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Junk Food Science


Junk Food Science

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Junk Food Science

The Extraoridinary Science of Junk Food

Thanks Jessica for sending this our way. Well worth the read.

Big food companies have done little to help curb the obesity epidemic. By some accounts, they’ve done just the opposite by pouring millions of dollars into research designed to figure out how to get the maximum taste satisfaction and consumption out of their customer base. This article highlights three examples of the research and development that went into three well known processed foods.

With all the misinformation out there about food and diet, is it reasonable to expect a food company, whose goal is to make a profit, to know or act any different than the mainstream media, medical, and dietary schools of thought?

In many ways major food companies follow the current recommendations of the USDA by offering low sodium, low fat, and low sugar options. If it’s not the responsibility of the major food companies to help curb and address obesity, does the responsibility fall on the shoulders of the consumer?

Post to comments.

4 Responses

  1. The responsibility falls on us all. Is it morally or ethically acceptable to knowingly poison people who are willing to buy a product? Absolutely not, but then again these companies aren’t run by morally or ethically trustworthy people. Does that excuse us for being responsible for ourselves? Absolutely not.
    We are our first line of defense. Placing the blame on big food companies is just an easy way out for people to satisfy their cravings. That being said, I think the majority of the population is being given bogus information from the “experts”, which can make it difficult for some to ever find the truth. We are all fortunate to live in a place like Boulder, where the health of the individual is placed among the top of priorities by most. Though I think there is still a large portion of misinformation being given here, I would still consider this city years beyond most in the progress of human health. While, I think it’s important that we live what we preach, I also think it’s important, and harder for me personally, to not judge those who do not have as privileged of living situations.
    I believe the bigger question is what kind of life does an individual have to experience to ever be able to live with themselves knowing that their entire life has been paid for by poisoning their neighbor? When did the dollar become more important than people’s souls? Until that changes, I’ll keep educating myself and doing what I truly believe is the healthiest way for me.

  2. Bones

    Well, OK, you asked. Corporations are not people. They are entities created by law. As a result, corporations (and companies, also creatures of law) are neither good nor bad. They just are. And they are comprised of shareholders, many of whom are people like you and me (check your 401K and your mutual funds). The officers of these companies can do bad things, but they serve at the will of the Boards of Directors and shareholders.
    As a result, we cannot blame “evil corporations” for our woes, just as we cannot credit them for our benefits. Food companies respond to the market, I.e., us. Soooo, we are responsible for our food choices and drive the market decisions. Bad food is a result of bad demand. It is all of our responsibility. We have to educate.

  3. Nicole S

    It’s important to also realize that highly processed and junk food is not a choice for a lot of people but is the only option they have. For those of us living in Boulder junk food is a choice, but if you’re living in poverty and trying to feed a family of 4 on $25,000 a year, whole foods are not an option for myriad reasons. Thanks to misplaced government subsidies, a liter of soda is a lot cheaper than a gallon of fresh juice or even milk. A bag of chips is cheaper than a loaf of whole grain bread. Plus, in many cities the only location for low-income folks to buy food is the convenience store on the corner where fresh fruits and vegetables are almost unheard of. With such a large and growing percentage of the population living in poverty, the responsibility for ensuring people have access to affordable healthy foods falls squarely on the shoulders of those who are fortunate enough to have a choice. This responsibility includes the corporations who are making mass-produced processed food highly addictive AND the government whose subsidies make junk food the only affordable option for people who don’t have access to healthy foods.

    1. Amen Sistah! Spent past 3 decades of my “young life” 🙂 in “extremely” urban areas where I witnessed the limited healthful options phenomena ‘up close & personal’. There are some bright spots (“follow the bright spots” is key element of meaningful change – per terrific book called Switch: How To Change Things When Change Is Hard) Link to it on amazon is below. My fave bright spot in Pgh (and I see it EVERYWHERE here) was introduction of vegetable garden plots in a few schools. Unfortunately, given limited resources in many urban school districts in Pgh, this was exception rather than rule.
      Action Steps To Consider:
      1. Designate portion of that corporate 401k to supporting an urban veg initiative in your estate plan.
      2. Yes, we all vote with our dollars, yet for those with very limited dollars this may not seem like an option, per Nichole’s point above. SOOOO, those WITH voting dollars might help “make a louder noise” about this stuff.
      3. When you see a bright spot, ENCOURAGE it to glow even brighter in whatever manner is most feasible/sustainable for you.