HomeLatest ThreadsGreatest ThreadsForums & GroupsMy SubscriptionsMy Posts
DU Home » Latest Threads » Forums & Groups » Topics » Health » Health (Group) » Telling Americans to 'Eat...

Sun Dec 4, 2022, 05:47 PM

Telling Americans to 'Eat Better' Doesn't Work. We Must Make Healthier Food

- 'Telling Americans to ‘eat better’ doesn’t work. We must make healthier food,' The Guardian, Dec. 4, 2022.

- For decades public health authorities have encouraged us to choose healthier foods – yet most choices available to Americans are bad ones.

Diet-related chronic disease is the perennial number one killer in the United States, responsible for more deaths than Covid-19 even at the pandemic’s peak. Yet we cannot manage to define this as a “crisis”. In fact, our response is lame: for decades we’ve been telling people to “eat better”, a strategy that hasn’t worked, and never will. It cannot, as long as the majority of calories we produce are unhealthy. It is the availability of and access to types of food that determines our diets, and those, in turn, are factors of agricultural policy.

For a healthy population, we must mandate or at least incentivize growing real food for nutrition, not cheap meat and corn and soya beans for junk food.

As omnivores, humans have choices, but most choices available to Americans are bad ones. Literally: 60% of the calories in the food supply are in the form of ultra-processed foods (UPFs, or junk food), which are the primary cause of diet-related diseases. That means almost no one can make a “good” choice every time, and many of us can barely make good choices ever. And it’s not enough to say “eat plant-based”, because most junk food is in fact made from plants; the future of food, especially when you add environmental factors, is plant-centric but minimally processed – plants in close to their natural form, in diets that resemble those eaten traditionally by almost everyone in the world until the 20th century.

To make that happen, we must address the functioning of the entire food system.

Government mandates around public health, environmental protection & even literacy can yield desirable results: laws or regulations around seat belts, tobacco, light bulbs, recycling, public education, have all improved public welfare. Yet no such efforts have been made in diet, where the mantra of “behavior change” stands in for good policy. Junk food & meat are both damaging, but must be considered separately: The case for reducing the consumption of junk food rests largely on the facts that UPFs dominate the calorie supply of industrialized nations, & that diet-related diseases (diabetes, heart disease, a dozen cancers) kill around 600,000 Americans per year. (By contrast, at current rates, Covid-19 will kill 100,000 people in the US next year.)

Increasingly, studies show that it isn’t simply “sugar” or “inflammation” or “saturated fat” that causes these diseases, but rather a still-to-be-determined combination of factors inherent in UPFs. We can reduce the consumption of junk food quickly with better labeling laws, taxes on the most egregious offenders (especially sugar-sweetened beverages) and limits on selling junk food on government property and to minors. All of these are being explored in various municipalities in the US and even countries abroad...

- Read More, https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2022/dec/04/americans-diet-public-health-food

23 replies, 1619 views

Reply to this thread

Back to top Alert abuse

Always highlight: 10 newest replies | Replies posted after I mark a forum
Replies to this discussion thread
Arrow 23 replies Author Time Post
Reply Telling Americans to 'Eat Better' Doesn't Work. We Must Make Healthier Food (Original post)
appalachiablue Dec 4 OP
Sky Jewels Dec 4 #1
jimfields33 Dec 4 #5
appalachiablue Dec 4 #9
Sky Jewels Dec 5 #20
jimfields33 Dec 5 #21
appalachiablue Dec 4 #6
Sky Jewels Dec 5 #19
msongs Dec 4 #2
msongs Dec 4 #3
appalachiablue Dec 4 #12
c-rational Dec 4 #4
appalachiablue Dec 4 #7
Mosby Dec 4 #8
appalachiablue Dec 4 #10
jimfields33 Dec 4 #16
Diamond_Dog Dec 4 #11
samplegirl Dec 4 #13
appalachiablue Dec 4 #14
Progressive dog Dec 4 #15
eppur_se_muova Dec 8 #22
Progressive dog Dec 8 #23
judesedit Dec 4 #17
Warpy Dec 4 #18

Response to appalachiablue (Original post)

Sun Dec 4, 2022, 05:59 PM

1. Over the years I've learned how to "deconstruct" my diet.

I start with basic building blocks -- ingredients my great-grandparents would recognize, like legumes and nuts and whole grains and of course fresh or frozen fruits and vegetables. I try to make my (plant-based) meals mainly from those things, but I do also rely on store-bought convenience foods like vegan butter, tofu, dried pasta, bread, etc.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Sky Jewels (Reply #1)

Sun Dec 4, 2022, 06:12 PM

5. They need to make vegetables cheaper

People like to shop for two weeks. You can’t buy vegetables for two weeks without them going bad. heck, lettuce practically last four days maybe. I find that to be a huge problem. back in the day, you go to your local farmers market every day if you had to, but those in many areas are no longer even available. so you go to the grocery store but people don’t have time to go to the grocery store every day. Plus vegetables are expensive.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to jimfields33 (Reply #5)

Sun Dec 4, 2022, 06:36 PM

9. Impt. points, thanks.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to jimfields33 (Reply #5)

Mon Dec 5, 2022, 12:18 PM

20. Yes, I agree.

A lot of processed junk food is dirt cheap compared to vegetables.

