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Daily Archives: January 16, 2019

‘The rich man’s disease’ and parities fast food: the link between obesity and the fast food epidemic – Food Security and Food Justice

‘The rich man’s disease’ and parities fast food: the link between obesity and the fast food epidemic – Food Security and Food Justice

In the twentieth century,Fast food emerged to affect the lifestyle of all mankind. The merits of fast food as quickness, convenience, fair price, and deliciousness attract people of all ages. However, fast food also has the properties of high-sugar and high-calorie, which makes it the culprit for pervasive obesity. In the United States, for example, 15% of every American’s dietary intake comes from fast food restaurants, which is exactly the same as the growing obesity rate. Once obesity and diabetes have been considered rich diseases, but now they are rising in low-income groups due to the excessive sugar and calorie intake from fast food. Compared with these groups, the current middle class and upper class are not in such high Incidence rate of the relevant disease caused by obesity. Moreover, the area with dense fast food restaurants normally has relatively high obesity rates for local residents. The connection between these two factors is worth exploring and the problem of the growth rate of obesity is needed to be solved.

Poison wrapped in sugar-coating: Fast Food

There is a documentary called “Super Size Me” in the United States which truly records the bad impacts of fast food on a healthy person. Morgan, the male hero, is a healthy man who has no significant bad habits such as smoking and drinking and no heart disease or diabetes. Besides, all the bodily data from the medical examination is in the normal state. The experiment began with 30 days of eating only McDonald’s under the supervision of five different experts and doctors. Within 30 days, he would eat three meals a day at McDonald’s and accept all the largest meal recommended by the seller, and he could not eat anything that McDonald’s did not sell.

In the United States, the branches of McDonald’s are all over the whole country: airports, supermarkets, gas stations, and even hospitals will have their presence, which accounts for 43% volume of the fast food market. Morgan lives in New York where averagely, four McDonald’s per square mile, so he can easily buy McDonald’s by just a few steps.

On the third day of the experiment, Morgan started vomiting because of stomach discomfort and stomach pain, but Morgan became addicted to McDonald’s just three more days later. According to the nutritionist’s assessment, his daily calorie intake is twice of the normal need of the body. Morgan gained 7 pounds more weight in just five days. The reason for addiction, doctors explained, is because McDonald’s products contain a huge amount of sugar, which stimulates the exciting area of the correlative brain spots. The function theory of this addiction is just the same as heroin.

Over the 30 days, Morgan totally intakes around 27-kilogram amount of sugar, so the daily intake of sugar amount is nine times of the recommended sugar intake amount from world health organization. Correspondingly, the fast food with high calorie and high sugar brought the bodily harm to him as the following:

Therefore, according to the results of this documentary, the harm from fast food is significantly huge for the human body.

The relation among obesity, community, and income

The government of United States plans to spend around $860 billion on health care by 2030 because of the high morbidity and mortality rates associated with obesity, which will greatly increase the medical burden. The researchers set out to analyze how rising rates of obesity are affected by society and per capita income. Although a unified conclusion has not been reached, more and more studies have shown that the distribution of different food types in communities can affect the growth rate of obesity, and there is a high incidence of obesity in areas with dense fast-food restaurants.

In addition, the location of fast food restaurants mostly concentrates in low-income communities, and the dense environment of fast food restaurants will affect people’s consuming behavior. In my opinion, low-income families pay more attention to efficient and cheap food to feed their stomach, so fast food restaurants can perfectly meet their needs. Reversely, the higher income families pay more attention to the quality of life and health, and fewer fast-food restaurants in the areas with high housing prices, so the obesity rate grows fastest among low-income families, and what used to be “the disease of the rich” becomes “the disease of the poor”.

How to improve the situation

Los Angeles issued a fast food ban in 2007, banning independent fast food restaurants in southern Los Angeles from constructing or expanding since 2008. Since most of the market is occupied by large enterprises like McDonald’s, it is not enough to forbid the establishment of independent fast food restaurants. Nevertheless, on the one hand, supermarkets and convenience stores could be promoted in low-income areas to replace most fast food restaurants. On the other hand, fast food restaurants have also begun to reform, adding vegetables and low-sugar, low-calorie items to their menus.

