Do we really have a choice?

The fact that we can make certain choices means that on the whole we can choose the way in which we live our lives. We can choose everything from what foods we eat, to how much time we spend exercising every single day. So to be asked whether or not that choice actually exists seems crazy, right?

What a lot of us might not realise is that there is a process that exists called choice editing. Simply put, choice editing relates to the control of our choices as consumers. The thing is though, a lot of the time we don’t actually know that this is going on. Typically it has been used in relation to environmental concerns and aims to cut out any damage that is deemed unnecessary.

One example you will probably remember is how overtime less efficient light bulbs have been phased out and replaced with ones that are deemed suitable for the environment.  In reality what happened was that the light bulbs that they didn’t want us to buy were gradually made to be that expensive that our minds were made up for us.

But what has this got to do with health and fitness? Well the same thing happens with what we eat and drink. For example, Tesco has promised to cut the sugar in their own-brand soft drinks by 5% every single year. Now that sounds good but in reality that means that it will take four years to reduce the amount of sugar in a can of Tesco cola by two teaspoons.

Tesco exists to make a profit though, not to keep the UK population healthy. Imagine if they just cut all the sugar out of their drinks. Everyone could just opt for another brand, or just shop at a different supermarket. So who’s responsibility does it become to control the amount of sugar in our food?

Well plenty of people say the Government. How can they allow so many foods to be sold that are high in fat, sugar, salt etc.? But consumers want choice. We live in a free market economy and if the food that is being sold is not illegal then there isn’t much that can be done about it. Maybe it is our own fault? The ingredients of everything that we buy can be found on the label so we can’t really look to blame somebody else.

The way I see it is that everybody involved needs to take responsibility. Of course we want to live in a society where we have choice about what we buy, but there needs to be clarity about what it is that we are buying. As for companies changing the ingredients in their products? Well that is up to them but I don’t see anything wrong with consistently making their products healthier.

So the answer is yes, we do have a choice. That choice can either be informed, or not. To design a nutrition plan that works you need to gather information before making your choices. And what you will probably find is that as your plan gets stronger and stronger, it will contain far less foods that can be changed by the supermarkets and then you can choose freely what you want to eat.


Ollie Lawrence
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