There Are Bad Foods

There Are Bad Foods

January 13, 2020

Many of you have shared with me a recent New York Times Parenting article by Virginia Sole-Smith titled, “Your Baby Doesn’t Need to Go Paleo”.

Since Virginia explicitly calls out “kid-friendly protein bars” and predicts they’ll “make a lot of lists” (whatever that means), I feel compelled to offer our perspective.

We started our business because my wife and I were tired of providing empty-calorie, high-sugar granola bars to the kids we were coaching. For too long the behemoths of the industry have profited off kids’ sensitive pallets by marketing cheap, nutritionally poor options to families.

Now that my wife and I have our own child on the way, this mission is even more personal.

But this isn’t just about Zeek. I disagree with Virginia’s entire premise in this article. The truth is, there are bad foods and our kids need to be taught that directly in order to make better choices.

Of course, there is nothing in an Oreo that is inherently “evil”, but what the Oreo does to our body over time is. There’s no other way to put it. Studies examining sugar (especially fructose) and its link to metabolic disease are alarming, and to ignore them out of fear of exposing our kids to “diet culture '' is backwards.

No matter how much Virginia fears that “diet culture” hurts our kids, there is no denying the fundamental reality: certain foods wreak havoc on our biological system. There are bad foods.

To say otherwise is simply naive.

Virginia mentions Weight Watchers’ recent launch of a “health app for kids” as another evil. Which makes sense, because if you don’t believe there are bad foods, you also don’t believe there are bad weights. Should we ignore the alarming rates of childhood obesity and early onset diabetes? Should we hide from them out of fear of offending our kids’ psychological well-being?

The truth is as a society we need to improve what we eat. The standard American diet has gotten us to a bad place. This requires hard conversations and confronting uncomfortable facts. Hiding from them will not solve the problem, it will only make us and our kids worse off.

Zeek and other brands like ours are working to create better snack options for families. Our bars may come in “brightly colored wrappers” and Virginia may see us as a cheap marketing ploy, but this is an important mission we’re working hard on every day fueled by the thousands of families we serve.

-Reid Pearson

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