14

votes

Is Whole Foods Market making people fat?

Answered on September 12, 2014
Created June 27, 2011 at 2:49 PM

Okay, maybe it's not Whole Foods Market per se, but maybe the Whole Foods Market lifestyle?

I have been shopping at WF for a few years now. It all started when I became a vegan. I went to WF to get the organic vegan food with no preservatives or animal products. Super healthy, AND I was going to be a skinny you know what. When I arrived at Whole Foods, I was expecting to be surrounded by skinny people. Emaciated people. Organic vegans and veggies. But from the moment I stepped into the store, I noticed that all of the skinny people I was expecting to see were nowhere to be found. I figured maybe they were an elusive species that only came out at night or something. The heavier people I was seeing were obviously on their way to health and would be skinny in no time.

For the next few years, I watched the WF clientele as well as the employees with fascination. Each time I was in the store, I noticed that not only were the overwhelming majority of people not skinny, they were actually fat. There was no way that I could be missing all of the skinny people, considering that I am at the store 1-2 times a week at all different hours.

Clearly, these people are health consious and they are willing to pay higher prices in order to eat healthy; so why are they fat?

The answer eluded me until yesterday. I was sitting there in the dining section watching people, when it suddenly dawned on me: Whole Foods people are fat because they are buying into the low-fat, high-carb, whole-grain, veggie-vegan lifestyle. It was like an epiphany! I know, I should have recognized the answer sooner, considering that I have been Paleo for 6 months now, but it was so enlightening to finally have the answer, I wanted to shout it out on a bullhorn. And how sad that these people truly care about their health and are trying to do the right thing by carefully avoiding the unhealthy foods, only to fail miserably unless they are willing to starve themselves. It is especially sad to see all of the moms picking out the organic juices and vegan cookies for the little ones.

So has anyone else noticed this? Are your Whole Foods people fat too? If so, did you figure out the answer immediately, or did it take some time? I'm feeling behind the curve here.

Medium avatar

(10611)

on October 22, 2012
at 06:35 PM

While TJ's has some of the best meat and flash frozen fish, these are a small section compared to the ready-to-eat stuff. "Restaurantizing" food makes it way too rewarding for the amount of effort it takes to get IMO.

1a98a40ba8ffdc5aa28d1324d01c6c9f

(20378)

on March 07, 2012
at 06:53 AM

Nice Post FED!!!

218f4d92627e4289cc81178fce5b4d00

on February 15, 2012
at 11:06 AM

Joel Salatin alludes to this in his new book and his battles with WF. in the end told the to bugger off.

B3e7d1ab5aeb329fe24cca1de1a0b09c

(5242)

on September 20, 2011
at 12:54 AM

Well done! Good effort.

446d2dddaeeccb2cc31a09cf20e40d46

(676)

on August 27, 2011
at 10:28 AM

http://www.wholefoodsmarket.com/healthstartshere/fourpillars.php Seems like they do get the idea for the better part. Damn near Paleo ;)

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on August 12, 2011
at 06:41 PM

haha, which state are you in? my whole foods is usually filled with uppity yuppies who eat only "organic" fake foods ( im from orange county), and i seldom seem fat people shop there. I used to shop there alot as a vegan and my bill was always over 80$ and i was a fat vegan.

1d0497f8781845ab371b479455bfee8e

(11157)

on August 12, 2011
at 06:08 PM

I wear yoga pants when I go out and I don't do yoga or any sort of "fitness" program. They just make my butt look good, lol.

11838116de44ae449df0563f09bd3d73

(655)

on August 12, 2011
at 03:52 PM

Some vegetarians do well. I do like some of their base ethics. Fortunately we can threaten the uppity ones with cannibalism. Although I would be concerned about a vegans omega 6/3 ratio. Might need to pasture them on coconut oil for a few months before consumption.

11838116de44ae449df0563f09bd3d73

(655)

on August 12, 2011
at 03:47 PM

I like the way you think. Almost all fat people are trying to do better.

11838116de44ae449df0563f09bd3d73

(655)

on August 12, 2011
at 03:43 PM

My Whole Foods has the fittest, most attractive female customers of any place I visit. Seriously. My local store is about fifteen years old and its always been that way. I think the prices would keep most people skinny. Kerrygold butter is 4x the price of U.S. Wellness. The guys at my whole foods could be fit too. I can't say I've ever noticed a guy in that place............

3a833804187fe8926214e6c0bd8a0766

(1023)

on July 02, 2011
at 02:00 AM

+1 for full fat Native Forest at our WF. It's also one of the few (only?) places to get unrefined coconut oil in the area.

8a4ce6a9e1ab27616920b828df08b259

(354)

on June 29, 2011
at 07:31 AM

Thank you! I'd never have guessed correctly.

93f44e8673d3ea2294cce085ebc96e13

(10502)

on June 29, 2011
at 03:55 AM

@Neane -- it "For What Its Worth"

8a4ce6a9e1ab27616920b828df08b259

(354)

on June 28, 2011
at 05:21 PM

Exactly my thoughts...perhaps these fat people we're seeing in WF were actually FATTER a few months ago. I am still overweight, and I shop at WF 95% of the time. But I was more overweight 6 months ago. Wonder what people were saying about me?

8a4ce6a9e1ab27616920b828df08b259

(354)

on June 28, 2011
at 05:18 PM

What does "FWIW" mean?

6670b38baf0aae7f4d8ac2463ddc37c0

(3946)

on June 28, 2011
at 03:50 PM

My point is that people are buying into the WF lifestyle of buying "healthy" food, but in reality, it's all just junk. They think that buying natural and organic junk is good for them.

