It is interesting about portion sizes. I'm English, and I lived in Canada for a while, and the portions were twice what you get in the UK, even in chain fast food restaurants like Wendy's. To begin with, I would just eat half my meal, because I'd be full then, but after a while I adapted and ate the whole thing!
Another thing I noticed about Canadian lifestyle - not sure if it's the same in the US - is that every social occasion involved eating. People would go out in the evening for dessert or snacks, and these desserts and snacks would be absolutely huge, like a meal in themselves. And whenever you go round people's houses, they offer you huge cookies - rather than the cup of tea you'd get in England! It's nice - but you do gain weight that way!
This is a great chronicle of the road that has led to such an epidemic of obesity, but it is my opinion that there is yet another "villain" helping us to "expand" and that is HFCS (High Fructose Corn Syrup!) IT IS IN ALMOST EVERYTHING!! Our bodies weren't created to know how to deal with this sweet, highly calorie concentrated substance, so our bodies turn it instantly to fat! I hope more companies will begin to put their customers' health first ahead of their profits and begin to sweeten with natural sweeteners like sugar, honey and so on!
Thanks Mike for giving us a time line but I'd be interested to see the connection between the date of the introduction of HFCS and the beginning of our national weight gain included.
Corporate America makes it's profits by tempting people to get as fat as they can be ... helps those in the health, medical and pharmaceutical professions who believe in the business of disease versus prevention and wellness.
8/17/2009 5:07:27 AM
I took my little girl to McDonald's to get a small drink and some chicken nuggets (this was our lunch) and they gave me a kid's meal instead of just chicken nuggets. I didn't realize this until she was munching on greasy fries and I asked her what she had. We were on our way to an event, so I didn't stop to ask them why -- but I am curious as to why. I did explain to my daughter that the reason I didn't want to get her any fries is because we were on our way to an ice cream social.
Yes America has grown larger food portions and lazier technology.....but sparks can also be guilty for the latter. I have noticed I spend more time on this webpage than I do anything else that is sedentary.....any comments to that????
Great article! Really puts it in black and white, exactly how we grew Gi-normous!
2/18/2009 11:16:34 AM
It wasn't that our forefathers (certainly in the UK) had low calorie diets. Diets of the 1930s to 1950s would be frowned on today. Cooked breakfasts, hunger satisfying lunches and multi course dinners provided a high carbohydrate, high protein, often high fat but not a high sugar diet. In the context of a worlds where few families had cars, where men walked or cycled to physical jobs while woman had a range of physically difficult household chores, it was an appropriate diet. (Although we shouldn't lose sight of the fact that when WWII started, a percentage of volunteers were found to be so malnourished that they needed to be put on feeding programmes before being trained as soldiers...and that childhood conditions linked with malnutrition still existed). There was never a dietary golden age.
The issue IMHO is that generally we have replaced this diet with an "all you can eat" sugar filled diet while becoming less active. We don't even need to burn energy from food to keep warm in our temperature controlled houses and we burn little due to domestic gadgets and cars. In reality, we take more energy from oil and coal and need less from food.
I wish everyone in America would join SP and get a clue. I don't mean that in a mean way at all--I think we've all become clueless over the years due to these sort of incremental changes. Remember when we used to play games as a family or watch one 30 minute tv program and that was enough? I don't think we are as busy as we think we are--we just fill up our time with meaningless stuff that makes us feel stressed out and bad. Mental junk food is very similar to junk food. Quality is better than quantity in every aspect of life. Thanks, Mike, for writing such a great article. I love that SP always boldly tells the truth!
Fashion has INCREASED sizes so what use to be a size 14 is a 10, but people THINK they are still a 10 and that is so misleading. What was a size 5 is now a 0 and men's sizes are so much larger, with LOOSE-FIT, RELAXED FIT, etc. I find this to be what is sad. I look through my 1967 High School Yearbook and we were ALL thin, except for a couple of kids.
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