FOOD: SIMPLY IRRESISTIBLE

betcha___can__t_eat_just_one____by_dylrocks95-d3j9n6i

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.

 

BIBLIOGRAPHY

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

On the Wilde Side: Perspectives on Healthy Eating Habits

obese-america1-cropped

Image from the Blog “Are You Making your Children Fat?”

In Chapter Eight of Wilde’s book Food Policy in the United States, he provides us with four perspectives on healthy eating habits.

Perspective 1: Wilde explores a long tradition that blames carbohydrates for weight problems and recommends a diet that may be high in meat and saturated fat.

Perspective 2: This perspective encourages a low-fat plant based-diet and blames meat consumption for health problems.

Perspective 3: Advises a mostly plant-based diet that is not necessarily low in fat, allowing plenty of vegetable oils

Perspective 4: Concerns a highly palatable artificial creation of an industrial food system.

In the opening of Chapter Eight, Wilde states “it is sometimes said that there is no need for governmental role in dietary guidance, because people know how to eat well and simply lack the willpower to do so.” While in a practical sense, being human and having a mind to think and make decisions, people should know right from wrong and what we should and should not eat. However, many factors must be taken into consideration and unfortunately not everyone’s bodies respond to dietary guidelines the same. Thus, this is why we have four different perspectives on eating healthy, all having some scientific sound backing, but not all adhering to the same approach.

The first perspective, the high meat and saturated fat diet, known to many consumers as the “Atkins Diet.” It has been statistically shown that this eating approach has helped many consumers lose large amounts of weight, eliminates bad carb intake, and some have seen positive changes in their cholesterol levels, eating a high meat diet has its adverse effects. Its method is to eliminate carbs and also without eating fruits, vegetables and whole grains, eliminate vital nutrients that come for other food sources. One argument regarding the Atkins approach is that with the consumption of high meat, the body does not receive the other nutrients it receives from plan-based foods like calcium and certain vitamins. Furthermore, it has been studied, that a high consumption of meat intake can impact vital organs on the body like the kidneys.

The second perspective, where consumers eat a low-fat plant based diet, blames meat consumptions for health problems. From Wilde’s reading, obesity is linked to desire for highly palatable foods and beverages, whose energy can be stored in fat tissue for later use. This dietary perspective suggests that a diet that promotes the consumption of highly palatable foods causes health problems. An article I came across in Medical News Today suggests that low-fat plant- based vegan diets may reduce heart disease risk in obsess children. By consuming more plant-based low in fat foods may help a person reduce health problems.

The third perspective advises a mostly plant-based diet that is not necessarily low in fat, allowing plenty of vegetable oils. At first, I was thinking that it resembled that of the Paleo diet, but I was not certain due to the Paleo diet encourages eating fish and animal protein but avoid dairy.

In a 2009 interview on Democracy Now, Dr. David Kessler states that sugar, fat and salt, stimulate us to eat more. The fourth perspective concerns a highly palatable artificial creation of an industrial food system and urges consumers to combat highly palatable foods. This approach appears to look at food from almost a chemical dependency perspective and approaching it like a “12-step” program. Dr. Kessler looked at the French, who have very highly palatable foods. His argument is that the French, “what they have done is they had certain norms where they eat with certain structure. They would never walk down the street eating or drinking. They would not eat in their cars. They wouldn’t have food 24/7 at business meetings. So, they have certain structure” (End of Overeating, 2009). This approach is requiring consumers to get rid of the food cues that are activating our brains. Eat with certain structure and in a planned way.

Take a look at Dr. Kessler’s Interview: 

Former FDA Commissioner David Kessler: “The End of Overeating: Taking Control of the Insatiable American Appetite”

After reviewing these four perspectives, I would say that I strive to closely follow Perspective Three: a mostly plant-based diet that is not necessarily low in fat, allowing plenty of vegetable oils, however, my weakness is bacon. I love bacon! However, after researching and reading about the various diet perspectives, the adverse effects of food on the body and health, my eyes have been open. I realized how “green” and naïve about food. The exposure I had to the governmental dietary guide was what was placed on a school poster, or came out though a work email encouraging healthy eating habits. Now that I see how food can subtly but significantly impact my life. Not only will I take dietary guidance or dietary systems seriously in my final project, but also for my life, looking at the recommendation that work in the best interest for my body primarily and make sacrifices so that my budget can also support my new way of life; it is time to make sacrifices in the name of healthy living.

