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Food in the 21st Century

Food is a dietary necessity for humans to survive. Eating a well balanced diet is vital for our health and wellbeing. Food helps to provide our bodies with energy, protein, fats, vitamins and minerals that help us live and properly function. From the 1900s to the 21st century our diets have changed drastically and have become unhealthy.

I will first talk about how different the food has changed from the 1900s to now, the western diet along with fast food. Next , I will talk about obesity, diabetes, and whether or not it is the fault of the government and fast food chains for weight gain. Lastly it will touch on the evolution of food and its conveniency and a counter argument on how the fault of obesity does lie on the government and fast food chains.

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According to Rae Casto, in his article The Typical American Family Diet in 1908 in the early 1900s, “there were no fast food chains or frozen tv dinners when planning a meal it was very limited to what was readily available in the garden or ice box or the nearest general store which could have been miles away. Many of the families lived off of land, their own vegetables and herb gardens, raising their own livestock and poultry. Fishing and hunting was another found source of meat.” Meat was the main part in the American diet and potatoes, tomatoes, lettuce, carrots, turnips, beets or asparagus were eaten at least once everyday(Rae Casto). “Milk and dairy products were not the

primary focus in the American diet in the 1900s. It was difficult to prevent things from spoiling. Bread making was part of the daily routine in American households. When cooking the used heavy cast iron pots on the hearth or wood cook stove and it was very time consuming, when it was summer they went outside to cook outside over open fire.”(Rae Casto)

Things started to change after the 1950s when the idea of shortcuts and fast foods became the new normal. Nowadays it is rare to find someone that cooks only from what they grow in a garden or from livestock that they own. Most of the food produced today has been processed and has gone through factories, sprayed with chemicals and flown all over the world for us to be able to buy.

According to Jill Ettinger and her article Food The and Now: How Nutrition Has Changed states, “Today our processed foods resemble anything but their original intention. Nearly 80 percent of all processed foods in the U.S. contain genetically modified ingredients. They are full of artificial colors, flavors and sweeteners. They’re stabilized with trans fats (although not for much longer) and chemical preservatives and then packaged in plastics that have been known to cause cancer and birth defects.”

The increase for fast food is rising and the number one fast food chain all over the world is McDonalds. Fast food is growing rapidly not only in America but internationally as well, posing great health risks and a public perception on nutrition and diet. As more people start to accept the standard of food that the fast food chains offer, their food budget may decrease a small amount, but their quality of life will start to decrease as well and their health risks will start to become more imminent.

The Western Diet is a diet loosely defined as one high in saturated fats, red meats, ‘empty’ carbohydrates, junk food and low in fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, seafood, and poultry. According to Adam Bible and Brittany Smith in their article, 5 Reasons Why the

Western Diet is the Worst “The Western diet has also been found to trigger insulin resistance, fatty liver disease (not related to alcohol), and a condition called intestinal dysbiosis, which increases your gut’s permeability, throwing off the balance of bacteria, according to research from the British Journal of Nutrition,” The western diet is a great way to sell food and it gives an advantage to the processed foods because processed foods can be re-engineered to reflect the latest nutritional understanding. People eating a western diet are prone to a complex of chronic diseases that seldom strike people eating traditional diets.

The solution to the problem remains very clear: Stop eating a Western Diet, says Michael Pollan in his article Escape from the Western Diet. the reason why the western diet is so popular is because it is fast, cheap and easy. There is no meal prep time, not a lot of money goes into it, and there is no reason to leave get out of the car because there is a drive through. Michael Pollan states three rules, “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.” Eat food meaning eating real food, like food coming from the supermarket. Not too much meaning, the right proportions for one’s own body. And mostly plants meaning, the best type of foods to eat and not processed foods.

Obesity is a severe health problem all around the world and thousands of people from as early as fifteen and on are considered to be obese. The United States is classified as one of the countries with the highest obesity rates in the world. According to David Meyer in his blog, Obesity in America Keeps Getting Worse, Says New CDC Report, “There’s still a huge amount of cheap, accessible, highly processed food available everywhere almost any time,” he said.

“And despite people doing more recreational activity these days, the overall activity level, household activity and occupational activity have decreased in recent years.” Not only has the obesity rate gotten worse because of all the processed fast foods we eat, but the amount of people that exercise has gone down as well. People that are overweight or obese are at a higher risk than the people with healthy weight to develop many health conditions and diseases including heart disease, stroke, type-2 diabetes, and certain types of cancer.

The obesity rates in children are also starting to rise. According to New York Times,”The latest survey data found that American youth are faring somewhat better than adults. Among Americans ages 2 to 19, 18.5 percent were obese in the 2015 and 2016, while 5.6 percent were severely obese. (A severely obese youth is defined as being at or above 120 percent of the 95th percentile of body-mass-index for age and gender.)”