7e746be2f0e550a8cd7df881322ae705

(18701)

on June 28, 2011
at 03:17 PM

Yes, Ben, but brownies are delicious! I don't eat them every day, but when I do, I don't apologize for it or feel guilty anymore.

7e746be2f0e550a8cd7df881322ae705

(18701)

on June 28, 2011
at 03:15 PM

Personally, I know I made myself obese. I made terrible food choices and didn't move my body at all. Then I made myself fit. They were all choices I made for myself.

9a5e2da94ad63ea3186dfa494e16a8d1

(15833)

on June 28, 2011
at 01:57 PM

Maybe it depends on the store, but one of the Whole Foods in my area has the best seafood counter in the entire metro area, and close to the best meat counter, and a huge produce section with an organic option for almost every item. Sure they sell some pastries and cakes and pasta, but the proportion of wholesome food is way higher than your typical grocer.

6670b38baf0aae7f4d8ac2463ddc37c0

(3946)

on June 28, 2011
at 03:46 AM

When I say, "Is WF making people fat" I am not blaming the store. I would not be able to eat wholesome foods if it wasn't for WF. I am saying that buying into the WF lifestyle is detrimental to health. People are buying organic and natural CRAP, thinking that it's healthy. And Shari, as a once and therefore always fat person myself, I can safely say that for the most part we are not stupid and lazy, just deceived.

21fd060d0796fdb8a4a990441e08eae7

(24543)

on June 28, 2011
at 02:57 AM

It's pretty tough to say what's making "people" gain weight. An individual person may gain weight because of disease, emotional problems, liking ice cream a lot, pregnancies, etc etc. Gross generalizations are...gross? Weight gain involves so many disparate fields and complexities, yet everyone feels entitled to strong opinions.

26b7615ef542394102785a67a2786867

(7967)

on June 28, 2011
at 02:44 AM

I'm not suggesting any of that, Shari. I've been a member of the Fat Acceptance movement since long before I heard of paleo and most of my best friends my whole life have been fat (I know, I know, but seriously, it's true). But at the same time, it is individual choices that have the most impact on weight, and I don't think people are without accountability, even in an environment that makes it very easy to get overfat. Pointing the finger at corporations doesn't make any more sense than the (untrue) 'fat people are all lazy overeating slobs who just need to eat less' theory.

98bf2ca7f8778c79cd3f6c962011cfdc

(24286)

on June 28, 2011
at 02:26 AM

People are making themselves fat???? Seriously people? And of course there is no greater sin than a few extra pounds right? Yeah fat people are so stupid and lazy and pretty much just suck don't they?

21fd060d0796fdb8a4a990441e08eae7

(24543)

on June 28, 2011
at 02:10 AM

The only grocery store that's not trying to make you fat is the forest. Whole Foods is the only place around here that has ghee, grass fed beef, and fresh coconut in one place. And for that, I am grateful.

1da74185531d6d4c7182fb9ee417f97f

(10904)

on June 28, 2011
at 02:05 AM

Mine sells native forest brand. No bpa. :-)

Ffc7e0ecad8e8831b528c5d4921377cc

(942)

on June 28, 2011
at 01:21 AM

That's way too harsh. I'm with Animalcule.

559aa134ff5e6c8bcd608ba8dc505628

(3631)

on June 28, 2011
at 12:41 AM

HA. 'lite' -- so bogus! if you want it lite, buddy, ADD WATER. what do you think is in that can?? so stoopit.

559aa134ff5e6c8bcd608ba8dc505628

(3631)

on June 28, 2011
at 12:40 AM

HA. 'lite' -- so bogus! if you want it lite, buddy, ADD WATER. what do think is in that can?? so stoopit.

Dbb6872f139877fe1a94aeb471baa7d1

on June 27, 2011
at 11:58 PM

Ryan: You're nicer than I am. I would have argued with the nutritionist on every single possible point. I wouldn't exactly have pushed paleo (my attitude would have given it a negative image, in that case), but I would definatly have challenged the lower sugar/higher grains thing. I would have ranted and raved about how a 12-grain loaf of bread will raise my sugar JUST AS MUCH as a big bag of Skittles. And how, on Primal, my sugars are non-diabetic normal. STFU, nutritionist, and read something outside the box.

C5671827e24f2648301b6b123ab3a728

(75)

on June 27, 2011
at 11:36 PM

Yeah... I had to take a brief brake from WH when I was weaning myself off of sugar because their bakery selection was amazing. I always would get their chocolate croissant and the dark chocolate cherry KIND bars. It all depends on what you go there for. I now try to stay within the parameters of the store and stay away from the grain, dairy, and sweets.

6670b38baf0aae7f4d8ac2463ddc37c0

(3946)

on June 27, 2011
at 11:35 PM

Your shopping list sounds exactly like mine.

6670b38baf0aae7f4d8ac2463ddc37c0

(3946)

on June 27, 2011
at 11:30 PM

Exactly! Or they are skinny-fat. I, for one, struggled with my weight after becoming a vegan. Way too many carbs, very little protein. I am sure there are a few who are able to eat only veggies and no junk, it's the junk that does you in.

100fd85230060e754fc13394eee6d6f1

(18706)

on June 27, 2011
at 10:05 PM

Yes, it's no more WF's fault than that of McDonald's.

100fd85230060e754fc13394eee6d6f1

(18706)

on June 27, 2011
at 10:04 PM

The only coconut milk at my local WF is "lite".

