Sunday, January 27, 2013

What is the right diet?

I found the section regarding obesity and food choice within Human Evolution, Diet and Nutrition the most engaging. I feel, as if the media could be misleading in most instances. The book sees us “living in a time characterized by soaring rates of obesity, heart disease, hypertension, and diabetes” that has resulted for unhealthy diets in America. The diet that most people seem to be following would be the “westerns” diet that depends on livestock and dairy products. Where growing countries have increasing income also have increasing demands for foods that were limited before. For instance, in the article Global food crisis: The challenge of changing diets they are also speaking of obesity in the US being an issue. They state, "seven out of ten states with the highest poverty show are among the 10 with the highest rates of obesity". I feel growing issue has to do diet choices and not merely as much with genetics. The selection of diet is related to the income of each family group and the affordability of foods.  More so, processed foods are more affordable but carry high in saturated fats, calories and sodium and fresh food are expensive. Thus, the media in industrial countries tend to promote unhealthy fast foods rather than healthy fresh foods leading to the demand in agriculture to decrease within the years to come.

1 comment:

  1. I found the issue of obesity in the Western diet to be interesting as well. I like the concept of the "time famine" brought up by the author affecting dual income families. With these families, even if they know they are consuming food that is of low nutritional value, due to time constraints they are unable to prepare more healthy alternatives to processed foods and fast food. This is now such a pronounced phenomena in the US that "more than a third of U.S. parents admit to eating more than one fifth of their meals in the car" (p. 56). While I think the text did a good job of addressing the conditions under which US middle-income families' diets are becoming more and more affected by economic changes, I do not think it went far enough in addressing those of the US working class. While middle-income families are constrained by time, many working class people in urban (as well as rural) areas have had their diets constrained by access to food, what has become known as "food deserts." In many of these areas access to supermarkets/grocery stores is limited, and therefore access to affordable sources of non-processed foods such as fruits, whole grains, and vegetables are limited. Below is a short CDC summary of food deserts, which states that interestingly that in these areas even access to more nutritious foods may not have a positive effect on dietary/health choices, further problematizing the issue.