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Opening a can of organic worms! How Junk Food Can End Obesity: Could the drive-thru make us healthy

Tuesday, July 02, 2013

My son sent me a link to this article from the Atlantic magazine;;July/Aug issue.


It is a controversial article, but it did make me think.

He begins by going to health food eateries and getting 9 dollars kale shakes. He then comments that he found a 3 dollar healthy and lower calorie shake at McDonalds.

He notes that now the trend is to say that all processed food is making us sick and overweight. The Fast Food Industry is largely to blame for addicting people to foods with high amounts of sugar, fat, and salt. He notes many writers, Michael Moss, "How the food giants hooked us" Gary Taube, "Is Sugar Toxic?" and Michael Pollan from UC Berkeley who validate this thinking. (*** I know and respect these authors)

He then notes the development of the wholesome food industry..such as the Whole Food Chain and Trader Joes.(My favorite stores) In investigating products from these stores he finds that so called wholesome foods are as caloric as Burger King's offerings. They can be high in fat, salt and sugar.

He even says wholesome foods can be obesogenic: Ie cause obesity. (new word for me.)

Yes, you do need to be aware of food content even if it is labeled as organic or non processed. I agree with this.

What I found interesting was his comment that only a small elite minority will seek these wholesome foods..due to cost. The obese masses will not look for wholesome foods, but will buy cheaper fast foods.

This might be true. He suggests that the junk food industry should create healthier food that makes it affordable to the obese masses.

I agree this is a good idea..but wonder if the fast food industry who studies the perfect tension is a potato chip to get people to buy it, will actually eventually produce healthier food. Is this happening with Taco bell gluten free tacos or Chipotle using local foods?

For myself, I think the less processed food the better.

A final comment..it was interesting that he mentioned that they have found human remains from Egypt and Peru..with bodies with hardened arteries..this is pre-industrial times thousands of years ago.

I welcome any comments on this subject!

** Just found out that some of the organic brands are made by major food corporations:

Cascadian Farms is owned by General Mills, Bear Naked Kashi and Morningstar are owned by Kellog's, Naked Juice by Pepsi Cola and Odwalla by Cocoa-cola.
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    Marketing and labeling have become big business and very MISLEADING. Fresh is better than processed for health but convenience and enticing tastes often times over rule. Love the blog! We just have to keep sharing and continue educating and motivating. Keep Sparking!
    1688 days ago
    I wonder if the "ancient clogged arteries" were from the saturated animal fat in meat. We try to eat as much clean whole food as possible, but the saturated fat in organic meat is still saturated fat. That and sodium are killers. We do eat out quite a bit and heavan knows where they get their food. I just try to order as clean and unprocessed as possible. No butters, sauces, cheeses, etc. Plain grilled fish (tastes better anyway) plained grilled chicken, green veggies with no butter or sauce, or maybe no veggies at all because they're usually overcooked~stuff like that. In a world where most of us don't live on our own farms or acreage, all we can do is make the best choices possible. Don't buy or order junk food, read ALL labels, buy meat that is humanely raised and fed (if not a vegetarian) When we drove past a feed lot on I-5 through Ca., I literally threw up in the car. It was just awful~ piles of cows (literally up on piles) shoulder to shoulder, hundreds and hundreds of them. The poor things. The stench was unbelievable. I just cannot order fast food hamburgers any longer, because they surely must buy cheap meat off of feed lots. Hideous. Anyway, zero chemicals if possible, 3-5 ingredients max, one ingredient is best, that's what works for us. Glad there is information out there but lots to sift through.
    1691 days ago
  • CHERYLA2012
    Wow - I had not seen that particular article.

    I am also firmly in the camp of less-processed food. I'd gradually been making inroads in that direction but when my wheat (and other grains) allergy got the best of me and I switched over to gluten-free, it was shocking to me that there is just as much processing going on with GF food. Yes it takes time to cook in a less-processed fashion and you need to plan things further ahead (like soaking beans or baking).
    1693 days ago
    This is a very interesting read. Thank you for sharing.
    1707 days ago
  • GEORGE815
    Kind of complicated isn't. They seem to have their bases covered.
    1711 days ago
    Interesting article.

    In the past few years, as we became "empty nesters", we began to eat out more and more frequently. That occurred at approximately the same time that I began to work on losing weight. I found that, if I choose carefully, ask for substitutes often, and exercise portion control, that I can eat healthfully and lose weight in both family restaurants and fast food restaurants.

    In 12 months (Sept 2010 - Sept 2011), while often eating out 4x per week, I lost 60 pounds, and went from a size 22 to a size 6.

    It's all about making individual good choices. I think that most restaurants offer both good choices and bad, and it is possible to make good, healthful decisions.
    1714 days ago
    Thank you for sharing. This just reinforces my efforts to eat as few processed foods as I can. Interesting to see how the big ones own some of the brands we may trust or assume good/safe/ok/better.
    1716 days ago
  • GINA180847
    Ever so interesting. All I can say is that some are born with better genetics than others and can withstand more but as for me just trying to eat a balanced diet and getting lots of exercise. My poor husband was born with more points against him as his people were more into alcohol and his genetics are not as good as mine. So he just tries to do the best he can and he has reached 71 yrs. Lets face it good health may sell more and if that is the case it is all good.
    1718 days ago
    Lots to think about in this blog.

    It's especially interesting about how major corporations own some of the organic brands.
    I'd love to know what the differences are - if any - in how the two types of food are treated by the corporations.