3b0b95dfc6dc5c18e535945f4aab0866

(2392)

on June 27, 2011
at 09:12 PM

I agree with this. There are alot of fat people at my whole foods, but more than 50% of the population in Dallas suburbs are fat, so its reflected in the store. Yes they have good intentions, and yes its not going to help them.

6670b38baf0aae7f4d8ac2463ddc37c0

(3946)

on June 27, 2011
at 08:44 PM

I agree Uncle. No matter how bad it is, there are more TRULY healthy choices at Whole Foods. We have tons of grass-fed beef and organic free-range chicken along with organic veggie and fruit choices at our Whole Foods.

6670b38baf0aae7f4d8ac2463ddc37c0

(3946)

on June 27, 2011
at 08:38 PM

This is my point exactly. They are shopping for organic and natural and thinking they are getting healthy food. We are so deceived. Of course, it is up to us to get to the truth, we cannot blame anyone but ourselves.

6670b38baf0aae7f4d8ac2463ddc37c0

(3946)

on June 27, 2011
at 07:54 PM

Yes, people are making themselves fat for certain.

559aa134ff5e6c8bcd608ba8dc505628

(3631)

on June 27, 2011
at 07:11 PM

Whole Foods has shifted over the past few years to be more of a "specialty" foods store. They have more international stuff, more craft beer, more wine, larger prepared food section, smaller bulk food section, and lots and lots and lots and *lots* of processed food with trendy "healthy" ingredients (see: agave). I used to do a lot of my shopping there when I was vegetarian. I don't really need to go there any more.

559aa134ff5e6c8bcd608ba8dc505628

(3631)

on June 27, 2011
at 07:00 PM

This reminds me about how sucky it is that WF doesn't sell coconut milk without additives. So much for "whole" foods. Grrr.

3a833804187fe8926214e6c0bd8a0766

(1023)

on June 27, 2011
at 06:07 PM

@Annie - exactly. Like any store, it all depends on what ya buy!

3a833804187fe8926214e6c0bd8a0766

(1023)

on June 27, 2011
at 06:00 PM

Yeah, good point. I was at WF this weekend, and took note of all those fancy looking dark chocolates and "fruit" candies that line the check out stands. My 3 year old even grabbed a bag that was placed at "3 year old eye level" because of some cartoon figure on the packaging... funny how it was placed just so.

667f6c030b0245d71d8ef50c72b097dc

(15976)

on June 27, 2011
at 05:25 PM

I agree. Same with paleo baking etc. People still eating faux-food and thinking they're doing something healthy. Glutenfree brownies re still brownies people.

6670b38baf0aae7f4d8ac2463ddc37c0

(3946)

on June 27, 2011
at 05:22 PM

Yes Patrik, candy is right. When I became a vegan I was so stoked on all of the cool "foods" I could eat. Needless to say I became a fat vegan very quickly.

6670b38baf0aae7f4d8ac2463ddc37c0

(3946)

on June 27, 2011
at 05:20 PM

So true about the kids.

6670b38baf0aae7f4d8ac2463ddc37c0

(3946)

on June 27, 2011
at 05:19 PM

I agree Larry. They make everything with Canola oil and soy. It sucks. But they have an excellent selection of grass-fed beef and organic veggies and fruit.

A65499f2f8c65602881550fe309cd48c

(3501)

on June 27, 2011
at 04:58 PM

same with Trader Joes..they just came into our town and you would not believe the hoopla over the crap they sell. ridiculous. (the middle aisles...I will say that they do have a nice selection of uncured meats but that's not what everyone was piling into their carts!)

Ed71ab1c75c6a9bd217a599db0a3e117

(25472)

on June 27, 2011
at 03:49 PM

Nice...........

B61f6513a155cd874b42efdad55312f6

(231)

on June 27, 2011
at 03:09 PM

I think low fat/healthy grains is just everywhere. We had a 'health clinic' at work a few weeks back and the 'nutritionist' tried to tell me fats are bad and so is sugar...yet I should eat whole grains and drink milk. The next table over they measured my body fat at just under 10%, she didn't have anything to say when I told her I eat a pound of bacon every saturday. Anyway, yea, I recall the Whole Fooders mostly being rotund, but I only shopped their twice.

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25 Answers

best answer

11
8634d4988ced45a68e2a79e69cc01835

(1617)

on June 27, 2011
at 06:58 PM

Like most anything, you get out of it what you put into it. If you shop at Whole Foods or any other natural/healthfood market but still buy processed crap, you get crap results physically. I shop at a regional natural market for specialty items, and I'm blown away by what I see people purchasing. A mother with her kids and a shopping cart full of organic chicken nuggets and macaroni and cheese, 'natural' bags of chips and crackers, organic cookies and candy, and organic chocolate milk loaded with sugar. Why pay a premium for "organic" junk food? Organic cookies are still sugary junk. What's the point of that?

It's not really where you shop. It's what you buy while you're there. And quite frankly, a large portion of the US population is overweight or obese. So, statistically speaking, you are very likely to see quite a few 'fat' people no matter where you are in public. It will vary slightly depending on what state or neighborhood you are in, obviously, but the fact remains. I do most of my shopping at Wal-Mart and Target (budget constraints), but I'm not a pound overweight. I don't buy junky food when I shop and I put effort into my workouts and meals.

