Challenges of a Food Company That Wants to Make People Healthy

by Fahad Ahmad on March 25, 2018

Childhood obesity is skyrocketing and nearly 40% of Americans are now obese. When we started Ketogeek, we thought we'd use Keto as a tool to end chronic conditions. We would create a food product which would be one of the silver bullets to end it all. Turns out, the journey isn't going to be smooth and many external forces exist on this journey. We've come to accept some realities of the food, health and nutrition business. With that being said, challenge accepted!

UNLIMITED FAT DOESN'T WORK FOR EVERYONE

It seems to work for the majority or at least many people, but we found out very early that eating unlimited amounts of fat and actively seeking to add fat despite not being hungry is not only counterproductive to the obesity epidemic but can potentially cause some people to gain weight and maybe even insulin resistant on a Keto & low carb diet. The low carb and keto movement is working relatively well for now in its infancy but as more food products enter the fray, it will be interesting to see how this will pan out when words like "cheap" and "delicious" are the highest priority in the food industry, especially in the eyes of consumers, affiliates, distributors and board of directors calling the shots.

THE CATCH 22 OF FOOD AND HEALTH

The catch 22 of the food industry that wants to focus on health is that on one hand you want to focus on foods that taste good and bring return customers and revenue but on the other hand if you create a product that tastes way too good, it's addictive and we are back to square one. This was an interesting challenge and will continue to be one for future food companies. For us at Ketogeek, making food taste delicious and amazing was easy but we took the extra steps of endlessly testing our product to balance taste, nutrients, ingredients and educating our customers on how to effectively use our products for desired health and nutrition goals. We're happy to say that we've found our groove and will continue to strive for better!

GOOD NUTRIENTS ARE EXPENSIVE

Some people ask why certain keto and low carb foods are expensive. Here's why: nutrients and quality ingredients are expensive. For us, pasture-raised butter that supports localized regenerative farming, nuts and various sources of high quality fats in bulk are far pricier than sugars, grains and flours. Refined oils or Omega 6 bombs are cheap but they have a devastating impact on health. In other words, we can't compete in price with foods that are their same carb alternatives. Now factor in the research many pioneering food companies have to conduct, sifting through antiquated science, and create food products, knowing full well that most nutrition science is junk and has created flawed dietary guidelines. For us, it's all about building from scratch which takes time and learning from experts and educators across the globe.

DOGMA AGAINST FOOD COMPANIES

In the world of health and nutrition, there is a strong belief that food companies will do or sell anything to profit even if it comes at the detriment of human health. Many educators, influencers and dieticians shun foods from food companies while promoting "real food". To a large extent their concerns are true as in the food industry profitability is the king. We want to change that and work with good educators, researchers and experts in the field and potentially create better foods.

It is important to note that several "real foods" such as fruits have been domesticated and cultivated into fructose bombs and several plants still contain toxins and have low bioavailability, rendering some of their nutritional value useless. For folks with fixed mindset, it's either farm fresh or 'real' or nothing else. This dogmatic way of thinking against food companies is restrictive and puts us all in trenches against each other rather than work towards improving foods as a whole for human consumption and health. Science should help break dogma, not propagate it further.

IS BEING FAT OK?

This is a controversial social topic and acceptance of who we are is healthy and should be encouraged. With that being said, we should always strive to improve in all aspects of life, physically and mentally. For people who are insulin sensitive obese or those with a strong genetic predisposition to be overweight, they might be perfectly healthy but for the rest of us obesity may be a strong symptom of underlying issues. It may be difficult for many individuals to take a step towards improving health which is why we think that ending obesity and chronic conditions should be a multi-prong approach that impacts our society as a whole rather than just on an individual level. This requires a total paradigm shift. This takes us to the next point...

FOCUS ON BETTER HUMANS

No biomarkers or individual scales will budge if we don't focus on building better individuals. This involves fostering an environment of empathy, understanding and giving from family to homes to social media. Idealistic goals that are grounded in reality. Humanity moves as a whole. Beyond the mask of a company, video, picture or whatever media content we are looking at, we are humans striving towards a goal, constantly impeded by our flaws and limitatiions. We need to start rewarding positive behavior. Good educators and citizen scientists such as Ivor Cummins, Marty Kendall, Amy Berger, Dave Feldman & Siobhan Huggins and physicians such as Dr. Ted Naiman who are spending countless hours being self-critical and helping others should be rewarded (Many such great minds can be found on our podcast) As cliche as it sounds, we need to work together rather than against each other as consumers, companies and educators. Food, health and nutrition is a hot pile of mess right now and it all begins with good humans ie. ourselves.

WHY WE HAVE WALKED AWAY

To be honest, we've found it best to ignore all the buzz words and create our own infrastructuve at Ketogeek and work with people who are on a similar quest of making this world healthier. While many are focused on picking sides and fighting their battles, we are focused on cherry picking information that works and practically applying it to our products, our lives and sharing it with our community. We want to explore, learn and apply. We want both real food AND processed foods in our diet but have the knowledge to choose what suits our situation. Our goal is health and living the human experience and that is agnostic towards whether the food is 'real', 'processed' or forged in the heart of a dying star.

FAHAD AHMAD

Fahad is the founder of Ketogeek and hosts the Ketogeek Podcast, a world class health show about food, nutrition and health. He is into resistance training, Ashtanga yoga, calisthenics and various forms of training styles. Armed with a idealistic goals distilled in a world of realism, his goal is to help the world make a better place. He leads a life of extreme generalism or as he describes it, 'The Renaissance Lifestyle'.

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