Americans’ consumption of sugar has increased significantly in the past few decades; it is estimated that we now consume 22.2 teaspoons of sugar per day, which constitutes 17% of our daily caloric intake. This increase in consumption has been linked to rising rates of what Pollan calls “western diseases”, which include obesity, diabetes, and heart diseases. In the public’s eyes, sugar has become the “villain” in our diet. Due to the negative perception of sugar, artificial sweeteners quickly gained widespread popularity, as they are able to satisfy our cravings for sweets without increasing caloric intake. Questions have been raised regarding the safety of these sweeteners, and a few studies have shown a positive correlation between consumption of artificial sweeteners and cancer or weight gain. However, the majority of studies have found no correlation, and these sweeteners have also been thoroughly tested before garnering FDA approval. Since humans associate sweetness with caloric rewards, some scientists hypothesize that the intense, non-caloric sweetness of artificial sweeteners disrupts the body’s satiety regulation mechanisms. More studies still need to be conducted before a conclusion can be reached on this debate. Current evidence shows artificial sweeteners do not cause adverse health effects, but the switch from sugar to artificial sweeteners does not lead to long-term weight loss, unless it is accompanied by other lifestyle changes such as exercise. Sugar is also not as unhealthy as the public makes it to be; our over consumption of sugar is the cause of “western diseases”, not the substance itself. For those of us who are not diabetic or significantly overweight, sugar consumed in moderation is the best choice.
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In today’s world red meat is notorious for its fat content and has long been associated with unhealthiness. But some are too quick to draw this conclusion without delving deeper. After much research, it can be concluded that much of red meat’s negativity can be attributed to many factors: comparative studies downplaying the positive effects of red meat versus vegetarianism, the increasing consumption of fatty red meat which makes people generalize the effects of those kinds of red meats to red meats in general, etc. Instead, it is shown that a healthy consumption of lean red meats are an excellent source of iron, zinc, and vitamin B(12). Furthermore, some studies have shown that there may not be a significant association between meat consumption and cholesterol concentrations. An even closer look at red meat also indicates that crucial to the nutritional status of meat is the type of food that animal consumes, and not so much the type of animal. For example, grass fed meats are said to have more beta-carotene, vitamin E, and omega-3 fatty acids than traditionally produced meat. Much evidence also suggests that keeping red-meat in your diets may be more advantageous than going vegetarian (that is, if you consume lean and grass-fed meats in healthy portions), and that vegetarian convenience foods are not necessarily superior in nutritional quality. Ultimately, to stay health and enjoy meat, one should assume the mindset of vegetarians (since they generally make healthier lifestyle choices) and ideally should consume lean grass-fed red meat.
Presently, there is a visible and massive organic movement that encourages customers to purchase and eat organic foods. What must be taken into account is the fact that there needs to be as much organic food available as there are organic consumers in order for the movement to be successful. This project investigates the problem of mass producing organic food. I took a look at the barriers that deter conventional farmers and producers from switching over to organic methods, and tried to find avenues that would make the transition easier. Research showed that a number of large production organic companies utilize a conglomeration of smaller organic farms as opposed to one large farm. I explored this option of cooperation and compared it to efforts that have already been made toward reaching a state of organic mass production. There also needs to be an expansion of the market for organic foods that will compensate the mass production. Identifying the means and the motive for growing organic foods on a larger scale is a worthy mission because we need the push for organic to push on both sides—consumer and producer—for there to be a considerate amount of movement.
The industrialization of agriculture has failed throughout American history, mainly because food has an inelastic demand, the market has little price discrimination and food price does not capture its environmental costs. Therefore, many scientists suggested going back to local food systems that were popular in 20th century, arguing they are more sustainable in terms of economics, environment, and health. However, local food systems cannot benefit from inter-region trades and economies of scale. Also, they have higher transactional costs and less stable supply. With larger population and less arable lands, we cannot fully rely on the local food systems as we did before the Industrial Revolution. A more plausible solution would be to establish a complementary relationship between industrial and local food systems. To maintain a balance, the government should make information about various foods more accessible to the public by putting social advertisements and holding public lectures. Also, to manage food price by incorporating social costs, the government should apply cap and trade or taxes policies that are widely used when dealing with carbon emission. An alternative system, community supported agriculture, is worth considering as well. Consumers buy shares of produce directly from local farmers and become more involved in the production process. In conclusion, the government should actively seek methods to balance the industrial and local food systems, instead of constantly debating which one is better.
At most universities, there exists a potential for anxiety and frustration resulting from college students’ new freedom to choose their own meals all day, every day. Rather than allowing that disquietude to plague one’s daily visits to on-campus eating establishments, the Marketplace for example, students should see this freedom as an opportunity to investigate alternative ways of nourishing themselves, and subsequently establish healthy independent eating habits. The world of nutrition is full of unknowns that are worth exploring – for example, many people are unaware that some vitamins are absorbed most efficiently when consumed with other elements in animal meat. This paper objectively examines the benefits and drawbacks of three different diets, including vegetarianism and daily meat consumption, and a third more avant-garde option, flexitarianism. The discussion is centered on the nutritional arguments for and against each diet, ranging from facility of protein intake to prevalence of antioxidants. Further, recommendations are made as to what the consumer should choose to eat in accordance with each diet. Emphasis is placed on selecting a variety of foods within each nutritional category – fruits, vegetables, grains, legumes, nuts, and meat. The ultimate aim is to consume what makes one happy and healthy, which is different for each individual.
