I recently had the opportunity to watch Food, Inc., a documentary that was released last summer to educate us about the dangers of the food we’re eating and how America’s industrialized food system is sacrificing our health and wellbeing in exchange for greed and big profits.
Although the movie covered a wide array of issues including environmental pollution and global warming, the horrific mistreatment of animals, genetic engineering and its questionable impact on our future, the inability to trace the origin or production techniques employed on the foods we’re eating, and the numerous food-borne illnesses such as E.coli that are making their way into our food supply at increasing levels, I was particularly captivated by the impact our corporation and government controlled system is having on health conditions related to overeating products with little to no nutritional value.
One aspect I found particularly disturbing was to learn that McDonalds is the number one purchaser of beef, pork and potatoes and second to KFC for chicken. That means that the entire system is tailored to meet the fast food industry’s demand for high quantity and high yield food products, with little regard to the animals, farmers, workers or the people they feed. Additionally, with government subsidization, fast food companies are able to sell their products vastly cheaper then it would cost to buy raw ingredients in a supermarket to prepare a home cooked meal. In other words, whether we are purchasing fast food hamburgers or one of the thousands of packaged food products found in supermarkets, we are being encouraged through fancy advertising, low prices and convenience to choose foods that do little more than add pounds and contribute to health problems.
Not only are many of these products severely compromised in the areas of quality and safety, a good majority of them are also combined and laden with added fat, sugar and salt. After further research, I learned that this is a combination that Dr. David A. Kessler, former commissioner of the FDA and author of the new book The End of Overeating, says is causing our biological inability to resist the desire to overeat. In other words, he believes that we are actually being manipulated by the food industry to eat as much food as we can possibly consume.
Whether or not you find this information disturbing or a matter of concern, I am a strong believer that education can be the biggest motivator to change eating and lifestyle habits and adopt new dietary and exercise practices that can eradicate health, weight and hunger issues.
If you are someone who feels that your lack of willpower is what has you in your current circumstances, I encourage you to further explore the specific foods you’re eating and the industry’s profit driven influence over your choices. Perhaps by doing so, you will begin to see that although responsibility ultimately lies within each of us personally, the food industry plays a major role in our psychological and biological influences that have us feeling constrained by our addictive patterns.
The main objective of Food, Inc. was to not only provide an educational basis for us to continue our own research, but also to let us know that the situation is not hopeless. With each choice we individually make, we are in a sense “voting” for the products that we want more of. By choosing products that are organic, locally grown, non-genetically modified and produced in line with ethical and environmental standards, we are decreasing the demand for others that are compromising our health and our future. Food Inc.’s website offers 10 simple tips you can do to help change the food system at http://www.foodincmovie.com/get-involved.php.
Lastly, in hopes that I’ve inspired you to want to learn more, here are a few of my personal recommendations for further education.
Food, Inc. (2009)
Fast Food Nation (2006)
Super Size Me (2004)
The Future of Food (2004)
The Corporation (2003)
Dr. David A. Kessler, The End of Overeating
Eric Schlosser, Fast Food Nation
Michael Pollen, The Omnivore’s Dilemma
Marion Nestle, Food Politics
Published On: November 30, 2009