It’s not what you eat, it’s how you use it – History lesson about food and activity level

Posted: June 18, 2013 in NERDSTEAK - Brain Food
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“When I was your age, we used to go outside and play!”  We have all heard this line before and it basically proves my point about why the food and beverage industry should not be at fault for the obesity problem.

Quick history lesson…potato chips were first massed produced and the first fast food restaurants were introduced in the 1920’s, 7up and Hostess Brands like Wonder sliced white bread were invented in the 30’s and  soda fountains, ice cream parlors, candy stores, and television were all rising in popularity, TV dinners and frozen pizza were introduced in the 50’s; THEN the current obesity problem didn’t start creeping in until the mid 80’s and 90’s.  So for all those years and many generations, the US consumer enjoyed prepared and manufactured foods, all was good with the world.

But now, the food and beverage community is being blacklisted for providing what is now considered unhealthy foods and the cause of the current health and obesity problem.  Does anyone else see a problem with this?  We have at least 60 years when the American consumer utilized prepared and manufactured foods in there diet without an obesity outbreak.  So what else could be the cause?

The wonderful and historical modern technology I am using to communicate this message to you is the cause in my opinion! We are texting, tweeting, facebooking, searching the internet, using smart phones, gaming, staying indoors, working at our computers, and letting technology do everything for us.  People are no longer encouraged to work outside, have jobs that involve manual labor, walk instead of drive, or exercise.

That being said, I love video-games as much the next person, and TV, movies, and the internet are utilized more than they should at my house, but I balance this with physical activity.  Everyone loves to pull information from movies like ‘Super-size Me” or discuss what is being served at schools, but have we discuss the activity level of your average person between the 30’s, the 60’s, the 90’s and now?  I have a feeling you will see a DRAMATIC drop in calorie expenditures while the calorie intake level will have a much slower, steady increase.

20% of an elite Kenyan runner’s diet consist of plain old SUGAR, an average professional athlete is consuming 3000 – 4000 calories a day, and olympic level athletes have been quoted as eating what you might call ‘junk food’ to achieve the 6000 calories needed for top performance.  Michael Phelps can sustain on a 10,000 calorie a day diet which includes: eggs, french toast, pancakes, pizza, and energy drinks, but he has the physical activity to back it up, which proves my point that it’s not what you eat, but how to use it.

Am I the only one who feels activity level is the cause of our obesity problem, and not the food?


  1. Francisco Miranda says:

    I do agree, but with a certain amount of restrictions on salt content, trans fat, additives and Food poisoning due to bad manipulation.

  2. Adriane says:

    I partly agree. Although processed foods have been around since before the obesity problem, they are now more processed. There is more MSG, High Fructose Corn Syrup, and artificial sweeteners put into processed foods. Also, there was more of a focus on homemade meals, and processed and fast foods as a “treat.” Now, processed and fast foods have become more normal to eat daily. Processed foods are now increasingly included as “homemade,” such as cake mix and powdered flavor enhancers. I think it would help if people moved around more, but I also cannot exclude our processed and fast foods from being at least partly to blame.

    • chefman316 says:

      Although there was more ‘homemade’ meals back in the day, the healthiness of these meals were actually worse than now. Very high levels of salt, fats, and sugar along with heavy starch based meals. What the average consumer currently understands about what is healthy and what isn’t has drastically increased, yet the obesity problems still increases as well, which leads me to believe that the activity and calorie expenditure part of the equation is more important than the rest.

      That being said, I will never argue the benefits of a clean diet, but specifically targeting the obesity problem, I would have to say, “get off the couch” :o)

  3. xonthis says:

    I remember back in elementary school physical education, we watched movies about health and Bill Nye the science guy. We played washers and shuffle board. I also learned how to make cool things with a tied string like a tea cup and an Eiffel tower.
    I think physical education plays a big deal too, because a lot of those kids don’t play sports or take dance classes. That’s practically their only exercise of the day. We pick up a lot of our habits when we’re younger. So we grow up and think its enough.

  4. […] It’s not what you eat, it’s how you use it – History lesson about food and activit…. […]

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