Food Vices

Health and Wellness Articles

With the constant influx of new fast food chains and the convenience that comes with buying fast food, one fails to pay heed to the dire repercussions it brings. Obesity has now become an epidemic in most developing countries and this very food is making people ‘conditioned overeaters’. There are a few things that one should know about the fast food industry. May be that bigger, juicier, saltier, sweeter, crunchier campaign will not seem so appealing anymore.

Problems With The Food Industry

• Junk food makers spend millions of dollars advertising to children. Children watch 5,500 commercials per year about high-sugar cereals, fast food, snacks and candy as compared to fewer than 100 for bottled water, fruits and vegetables. In addition, cartoon characters and free giveaways make great incentives to pester their parents into visiting the outlet and buying fast food.

• Many of the junk food producers only fund studies that benefit them. What they fund is advertisement and not science.

• Processing food means more profit but less healthier foods. Profits come from processing commodity crops which are government-subsidized and they include wheat, corn and soybean. They are made into snacks, fast foods and beverages. These high profit foods are high in calories but low in nutritional value. A portion of strawberries which weighs 10-ounce and has 90-calories contains 5g of fiber, many minerals and vitamins, and plenty of phytochemicals. But a 1-ounce portion of Fruit Gushers, although, also has 90 calories, but it does not have the nutrition that natural fruit provides.

• Less processed foods are more filling than processed ones. Fresh apples have an abundance of fibre and nutrients that are lost when they are processed into applesauce. And the added sugar or other sweeteners increase the number of calories without necessarily making the applesauce any more filling. Same is the case with white bread as opposed to stone-ground whole-wheat bread.

• Many healthy replacement foods are far from being healthy. An example is the vitamin waters and energy drinks which are replaced with sodas in vending machines in schools.

• A health claim on foods may not be make a food healthy. They may simply be calorie distracters. Foods labeled “zero trans fats” or “contains whole wheat” may in fact be loaded with sugar, salt or saturated fat.

• The food industry has made it confusing for the consumer to understand nutritional guidelines. They have a history of using scientific jargon rather than layman terms, and that is what deters consumers from delving deeper into their nutritional queries.

The Growth Of Obesity

As a result of the above, more and more of the populations are becoming obese. Obesity leads to many life-threatening problems like diabetes, cancer, respiratory disease, cardiovascular disease, etc.