REFERENCES

Are You Making your Children Fat? [Image]. (2007). Retrieved from: http://www.proteinpower.com/drmike/uncategorized/are-your-children-making-you-fat/

Former FDA Commissioner David Kessler: “The End of Overeating: Taking Control of the Insatiable American Appetite” (2009, August 3). Retrieved February 15, 2015, from http://www.democracynow.org/2009/8/3/former_fda_commissioner_david_kessler_the

Whiteman, H. (2015, February 15). Low-fat, plant-based vegan diet ‘may reduce heart disease risk’ in obese children. Retrieved February 15, 2015, from http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/289453.php

Wilde, P. (2013). Chapter 8. In Food policy in the United States: An introduction. Abingdon, Oxon: Routledge.

Blog # 2-Striving for Agricultural Sustainability

green world

Above Image: “Going Green Moms” Healthy Child Healthy World Archives (2012)

After reading Chapters Three and Four of Park Wilde’s book Food Policy in the United States, I have personally gained a greater respect for this ideal that “you are what you eat.” Food is essential to our everyday life, and is the primary source of our survival. America has responded fervently to this demand, unfortunately at the cost of our future means of food production. Currently, our country thrives on the utilization of Industrialized Agriculture. While it has successfully satisfied the need for food production (and abundantly so), Industrialized Agricultural has also cause detrimental effects to our environment. Such impacts included, Environmental degradation, water and air pollution, soil depletion, and so much more. Although in the interim, America’s excessive food needs are being met, the damage that is currently occurring to our environment in the name of Food Production, in the long run will inevitably threaten future food production of the United States.

The vision for a food system that is sustainable because it combines environmental awareness, satisfies our human food needs while contributing our society’s biofuel needs, and sustains our economical viability while improving the quality of life for farmers and society as a whole, is what Wilde calls “Agricultural Sustainability.” According to Wilde, this method of food production, takes into account, as Wilde describes as “environmental awareness and a ‘dogged’ pursuit of productivity” (Wilde 2013). What I believe he is saying is where we are saving our environment while effectively and productively growing our agricultural production in America, in a healthy way.

The best model and vision for our food system takes me to one of my all time favorite places to eat: CHIPOTLE. This “fast food” restaurant supplies America with some of the most tastiest, satisfying, and environmentally conscious meals. Chiptole prides itself as providing “Food with Integrity.” Chipotle uses chickens with no growth hormones or antibiotics; they pride themselves on working with farmers who raise pasture-raised beef and pork. Regarding the environment and people, Chipotle strives to work with either organic or local food suppliers, they prioritize working with family Farms, and when they is a shortage of a certain food supply, Chipotle is honest with their customers. I personally think that Chipotle’s food business model is a tangible example of at least “Phase one” of Wilde’s ideal of Agricultural Sustainability. Chipotle strives to maintain quality food, be conscious about the environment we live in today, while being honest with its consumers. They must be doing something right, I mean, it does not matter what state toy visit or where you go, the lines at Chipotles never seem to fail to be either going out the door or wrapped around the store.

So how can I, as a professional working with a population of people, in a field that is an extension of Law Enforcement and reflects that of customer service, how can I participate in the promotion of a more environmentally sustainable food system? Again, it goes back to you are what you eat. I would say that no matter what profession you are in, Awareness is essential the promotion of a more environmentally sustainable food system. Also on a micro-social level, at lunchtime supporting food places that use local produce and no hormones or antibiotics. Furthermore, in my current job capacity, as a Regional Training Coordinator for the State of Maryland, provide educational training seminars to my staff in my regions about the impacts of industrialized agriculture, not only to the environment but also to the body. By educating staff to be more conscious with what they put on their plate, could help with how they feel on the job and their work performance because a healthy worker is always a happier worker.

