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Food Cops Not Cooking With The Joy Of Truth

by Evie / July 1, 2004 12:33 AM PDT
Food Cops Not Cooking With The Joy Of Truth

The U.S. Department of Agriculture paints a far different picture of our changing eating habits. According to their data, from 1970 to 2000 some of the per capita shifts include:

* Fresh fruit consumption increased 30 percent;
* Fresh vegetable consumption went up 35 percent;
* Dark-green leafy vegetable consumption increased 378 percent (with consumption of escarole, romaine and leaf lettuces increasing 1300 percent);
* Broccoli consumption went up 365 percent;
* Fish and shellfish consumption increased 22 percent;
* Consumption of beans, peas, and lentils rose 23 percent;
* Skim milk consumption rose 150 percent; and
* Direct use of lard decreased 47 percent.

Evie Happy
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There is a catch to that analysis ...
by Bill Osler / July 2, 2004 9:01 AM PDT

A quick look through the USDA information showed there were some positive trends. IOW the food alarmists may have overplayed the data on the American diet to some extent. What you neglected to mention, though, is that the data show some real nutrition problems exist. Total caloric intake increased significantly over the time studied. That is particularly worrisome given that Americans as a whole get far too little exercise.

Overall consumption of grain products, fats and oils, sweeteners (sugar, honey, high fructose corn syrup, ...), meat (including fish and poultry), fruit (both fresh and processed), vegetables (both fresh and processed), and cheese all increased. Milk consumption showed an overall decrease. There were some decreases in a few sweeteners, but the category overall showed significant increase.

What does this mean? Americans are in fact eating larger quantities of several healthy foods, but the problem is that we are (as a nation) eating larger quantities of everything, not just healthy foods. Overall, there has not been any compensatory decrease in the unhealthy choices.

So what is the result? We are eating more, while exercising less. Now we weigh more. That is not much to celebrate about.

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Re: There is a catch to that analysis ...
by Evie / July 2, 2004 9:12 AM PDT

I don't think the authors of the article are celebrating anything. Their point is that the consumer can decide what they want. I think the adult happy meals at McDonalds are a joke -- how many pedometers does any salad eater really need? Suing fast food joints out of existence isn't going to get Joe Couchpotato up off the couch. OTOH, many restaurants voluntarily cater to a dieting and/or health concious consumer. I also don't give the American public a pass on this. Most of us know what is and isn't healthy, yet many of us still engage in what we know is not optimum for health.

Evie Happy

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