Saw an interesting BBC documentary - I think this is part 1 of 3 about food corporations and their value of the bottom line over the health of consumers. The first part was about how the invention of high fructose corn sweetener and its presence in beverages has played a major role in the obesity epidemic (denied of course by the beverage industry). The documentary also went into the psychology behind how food is processed to be addictive and how corn syrup is in everything we consume from bread, to cereal, to ketchup and sauces, to drinks - and how that shuts down the leptin response to our brains that tells us we are full so that we keep eating with no shut down mechanism.
I'm going to take the high road and accept responsibilty for my own weight gain, and loss. I think people are quick to point fingers at food corporations when we the consumers are the ones that ultimately decide what we eat/drink, and how much. The choice is ours.
I totally agree that every individual is responsible for what we put into our mouths. However, this documentary shows how a few politicians, manufacturing associations, and scientists in the 1970s, basically conspired to make the public think that only fat content needed to be watched in foods, but sugars and calories could be eaten without restriction. Basically, they spread misinformation to keep the money flowing and the public developed horrible eating habits without realizing they were making themselves obese (one example was Snackwells cookies, where the marketing made it seem one could eat boxes of these fat free cookies with no consequences). Essentially, companies took out the fat and replaced the fats with sugars in order to maintain the taste, but still be able to tout the products as healthy and diet conscious.
The next episode is going to be about supersizing portions.
I agree that we all have ultimate responsibility for our health (and weight) as adults.
There is a whole industry designed to exploit weaknesses in our nature to encourage overeating and unhealthy food choices. There are influences all around us that coax us into consuming unhealthy versions, and amounts, of food. This consumer behavior creates money for these companies and they use a lot of it in advertisements to keep us coming back for more.
It takes a lot more work to counteract that and actively inform yourself of better options and than it takes never ending dedication and willpower to make them.
My gripe with the food industry is how good they are at convincing you unhealthy foods are healthy. There are so many people who want to be healthy but haven't really gotten to the stage of realizing 'real, whole' foods are the best for you. They are still buying processed fat-reduced, carb-reduced, calorie-reduced crap, thinking its healthy. I remember my mother filling our fridge with low-fat foods and the cupboards with snackwell cookies.
My other issue with the food industry? Children. Children don't have the ability to be skeptical about advertisements like we do. They are so susceptible to the unhealthy influences it can be devastating to their health.
In the end the parent's need to play the role of filter. But so many parent's don't even understand how to eat healthy themselves, how are they ever going to know how to guide their children to healthy eating habits? How are they going to combat the hundreds of unhealthy messages the kids are bombarded with everyday?
I'm lucky because I studied culinary and was introduced to real food through that, and a nutrition class that was compulsory. When I had my daughter I had the knowledge and skills to make all of her food myself. We don't have cable and she doesn't watch tv. She's pretty isolated from a lot of the negative influence from the food industry, but I've been fortunate and everything in my life has started to line up that way against the odds of the influences of our culture.
I'm excited to see the next episode, I find for myself it really helps seeing the big picture of these things, to see how it developed to get to where it is today.
Thanks. I managed to find it uploaded to youtube last night. Dh and I watched it together. So far, I liked the way it was put together better than "The Weight of the Nation," although they contain a lot of similar information.
I saw The men Who Made Us Fat a month ago. Of course, only the individual can change his weight, however it's scary to see that our society has made it so easy to become obese.
The part about portion size especially stuck with me. Soda, junkfood and candy was consumed, but it wasn't until the 1970s when obesity levels started drastically rising. This was also at the same time when portion sizes were much much increased. For example, today many drink soda every day and often in quite large quantities, where as in the old days people would only drink soda on Saturday and it was limited to one can. The difference alone between soda portions makes a great impact on the scale.