Health Washing

By: Tom Walters

We have all heard of the term green washing, where companies will bombard the customers with how green their products are trying to get them to purchase their “green” products. The same could be said about companies bombarding us with how “healthy” their products are. In class we did an exercise where everyone in the class tried to come up with five products in a store that weren’t marketed towards improving one’s health. It was a lot harder than you would think. Even couches and beds can be marketed towards one’s health. Even some cookies are low fat and low calorie with the purpose of getting people to buy them thinking that they are being healthier. So Do companies actually care about our health, or are they just in it for the profits? Maybe they want to do a little bit of both. But since so many things are marked as healthy for us, how do we know what actually is healthy and what is just companies trying to profit off people wanting to live healthy. It’s really hard to tell because anyone can put “natural” or “healthy” on their product and that could mean nothing. I think the best way to do this is to look at the label, if it contains anything with a long complex name that you don’t know what it means, chances are that it is not very healthy for you. Reading the labels and knowing how to sort out health washing from actually healthy products should be a skill that everyone should learn how to do. If you are serious about your health, you should take the time to research all the products that you use or consume to find out if they are truly healthy or not. Especially Vitamins and supplements. Most of them might not even have any scientific evidence if they work or not. So basically be carefully on what is marked as healthy because it may just being a company trying to make a profit.

On eating healthy:



3 thoughts on “Health Washing

  1. Every time I see a product that says it’s healthy or natural I am a little skeptical as to whether it actually is or not. I have recently gotten in to the habit of looking at product labels more to see what ingredients are in them and you do see a pattern of those long, complex ingredients that aren’t good for you. I do agree that people should learn this skill if they want to really be healthy with the foods they eat, and also do a little more research into what they are buying no matter what it may be.

    Jacob Fischer


  2. The main thing to remember is that companies will do what is best for the company. Their priority is to make money. Providing a healthy service is secondary. Most companies will do the bare minimum to meet federal guidelines (if they even exist) so they can slap whatever buzz word on the side to sell more product. Health fads cycle in and out – now it’s gluten free, before that it was organic, and before that was fat-free or low-calorie. The best thing to do is educate yourself on what nutrition your body actually needs, and do your best to match your diet to meet those needs.

    -Jennifer Brees


  3. You made some good points. I myself have actual started to look at the ingredient of the product I am about to by to see what goes into it. I am always so surprised at some products that I thought were healthy but in reality are not. A good example would be granola bars or protein bars. You might think that what you are eating is good for you because it is presented as all natural or organic but you dont realize that that small bar could have up to 17g of sugar in it alone.
    -claire greve


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