entirely health based. Not sure if it's the difference of corporation or the difference of intended audience (American vs. European), but it's certainly interesting to look at.

Julie said...

When I was training as a journalist I was taught the that the first thing you ask when presented with `research' or survey information who commissioned (read paid!) for it. Amazingly (not!) most press releases that appear touting the benefits of sugar, alcohol, chocolate etc etc are at the bottom line funded by the very groups which produce/market them. No I don't trust Hershey (or any other snack/fast food company) to have any integrity in helping people have a healthy diet and life. And why would they? They make and sell chocolate (or another snack or fast food). If they can see a marketing opportunity to make people feel good about eating their product they will exploit it to the max. We need to be aware and smart. Any commercial enterprise exists to make money and to do that they need to sell as much as possible. Our health is the last thing on their mind!

Jane Cartelli said...

Thank you for sharing that Julie. I learned about questioning research by reading WHAT TO EAT by Marion Nestle.

oh_mg - I am going to go look at that site now.

Marion - In our litigious society that would be smart of them to consider that. Like my disclaimer in the introduction of the post. LOL

Princess Dieter aka Mir said...

It's P.R. They don't want Americans or anyone to be moderate in consumption, unless they define moderate as ONLY ONE WHOLE BAR A DAY. I'd define moderate as a small square of dark chocolate in a healthy eating plan that doesn't accumulate weight (or causes loss if one is obese/o.w.).

If folks who are chocoholics actually ate it moderately, they'd lose profits. No company wants that, anymore than cigarette companies want smokers to cut down to one smoke a day, or booze companies want folks to only have one glass of booze with a dinner out on Saturdays.

It's P.R. We know it. And only the most naive believe otherwise...

Fatoutofskinny said...

Isn't there an oxymoron in there somewhere.....lol! It always sends up red flags when I see companies like this promoting a "healthy" lifestyle. In fact I think it's quite insulting that they think people would fall for it....and of course a lot do......which is sad!

Cathy said...

I question the integrity of Weight Watchers, let alone Hershey! There are people/businesses making money by conveying legitimate messages and information about healthy living, but they are few and far between. In my opinion of course!

Maren said...

This made me giggle. I mean, seriously. Hershey's?? For me that's like going on a weight loss diet at McDonald's. Just doesn't add up.

Vickie said...

I do consume 90% dark chocolate on occasion. It can help me stave off a migraine when the barometer changes. I eat one square, not a bar. It generates NO WANTS in me.

I am writing to ask if you have used cocoa powder (unsweetened, dark) to make hot chocolate. I would use skim milk. (I do not consume artificial sweeteners nor real food sweeteners, but understand that others do.)

your analogy of tobacco and corn producers was right on in your interpretation of this group.

I also appreciate that you put a warning up for the potential food porn. I think it is the sign of a truly responsible blogger to understand what might set off other people.

good post

Jane Cartelli said...

Vicki - I use unsweetened dark cocoa powder and I do use skim milk or almond milk. I still use Trvia and splenda but not aspartame. I also use the cocoa powder with a 1/2 avocado and splenda to make a mock chocolate ice cream. So far that is okay for me to enjoy occasionally.

Sarah said...

Hiya, newbie here. A lot of UK choc bars also seem to have that phrase on - to be enjoyed as part of a healthy lifestyle. They are just trying to make us feel better about eating a chocolate bar, and also disclaim responsibility for any bad habits. So if we eat 10 choc bars a day its our fault for not enjoying them as part of a healthy lifestyle, not their fault for producing the things in the first place.

Jane Cartelli said...

It isn't their fault for producing them That is their job- to sell either products and make money. I do not fault them for that. I find it disturbing that they use the cry of a health platform to sell MORE because we are weak when it comes to saying no. My civil disobedience is limited to a boycott in my home and office: not visiting their Hershey Park USA, not buying their candy, even at Christmas and Halloween and voicing my experience and opinion on my blog and other publications.


RedPanda said...

I do consume 90% dark chocolate on occasion. It can help me stave off a migraine when the barometer changes.

Vickie - that's interesting. I had one of those weather-induced migraines only yesterday. Do you know how dark chocolate works for this purpose?

Sorry for the OT comment...

Vickie said...

Chocolate will give me a migraine if I don't have one,
but will help take one away if I do have one.

and as I mentioned, I only use the 90% variety which is heavy on the cocoa and almost no sugar.

milk chocolate gags everyone at my house now. Our taste buds are now (including girls) set at the 90% chocolate level.

I eat the chocolate with 3 ibuprofen and it is very effective if it is a BAD migraine. These do not happen very often anymore. But occassionally with weather.

I just asked my husband and he said they aren't sure why (dark chocolate helps migraines), but they think it might have somethng to do with caffeine

I consume NO coffee or tea with caffeine, I do not drink any type of pop, I can't think of anywhere else that I might be getting caffeine (accidently).

I am probably very sensative to caffeine as I do not have it on a regular basis (a little would probably go a long way with me).

RedPanda said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
RedPanda said...

Thanks for the response Vickie.

We only eat 85% cocoa chocolate (I don't think 90% is available here in Australia) and only as an afternoon snack/pick-me-up on one of our snowshoeing expeditions. There's usually some in the bottom of the fridge left over from last winter (which shows how little it tempts us).

If your husband's theory is correct and it staves off a migraine due to the caffeine, it wouldn't work for me because I drink quite a lot of caffeinated tea and coffee.

But if it staves off a migraine due to the endorphins released by the chocolate, as I speculated after I posted, then it would be worth a try,