Show off your holiday lights and you could win an iPad! Enter your photo by December 13. Winner will be selected by popular vote.
Monday, March 18, 2013
When you think of epidemics, the Black Plague or swine flu come to mind. Yet a growing epidemic worldwide is obesity. Millions of adults and children are considered to be obese, and the figures are growing every year.
The health care industry spends billions of dollars annually to treat preventable obesity-related health issues such as high blood pressure and diabetes. Obesity is usually attributed to overconsumption of sugary drinks, fattening foods and a sedentary lifestyle; however, there is more to the story than meets the eye. The prevalence of obesity in adults and children can be attributed to the addictive qualities of processed foods, lack of portion control by manufacturing and food service providers and exposure to chemicals in our food.
How many times have you ordered a meal and looked wide-eyed at the amount of food on the plate when it arrived at your table? Research has shown that when presented larger portion sizes, people tend to overeat. Unfortunately, it has become commonplace among many American chain restaurants and grocery stores to give consumers more bang for their buck by padding the plates and packaging of foods in an attempt to lure consumers to buy their products.
The reality is that a majority of Americans surpass the dietary guidelines for the consumption of grains, dairy and meat. The average burger weighs in at a whopping 8 ounces cooked; top that with two slices of cheese, and you have more than your daily intake of meat and dairy in one sitting. Food industry giants have created a society incapable of determining the proper amount of food to eat in one meal with their more-is-better approach to eating. Compound that with a sedentary lifestyle, and we have a culture that has been programmed to overeat.
Food manufacturing technology has advanced by leaps and bounds over the centuries. Food science — the culmination of biology, chemical engineering and biochemistry — emerged as a way for companies to formulate foods with as much taste and aesthetic appeal as possible.
Food scientists manipulate naturally and artificially derived chemicals to create the most appetizing flavors for consumers. The object is to create flavor profiles that are so memorable and yet last just long enough to give you the desire for more. These artificially enhanced flavors act like drugs to the user. After all, when was the last time you had to have your “fix” of lima beans?
While the intent may be to draw customers back for the ultimate taste experience, manufacturing giants like Coca-Cola and General Mills have become drug pushers of the food industry, leading to a society of obese food addicts.
With a prevalence of diabetes, high blood pressure and obesity in America, scientists have begun research to find a correlation between the chemicals in foods we eat and rising health issues. Have you ever read the label on that bag of cookies and wondered if the chemicals are safe to eat or even necessary, and if so, what criteria were used by the Food and Drug Administration to deem them safe? Products like Splenda and Sweet-N-Low are intended to reduce sugar and calories, yet carry a warning about consumption and risk of cancer. The reality is that we are in the dark about the effects of ingesting these chemicals.
Overconsumption of calories alone cannot be the only factor in the growing obesity epidemic, and realistically there may not be a lone culprit among the list of chemical additives. One thing that is evident, however, is the need for research on the effects and safety of these chemicals.
It seems that food manufacturing giants have backed themselves into a corner when it comes to the health risks of consuming processed foods. Manufacturers have a responsibility to provide food that not only tastes good and is convenient, but is healthy as well. Some companies have taken steps in the right direction and provide choices that are lower in sugar and sodium; however, this seems to be the exception and not the norm in the manufacturing world.
The reality is that the owners of Nabisco, General Mills and other food giants readily line the shelves of our supermarkets hoping for higher profit margins for their shareholders. Sadly, we have become hopelessly hooked on the drugs they provide to us. These products taste so good, we, as a society, are eating ourselves to death.
Weather JournalMany very icy despite 'bust' claims