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How America Grew

A Timeline of National Growth


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I encourage people to stop in at a thrift store some time, or an antique store. Look at the plates and cups of the 1960s and earlier. That will be a real eye-opener.

I remember when the Big Gulp came out. Who on EARTH could ever drink that much soda? That same 32 oz is now just a "large" drink at a drive-thru.

Yes, Virginia, I remember 10-oz sodas from my early childhood - and I am 49. Report
I grew up before fast food...we DID have drive in places I remember, A & W Rootbeer, and Foster Freezes . I remember Bob's Big boy too, but you went IN and ordered.

None of the food from these places came FAST, like today. And may have been alot healthier, I don't know.

The other thing is, as a kid, we had CHORES, NO TV, NO computers, and were mostly outdoors playing....burned off what we ate, unlike kids today.

But this article is SO right on, about how America has gained, except for the fact along with this time line, was the DECREASE in exercise....Schools no long REQUIRE P.E. for graduation!!! BIG factor in fattening up everyone in America. Report
What most people fail to realize is that years ago during our grandparents and great grandparents life time, they didn't have "fast food". They ate real food which they prepared. And so their life expectancy was that much greater. They were feeding their bodies living enzymes for a living body. Now adays, you feed the body dead processed foods that have no living enzymes in them, the body becomes weak, sick, diseased, and eventually dies much sooner. So if people would just eat real foods, nutrient dense foods, then they would find that they would not be so hungry all the time. They are litterally starving themselves to death while stuffing themselves with dead foods in the process. No wonder people are in the shape that they are in. Report
Someone told me years ago that artificial sweetners are what makes Americans fat. I poo-pooed that until my nutritionist, after a long time of trying various things, discovered that sugars AND artificial sweetners make me retain and or gain weight. After losing many pounds by eliminatings sugars, I did an experiment where I ate NO sugar/fruit, etc. and only ate artificial sweetners and I GAINED weight immediately. This is a very important thing for us to think about.... Report
McDonalds sold a 10 oz soda?!? I guess they're not talking about the kiddie meal here. Saddly I've bought many a 44 oz "bladder buster" of soda before comming to SP. Report
My particular problem is that there are too many choices. You didn't used to have that problem when everything was made from scratch. Also, I am so sad to have gone through all of the variations of "solutions" to our bad eating habits, i.e., lowfat diets, lowcarb diets, etc. that were no more "normal" than the bad habits I had already developed. The body I have now, sadly, is the product of all this well-meaning manipulation of what should be a very simple thing. Report
I have a friend (my sister-in-law actually), who is from Denmark, and she said that the reason she gained so much weight when she came to America was because of portion size and the availability of food. With 10 million fast food restuarants serving a selection of meals and a variety of different foods, you can have anything you want at any time of the day! This is the track I was on when I moved out on my own for the first time 5 years ago. I got excited eating fast food all the time because I couldn't eat it everyday at my mother's house, even though I loved to cook when I lived with my mother. After I moved out, I craved fast food all the time, like it was an addiction, and every meal that I ate absolutely had to have meat in it. I didn't even know you weren't supposed to eat meat everyday, I thought it was a main ingredient in a nutritious meal! That's why I want to thank Sparkpeople for this information, for helping me get back to being more active in my daily life, for helping me love to cook again, for helping me work away those cravings through mental empowerment, and for helping me lose 5 lbs so far (1 week). Thank you Sparkpeople! Report
The information here is interesting but I was a bit disappointed. I was hoping to actually SEE what was considered "normal portions" back in the 50s vs. what is considered "normal portions" today. Has anyone got any real documentation on that? Report
Fantastic review of the last fifty or so years. However, let's not forget personal responsibility: as a nation, we chose to embrace the fast food/junk food/sedentary lifestyle, and THAT's why obesity is so prevalent today. However, Spark is also a great reminder that we can choose to make different choices: to eat more nutritious foods in moderation and exercise more for healthier, more fulfilling lives. Report
SparkPeople, telling it like it is! Woot, woot!!!! Report
Thank Heaven for spark people. It reminds and rewards us for getting back to basics like watching what we eat . Super sizes of anything do no one a favour. Report
Thank goodness for SPARK!!!!! Turning things back round! Report
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! Report
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. Report
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. Report

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