Posts Tagged ‘Television’

ID-100142619The American diet as it relates to calories has actually changed very little over the past 80 years.  There has been a switch from a high carbohydrate and animal fat diet in the past, to a high vegetable fat based, higher protein diet in more recent years.  We also have the addition of increased fiber, understanding of healthy fats, as well as an increase in raw vegetable and fruit consumption.  This shift, specifically over the last 40 years, does not proportionally match the increase in the obesity problem. So what is the cause?

Due to the breakthroughs in technology, the average calorie expenditure of individuals has DRASTICALLY decreased, especially starting in the 80’s.  A reduction in jobs requiring manual labor, new modes of transportation, and a huge increase in the tech. industry has wiped out the need for the population to get their hands dirty, focusing more on computer skills and less on physical activity, as well as the use of things like the internet, TV, and video games.  (For the record, I love the internet, TV, and video games.) This basically means that the diets of the average person has remained relatively unchanged (with a slow and steady caloric increase,) while our way of life has drastically reduced general physical activity.  In the 60’s over half of the private jobs required some kind of manual labor, but now it is less than 16%.

Although red meat still reigns supreme in the US diet over the past years, chicken consumption increased drastically since the 1970’s as did the average fruit and vegetable daily intake.  Although the vegetable and salad oil use has increased a good amount over this same time period, most likely due to the availability of fried foods and snacks, the use of butter and margarine spreads at meal times has decreased along with a huge swing from whole milk to lower fat varieties.  There has been an obvious increase in carbohydrate consumption over the years due to things like HFCS as well, but as stated before, this does not proportionately reflect the skyrocketing obesity rates. Also, the diets of previous years had a larger portion of calories coming from carb. sources like breads, pasta, white rice and potatoes.

Americans have drastically increased in eating out as opposed to cooking at home, but the options available at restaurants have shifted to healthier options, even if a good portion of consumers still do not choose them.  The American consumer also forged the path to larger portion size.  They demanded greater value and their purchasing habits reflected this, however the actually content of the food has remain steady of the years, which supports the fact that the food industry should not be directly to blame for this obesity epidemic, but the US lifestyle should.  Just like any industry, it reacts to the purchasing habits of its consumers, and the food industry is no exception. That being said, the food industry could defiantly do a better job in promoting low calorie, fresher foods.

I just want to leave you with one more interesting fact…the average person is now 33 pounds heavier then they were in the 60’s and also burn almost 200 less calories a day, which can account for almost 60% of those extra pounds.  Add just a bit more of physical activity, we can start shedding the weight.

 

“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?

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