C5671827e24f2648301b6b123ab3a728

(75)

on June 27, 2011
at 11:36 PM

Yeah... I had to take a brief brake from WH when I was weaning myself off of sugar because their bakery selection was amazing. I always would get their chocolate croissant and the dark chocolate cherry KIND bars. It all depends on what you go there for. I now try to stay within the parameters of the store and stay away from the grain, dairy, and sweets.

6670b38baf0aae7f4d8ac2463ddc37c0

(3946)

on June 27, 2011
at 08:38 PM

This is my point exactly. They are shopping for organic and natural and thinking they are getting healthy food. We are so deceived. Of course, it is up to us to get to the truth, we cannot blame anyone but ourselves.

17
26b7615ef542394102785a67a2786867

on June 27, 2011
at 05:27 PM

Well really, people are making themselves fat. Most people have the option of buying healthy, fresh foods that will keep them at a good body composition. No one is holding a gun to their head and forcing them to buy organic dairy-free cheese doodles. The problem is that many people don't even care much about what they eat, and even if someone is health and weight conscious they are bombarded with bad information and misguided recommendations from every angle... the government, the media, their family doctor, everyone they know...

I shopped at Whole Foods for years and now I work there. There are lots of fat customers and workers and plenty of normal-weight and thin ones. Just like any grocery store the employees and clientele vary mostly based on what area you are located. The one in the yuppie urban area of my city is 85% young, thin, trendily-dressed, single yoga fanatics and vegans. In my area people are typical suburbanites though on the wealthier side, and mostly shopping for their family, not just themselves.

They stock what sells, as any business should. There is an overwhelming demand for baked goods, sweets, and various processed junk everywhere. And WF does try to make these things as 'healthy' as possible and offer lots of options to people who eat alternative diets (vegan, dairy-free, gluten-free). The problem is that the information they have about what is healthful is mostly backwards. But even if the CEO is paleo and believes that grains are evil the corporation would probably go out of business if all they sold was animal products and produce. Corporations exist to make money, which means fulfilling existing demands. Americans want sweets and grains, whether they are health-conscious or not.

Their fresh options are amazing if that's how you you choose to eat. They have by far the best produce available in my town, are often the only place I can buy local and pastured dairy products, and I am really liking the direction the seafood and meat departments are headed. They recently introduced a 5-point rating system for all their meat suppliers which is nearly spot-on. They are also making a big effort to support small local farms. Really I feel that they are about as supportive of a paleo lifestyle and a healthier American food system, as a multinational corporation can get.

6670b38baf0aae7f4d8ac2463ddc37c0

(3946)

on June 27, 2011
at 07:54 PM

Yes, people are making themselves fat for certain.

3b0b95dfc6dc5c18e535945f4aab0866

(2392)

on June 27, 2011
at 09:12 PM

I agree with this. There are alot of fat people at my whole foods, but more than 50% of the population in Dallas suburbs are fat, so its reflected in the store. Yes they have good intentions, and yes its not going to help them.

100fd85230060e754fc13394eee6d6f1

(18706)

on June 27, 2011
at 10:05 PM

Yes, it's no more WF's fault than that of McDonald's.

98bf2ca7f8778c79cd3f6c962011cfdc

(24286)

on June 28, 2011
at 02:26 AM

People are making themselves fat???? Seriously people? And of course there is no greater sin than a few extra pounds right? Yeah fat people are so stupid and lazy and pretty much just suck don't they?

6670b38baf0aae7f4d8ac2463ddc37c0

(3946)

on June 28, 2011
at 03:46 AM

When I say, "Is WF making people fat" I am not blaming the store. I would not be able to eat wholesome foods if it wasn't for WF. I am saying that buying into the WF lifestyle is detrimental to health. People are buying organic and natural CRAP, thinking that it's healthy. And Shari, as a once and therefore always fat person myself, I can safely say that for the most part we are not stupid and lazy, just deceived.

26b7615ef542394102785a67a2786867

(7967)

on June 28, 2011
at 02:44 AM

I'm not suggesting any of that, Shari. I've been a member of the Fat Acceptance movement since long before I heard of paleo and most of my best friends my whole life have been fat (I know, I know, but seriously, it's true). But at the same time, it is individual choices that have the most impact on weight, and I don't think people are without accountability, even in an environment that makes it very easy to get overfat. Pointing the finger at corporations doesn't make any more sense than the (untrue) 'fat people are all lazy overeating slobs who just need to eat less' theory.

6670b38baf0aae7f4d8ac2463ddc37c0

(3946)

on June 28, 2011
at 03:50 PM

My point is that people are buying into the WF lifestyle of buying "healthy" food, but in reality, it's all just junk. They think that buying natural and organic junk is good for them.

21fd060d0796fdb8a4a990441e08eae7

(24543)

on June 28, 2011
at 02:57 AM

It's pretty tough to say what's making "people" gain weight. An individual person may gain weight because of disease, emotional problems, liking ice cream a lot, pregnancies, etc etc. Gross generalizations are...gross? Weight gain involves so many disparate fields and complexities, yet everyone feels entitled to strong opinions.

21fd060d0796fdb8a4a990441e08eae7

(24543)

on June 28, 2011
at 02:10 AM

The only grocery store that's not trying to make you fat is the forest. Whole Foods is the only place around here that has ghee, grass fed beef, and fresh coconut in one place. And for that, I am grateful.

7e746be2f0e550a8cd7df881322ae705

(18701)

on June 28, 2011
at 03:15 PM

Personally, I know I made myself obese. I made terrible food choices and didn't move my body at all. Then I made myself fit. They were all choices I made for myself.