    I do buy organic -- mostly because my daughters-in-law get them for their young children, my grandchildren. I don't think the added chemicals, or GMOs, are a good idea for the little ones as their bodies and brains are developing.
    Actually, they aren't good for anyone.

    1718 days ago
  • LINDAF49
    Thanks for the info and sharing your thoughts ... loving the simple, plain foods in my life, not worrying about any of the big stores or fast food places either one . Even when we travel this fall, I will be taking my blender for smoothies of any choice and not see expense or time of fast foods. and also don't have to worry about gluten hurting my celiac tummy!
    1720 days ago
    Great information! Thank you!
    1720 days ago
    Great information, thank you. I like to eat as much
    home cooked food as I can. Once in a while, if I'm
    stuck, I will have some fast food. It was interesting
    to read that big companies make a lot of the organic
    food. When you think of it, how could a little organic
    producer/company afford to produce food on its own?
    emoticon emoticon
    1720 days ago
    Great Blog!!!!!!! I love the topic of people jumping on bandwagons without using their discerning brains to analyze all sides of the issue. Thank you for giving us all more reason to be smart consumers.
    1721 days ago
    Of course you can go back to the old calories in/calories out adage; however, that just focuses on whether people are overweight or proper weight. It does not focus on the underlying health of the body.

    Yah, I'm very disappointed that some of the brands that used to be good are now owned by nasty GMO conglomerates. Makes me want to create *everything* from scratch.
    1721 days ago
    Wow! And thanks I sure am learning a lot!
    1721 days ago
    wow, you've done your homework. Well done!
    1721 days ago
    A very thoughtful blog, thank you!

    Yep, the food industry wants to make money off us...any way they can....

    It's up to us to eat clean and eat healthy and their profits be damned!

    1721 days ago
    Great article, thanks for the links AND for your own cogent comments! Love the word "obesogenic" and have to say, I'm with you on simply trying to eat as few processed foods as possible whether from trendy "organic" or "health food stores" or from the fast food places. We are programmed to crave salt, fat, sweets . . . biologically from evolution onwards -- including those ancient Egyptians. But it was much harder for ordinary people to overindulge back when you climbed trees for honey, chased animals for fat, travelled long distances to salt flats . . . now it's as easy as filling the grocery cart in the centre aisles, cheaper than the produce section!!

    Not sure why you are avoiding local fresh strawberries however? I try to get as many of these as possible during the all-too-short season: delish, low cal, high in Vitamin C . . . and fibre.
    1721 days ago
    so interesting, thanks for the post!
    1721 days ago
    I came to this conclusion some time back when everyone was doing the juicing craze. Everyone always jumps on the latest fad. My doctor is totally against it and says that one of the healthiest things you can do is to not drink calories. If says that if you want fruits and veggies then eat them. The only liquid he allows is dairy. I think the less processed the better and not because of the fat and carb content even though that does matter to me but because all of the preservative and additives.
    1721 days ago
    My opinion is the only way obesity can be curbed is by giving people the information. Granted it's there if people want to look it up, but many people do not want to do all the work. If it were presented up front where everyone had to see it, then fewer people would be so big.

    It's the old, don't tell people what they can't have, but tell people what they can have for a good life and tell them why it works. If it makes sense, then more people will do it. (I know, some people won't listen to anything, even when presented with the facts, but there's always going to be someone like that.)
    1721 days ago
    I absolutely agree ... the less processed food the better.
    Whenever you look at the snacks that the 'wholesome' food stores try to push, they are essentially processed foods. The bottom line is that Mother Nature provides mankind with perfect ingredients for our bodies, and the closer to her recipe...the better. And eating healthy can be reasonable by buying what's in season, or frozen (unprocessed) at peak. People will always try to push fancy ways of preparing healthy ingredients and often try selling it as a magic formula. Stick with basics, and you end up with better health
    1721 days ago
  • AUNTB63
    I will admit that I did not read the article, but the more food you can prepare at home, thus controlling the fat/sodium/sugar the better off people would be. Some people say organic is much better for you, but if you buy fresh produce....it is fresh produce so paying less can be a good thing for some. Any packaged item or fast food is not created equal so you need to research and read labels and check out calorie/fat etc on any of these items. I think the food industries are acknowledging that there are more and more people out there that want to eat healthier, thus they create a line of foods to fit the bill (and still make money)
    1721 days ago
    It takes a lot of careful reading to make the healthiest choices when out and about. Unfortunately, you're often pressed for time (or money) and less likely to do that.

    On our last trip I wrote about how DH got a lot more food (and calories) for his money than I did choosing the healthy options.

    I'm also capable of eating enormous quantities of healthy food too.
    1721 days ago
  • -LINDA_S
    Well, we had Super Size Me, somewhat refuted by Fat Head--there's a contradiction for just about everything. I still think the lolser to nature things are, the better. And that it's the combo of not-very-good fats with refined carbs that is about the worst. And that until canola oil is recognized for the bad thing (along with other seed oils) that it is, we're fighting an uphill battle. I'm heavily leaning toward Paleo/primal/low-carb way of eating. Fast food is not likely to be healthy until and unless major changes are made, and then it won't be very cheap, anyway.
    1721 days ago
    Genetics are genetics, whatever you feed the body. You can make healthy choices and do the best you can, but even thin, healthy people can have heart disease!

    Thanks for the article!
    1721 days ago
    Here's a counterpoint to that article's argument!


    I side with the "pro Pollanites" :)

    1721 days ago
    VERY interesting! emoticon
    1721 days ago
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