One tip: hearts of romaine are pretty hearty and last longer than most lettuces, in my experience. Cauliflower and broccoli are nice and sturdy as well.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Sky Jewels (Reply #20)

Mon Dec 5, 2022, 12:22 PM

21. Thank you. Even though I wrote that, I'm just as guilty buying junk food as the next person.

But recently, I have been wanting to get back into eating better. And this article and your reply are so timely and appreciated.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Sky Jewels (Reply #1)

Sun Dec 4, 2022, 06:34 PM

6. Good job, I'm not quite there yet but am very motivated.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to appalachiablue (Reply #6)

Mon Dec 5, 2022, 12:16 PM

19. Good luck!

I'm far from perfect at this, but I try to eat pretty "clean."

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to appalachiablue (Original post)

Sun Dec 4, 2022, 06:04 PM

2. cheeetos encompass most of the basic food groups - salt, fat, sugar, food coloring

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to msongs (Reply #2)

Sun Dec 4, 2022, 06:05 PM

3. oh forgot preservatives lol nt

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to msongs (Reply #3)

Sun Dec 4, 2022, 06:54 PM

12. Bon appetit! Ha

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to appalachiablue (Original post)

Sun Dec 4, 2022, 06:09 PM

4. So very true. Good movie on this topic - What the Health. How our corporate diet is making us ill.

on this topic - What the Health.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to c-rational (Reply #4)

Sun Dec 4, 2022, 06:35 PM

7. TY, another film, good to know!

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to appalachiablue (Original post)

Sun Dec 4, 2022, 06:36 PM

8. So Bloomberg was right.

He wanted to put a tax on big gulps and chips. The media and public eviscerated him, accusing him of engaging in nanny statism.

We need more social engineering, not less. Look at the success the US had with tobacco.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Mosby (Reply #8)

Sun Dec 4, 2022, 06:41 PM

10. Good points, tx for remembering the mayor's attempt. The current system is a hazard..

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Mosby (Reply #8)

Sun Dec 4, 2022, 08:19 PM

16. It was dumb. Too specific on a few items.

Glad it failed. Worst presentation of a potential program ever.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to appalachiablue (Original post)

Sun Dec 4, 2022, 06:42 PM

11. Not trying to be judgey here

Because I myself used to love Coca Cola and used to drink it every day

But if we could just cut down or eliminate soda pop, wow. Absolutely astonishing how much soda Americans consume.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to appalachiablue (Original post)

Sun Dec 4, 2022, 06:58 PM

13. Even Cheerios

are not healthy.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to samplegirl (Reply #13)

Sun Dec 4, 2022, 07:18 PM

14. GMO wheat plus artificial sugar, and what all..

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to appalachiablue (Original post)

Sun Dec 4, 2022, 08:01 PM

15. Mandate what people eat?

At some point we are supposed to be grown up and allowed to make our own choices about things that don't cause harm to others.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Progressive dog (Reply #15)

Thu Dec 8, 2022, 10:21 AM

22. The whole point of the article is they we aren't presented with enough good options ...

... not forcing people to make "good" decisions, just making it *possible* to do so without extreme effort.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to eppur_se_muova (Reply #22)

Thu Dec 8, 2022, 12:36 PM

23. Heathier foods are already available

The article actually says
For a healthy population, we must mandate or at least incentivize growing real food for nutrition, not cheap meat and corn and soya beans for junk food.

So according to the article not only are mandates necessary but some unprocessed foods are not healthy.
The author of the article apparently missed that point. Soy beans, corn, and some cheap meats are actually good foods. Chicken is much cheaper than beef and better for you.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to appalachiablue (Original post)

Sun Dec 4, 2022, 08:44 PM

17. Not to mention the pesticides in vegetables, mercury in fish, and chemicals in packaging

Thankfully, some fast food places are carrying salads. Not sure if they carry fruit. I very rarely eat at those places. But, you're absolutely right. There is much to do regarding this issue.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to appalachiablue (Original post)

Sun Dec 4, 2022, 09:55 PM

18. Food manufacture is over centralized

with one national factory and one warehouse covering multiple states. That means things can spend weeks from the time they're manufactured, shipped across the country to that warehouse, shipped to the store, and sit on the shelf until you pick it up and take it home with you. That applies to just about anything we love to eat: cookies, crackers, pastries, chips, candies. All contain trans fats to keep them from going rancid 2 weeks after they leave the factory and trans fats are killing us. And let's face it, other snacks and goodies pale in comparison unless we have the time and ambition to make them ourselves out of things that will make us as fat but won't kill us as efficiently.

Nobody is going to legislate junk food out of existence. Taxing it isn't going to work, either, it will just piss a lot of people off. A better idea would be to break up the near monopolies and encourage regional manufacture. Our potato chips and dips might be a few days old instead of a couple of months old, fattening but not inherently sickening. People who try to live on junk food would be obese and unhealthy. Most people would eat the stuff occasionally and be just fine.

I don't believe in infantilizing other people because they make choices I wouldn't make. Being punitive won't work, look at the drug war. I'd rather do harm reduction to make those choices less injurious.



Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink

Reply to this thread