A popular food marketing technique for low-calorie food products is to pitch them as guilt-free versions of dessert. You’ve probably seen this in the checkout lane at your grocery store in the form of “Dessert Delights” by Extra, the chewing gum company, but it’s also a tactic used to sell yogurt.
For many people, even those without diagnosed eating disorders, food can trigger unhealthy thought processes, much like what the woman experiences in the Yoplait commercial below when confronted with cheesecake. But feelings of guilt and shame around eating aren’t any healthier or more sustainable than picking up fad diets, binge eating or malnutrition. Considering the mixed messages sent out by the food industry at large, food marketers are exactly the last people who should be in charge of normalizing behavior and sanctioning weight-loss strategies. They’re trying to sell you something – and it’s not just yogurt. It’s a syndrome of guilt, shame and inadequacy that keep you buying more stuff on the journey towards unattainable perfection.