Diet this and pro­tein that – it’s all Bridges too far and it’s not nec­es­sary

Don’t fol­low the foodie quack pack

Townsville Bulletin - - OPINION -

A FEW years ago the only peo­ple drink­ing pro­tein shakes were body builder types in sin­glets with hairy backs and no necks.

And re­mem­ber those guys in chemists with gold chains and shiny suits selling crazy liq­uid weight- loss di­ets? And those women in G- string leo­tards on late- night TV shows push­ing dodgy diet pow­ders?

But now the health food in­dus­try and its po­tions and pow­ders has moved from the mar­gins to the main­stream. These days even su­per­mar­kets and dis­count stores have aisles packed with Pro­tein Fx Lo Carb bars, Rapid Loss Cho­co­late Shakes and Go Nat­u­ral Pro­tein Break­fast Bars.

Yep, the in­mates are tak­ing over the asy­lum and they’re all on wheat germ smoothie di­ets with added an­cient grains.

It’s no won­der peo­ple are los­ing track of what healthy eat­ing is. ( Let me give you a tip: it’s sure as hell not Go Nat­u­ral Pro­tein Break­fast Bars in cof­fee flavour with glu­cose and honey as the two main in­gre­di­ents.)

Lead­ing the health food quack pack is TV trainer Michelle Bridges and her Black­mores range. This makes her the latest celebrity health food hack. In my eyes she’s just as bad as Sarah “I quit sugar but got hooked on rice malt syrup” Wil­son.

And Gwyneth “lose weight by steam- clean­ing your colon” Pal­trow.

I wish Bridges would stop push­ing her range of Black­mores prod­ucts that are un­nec­es­sary for the av­er­age per­son, hugely ex­pen­sive and packed with hid­den nas­ties.

Thanks to peo­ple like Bridges, we’ve got our heads so far jammed up our ( or­ganic, lo­cally har­vested) dates that we think a healthy diet needs the ad­di­tion of prod­ucts such as cherry co­conut pro­tein bites, chia and or­ganic lin­seed break­fast sprin­kle and vi­tal­ity reds body boost.

All from Michelle Bridges’ Black­mores range, of course. It’s ridicu­lous.

Take, for in­stance, her break­fast sprin­kle. It is 50 per cent fat – twice that of a Mars bar. Now those are “good fats” but they’re still sat­u­rated fats and could be a real trap for some­one try­ing to lose weight.

And her pop­u­lar pro­tein balls are highly pro­cessed and have no less than 26 in­gre­di­ents, many of which are chem­i­cals you have never heard of and wouldn’t recog­nise as food.

The pro­tein pow­ders also are un­nec­es­sary; if you want pro­tein you are much bet­ter off hav­ing a piece of lean red meat or fish, a few eggs or a hand­ful of nuts. And why eat some­thing with straw­berry pow­der when you can have a hand­ful of straw­ber­ries?

The Black­mores’ web­site notes the pro­tein pow­ders should be used “in con­junc­tion with a bal­anced diet and ap­pro­pri­ate ex­er­cise pro­gram”.

But if you have a bal­anced diet, then pro­tein pow­ders and shakes are ex­actly what you don’t need.

I spoke to Tim Cas­set­tari, an ac­cred­ited prac­tis­ing di­eti­tian about this is­sue. He told me that while such prod­ucts are not harm­ful, they are mostly not nec­es­sary.

The only peo­ple who might ben­e­fit, Tim said, are body builders, peo­ple who are ill and ve­g­ans. He said most Aus­tralians easily meet their pro­tein needs with their daily di­ets, par­tic­u­larly through tion of red meat.

It’s the hypocrisy that bugs me. Bridges has long talked about the ben­e­fits of eat­ing healthy, home­cooked sim­ple food, so why is she pro­mot­ing these prod­ucts to peo­ple who mostly don’t need them?

In fact, we are so tuned into be­liev­ing this stuff will make us more healthy that we don’t lis­ten to warn­ings from the real ex­perts – the di­eti­tians. We don’t lis­ten when they tell us to be wary of the hid­den calo­ries in sup­pos­edly sugar- free foods. We don’t lis­ten when they tell us that co­conut oil still con­tains calo­ries and that agave syrup still con­tains sugar.

So why is Bridges push­ing this muck? This stuff is more ex­pen­sive than nor­mal food. Take her vi­tal­ity greens body boost, which is $ 19.99 for 100g, which makes it $ 200 a kilo.

No won­der Bridges has just made the Forbes Rich List.

The prob­lem is that she has enor­mous cred­i­bil­ity in this area. Peo­ple like her and trust her and be­lieve her prod­ucts will be good for them.

So here are my ques­tions for her: how do these prod­ucts fit in with your mantra of health and fit­ness? Why are you pro­mot­ing them to av­er­age peo­ple who don’t need them? Doesn’t this go against ev­ery­thing you preach about whole foods, get­ting fit and re­spect­ing your body?

the con­sump-

susie. obrien@ news. com. au

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