Healthwashing – What Is It?

A reader asks: “What is healthwashing?”
Healthwashing is a term we use to describe what companies, manufacturers, retailers and other sellers do to make a product that isn’t particularly good for you seem healthier, safer or more nutritious. A “healthwashed” product can be a new version of an old food or just a repositioning of a product that is already in the marketplace.Think of a can of cola. One company might healthwash its drink by playing up the fact that it’s made with natural sugar, as opposed to artificial sweeteners. Another might repackage its cola in slightly smaller cans with the promise of fewer calories. You think you’re doing something positive for your health but, really, you’re still drinking a beverage with no real nutritional value.Another example of healthwashing might come from your local farmer, who claims his pork was raised without antibiotics. The truth, though, is that in the U.S. absolutely no hormones can be used in hogs raised for consumption. Anyone selli…

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