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    Friday, February 02, 2007

    Living the Best Life: Oprah's fitness guru has a good deal going - The Best Life. Not only does he have the usual books and videos, he's got a branding deal with major food products:

    What gave me pause while watching this episode was when Oprah revealed on stage a mock grocery store aisle stocked with items approved by The Best Life Diet. On the packaging of each product was a green seal with the "bestlife" logo and the diet program's Web site.

    Oprah praised Greene for persuading major food companies -- including Unilever and General Mills -- to jump on the bandwagon. Shoppers will see the green seal on such foods as Yoplait yogurt, Bertolli olive oil, Green Giant frozen vegetables and Cascadian Farm cereal.

    ...There is a shopping list of approved products available to those who participate in this diet. It includes specific brands of foods from companies that "have shown a commitment to removing or substantially reducing ingredients that aren't in your best interest, including saturated fat, trans fats, sodium and sugar."

    That isn't inherently a bad thing. Consumers do need to read labels and minimize the amounts of ingredients that aren't in their best interest.

    But when we're told to buy 8th Continent soy milk, are we buying it because it has healthful benefits or are we buying it because 8th Continent managed to get on Oprah's radar -- and therefore Greene's radar -- and bent over backward to get a brand-specific endorsement: There is a banner ad on Oprah's Web proclaiming 8th Continent (General Mills) the official soy milk for The Best Life Diet.

    On Greene's site, there are rotating ads for Wish-Bone Salad Spritzers and Yoplait (both of which Oprah praised on air), as well as Cheerios, Lipton tea and other approved items, most of which are brands that belong to either General Mills or Unilever.

    Is this fitness advice or is this a complex infomercial?

    It's an infomercial. A very savvy and creative one.

    Browsing through the Best Life website, it does appear that the diet and fitness recommendations are sound. But you know, you really don't have to buy 8th Continent Soy Milk to get the benefits of soy milk, such as they may be.

    Count the calories:

    Soy milk
    Whole milk
    2% milk
    Skim milk

    Looks like skim milk wins hands down.

    posted by Sydney on 2/02/2007 07:48:00 PM 1 comments


    I find this troubling. There has been a rash of vox-pops on UK television recently where people have said that they don't even try to achieve 5-A-Day because they can't afford organic produce.

    I don't know how the 5-A-Day message has become conflated with the 'organic is best' rhetoric or why people claim to have no confidence in the value of other fruit and vegetables.

    I think that it would be very damaging if swathes of people somehow came to believe that that only branded food is healthy and nutritious. However, I'm in the UK so I don't understand the Oprah phenomenon - will this really help people to understand the components of a good diet?

    Regards - Shinga

    By Blogger Shinga, at 11:40 AM  

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