We are all so fat now, or most of us anyway
I saw an extremely interesting series of documentaries recently about how our society, over the last 30 or 40 years, has changed. And in particular how our food culture has changed and how this links with the current epidemic of obesity.
You just have to walk around the streets to see how so many of us have got so fat now. Have a look in your local supermarket. Wander through McDonald’s, walk just about anywhere and you’ll see that such a huge proportion of us are now overweight or obese.
It was a fascinating documentary series. The first documentary talked about how corn syrup started to make its way into our food in around the 1970s. The government encourage farmers to grow corn because corn was a cheap crop to grow and made a good profit for the farmers.
And then once the food giants found that corn syrup was cheaper than sugar and sweeter than sugar they started to put corn syrup in so many of our foods.
The second documentary showed how the average serving size of so many of our meals, mainly manufactured and takeaway meals, has increased dramatically over the last thirty years. This increase in the serving size of our meals has meant that so many of us now just take it for granted that meals, and in particular sugary drinks such as soda, are huge.
And in fact it demonstrated one super-sized soda that had almost 50 teaspoons of sugar in it. Not only that but so many of the takeaway foods we buy now, like hamburgers, are jam packed with calories, because sugar and fat carry a lot of calories as well as flavor and so the fast food companies and other food manufacturers have plenty of incentives to pack that salt and sugar and fat into the foods.
And the third documentary demonstrated clearly how the food industry, via extraordinarily powerful lobbying, managed to defeat just about every government effort to regulate it, particularly in Europe.
That series of documentaries brought home to me very clearly how the dominance of the food industry over the last 3 or 4 decades has contributed directly to the increase in obesity and overweight in our society.
Here’s part one of the documentary
(See below for parts 2 and 3
Of course there’s no doubt there’s some personal responsibility involved here as well. I don’t think it’s fair just to blame the food industry for all our woes. However it’s pretty clear that the food industry has enormous power and marketing influence over our choices, and I think they have to share a large part of the blame.
It’s extremely important, in my view, to be aware of this problem. In particular it’s very important that parents to be aware of this, because they make the food choices for their children, or at least up to a certain age they do. [Read more...]