As America’s childhood obesity rates continue to rise, it is evident that some change is needed to reverse this epidemic. I believe that an effective approach would be to centralize our efforts into reforming school lunches in elementary school cafeterias based on the rationale that school is a practical place to expose children to new ideas about what constitutes healthy eating. Developing better eating habits in childhood would likely carry into adulthood and thus break the deleterious cycle of unhealthy eating habits. However, many school-based programs to reduce childhood obesity have been tried, yet we have not seen much impact from the majority of them. After reviewing a number of different school lunch programs that have been implemented throughout America, the aspects of these programs that do and do not work are clear. More specifically, merely reducing fat and sending home educational materials are not effective. On the other hand, reinforcement of specific healthy eating behaviors and parental involvement were key components of the most effective intervention, the Kid’s Choice Program. Other research suggests that preparing healthy foods in a way that is appealing to children positively influences children’s food choices. In fact, this is an aspect that is incorporated in Obama’s Healthy, Hunger-Free Kid’s Act of 2010. Thus, I conclude that if all of these successful factors found in Obama’s newly enacted food bill and Hendy’s Kid’s Choice Program are implemented in a school lunch program, a significant reduction in childhood obesity will likely occur.
Corn has become amongst the most inexpensive and accessible sources of energy. As such, food producers have struggled to engineer several innovative uses for corn -the crop has been thoroughly processed and perverted to the extent where we can find it in our beverages, sweeteners, and nearly anywhere one might turn to have a meal. Despite claims that the overproduction of corn–and the resulting deluge of products featuring some processed form of the crop has contributed to the massive rise in obesity in the present day United States, some people feel that we do not in fact have nearly as much of the stuff as we might like to think, and that lessening our current output could spell trouble for those who are dependent on our exports of the crop. (namely Mexican consumers, who are thoroughly dependent on the crop)
Commercial farming is an imperfect system, but its many advantages are often downplayed by activist groups with an anti-pesticide agenda that disseminate misinformation designed to scare and confuse the public. Therefore, people often correlate conventionally grown foods with unnatural processes. However, conventional farming, defined by the industrialized production of livestock, poultry, fish, and crops, correlates with many processes in nature. Everything in our solar system, ranging from stars to electrons to humans, wants to be in the state of lowest energy. Conventional farming which utilizes pesticides to inhibit weed growth demands very little from farmers as opposed to the labor-intensive practices of organic farming. Furthermore, without an abundance of food to feed our growing population, our species would die off. Since conventional farming fosters high yields, it gives us the sustenance to live and propagate the species. Consumers should understand that commercial farming is still a building block for more sustainable farming to come, and each progressive step comes with new advancements in technology. Therefore, accepting the fact that advances in science are both inevitable and beneficial will make implementing new methods easier. Since companies risk financial losses if they invest in unserviceable products, consumers essentially decide how companies invest money. So, rather than fear change, hope that change will improve quality of life. Open-minded consumers willing to test new concepts will prompt companies to invest in innovative products that have the potential to revolutionize the way we live.
Despite its name the Freshman 15 can continue throughout an individual’s college life. The term is in fact defined as the total amount of weight gained during an individual’s college life. Causes of the Freshman 15 vary among individuals. However, there are two common factors shared among those students. Those factors are parents’ control and colleges’ influences on individuals’ eating habits. Regrettably, there are several misleading myths about these two factors. Many parents believe that a restriction strategy is the best way to control their children’s consumption. However, recent research indicates that this strategy will only make those restricted foods more attractive to the children. Thus, they will tend to eat more of those unhealthy foods when they are not bound by their parents’ restriction. Additionally, most colleges do not have compulsory physical education classes because they believe it is not their responsibility to ensure that students get their exercise or do not gain too much weight. However, it turns out that several college students claim that they do not go to the gym because of the time constrain due to go to workload from their classes. The Freshman 15 is a complicated dilemma; however, it is solvable. Fully understanding the truth about parental feeding style and colleges’ influences on dietary behaviors is a great start to solve the problem. Parents should not restrict their children’s unhealthy consumption but rather tell them the reasons why they should eat healthily. Moreover, required physical education class in college is another effective solution.
Organic produce, as viewed in today’s society, is viewed as the safer and healthier alternative to conventional produce, in that it is seen as a pure and unadulterated form of food in its entirety. This is only enhanced by the reputation that conventional produce (grown with chemical pesticides) has received: dangerous, unhealthy, hazardous to human health, and lacking in multiple nutrients. However, is this really the case? By investigating the downsides of organic produce, we as consumers will be able to make a more informed decision as to which type of food to buy. First of all, organic produce is allowed by the USDA to use biological pesticides on crops as an alternative to chemical or synthetic pesticides. Biological pesticides are mainly of animal or vegetable origin, one of the most common being bacteria present in cow manure. However, cow manure as well as other biological pesticides often contains bacteria harmful to human health, such as e coli and salmonella. Thus, buying organic produce puts consumers at risk for adverse health effects from these bacteria. Second, chemical pesticides, although some have indeed proven harmful to human health, are strictly regulated by the federal government and over 3,000 have been banned or modified to meet high health standards. Finally, quality studies comparing organic and conventional produce provide evidence that there is little difference in nutritional content between the two. All in all, conventional produce may, in fact, be a wiser choice than organic.