9
93f44e8673d3ea2294cce085ebc96e13

(10502)

on June 27, 2011
at 04:53 PM

FWIW Whole Foods is, very literally, a candy store disguised as a "health foods" store.

The inordinate amount of candy/chocolates/pastries (no matter if is gourmet/fair trade/etc etc) they give floor space and sell boggles the mind.

EDIT: I should clarify -- I am totally okay with WF being a candy store -- if anyone wants to gorge on gourmet, free-trade candy - then by all means. But at the end of the day, let's call with what it is.

A65499f2f8c65602881550fe309cd48c

(3501)

on June 27, 2011
at 04:58 PM

same with Trader Joes..they just came into our town and you would not believe the hoopla over the crap they sell. ridiculous. (the middle aisles...I will say that they do have a nice selection of uncured meats but that's not what everyone was piling into their carts!)

6670b38baf0aae7f4d8ac2463ddc37c0

(3946)

on June 27, 2011
at 05:22 PM

Yes Patrik, candy is right. When I became a vegan I was so stoked on all of the cool "foods" I could eat. Needless to say I became a fat vegan very quickly.

8a4ce6a9e1ab27616920b828df08b259

(354)

on June 28, 2011
at 05:18 PM

What does "FWIW" mean?

559aa134ff5e6c8bcd608ba8dc505628

(3631)

on June 27, 2011
at 07:11 PM

Whole Foods has shifted over the past few years to be more of a "specialty" foods store. They have more international stuff, more craft beer, more wine, larger prepared food section, smaller bulk food section, and lots and lots and lots and *lots* of processed food with trendy "healthy" ingredients (see: agave). I used to do a lot of my shopping there when I was vegetarian. I don't really need to go there any more.

9a5e2da94ad63ea3186dfa494e16a8d1

(15833)

on June 28, 2011
at 01:57 PM

Maybe it depends on the store, but one of the Whole Foods in my area has the best seafood counter in the entire metro area, and close to the best meat counter, and a huge produce section with an organic option for almost every item. Sure they sell some pastries and cakes and pasta, but the proportion of wholesome food is way higher than your typical grocer.

3a833804187fe8926214e6c0bd8a0766

(1023)

on June 27, 2011
at 06:00 PM

Yeah, good point. I was at WF this weekend, and took note of all those fancy looking dark chocolates and "fruit" candies that line the check out stands. My 3 year old even grabbed a bag that was placed at "3 year old eye level" because of some cartoon figure on the packaging... funny how it was placed just so.

8a4ce6a9e1ab27616920b828df08b259

(354)

on June 29, 2011
at 07:31 AM

Thank you! I'd never have guessed correctly.

Ffc7e0ecad8e8831b528c5d4921377cc

(942)

on June 28, 2011
at 01:21 AM

That's way too harsh. I'm with Animalcule.

93f44e8673d3ea2294cce085ebc96e13

(10502)

on June 29, 2011
at 03:55 AM

@Neane -- it "For What Its Worth"

8
Medium avatar

(19479)

on September 19, 2011
at 11:49 PM

It is ironic, but if Whole Foods sold only "whole foods" they would quickly go out of business (or, more accurately, they would not be able to support their current business model of large stores, continued expansion, etc.)

In a Gnolls.org post, J.Stanton wrote,

"There???s one big reason that industrial food manufacturers like Kraft (Nabisco, Snackwells, General Foods, many more), Con-Agra (Chef Boy-Ar-Dee, Healthy Choice, many more), Pepsico (Frito-Lay, Quaker), Kellogg???s (Kashi, Morningstar Farms, Nutrigrain, more) are huge and profitable.

It???s because grains are cheap, but the ???foods??? made from them aren???t."

He went on to do some math, with the following results,

"A bushel of corn weighs 56 pounds and costs $6.85. That???s 12.2 cents per pound. A bag of Tostitos contains about 10 cents worth of corn, and costs $4.00. That???s a 4000% increase.

A bushel of wheat weighs 60 pounds and costs $7.62. That???s 12.7 cents per pound. A loaf of Wonder Bread contains about 16 cents worth of wheat, and sells for $4.40. That???s a 2700% increase.

A bushel of soybeans weighs 60 pounds and costs $13.64. That???s 22.7 cents per pound. A box of ???Silk??? soy milk contains about 4.5 cents worth of soybeans, and sells for $2.90. That???s a 6400% increase."

Which, compared to the paltry 400% markup for pork bellies, means that grains, and, more specifically, processed grain products, are the most profitable item on store shelves.

There isn't a lot of money to be made selling "whole foods" and as a result, most of what you see at Whole Foods, including heavy vegan/vegetarian promotion, is processed "organic", "gluten free", or "all-natural" grain products.

You can easily subvert this system (and stick it to "the man") by simply ignoring the center of Whole Foods (as is the case in most supermarkets) and purchase the actual whole food items located along the perimeter.

1a98a40ba8ffdc5aa28d1324d01c6c9f

(20378)

on March 07, 2012
at 06:53 AM

Nice Post FED!!!

8
8949bf87b0e0aefcad10f29975e4fa2b

(8989)

on June 28, 2011
at 11:53 AM

I don't think it is an accurate analysis. While I do not shop at WF, I do shop at Sprouts, and it is full of some of the fattest people I've ever seen. Really fat people in scooters, buying up lots of game meat and fresh foods. I don't think Sprouts is making them fat, I think they are shopping there so that they can get healthy.

