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If It’s Healthy, Do You Need It?

October 14, 2010
I have a question

image: Malingering

Last night I was reading Allure – I revel in ripping out magazine pages and subscribe to a dozen magazines to fuel this pastime – when I came across an ad for cat food.

New Purina with “wholesome grains for energy.”

I don’t know about your cat,  but I’m pretty sure that mine is a carnivore, perfectly engineered to rely on protein and fat for energy.

Can he eat carbs? He sure can but he certainly doesn’t need them.

This really got me thinking about the responsibility of advertisers in general and specifically the health industry. Is it ok to sell something that is potentially healthy under a narrow set of circumstances and not explain what those are?

Purina cat chow is really healthy… if your cat is a dog! Purina cat chow could save your cat’s life … if he’s dying of starvation!

Vitamin B12 supplements have a wide range of benefits … if you’re B12 deficient!


I guess the cat food shows that all types of advertisers prey on people’s preconceived notions. Maybe I’m an idealist but I think that when it comes to the health industry- at least the human health industry – we should hold ourselves to a higher standard.

What’s wrong with selling products to the people who need them?

As it’s become abundantly clear that I don’t rule the world, I guess the market for food and health products will remain “buyer beware.”

Just keep in mind that just because something is healthy for someone, doesn’t mean it’s good for YOU.


P.S. Don’t go running to the bag of cat food to analyze the ingredient list. It’s full of carbs, which give dry cat food it’s bulk. Cats can digest carbohydrates, though less efficiently than protein and fat. They can eat carbs, they just don’t need them…and they certainly don’t need “wholesome grains.”

One Comment leave one →
  1. October 14, 2010 7:04 pm

    Meow. Actually, I’ve been given veggie samples of cat food before and I just smile. Even though I am a vegetarian, I don’t think my cats would choose that. They love meat, meat, meat! Now, if they would just make a protein mouse flavor, the cats would be ecstatic.

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