Junk Food is a very real threat to this generation. You make healthy choices, or is it actually junk food too? A clever food industry has made it harder than ever, even if you know what is right. Today most foods you buy are processed, and as such ‘junk’ for your body. Processed Foods are a jungle of unquestionable health issues, debates, and alternatives. To stay healthy you need to understand where Junk Food came from, and why it is in everything we buy today. Staying healthy has become a game we must play.
Junk Food: Where did it come from? A War Story from Sugar to Health Bars
The history of Junk Food from 1900 to today is a story of generations being asked to do more with less. A story of wars, and marketing tactics by a food industry that created needs to boost profits. Never before in history has dinner tables changed this much in only a few generations. It is also a sad story of health decline that has seen the same generations get increasingly affected by Western Diseases – the No 1 killer today. Let’s look back from our great-grandparents’ generation to the present day – and why Junk Food is such a health issue today.
WW I – Sugar Explosion
- World War I meant severe food rationing. After WWI sugar beets were highly promoted as the savior to meet the farmers need for a cash crop. Refined white sugar was then introduced to virtually every food possible when our great-grandparents were young. Bread, Beans, Sausage, and vegetable by-products came with high amounts of refined sugar suddenly – and an addiction to sugar was created. New brands and processed products popped up (Wonder Bread, Baby Ruth Bars, Wheaties, Cake Mix etc). The road to processed food was open.
WW II – Women and Food
- After World War II our grandparents were on the move in a rapid growth period. Women had taken new on new roles during war times, and post-war they joined the workplace like never before. Our grandmothers became models for a food industry that realized they could repeat the sugar boom that had exploded at the beginning of the 1900s.
- Fast Food was the solution to a modern new world. Drive Thru’s and Diners served classics like Hamburgers, French Fries, Hot Dogs, Candy, Gum, Salted Snacks, and Soda. The food industry really took off during the 1950s. Food became more processed and cans, packages, and plastic came into our kitchens. The fast food explosion was the same very successful introduction of new products to meet the demands of ‘shortcuts’ for the working woman. Radio and TV were in every house – and advertising of these new wonder foods became part of everyday life. The processed food road was a highway.
Vietnam War – Social Change
- In the late 60s, the Vietnam war raged. This was also a period of rapid social change and growth in the Western world. Our parents’ generation was in high gear to work, build lives and push forward in an uncertain world. Fast food was part of everyday life by now, and some were starting to question the effects on our health.
- A green movement was born, and health issues were becoming apparent in a bigger way. Scientific facts were appearing that diseases like cancer, heart problems, osteoporosis, and diabetes, were on the increase like never before. Linkages to the change in people’s food and lifestyle were suspected. By the 70’s scientists could prove that we had a generation that was getting sicker from ‘Junk Food’. Junk Food was a word invented by Michael Jacobson, director of the Centre for Science in the Public Interest, in 1972. Processed Food was now a road to hell and not the salvation it had once been hailed as.
Iraq and Afghanistan – Dollars…
- Iraq, Afghanistan, Africa, Starvation, Obama Care, Health Reform and Banning of Junk food adds. We live in an intense era where time has pushed us to our limits. The great grandchildren of the sugar boom do not cook anymore. We nuke. It is not all bad though. More than ever we want to make healthier choices, but it’s not always easy. The New Green Wave has also made the billion $ food industry savvy to healthy eating.
- Yesterday’s Junk Food is no longer your classic fast foods. Today most foods we buy can be classed as Junk Food. Why? The level of processing makes them unhealthy. The new trend of Health foods are big business and as such more and more processed. 2008 scientific reports came out showing that the additives in processed foods were more addictive than cocaine. The food industry early success with sugar addiction had a new great grandchild: Most foods we eat!
Junk Food: What Is So Wrong With It?
Time is the best excuse for not doing what you inherently know is good for you. A busy mother will gladly save time by putting out some crisps to stop hunger pangs, pinging up a dinner in the ‘nuke’, and pouring spaghetti sauce from a can.
The same mother would of course never want to harm her children. She will claim ‘not to have time’ to prepare dishes from scratch, or shop for vegetables, fruit, meat, and fish from over a counter. Does she care about what her family eats? Sure – she does! Is she a bad mother? Of course not! If Mama knew that she was feeding her family additives that are directly linked to a disease she would freak out! Yet – She is like most mothers today: too busy!
The problem with processed foods is not only the high content of salt, sugar, fat, and calories. In fact – each processed meal is higher in calories than what is recommended by Medical experts. The real issue is the additives and chemicals, flavor enhancers, conservation enablers, food coloring etc.
If you want real food for thought click on these links: Common Foods in Supermarkets and so-called Health Foods. These additions to our food create hypertension, learning difficulties, blood pressure issues, allergies, asthma, and energy depletion and most of all contribute to the No 1 killer today: Western Diseases.
Western Diseases were rare before 1900 when most foods were traditionally prepared at home. Today – looking back you can see a clear link between the increase in food processing and the decline in overall health. Despite medical advances, and availability of education — the dependency on convenience food, take-outs, and food shortcuts have made us sicker than ever. Pedro Carrera-Bastos, Maelan Fontes-Villalba, James H O’Keefe, et al “The western diet and lifestyle and diseases of civilization,” say:
This mismatch between our ancient physiology and the western diet and lifestyle underlies many so-called diseases of civilization, including coronary heart disease, obesity, hypertension, type 2 diabetes, epithelial cell cancers, autoimmune disease, and osteoporosis, which are rare or virtually absent in hunter–gatherers and other non-westernized populations. It is therefore proposed that the adoption of diet and lifestyle that mimic the beneficial characteristics of the preagricultural environment is an effective strategy to reduce the risk of chronic degenerative diseases.
Junk Food: We Know It’s Wrong But Why Is It So Hard?
The Food Industry has caught on to the fact that people want ‘healthier’ alternatives, and thus process foods to be ‘fat-free’, ‘zero % cholesterol’, and ‘low-calorie’. We buy these thinking we are being healthy. Instead of fat, you get extra sugar, and to substitute calories we get additives that our bodies cannot handle. The processing of the foods make them not good for you, and there are real arguments for why you should avoid them.
Junk Food – How Can You Win?
In a supermarket today you need to have a chemical engineering degree to understand what is in the food. You think you are making healthier choices, but even salad dressing and fruit yogurt contain ingredients that Mother Nature did not invent. The jungle of junk you have to sort through is astonishing if you want real food. You need Junk Food Jungle Tactics.
Check out the next post on The GOODista: 10 Tips with key information on what you should be looking for – and how you can play the Junk Food Jungle Game – and win for your Health.
If you have some tips on how tricky it is to play the Health Game, please feel free to share in the comment box below.
If you want more inspiration on how to start and maintain healthy lifestyle choices, follow The GOODista – You get Newsletter, Recipes, Lifestyle Challenge Tips, Special Offers and More. For Free, of course!
Related and Recommended:
- History of Fast Food – Renourishment.org
- Articles and Facts about Junk Food – NaturalNews
- What is Junk Food? – Dr. Phil Maffetone
- 38 interesting facts about…Junk Food – Random History website
- Avoiding Processed Foods? – Eatright.org
- Facts about Food Additives – Asthma and Allergy Foundation, USA
- How to read Nutrition Labels – from WikiHow
- Clean Food Revolution: Are You In or Out? – The GOODista
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