8a4ce6a9e1ab27616920b828df08b259

(354)

on June 28, 2011
at 05:21 PM

Exactly my thoughts...perhaps these fat people we're seeing in WF were actually FATTER a few months ago. I am still overweight, and I shop at WF 95% of the time. But I was more overweight 6 months ago. Wonder what people were saying about me?

11838116de44ae449df0563f09bd3d73

(655)

on August 12, 2011
at 03:47 PM

I like the way you think. Almost all fat people are trying to do better.

8
Cc7381bd787721575ea9198048132adb

on June 27, 2011
at 07:04 PM

Yes, just like every other grocery store in the world. They're out to make money, not help people get healthier.

This is exactly why I do almost all my shopping at farmers markets and through CSA's now. The food is cheaper, fresher, cleaner and locally grown. It's actually been almost a month since I bought any food for myself from a store.

B3e7d1ab5aeb329fe24cca1de1a0b09c

(5242)

on September 20, 2011
at 12:54 AM

Well done! Good effort.

7
A65499f2f8c65602881550fe309cd48c

(3501)

on June 27, 2011
at 04:56 PM

I work in a gluten free bakery (do I indulge occasionally? yes. not going to apologize for THAT). One thing i've noticed is that a majority of the people that come in to purchase our food and grocery items (it's also a small grocery store of strictly gluten free products) are some of the unhealthiest looking people. They've given up the gluten (yay) but are totally overindulging in the other grains and sugars. It's so sad. The kids that come in with their parents a lot of times are high on sugar (you can totally see it) yet their parents are popping sugary gluten free treats into their hands because "oh finally, johnny can HAVE this!" It's my job...sometimes I feel great that we can help celiacs and gluten intolerant people live a more "normal" and easier life, but then again, being "paleo" or unprocessed is just the same thing but one step further and more healthy. I think any store that caters to what the food pyramid considers a "healthy" diet is just going to cater to those who insist that grains are the way to go...regardless if they're gluten free or not.

667f6c030b0245d71d8ef50c72b097dc

(15976)

on June 27, 2011
at 05:25 PM

I agree. Same with paleo baking etc. People still eating faux-food and thinking they're doing something healthy. Glutenfree brownies re still brownies people.

6670b38baf0aae7f4d8ac2463ddc37c0

(3946)

on June 27, 2011
at 05:20 PM

So true about the kids.

7e746be2f0e550a8cd7df881322ae705

(18701)

on June 28, 2011
at 03:17 PM

Yes, Ben, but brownies are delicious! I don't eat them every day, but when I do, I don't apologize for it or feel guilty anymore.

3
9a5e2da94ad63ea3186dfa494e16a8d1

on June 27, 2011
at 07:21 PM

In my area, Whole Foods customers are definitely more health-aware, they look healthier, etc. Not sure if they're statistically skinnier, but you don't see people loading up a double sized shopping cart with chips and soda, and you see lot of people dressed in workout or yoga clothes, etc.

Whole Foods is also expensive and so gets a certain demographic is a result, generally young, affluent people. The percentage of hot young women in the average Whole Foods in my area is many, many times the population average...

We call it "Whole Paycheck" because it is so expensive. But generally you can find a much higher % of nutritious food than in your typical grocery store. Generally the food labels are better, for example you can better source the meat and produce. There are lots of foods that are "gourmet" but not necessarily healthier (i.e. fancy cheese), though there is a fine line between the two. For me, wholesome food relatively high in fat and flavor and with minimal ingredients and processing is the best food, and you can put both "health" and "gourmet" labels on that.

There is also a fair share of junk... if you don't think there is much of a difference between say whole wheat pasta and regular pasta (I don't), then they're just selling a more expensive version of the same crap in many cases.

There are also some people that are drawn to a place like Whole Foods because they are in fact unhealthy and are trying to get better, such as recovering from cancer, or diabetic or some other chronic condition and seeking supplements, or what have you. The guy behind me in line last time I was there obviously had some kind of disorder as he could not lift his purchases up onto the conveyor belt and needed help.

6670b38baf0aae7f4d8ac2463ddc37c0

(3946)

on June 27, 2011
at 08:44 PM

I agree Uncle. No matter how bad it is, there are more TRULY healthy choices at Whole Foods. We have tons of grass-fed beef and organic free-range chicken along with organic veggie and fruit choices at our Whole Foods.

1d0497f8781845ab371b479455bfee8e

(11157)

on August 12, 2011
at 06:08 PM

I wear yoga pants when I go out and I don't do yoga or any sort of "fitness" program. They just make my butt look good, lol.

2
Af1d286f0fd5c3949f59b4edf4d892f5

(18472)

on July 14, 2011
at 05:52 PM

Whole Foods is a business capitalizing on a market segment however they can. I buy a few select things at WF, and ignore the rest. Not everyone marries their personal beliefs with business income. In fact, most don't.

If I created a "Whole Foods" type store, I would be like a hawk to ensure that my store only sold whole, healthy food items. Imagine that! And while many people have different ideas about what 'healthy' means, I would at least stick to a basis of what I think healthy means, based upon what I've learned, and what I would continue to learn on an ongoing basis.

The difference between that type of vision and Whole Foods is that the owner of WF knows very certainly that LOTS and LOTS of items sold in his store are very unhealthy for any human to consume. Besides that, he is Vegan and pushes that agenda heavily, all while selling loads of unvegan foods (thankfully!). This is further confirmation that he is not concerned much with trying to make the business model match up with any type of underlying morale he might have.

