We are not critical in our food choices. Here are three additional reasons we make bad food choices:
1.The obesity epidemic in this country has been aided by the low cost of high glucose containing carbohydrates. These foods are inexpensive because their production and storage [soy beans and corn] is subsidized by the US government in the Farm Bill. For the past 50 years, U.S. farm policy has been directed toward driving down the price of farm storable carbohydrates [corn and soybeans]. At the same time the cost of growing fruits and vegetables has increased as has their retail price. Low cost incentivizes the food industry to use more of these unhealthy commodities. High fructose corn syrup is now commonly added to many foods-processed foods. In summary the food industry has a financial incentive to make food with high glycemic carbohydrates.
- The second reason we eat “bad” food is due to “marketing”. “Marketing” is defined as “what ever it takes to make you buy a specific product”. One of the most useful marketing techniques is to aim your message at children who will nag their parents to buy a product and thus you will sell your product today to that child and family and the child may continue to buy the product into adulthood. The food industry spends over $1.6 billion dollars to market food to children [May 2012; HBO documentary series – The Weight of the Nation]. Most of these products are processed foods high in calories and sugar and may lead to obesity. Every month approximately 90 percent of American children between the ages of 3 to 9 years of age visit a McDonalds[Fast Food Nation, Fric Schlosser, Mariner Books, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2012]. Is it a coincidence that McDonalds operates over 8000 restaurant-playgrounds? [Schlosser, Eric (2001-01-17). Fast Food Nation: The Dark Side of the All-American Meal , p. 35, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. Kindle Edition]. The fast food chains profit when children drink soda because soda has the highest profit margin. Today McDonald’s sells more Coca-Cola than anyone else in the world. A medium Coke that sells for $ 1.29 contains roughly 9 cents’ worth of syrup. [Schlosser, Eric (2001-01-17). Fast Food Nation: The Dark Side of the All-American Meal ,p. 42, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. Kindle Edition].
3.The third reason we eat poorly is the belief that “labels do not lie”. Marketing companies have created labels with the choice of words that make us believe we are eating healthy food when in fact we are not. A whole grain refers to a cereal product containing the germ, endosperm, and bran and thus not refined or man-made. The stamp “whole grain” from the Whole Grain Council means the product must contain 8 grams of whole grain per 30 grams of product and thus mostly not whole grain. The label stating “Made With Whole Grain” actually may mean a tiny amount of whole grain is present. The label “Heart Healthy” sold by the American Heart Association for use on foods refers to the fat and salt content of a product and not the sugar content of the product-thus one real cause of heart disease is not accounted for. The term “all natural” really should be labeled “stay away”. The USDA does not define foods labeled “all natural” as any different than those labeled “natural.” Foods with this labeling are probably not any different than “natural” foods and may not be regulated as they are not defined by the USDA. Food labeled “natural,” according to the USDA definition, does not contain artificial ingredients or preservatives and the ingredients are only minimally processed. However, they may contain antibiotics, growth hormones, and other similar chemicals.