But obesity is also a particularly difficult problem to solve given its disproportionate effect on racial minorities and poorer Americans. That’s tied to the wide-ranging, critical role that socioeconomics plays in public health, whether it be convenient access to affordable, nutritious food or a generally healthy environment. (A Startling New Report on America’s Obesity problem, Mukherjee)

In David Zinczenko’s essay, Don’t Blame the Eater, argues that children that eat fast food like McDonalds should not be held responsible for their weight gain in fact the parents they should have the right to take fast food chains to court for making them fat. I have to argue though that it is not just the fault of the fast food industries, it is both the fast food industries and it is also the fault of the consumer. The whole point of fast food is for it to be prepared fast, but that does not mean that people have to eat it.

Most people choose to eat fast food whether because it is faster, cheaper, or tastier, but choosing to eat McDonalds everyday and wanting to sue them for weight gain is absurd when everyone knows eating fast food is not good in the first place. That is not how life works although McDonalds should be chastised because people deserve to know what they are eating. The bigger picture is if a person is going to spend $10 at a fast food restaurant why not use it to buy a fruit salad or something healthy from the store.

Some could argue that the eater is not the one to blame and just the fast food industries and government alone are the ones to blame. If all stores required by the law to have nutrition labels for the products they sell why don’t fast food industries do the same thing. Without the knowledge of what the public is eating they are oblivious to what they are putting into their bodies which puts the blame on someone else. Making it okay to be able to take the different industries to court to sue them for however much money.

With the evolution of technology the food industry has also advanced. We are now able to order food from our cell phones and have them be driven over to us. We are also able to order food from the grocery store without having to get out of the car, the workers in the store grab everything ordered and brings it out to the car. The convenience of being able to order food from the comfort of a person’s home or from inside the car is one of the good things to have happened with the evolution of food.

The way Americans ate in the 1900s compared to how Americans eat now in the 21st century is drastically different. It has grown to become more unhealthy and the sales for junk food and processed food are low and the sale for healthy organic food has risen. There are so many different health issues that come with eating out and if we continue to ignore them health problems are going to continue to rise.

Works Cited

  1. Bible, Adam and Brittany Smith. “5 Reasons the ‘Western Diet’ Is the Worst.” Mens Journal, 21 May 2018, www.mensjournal.com/food-drink/5-reasons-western-diet-worst/death/. Accessed 11 November. 2018
  2. Casto, Rae. “The Typical American Family Diet in 1908.” LIVESTRONG.COM, Leaf Group, 3 Oct. 2017, www.livestrong.com/article/461209-the-typical-american-family-diet-in-1908/. Accessed 11 November. 2018
  3. “Food Then and Now: How Nutrition Has Changed.” Natural and Organic Products, GMO Free Foods, Living Healthy Lifestyle Tips, naturallysavvy.com/eat/food-then-and-now-how-nutrition-has-changed. Accessed 11 November. 2018
  4. “Here’s Why America’s Obesity Epidemic Is Just Getting Worse.” Fortune, fortune.com/2017/10/13/obesity-in-america/. Accessed 11 November. 2018
  5. “Industry Growth.” FAST FOOD IN the 21st CENTURY, amst360fastfood.weebly.com/industry-growth.html. Accessed 11 November. 2018
  6. Loren Cordain, S Boyd Eaton, Anthony Sebastian, Neil Mann, Staffan Lindeberg, Bruce A Watkins, James H O’Keefe, Janette Brand-Miller; Origins and evolution of the Western diet: health implications for the 21st century, The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Volume 81, Issue 2, 1 February 2005, Pages 341–354, https://doi.org/10.1093/ajcn.81.2.341. Accessed 11 November. 2018
  7. Pollan, Michael. “Escape from the Western Diet .” They Say I Say , 4th ed., W. W. Norton & Company, 2018, pp. 624–631. Accessed 11 November. 2018
  8. Richtel, Matt, and Andrew Jacobs. “American Adults Just Keep Getting Fatter.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 23 Mar. 2018, www.nytimes.com/2018/03/23/health/obesity-us-adults.html. Accessed 11 November. 2018
  9. “A Startling New Report on America’s Obesity Problem.” Fortune, Fortune, fortune.com/2018/09/14/cdc-obesity-report/. Accessed 11 November. 2018

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Food in the 21st Century
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Artscolumbia
Food is a dietary necessity for humans to survive. Eating a well balanced diet is vital for our health and wellbeing. Food helps to provide our bodies with energy, protein, fats, vitamins and minerals that help us live and properly function. From the 1900s to the 21st century our diets have changed drastically and have become unhealthy. I will first talk about how different the food has changed from the 1900s to now, the western diet along with fast food. Next , I will talk about obesity, dia
2021-09-16 01:06:58
Food in the 21st Century
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