Category Archives: Article Responses

Chapter 7: The Meal

Notes:

  • 1 in 3 Americans eat fast food every single day
  • “Denying the denier” – marketing term for what a salad/veggie burger does for a fast food chain
  • 19% of American meals are eaten in the car
  • Leavening Agents – sodium aluminum phosphate, monocalcium phosphate, sodium acid pyrophosphate, calcium lactate
  • Chicken Nugget – 38 ingredients, 3 contain corn, dimethylpolysiloxene (carcinogen, flammable, established mutagen, reproductive effector), butylhydroquinone (TBHQ, antioxidant derived from petroleum – “helps preserve freshness”)
  • TBHQ – one gram can cause nausea, vomiting, delirium, collapse – five grams can kill

Response:

Chapter 7 outlines the amount of nasty ingredients in fast food. Americans rely on fast food for convenience, price, and taste. In a society where time is a major issue, many resort to fast food. The amount of chemicals and horrible ingredients incorporated into fast food items is astonishing. Considering what fast food items are made up of, it still is surprising how many still eat it on a regular basis. One in three Americans eat fast food on a daily basis. I think the public needs to be more educated about what is actually in the food and ways to stay clear. Since we already have major health issues, its horrible to know that nothing is being done. These foods are still being made and processed. More chemicals are being added to entice the consumer and make sure they come back for more. Our food industry as a whole and the way manufactures think about food production is disgusting.

 

Chapter 6: The Consumer

Notes:

  • Corn Whiskey – superabundant, cheap, drink of choice, in the 1820s the typical American was drinking half a pint a day (more than five gallons a year)
  • The Elevenses – “modern coffee break” — late-morning whiskey break
  • Effects of the consumption – rise of public drunkenness, violence, family abandonment, increase in alcohol-related diseases
  • Over production of corn lead to manufacturing whiskey
  • Obesity – most pressing health issue, costing the health care system approximately $90 billion per year
  • 3 of every 5 Americans are overweight
  • 1 of every 5 Americans is obese
  • Explanation – changes in lifestyle, poverty, affluence, technology, marketing, changes in diet
  • Corn accounts for most of the surplus calories we are eating
  • 530 million bushels of corn harvested each year — 17.5 billion pounds of high fructose corn syrup
  • Thrifty Gene – hunter/gatherer ancestors to feast whenever they were able to, allowed them to build up reserves of fats against future famine
  • Type II Diabetes – occurs when the body’s mechanism for managing glucose simply wears out from overuse

Response:

Chapter 6 highlights the problems associated with one of the most overproduced crops, corn. Corn as well as soybeans are the most inexpensive raw materials to produce.  Since corn is so cheap, it is heavily overproduced and turned into high fructose corn syrup. High fructose corn syrup is found in almost every product placed on the shelves in the grocery stores. It has become a main source of sweetener in processed foods and the amount that is consumed on an annual basis is disgusting to me. High fructose corn syrup has been a leading contributor to many health issues such as obesity and diabetes. Both of these health issues result from over-consuming energy-dense foods such as corn. It saddens me that our food industry is just so disgusting and horrible. Everything processed has loads of chemicals and unhealthy ingredients. All of the processed foods are usually a lot cheaper and more accessible so it makes those struggling financially turn to unhealthy habits. As a whole, we need to make smarter choices in regards to food options, stay away from processed foods or consume less, and to come up with better alternatives for those that are in need.

 

Chapter 5: The Processing Plant

Notes:

  • 10 billion bushels of corn harvested each year
  • Corn is processed in meats, soft drinks, breakfast cereals, snacks
  • Corn – yellow skin will be processed into various vitamins/nutritional supplements, tiny germ (dark part near the cob, holds the embryo of the potential future corn plant) will be crushed for its oil, the endosperm will be plundered for is rich cache of complex carbs
  • Companies to wet mill most of America’s corn – Cargill and ADM
  • Wet Mill – industrial version of digestion, food is broken down through multiple steps (physical pressure, acids, enzymes)
  • Mill Starch – what is left after the germ has been removed and the kernels crushed
  • High Fructose Cory Syrup – 55% fructose, 45% glucose

Response:

For a veggie that I like, I’m beginning to feel extremely indifferent about it now. The fact that corn is in almost every processed food is nasty! Pretty much anything that you buy in the grocery store contains it in some way or another. It is obvious why people in America have so many health issues. The amount of processed food made and sold is one of the main issues. All of the processed food is horrible for you but people continue to buy it for financial reasons and convenience. Also, the amount of chemicals and additives in the products allow it to have a longer shelf life, which in return is beneficial for the manufacturers. The manufacturers are able to market the products globally. Nothing is fresh and sits on the shelfs until someone finally buys the old product. Our food industry is just disgusting. We need to be stop buying processed foods and turn to healthy alternatives.

