Image taken from Deviant Art Website ©2011-2015 dylrocks95
To Eat More or Not to Eat More? Do We Really Have a Choice?
Let me start this blog off with a transparent confession, after reading and reviewing this week’s assignments, I have to say that too am in a battle with food. I have personally come to the realization that I do not have as much willpower in deciding my food choices as I thought. Sure, I am pregnant, yes I have cravings, but I now feel like as my eyes are opening to the realities of the fight against food, I must strive to not use my current condition as a crutch. After seeing the Science of Addictive Junk Food video, I reflected on my weekend food “binge” of eating sour cream and onion chips and kettle corn popcorn, completely entranced by the combinations of sweet and salty and also by the wonderful sound of “crunch.” To then be presented and perplexed by this week’s Blog prompt asking if the Dietary Guidelines for Americans included a clear and undisguised message to “eat less,” do you think the message alone would be enough to change the eating patterns of the US population? My answer in short would be a big no.
Let me expound upon my response. In the opening of the video The Science of Addictive Junk Food, the narrator starts off by saying “A lot of people put a lot of work in making sure we keep on eating” (The Science of Addictive, 2009). It is amazing to hear how much food and science goes into food engineering, in order to make highly profitable and simply irresistible foods for us to eat. The Food Industry higher top Scientist to specifically genetically modify food that make us not be able to “eat just one.” Scientists are able to simulate foods that taste like “the real food items” but are not even real. Using the “holy trinity” for food: Salt, Sugar, and Fat, the highly competitive and highly secretive Food Industry creates a battlefield for the consumer, going beyond label and dietary guideline reading and reviewing and into the neurobiology and chemical dependency realm. The highly palatable foods now become addictive and consumer, if unable to resist the Simply Irresistible food, become dependent and a slave to food and the Food Industry.
In Chapters Two and Three of Dr. Nestle’s book Food Politics, these chapters discuss the “politics” of the establishment and direct information of the Food Pyramid. In Chapter Two, Dr. Nestle exposes how the USDA and its Food Pyramid, essential “serves at the pleasure of, appeasing those food producers to ensure that the Food Pyramid does not encourage consumers to “eat less” of a product but encouraging “moderation” that does not, as she describes, “stigmatize” a particular food group. Dr. Nestle discussed the controversy of the meat and dairy food group on the 1991 Food Pyramid that implied eating less of meat and dairy. The USDA after spending millions of dollars to justify the changes, modified the pyramid, and created a Food guideline that required consumers to “read between the lines;” or as Chapter Three describes it, “deconstruct” the dietary advice. Without the USDA providing clear and concise dietary advice, specifically telling its consumers to eat more of one food item verses another, it has left consumers confused and overwhelming impacted by the influences of the various trending diets and commercialized nutritional advice. After reviewing an article on the study of Energy and Nutrient Intakes from Processed Foods Differ by Sex, Income Status, and Race/Ethnicity of US Adults, looking at the results from the study, in my opinion was still inconclusive. Exploring the various food intakes amongst various cultural and socioeconomic groups, over a period of five years with a population size of 15,033 US adults, the result concluded that “Recommendations for a diet adhering to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans (DGA) should continue to focus on the energy and nutrient content, frequency of consumption, and serving size of individual foods rather than the level of processing” (Either-Miller, 2015). And that means? Still not a clear answer to what consumers should eat less of when it comes to a particular food group.
Another position regarding consumers, especially consumers of color, not having a choice, is the fact that it appears that the scientific evidence regarding appropriate dietary choices are based on a particular population of people. Being pregnant and going through body changes, having to go to the doctor every month and weigh in, can be a bit disheartening. A friend of mine jokingly would say to me “girl you know the BMI was not made to represent us.” When exploring other peer journals regarding research completed on the dietary guidelines and how it impacts, gender and even demographics, it appears that lifestyle qualities (non-smoker, not pregnant, can participate in physical activity without restriction) and also the location (traditionally white Universities), in my opinion, did not take into account cultural diversity. One peer review journal I discovered, the Adherence to the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans and the Relationship to Adiposity in Young Women conducted a study to examine the relationship between adherence to the 2010 DGA and adiposity in young women, with and without statistical adjustment for differences in objectively measured physical activity (Bailey, 2014). In the study one of the limitations mentioned was that the participants were mostly Caucasian.
So, if the Dietary Guidelines for Americans included a clear and undisguised message to “eat less,” do you think the message alone would be enough to change the eating patterns of the US population? It appears that even if the DGA gave a clear answer, the results would be based on one population of people and would make a lot of big business and food industry people not happy. So consumer will continue to “fend for themselves;” requiring us as individuals to be proactive through the trial and error to find the right foods that are good to and for our bodies and that will prevent us from becoming victims to the battles of the simply irresistible foods.
Bailey, B. (2014). Adherence to the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans and the relationship to adiposity in young women. Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior, 47(1), 86-86. Retrieved February 22, 2015, from https://www-clinicalkey-com.proxy.library.vcu.edu/#!/content/playContent/1-s2.0-S1499404614006502
Deviant Art. (2011, January 1). Retrieved February 23, 2015, from http://dylrocks95.deviantart.com/art/Betcha-Can-t-Eat-Just-One-213761178
Eicher-Miller, H. (2015). Energy and Nutrient Intakes from Processed Foods Differ by Sex, Income Status, and Race/Ethnicity of US Adults. Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, 112(1). Retrieved February 22, 2014, from https://www-clinicalkey-com.proxy.library.vcu.edu/#!/content/journal/1-s2.0-S2212267214016360
The Science of Addictive Food. (2009). Retrieved February 22, 2015, from http://youtu.be/4cpdb78pWl4