Just for your to see more about Chipotle’s food process please click the picture below and read about it:

chipotle

Also, In addition to reading the assignments I came across this interesting image on the Asia-Pacific Economics blog illustrating Factory Farming:

Facts-about-Factory-Farming

References:

Apecsec.org. (2014, March 21). Retrieved February 8, 2015, from http://apecsec.org/factory-farming-pros-and-cons/

Chipotle Mexican Grill. (n.d.). Retrieved February 6, 2015, from http://www.chipotle.com/en-US/fwi/fwi.aspx

Healthy Child Healthy World Archives (2012).”Moms Going Green.”  [Online image].Retrieved February 8, 2015 from http://groovygreenlivin.com/tag/healthy-child-healthy-world/

Wilde, P. (2013). Chapters 3 & 4. In Food policy in the United States: An introduction. Abingdon, Oxon: Routledge.

 

The Food System: “Center of the Universe”

LESSON TWO BLOG: Redesigning the Wilde’s Ecological Model making the Food System the Center of the Universe.

Solar System

Figure 1.1: Our Solar System (Johnston, 2013).

model

Figure 1.2. My Example of the Ecological Model ( Johnston, 2013).

Just in the second week of our course, the Sociology of Nutrition, we have gain immense insight and awareness on how the food industry plays an integral role on our society. Not only does the food industry establish social norms, like what we should eat and how much we should eat it, it also influences governmental entities and “Big Business.” After reading Chapters One and Two in Parke Wilder’s book Food Policy in the United States, and reviewing the ecological model to illustration the framework for nutrition and physical activity decisions, I have redesigned this model to best describe how the Food System in America is at the “center of the universe,” rather than dietary behavior and physical activity.

Let us take a moment and explore this entity known as the “Food System.” The Food System is a multi-dimensional yet integrated structure that works to get food from the field of the farmers onto the plates of its consumers. This structure “orbits,” intersects, and impacts other entities such as Society and Culture, The Economy, Health and Nutrition, Food Production, The Farming Industry, Government Legislation, Advocacy Coalitions and Interest Groups, and the Stock Market also known as Big Business. With the Food System, the primary systems that are directly impacted would be Big Business, the Government, and Society. Big Business and its Stakeholders of the Food System entity, while small in stature to some extent, its large presence thought its financial backing and marketing expectations, makes it an integral part of the Food System. The Government is greatly influence and also a contributor to the functioning of the Food System. The Laws that the government passes thought legislation and how executive branch of government writes and oversee regulations, contribute to the Food System dominantly being at the center of the universe. Society is also directly connected and closely impacted by the Food System. With the expectations of Big Business and governmental dietary recommendations and legislation, society as consumers respond and for the most part will adhere to utilizing/consuming what the Food System “dishes out.” We then see how next the economy would be impacted in the ripple effect based on Society’s response, and then the Farming Industry and Food Production based on the demand from consumers and the guidelines established through legislation that was influence by Big Business.

Health and Nutrition due to the causation of the Food System’s impact and influence on the first six entities, and the response more so the reaction of consumers to the Food they have been influence to consume through marketing and what is “affordable and convenient” to their way of living. Finally, Advocacy Coalitions and Interest Groups the farthest away in distance from the centrally located Food System, yet impacts aspects of all entities due to these entities priority being to influence not only Congress and the executive branches regulations of particular policies but also to be advocates for the farming industry, advocating for the public’s best interest but also lobbying for big business.

Through my attempt to illustrate this structure in writing, I think that my redesign of Wilde’s example of the ecological framework for nutrition and physical activity decisions, I personally believe a galaxy best describes what I am talking about. A Galaxy is a system made up of stars, planets, and matter. While astronomers continue to search for the secret truths like where the center of the universe is located, for the purposes of this blog post, I am going to say “it exists in the Food System.” And so, I have attempted to create an illustration of what an ecological model would present as if the Food System was at the center of our universe. This can be seen in Figure 1.2. I created it in Microsoft Word.

Picture our galaxy, the Milky Way. This is where our Solar System exists. For a reference, review the picture of the Solar system in Figure 1.1, the image of “Our Solar System” to gain a visual (Johnston, 2013). Just like the 8 planets that exist in our solar system, (nine if you include Pluto, the dwarf planet), take each entity listed above, including the Food System, placing each one where planets would be positioned in our solar system, and placing the Food System at the center of our universe, this would be an illustration of how our Food System integrally effects the constructs of our existence; the functioning of the ecological framework of the Food System and its impact on the entities that make our world function.

Reference(s)

Johnston, B. (2013).Our Solar System [Online image].Retrieved February 2, 2015 from http://brendajohnston.blogspot.com/2013/11/poster-learning-and-fun-with-velcro.html