Guilt-Free: I know it’s probably well-meaning, but I cringe each time I see “guilt-free” on a food label, in the title of a recipe or on a restaurant menu. Sure it may be reduced fat, sugar-free or whatever, and that’s fine. But no food should evoke guilt. The same product with a little more fat or sugar shouldn’t make you feel guilty for eating it. All foods should be guilt-free. So let’s stop using this adjective, thank you very much.
Skinny: Why is skinny the new ideal? I know the term is in the title of many popular diet books (I wrote about that recently), and Skinnygirl is Bethenny Frankel’s entire platform — which scored her an amazing deal with Skinnygirl Margaritas. But I think it sends the wrong message. Maybe skinny helps sell a lot of books, and a lot of booze, but I still don’t like it.
Natural: It’s the big buzz word on package labels, and there was even a recent food fight with the FDA to determine if high fructose corn syrup really qualifies as natural. We’re arguing over technicalities and the word has lost all meaning. I think if a food wasn’t actually plucked from a tree or grown from the ground, then it shouldn’t claim to be natural. A vegetable is natural, an extruded veggie straw made from dehydrated vegetable powder isn’t — no matter what the label says.
Detox: I’m so tired of this word. Enough said.
Cleanse: It seems as though cleanse is the cousin of detox. Why has this word captured the public’s imagination? It rose to mainstream status with the Master Cleanse and became big in the world of dietary supplements, such as Jillian Michaels’ detox and cleanse diet pills (that I wrote about not so long ago). But why has a respected culinary magazine like Bon Appetit jumped on the cleanse bandwagon? I hated to see the magazine create The Food Lover’s Cleanse. Sure, they tried to put the focus on real foods and justified going down this path with the message “forget juice fasts and calorie counting…” I liked that, but why embrace the mythology of cleansing? Why elevate the terminology? Why legitimize the concept? Just don’t think we need to jump on the bandwagon to grab attention.
Any way, those are the five food/nutrition-related words I hope to see less often. What about you?
Photo credits: Flickr users joewhk, chipdwood, geann candare, cheeryobs.