As Patrik says, let's call it what it is. It's a store that sells all kinds of foods, and only some of it is actually good for you by literally anyone's standards. If WF is guilty of "making people fat", I think it would fall under the premise that WF is guilty of tricking the gullible public by intentionally disguising itself as a health food store, while not remaining consistent with that model in its operations for profit.

2
63eca1b335b35aa5b40a87e06e54f85c

on June 27, 2011
at 05:08 PM

After living in Austin, TX, the headquarters of WH, I watched how WH transformed when the new bigger flagship store opened as all the (shall I say) Yuppies flocked to it like bees on honey just so they could be part of the "it", "cool", "with-it"crowd that shops/eats there! But it's like everyone says, for the most part, it's mostly all the same crap anyone can buy at a regular grocery store. In the prepared food section, which at that store, is extremely busy, two of the main ingredients used in their cooking is canola oil and soy!

3a833804187fe8926214e6c0bd8a0766

(1023)

on June 27, 2011
at 06:07 PM

@Annie - exactly. Like any store, it all depends on what ya buy!

6670b38baf0aae7f4d8ac2463ddc37c0

(3946)

on June 27, 2011
at 05:19 PM

I agree Larry. They make everything with Canola oil and soy. It sucks. But they have an excellent selection of grass-fed beef and organic veggies and fruit.

1
150655edc501e299937f86fff169f6a9

on October 22, 2012
at 01:42 PM

I haven't been to Whole Foods in a while, but I noticed one thing at Trader Joes that I am sure is true for Whole Foods as well. EVERYTHING is loaded with grains and/or sugar in some form or another. I went in thinking I was going to go on a healthy shopping spree. After a while I realized that I could do about as much shopping there as I could at any grocery store (with a few exceptions). Everything was processed and had sugar as an ingredient in some form or another, mainly processed down to pure chemical form. There are so many "Treats" that I think people go crazy thinking they are being health when they are in fact just paying for fancy junk food.

Medium avatar

(10611)

on October 22, 2012
at 06:35 PM

While TJ's has some of the best meat and flash frozen fish, these are a small section compared to the ready-to-eat stuff. "Restaurantizing" food makes it way too rewarding for the amount of effort it takes to get IMO.

1
3f11b5fda91063846bba45daac3541bd

(1186)

on September 20, 2011
at 12:29 AM

People make people fat. Whole foods just takes your money.

I can't say whether Whole Foods makes people fatter than any other mainstream grocery store, but it certainly is happy to charge quite a premium in exchange for so called health food that generally speaking isn't even whole!

1
11838116de44ae449df0563f09bd3d73

(655)

on August 12, 2011
at 03:58 PM

I believe that Whole Foods have "Walmarted" the local health food stores who were small enough to have real relationships with family owned agriculture. It's probably unavoidable that larger food business becomes evil. We will need to watch for U.S. Wellness becoming a facade of a former family/local business.

218f4d92627e4289cc81178fce5b4d00

on February 15, 2012
at 11:06 AM

Joel Salatin alludes to this in his new book and his battles with WF. in the end told the to bugger off.

1
Da8e709acde269e8b8bfbc09d1737841

(1906)

on June 28, 2011
at 02:31 PM

In the San Francisco area, Whole Foods customers were pretty consistent with the area's population, seeing as few people in San Francisco are fat (compared to the rest of the country). Customers were generally fit and then, regardless of whether they were into the vegan lifestyle many Whole Food customers are stereotyped into.

In the DC area, Whole Foods customers are generally more fit and thinner than the area's population. It's not as simple as saying the processed foods there are better, or that Whole Foods customers are more likely to eat less processed food, though those are likely strong contributing factors. Generally, people who shop at Whole Foods are at least trying to make conscious decisions to eat, and live, healthier. Even if a lot of the food there is contrary to this.

Overall, Whole Foods still offers the largest selection of paleo-friendly groceries in a one-stop setting, even if it's not cheap. One of the Whole Foods locations has a good selection of grass-fed beef, and has started carrying local pastured lamb and pork as well. The seafood selection is similarly good, compared to what we'd find at a "normal" grocery store.

1
776cf39df980711e80fc02317eb64649

(892)

on June 27, 2011
at 10:24 PM

Funny, this type of observation is how I quit being vegetarian. I was simply doing it for the health benefits, but steadily I noticed that all the vegetarians around me were pretty much overweight compared to their meat-eating counterparts.

6670b38baf0aae7f4d8ac2463ddc37c0

(3946)

on June 27, 2011
at 11:30 PM

Exactly! Or they are skinny-fat. I, for one, struggled with my weight after becoming a vegan. Way too many carbs, very little protein. I am sure there are a few who are able to eat only veggies and no junk, it's the junk that does you in.

11838116de44ae449df0563f09bd3d73

(655)

on August 12, 2011
at 03:52 PM

Some vegetarians do well. I do like some of their base ethics. Fortunately we can threaten the uppity ones with cannibalism. Although I would be concerned about a vegans omega 6/3 ratio. Might need to pasture them on coconut oil for a few months before consumption.

1
D2e6eb2ab91f5e11589cf34b44b8e4cd

on June 27, 2011
at 10:13 PM

It all depends on what you buy. Whole Foods sells pizza. That's not healthy. They also sell chocolate, bread, desserts like cupcakes and cookies, sodas, juice, chips crackers, ice cream.....need I go on? We shop at Whole Foods once a week and buy beef, bacon, chicken, avocados, kale, mushrooms, coconut oil......