 

 

 

Chapter 4: The Feedlot

Notes:

  • Corn – found in the American Middle West
  • Corn has colonized some 125,000 square miles of the American continent (area twice the size of NY State)
  • Poky Feeders, population of 37,000
  • Pollan purchased an eight-month-old calf from the Blair Ranch for $598 – Paying Poky Feeders $1.60 a day for his room and board
  • Pollen wanted to learn how the industrial food chain transforms bushels of corn into steaks
  • 60% of corn goes to feeding livestock, also goes to feeding America’s 100 million beef cattle
  • CAFO – Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation
  • The urbanization of America’s animal population would not have taken place if it weren’t for the federally subsidized corn
  • Corn was sold for less than it cost to grow
  • “Cow-Calf” Operation – first stage in the production of a hamburger and the state least changed by the modern industrialization of meat
  • Four Meatpacking Companies – Tysons subsidiary, IBP, Cargill subsidiary Excel, Swift & Company, National
  • Rumen – organ, 20 gallon fermentation tank in which a resident population of bacteria dines on grass
  • Cows raised on grass take longer to reach slaughter weight than cows raised on a richer diet
  • Corn is the cheapest, most convenient source of calories on the market
  • Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE) – mad cow disease
  • Result of highly based corn diet – bloat, impairs the liver’s function
  • Slaughter 400 cows per hour

Response:

To be honest, I have no words. I am just so disgusted! Our whole food industry, but more specifically our meat processing industry is so messed up. I don’t think I would ever be able to do what Pollan did by going out to Kansas to view the whole process himself. It is so sad and inhumane the way we treat animals. The cows are separated from their mothers at a early age, fed on grass for a couple months, then forced to eat only corn while living in their own filth, then slaughtered shorty after. Not to mention, a lot of them develop sicknesses and health issues due to their living environments and way of life…or lack there of. Pollan stated “Eating industrial meat takes an almost heroic act of not knowing.” I completely agree with his statement. It is almost a heroic act because many are not educated enough about this subject. Many know that our meat processing industry is horrible but they do not know the extent of it.

 

“Lunch Time is all Yours”

I was never one to like Lunchables as a young kid, I think I might of had only 2 as a child. Something about the meat and cheese freaked me out. However, other kids at school loved them and couldn’t wait until lunch time to dig in. After reading this article, I am glad I didn’t like them and I am thankful my parents never packed them in my lunch for school. The amount of disgusting ingredients in these little packs are atrocious. It’s unfortunate because little kids go crazy over these products! They think it is the coolest thing to be able to make their own pizza or to build a little tower with cheese, crackers, and meat. I think the overall idea of a Lunchable is great but what Oscar Meyer puts in them is gross. These products and ingredients lack all nutritional value and are not healthy options for growing children. The only positive about the product is that they do provide convenience for those busy parents that need something to pack in their child’s lunch. But even then, since they are so unhealthy, I think that overweights the convenience factor. I personally would much rather manage my time or make time in my schedule to pack lunch for my kid when I know that he or she would be eating something more healthy and nutritious.

 

“How do you get People to Crave?”

Until reading article, I guess I never really knew how many details were actually taken into consideration when making a product. Companies are not only focusing on the product itself but how it is marked to the public as well. It is all about creating the right product for the consumers to keep coming back for more. Many companies have turned to Howard Moskowitz for help with creating products for their brands. Moskowitz, a well known “food industry legend,” knows how to group consumers into segments and target them with precision based on their needs. He uses a method called conjoint analysis in order to manipulate ingredients to establish the perfect combination. It is interesting to know that there is a reason for every single amount of an ingredient in a particular product. The amount of sugar or salt is set in place to get the consumer into coming back for more. The main objective behind all of this engineering is to get people to crave.

 

“Our National Eating Disorder”

Notes:

  • Carbophobia – diet fad consisting of a no – low carb diet
  • Fletcherizing – chewing each bite of food as many as 100 times
  • Lipophobia (1977) – persuaded Americans to stay away from red meat
  • Ketosis – metabolic process by which the body resorts to burning its own fat when starved of carbohydrates
  • French Paradox – French don’t regard the matter as a paradox at all; we Americans resort to that word simply because the French experience — wine/cheese eaters with lower rates of heart disease and obesity  — confounds our orthodoxy about food. American paradox: that is, a notably unhealthy people obsessed by the idea of eating healthily.
  • Omnivore’s Dilemma – any creature faced with a wide choice of things to eat
  • Food marketing in particular thrives on dietary instability

Response:

After reading “Our National Eating Disorder,” it has now made me think differently about food and the way I eat. Michael Pollan discusses the negative effects of food fads in America in this particular article. Americans way of thinking about food as turned us into the “world’s most anxious eaters.” Being caught up with the latest diets has resulted in Americans stressing about food more than necessary. Focusing on what to eat has taken away from the overall pleasure from the food itself.

Research studies have completed based off eating habits of Americans and the French. It was concluded that Americans tend to pick foods for health specific reasons whereas the French pick foods for pleasure and enjoyment. While focusing less on what they are actually consuming, the study showed that the French are healthier than Americans. They eat in moderation or smaller portions, don’t snack throughout the day, and a prolong meal duration. As an American culture, we have learned to associate indulgent foods with bad or negative connotations. The French however, see them as more pleasurable and positive. They allow themselves to enjoy food and indulge when necessary.

I agree with Michael, Americans do focus heavily on the newest health trend or newest healthy food discovery. We all get occupied with following the health trends portrayed by the media. I think our media and publication of food has impacted the way Americans eat. We follow what everyone else is doing, how celebrities or friends and families keep in shape and what they eat.  This approach has hindered the American food culture. Through personal experience, I have known individuals that have focused too much on following the health trends that in that over time it has resulted in medical problems. We as Americans should follow a more relaxed approach in our eating habits and actually enjoy what we are eating. It is not necessary to stay on track with the latest tea detoxes or lemon diets. It is more important to strive to nourish our bodies in the best way possible.