This is some intense stuff.
If you have about 40 minutes, I highly recommend watching these videos. Thank you to Truth Be Told for posting these videos on her blog. You may have noticed quite a lengthy comment from her on my “Fat Mission” page a while back.
I’ve read before about how much our government subsidizes certain crops, especially ones like corn that go more toward feeding cattle and processing plants than to our plates, but it’s crazy to hear it from these people. As Peter Jennings puts it, they are making a bad situation worse.
Some of the folks talking about the dangers that government subsidies pose on our diet include Michael Jacobson from the Center for Science in the Public Interest, as well as a senator from Arkansas, professors of Food Policyat Tufts University and New York University, and a professor of nutrition at UNC, among others.
For the first video, pay special attention to the “Food Pyramid” vs. the “Subsidy Pyramid”. Also the truths about your latest trip to the movie theatre.
For the next one, note the points about how high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) and other highly processed foods are the cheapest to make because the crops that are used the make them are subsidized the most. This is what makes junk food cheap! Something I didn’t know, is that soybean oil is the largest source of added fats in the American diet. Huge farming companies, or “Agribusiness” companies give some of the largest campaign contributions to key members of Congress that decide how much and where the subsidies go. Peter Jennings also makes a good point that you’d think that because polititians’ careers are based on getting votes, they would try and appease their mostly fat constituents by running an “I’ll make you thinner” platform. A great way to do this is to boast that they would not accept influence from lobbyists.
Oh, and OH GOD check out the Food Marketing Convention later in the video. These are the types of food products that I’ve mentioned before that are being INVENTED to make sales, and you should most definitely keep your consumption levels to a minimum with these.
A great point that this next video starts out with, is that in the last few decades, our definition of a “snack” has completely changed. At the end, Jennings points out that when all of the large food companies started offering “Reduced Fat” versions of all of their products, Americans put on more weight. This sounds familiar.
Some good stuff on this next one. First we start out with a visit to the “Food Stylist’s Convention” that shows marketers how to make food look really good (usually in photographs and commercials). Then the topic switches to kids and food with the startling fact that children spend more of their money on food than anything else!! Gone are the days of saving up their allowance for baseball cards, or a trip to the arcade, or their favorite music, or the newest action figure toy. Now it’s a trip to Dairy Queen, or Pizza Hut.
Finally, we focus more on children and the impact of advertising unhealthy foods to them. It is noted that the FTC once made a big push in Congress to regulate ads to children. They were ostracized for it. Then, the video equates the government’s stern regulation on the tobacco companies to it’s need to do the same with the food industry.
At what point did congress decide it was time to step in with cigarettes? Why have they not done so with our diets? Wasn’t one of the reasons tobacco ads were regulated because of the skyrocketing healthcare costs associated with smoking? Isn’t the obesity problem now the biggest healthcare cost by far? Even more than smoking ever was?
What’s the conclusion here?
#1- I use question marks too much.
#2- We need to learn to filter out all of the highly processed images of unhealthy foods that are blasted at us from every direction. Once we realize that there are several aisles at the grocery store that we should never push our cart down, we may begin to better understand and easily point out which foods have no place in our diets, and dismiss them as foods that other people eat.
It looks like, for now, special interest lobbyists and campaign contributors have control over the food industry in the U.S., instead of Congress.