Maverick Citizen

SHORT FILM

Unhealthy eating: How the food industry shapes what’s on your plate — and what you weigh

For decades, the public has been told that what it eats — and weighs — is a matter of choice. In a country like South Africa, ‘choosing’ to eat healthily is more complicated than it seems — and regulations aimed at changing that face steep and often hidden industry opposition. (Photo: freshidea-stock.adobe.com / Wikipedia)

In October 2021, writer Laura López González wrote that "for decades, the public has been told that what it eats — and weighs — is a matter of choice. In South Africa, ‘choosing’ to eat healthily is more complicated than it seems — and regulations aimed at changing that face steep and often hidden industry opposition." Here is a short film about how a growing body of research has revealed that what’s on our plate isn’t always just about what we elect to eat.

Film edited by Malibongwe Tyilo

Join Maverick Citizen journalist Zukiswa Pikoli in conversation with independent health journalist and editor Laura Lopez Gonzalez and Makoma Bopape, lecturer at the University of Limpopo, Department of Human Nutrition and Dietetics for a Food Justice live webinar on Thursday 24 March at 12pm.

Ultra-processed foods, typically high in salt and sugar, are driving epidemics of diseases such as diabetes and hypertension across the world. Today, illnesses like these are the leading causes of natural death in South Africa. Awash in more processed food than ever before, an increasing number of countries such as Mexico, Peru and Chile have turned to new kinds of warning labels on food to help people make better choices at the till — and it’s working. Now, South African scientists say it’s time to do the same here. Could it work? Register here. 

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