6670b38baf0aae7f4d8ac2463ddc37c0

(3946)

on June 27, 2011
at 11:35 PM

Your shopping list sounds exactly like mine.

1
3a833804187fe8926214e6c0bd8a0766

(1023)

on June 27, 2011
at 06:04 PM

I think this goes back to the idea that eliminating unhealthy foods is more important than adding healthy foods to an unhealthy diet. People think they're "doing a body good" by getting some expensive grass fed ground beef at $9.00/Lbs but fail to realize the damage caused by chowing down on some expensive, sugar coated dried fruit candy thinking it's a healthy dessert.

WF has some great stuff that I can't find anywhere else in town (unrefined, organic coconut oil, Native Forest Coconut milk, etc) but as @Patrik pointed out, tons of candy and sugary crap too.

No raw milk though... bummer.

100fd85230060e754fc13394eee6d6f1

(18706)

on June 27, 2011
at 10:04 PM

The only coconut milk at my local WF is "lite".

559aa134ff5e6c8bcd608ba8dc505628

(3631)

on June 27, 2011
at 07:00 PM

This reminds me about how sucky it is that WF doesn't sell coconut milk without additives. So much for "whole" foods. Grrr.

559aa134ff5e6c8bcd608ba8dc505628

(3631)

on June 28, 2011
at 12:40 AM

HA. 'lite' -- so bogus! if you want it lite, buddy, ADD WATER. what do think is in that can?? so stoopit.

1da74185531d6d4c7182fb9ee417f97f

(10904)

on June 28, 2011
at 02:05 AM

Mine sells native forest brand. No bpa. :-)

559aa134ff5e6c8bcd608ba8dc505628

(3631)

on June 28, 2011
at 12:41 AM

HA. 'lite' -- so bogus! if you want it lite, buddy, ADD WATER. what do you think is in that can?? so stoopit.

3a833804187fe8926214e6c0bd8a0766

(1023)

on July 02, 2011
at 02:00 AM

+1 for full fat Native Forest at our WF. It's also one of the few (only?) places to get unrefined coconut oil in the area.

0
Fbe7a077442b2ef5c41ea93aa89d7705

on November 05, 2013
at 03:49 PM

I live in Austin and I would describe the clientele (and the employees) as a mixed bag. I've seen very overweight people there, and very healthy looking people.

I like Whole Foods. They have some produce I don't see at other stores (they are carrying various varieties of sweet potatoes right now that I haven't seen anywhere else). Their butchers are very knowledgeable and while very expensive, the meat selection is good. They make a variety of different sausages each week and the ingredients are listed on a little card on the outside of the case.

Those are a less expensive way to get some meat variety into my diet.

Yes, there is a bunch of crap there, and yes, people think they are eating "healthy" because it's from Whole Foods, but that doesn't mean the store is worthless.

0
D9032e4f6540f9e6bcbb07143002bedd

(449)

on November 05, 2013
at 02:24 PM

I used to own a company that sold products into WFM, and I've probably been in close to 100 of them. The customers at WFM depend on the region and area. You'll get upper middle class suburban moms in some stores (probably a store where you'll see "fat" people, wealthy or hipster young urbanites in other stores, and raw//vegan Lululemon clad yoga instructors in others. If you went to the Whole Foods in Venice California I doubt you'd be seeing many "fat" people.

0
89985542ffc00c296552951369fe809a

on March 16, 2013
at 03:38 AM

I don't eat sweets but I have definitely snooped around WF's bakery section and THAT IS NOT HEALTH FOOD at all. People assume that it's healthy because it's within Whole Foods walls, but... READ the nutrition and ingredients labels - THEY'RE NOT HEALTHY! Some of their treats are on the same level of Dunkin Donuts nutrition wise.

That being said, I do love some of Whole Foods prepared food. Their seafood bar is my addiction, but I try to only purchase the seafood salads made with the healthiest of oils - no dairys, grains, etc. Luckily, they have many options that I just cannot keep my hands off of!

0
E37569da5985da9f743798cdd4c312bd

(0)

on January 02, 2013
at 12:44 AM

I travel a lot so eat at WF often. Their veggies are soaked in olive oil and nothing is fat free.

0
Cbe8770f25891c194aa995bc08dfba99

(0)

on September 19, 2011
at 09:52 PM

Not sure which area your Whole Foods is located at, but in the San Francisco Bay area, I see very few fat people shopping there (actually few fat people anywhere in the whole area). When I lived in Houston, there was one wholefoods near me, and a lot of HEBs. There was a lot of fat people(including me) at either of those stores.I think it's the attitude, more than where you shop for grocery, that makes you fat. If you have the right attitude, you can pick out healthy foods even at walmart, even though it is a little harder.

0
Medium avatar

(10611)

on August 12, 2011
at 05:26 PM

Whole Foods attracts people that can afford to shop there, as well as heavy sample noshers like me. I'm usually in and out for cheese and a handful of high calorie snacks.

0
86e631c6164bfdf4221434e2d38125b3

(414)

on July 14, 2011
at 05:40 PM

It's funny, a WF just opened in my town (closest used to be about 15 min away) and it's been big news in town for months!

After my initial exploration, I've found that I shop the WF the same way as my regular grocery store - produce, meat, dairy, some frozen, and a few "inside aisle" items I haven't weaned the kids off yet.

I haven't noticed anything about the clientele really, but I'm usually trying to get me and two kids out of the store for less than $100 and without them destroying anything!

0
77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on July 14, 2011
at 05:24 PM

Thanks for the great ideas! I can't wait to do something special.

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