Saturday, October 31, 2015

Uncle Sam wants you to be obese!

The other day, I went with the friend to eat at Chipotle.  Hey, the term is underway and I do not have the time anymore to cook every meal at home, and the friend is getting tired of cooking and baking for me ;)  Sanitas per escam is, thus, sometimes put to test, not because I am worried that the restaurant staff might not have washed their hands, but because restaurant foods are not really intended to be healthy.

"Just because of their marketing gimmick about GMOs, do not be fooled that this is healthy food" I warned the friend.  I tell ya, I know how to be a party-pooper! ;)  But then I am not merely opining, especially when I read pieces like this in the New Yorker:
Chipotle, with nineteen hundred locations, is the most successful of the new chains. The company has admirable goals, but, more often than not, meals from Chipotle are high in both saturated fat and calories, and often exceed the recommended daily allowance of sodium.
Calories, fat, and sodium.  No wonder that restaurant foods are way tastier.  As my grandmother used to say, restaurants want to serve you tasty foods, while mothers want to serve you healthy food.  Of course, in my case I lucked out with my mother, grandmothers, and aunts, all making healthy food that was also wonderfully tasty.  When I spoke with my parents yesterday, my father said that mother had just finished making பொரிச்ச குழம்பு (Porichcha Kuzhambu) and I started drooling here ... hmmm, where was I?

Ah, yes, even a Chipotle often serves foods high in fat and calories, and one meal can deliver more than the salt that you body ever needs in a day.
“Chipotle has a health halo”—a term Wansink and a colleague coined several years ago to describe the general aura of eating at places that advertise themselves as healthy. “They are organic and use the word sustainable a lot. That’s not a bad thing, but it doesn’t make the food healthier.”
I know what you are thinking: just who the hell does Wansink think he is?

Brian Wansink is the director of Cornell University’s Food and Brand Laboratory, and more:
Wansink has also served as the executive director of the U.S.D.A.’s Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion. (In addition, he is a member of McDonald’s Global Advisory Council, which makes nutritional recommendations to the company’s leadership.) His book “Mindless Eating” demonstrated the gulf between what we think we are eating and what we actually eat.
So, if Chipotle's food is not all healthy, then you can imagine calories, fat, sodium, and sugar at the likes of McDonald's.  But, and this is a big butt--er, but--the food at those fast-food places are way less expensive too.  What gives?
[Taxpayers] heavily subsidize corn and soybeans, two crops that feed livestock and help create the processed food that public health officials have warned us for years to stop eating. Few federal incentives exist for farmers to grow a more varied selection of vegetables or to motivate consumers to eat them. And at least half of our calories come from food that is subsidized by the government, a figure that has held steady for years.
“A value meal at these places is a big burger, some fries, and a sugary beverage,’’ Kelly Brownell said. “Every time you buy one of those meals, Uncle Sam is standing there with his wallet open. The grain that feeds the cows is subsidized. The oil used to cook the fries is subsidized, and the high-fructose corn syrup used in sodas is subsidized, too. But if you walk in the next day and order a salad, a piece of fruit, and some tea you will be on your own. Uncle Sam will not be there to help you.”
We have created a system thanks to which foods that are high in calories, fat, sodium, and sugar, are less expensive than the healthier options.  Should we then be shocked at the ever growing obesity rate in these United States?
fatty, salty meals remain far cheaper to produce, distribute, and buy than healthier alternatives. For that to change, America’s agricultural priorities will need to fall in line with its health priorities.
Don't you hold your breath and suck in your tummy waiting for those policy changes to happen.  Definitely not with this dysfunctional Congress.  


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