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The dairy industry is feeding you lies: the truth about milk – Food Security and Food Justice

The dairy industry is feeding you lies: the truth about milk – Food Security and Food Justice

Milk doesn’t come from cows grazing peacefully in fields of buttercups with calves by their sides. In most cases, this could not be further from the truth.

From a young age, our parents always encouraged us to drink milk so we’d get strong bones. As we grew older, there was no shortage of adverts of kids happily drinking milk sporting white mustaches. For decades the dairy industry has pushed the agenda of drinking milk and the necessity of milk in a healthy diet. But is it really healthy and does it really build strong bones? When we think of milk, we think of happy cows roaming around in green fields because that is what we are taught to think. However, is there a reason why nobody ever talks about how milk is produced?

Adverts have played a huge role in shaping our view about milk. The above example shows a Cadbury’s advert that is used to normalize milk as most people only have positive connotations when thinking of chocolate. However, the advert does not show the bigger picture behind the production of milk, the industry and media are brilliant in covering up the truth by distracting and convincing consumers to think milk is healthy.

Is milk really healthy?

Recently, there’s been many studies on milk and how it impacts human health. In 2001, a Harvard study found that men having 2 1/2 servings of dairy products daily had a 34% increased risk of prostate cancer and another study found that men having more than 3 or more servings of milk a day had a 76% increased risk of total mortality. Studies since have found that there is a clear link between milk and prostate, colon and breast cancer. Does milk actually strengthen bones? Studies have found that milk causes osteoporosis, a condition in which bones become fragile. A report found that children who consumed the most amount of milk actually had more bone fractures than children who consumed less. Maybe the fact that 65% of the world population has a reduced ability to digest lactose after infancy should be a reason itself to not consume cow’s milk. The dairy industry also fails to inform the consumers that the cows are pumped full of hormones and antibiotics. Most cows in the dairy industry are given growth hormones, causing their udders to become unnaturally big and heavy, resulting in frequent infections. Of course, telling us this wouldn’t exactly increase their sales.

Is drinking milk ethical?

When comparing the meat and dairy industry together, some would say that the dairy industry is more ethical as it doesn’t directly kill any animals. Is drinking milk really more ethical than eating meat? Consumers are increasingly becoming aware of what they are eating and ethical concerns surrounding the dairy industry is being expressed more, especially with veganism on the rise.

Farmers have been selectively breeding cows around 200 years, this is when certain cows with desirable characteristics are chosen to produce offspring with the same genetic characteristics. This has led dairy cows to produce 10 times more milk than what they would naturally. Dairy cows can only produce milk when pregnant and therefore they are continuously artificially inseminated by farmers. Even after giving birth they are made pregnant again just two to three months after delivery. In order for humans to drink milk, calves are taken away from their mothers so they don’t drink the milk. Calves are instead fed a commercial milk replacer rather than being fed the milk from their mother which is meant for them. As it is the female cows that produce milk, male calves are seen as useless in the dairy industry and so they are placed in crates and raised as veal, only to be slaughtered a week after it was born.

If even a farmer can’t face the slaughter of a one-week-old calf, what does this say about the ethics of dairy farming? While it doesn’t directly kill an animal, it indirectly kills the offspring and it begs the question of whether milk is ethical when considering the process and production of milk. If adverts conveyed the truth about the dairy industry, people would be more hesitant when buying milk products. The vegan community on social media came up with their own version of Cadbury’s “glass and a half” advert to bring awareness to the lies that the dairy industry feeds its customers.

So what are the alternatives to milk?

There’s a whole variety of plant-based milks including soy, almond, coconut, hazelnut, oat, cashew, rice, and even hemp and quinoa. Plant-based milk contains preventative compounds that have a protective effect against various diseases that are caused by cows milk, including various cancers and osteoporosis. It’s been proven that oat milk and soy milk can decrease cholesterol levels and in general plant-based milks are thought to have a better nutritional value than cows milk. In reality, the nutritional value varies greatly and is dependent on the raw material, processing, fortification, and the presence of other ingredients such as sweeteners and oil. Regardless, there is a need for the dairy industry to be transparent and present the facts surrounding milk both in terms of how healthy milk really is and how ethical it is, only then can consumers make an informed choice. In addition, plant-based milks are better for the environment as it uses up less natural resources than cows milk. Choosing plant-based milk is a win-win as it’s better for your health, environment and your conscience!

Next time you fancy a glass of milk, why not try oat milk instead?