The very first television commercial I saw shortly after 12:00am on January 1, 2018 was for Weight Watchers. Oprah owns 10% of the diet giant and since she invested in the company in 2015, Weight Watchers gained 600k subscribers. Oprah made $300m on the deal. This woman is one smart business mogul, and that is no secret to anyone.
She has made countless television commercials promoting Weight Watchers while proclaiming that she lost weight eating bread while shining her beautiful smile on a friend who says she lost weight eating potato chips. Her very first television commercial for Weight Watchers 2018 weight loss program “Freestyle” takes us into Oprah’s personal kitchen where she is making Tacos. She asks her guests how they feel about the new freestyle program and one of her friends declares “I love freestyle, you can have what you want, it’s real food”. Another proclaims “It’s so much easier going out to eat now”, while another says “It feels great”. One of her guests actually says “You are living dangerously”, to which Oprah sings “I’m living freestyle – here’s to freestyle”.
Oprah goes on to open her refrigerator and says “People still can’t believe what I eat in a day on Weight Watchers”. She pulls out some eggs and bread, and being who I am, I wanted to see as best I could what else she had in her refrigerator. I saw what may very well be flavored Creamora on the refrigerator door, and what looks like a Snapple on the top shelf. The labels are turned around.
In August of 2017 Oprah launched her own line of refrigerated soups and side dishes called “O, THAT’S GOOD!”. I first saw the print advertisement in the October 2017 issue of Better Homes and Gardens. The title of the ad read “The creamy mashed potatoes you love now have a nutritious TWIST” (with Oprah’s signature below the quote). My first reaction to the ad was why is Oprah promoting mashed potatoes and garlic mashed with a TWIST of cauliflower, three cheese pasta with a TWIST of butternut squash, creamy parmesan pasta with a TWIST of white beans? At the bottom of the ad it said “Learn more about these delicious sides (and soups!) at othatsgood.com” – So I did.
When I landed on the page and went to our products I spotted one of my favorite soups on the planet – Broccoli Cheddar. I read the ingredient list and was horrified! 40-ingredients in Broccoli Cheddar Soup with a TWIST of butternut squash! Some of the ingredients include;
•Saturated Fat – saturated fat is animal fat. It is literally the fat of the animal. On August 21, 2015 Dr. Mehmet Oz appeared on the Oprah Winfrey show and presented the “5 Ingredients You Should Stop Eating Right Now”. The #4 ingredient was, you guessed it, animal fat. Saturated fat increases cholesterol and leads to heart disease.
•Carrageenan – carrageenan is a derivative of red algae seaweed. It is used as a thickening and binding agent in many foods and personal hygiene products, including toothpaste. Carrageenan is known to cause inflammation.
•Annatto Extract – annatto is a plant extract and is used as a food coloring.
•Oleoresin Paprika – oleoresin is a natural food coloring that is obtained by extracting plant fats and combining them with paprika, which are pigments from red peppers.
•Yeast Extract – yeast extract is used as a flavor enhancer in soups and gravy.
•Lactic Acid – lactic acid is used in food to alter the PH balance or change the flavor.
Now, I have a few questions for you to ponder;
•Why would animal fat be added to a vegetable-based soup?
•Why do you need to add carrageenan to thicken a soup that has cheese and cheese cultures in it?
•Why do you need to add any food coloring at all?
•Why not use plain ol’ paprika?
•Why do you need to enhance or change the flavor of broccoli and the vegetable base that is used in this soup, which includes carrots, onions, parsley and celery?
As a Certified Integrative Nutrition Health Coach my answers to these questions are;
• You do all of the above because you use so little of the broccoli and the twist of butternut squash that you do not have soup at all. When you do not have soup but you want people to believe they’re purchasing soup and you are Kraft Heinz, and you have teamed up with Oprah, you manufacturer and masquerade what you want the public to trust is a nutritious health food.
• Saturated Fat, Carrageenan, Annatto Extract, Oleoresin Paprika, Yeast Extract and Lactic Acid have no nutritional value. Combine all of that with the remaining 35-ingredients including 930mg of sodium and you have one big fat 16-ounce tub of crap that leads to inflammation, high cholesterol, heart disease, and costs $5.99.
Interestingly, missing from the nutritional information is the over-hyped Weight Watchers point value of the soup – perhaps it is a “Freestyle” food because with Freestyle “You can have what you want, it’s real food”.
Oprah has exceeded success in so many areas of her life – Philanthropist, Actress, Author, Talk Show Host, and most importantly World-Wide Influencer. Has she succeeded at changing her lifestyle to promote sustainable weight loss and wellness? Has she succeeded with any diet she has promoted, supported and bought into? Has she failed the millions who have followed her? Has she taken her millions of followers down blind paths filled with lost hope while making Weight Watchers and other diet industry giants rich?
With so many people being influenced by Oprah’s diet and lifestyle; it is critical for them to know there are much more healthy, sustainable, and safe paths to take to feel good.
If you are a chronic dieter and have had enough diet industry shame call me. Work with me and you will never count another point, weigh yourself, measure yourself, or take another before photo. We will take a holistic (whole you) approach to your wellness journey. We will go nice and slow. I help people in ways that feel good. Self-Awareness, Self-Care, Self-Acceptance and Lifestyle are the key components to all around wellness. I will provide you with all the support and guidance you seek to encourage you to stay on a lifelong path to positive health. I have the time, interest, passion and purpose to learn about your life. I have the time to talk and help you map your goals. I will help you get to a place where you feel good. Isn’t that what we all really want – to feel good? Let’s get the conversation started.