Okay now that I have your attention, did that exaggerated statement sound familiar at all? Many people, such as trend followers and gullible newsreaders, would say something like this. People such as Michael Pollan and Melanie Warner have been feeding into this idea for years and many organic food chains, whether they’re restaurants or markets, have been profiting because of it. This topic was covered in The Atlantic by David H. Freedman, who has been writing for the Atlantic since 1998. He provides not only his personal thoughts of what’s been going on in the food world but even backed up his opinions with real life facts and experiences. By talking from a perspective that made use of information that some people forget about when it comes to healthy eating, he provides an insightful outlook on how processed foods could potentially help the obesity crisis in our country rather than make it worse.
Freedman started off with real life situations where he was trying to balance out the health, enjoyment, and the accessibility of food. At the very end he was able to satisfy himself “with a delicious blueberry-pomegranate smoothie that rang in at a relatively modest 220 calories. It cost $3 and took only seconds to make. Best of all, I’ll be able to get this concoction just about anywhere. Thanks, McDonald’s!”(Freedman 507) After that he began to question the controversy over getting a healthy meal at a place known for being unhealthy by bringing up how even the most wholesome foods can be “as caloric and obesogenic as anything served in a Burger King”(Freedman 511).
The idea that people were demonizing something that had the hope of reversing obesity also became a main theme in this. Many fast food chains have already been trying to create healthier meals to add to their menus in the hopes to appease those against Big Food. However every time they choose to do this the “Pollanites”, those who follow Michael Pollan’s ideals for healthy eating, always turned up their nose and immediately judged by the fact that they also served processed food. Freedman even brought up quite a few times how cooking channels that were supposed to be geared towards “healthy eating” were also pouring tons of lipids and sugars to add more taste into meals as well as making them much more fattening in the process! In the end he got his message across about how rather than banning something that has the potential to help us to instead pay attention to what we decide to eat and push for smarter food choices.
Now I actually I agree a lot with what Freedman said. I’ve been surrounded by people who eat the most wholesome foods that they still end up being overweight and I’ve also been around people who eat processed meals that still manage to maintain a healthy weight. Honestly wholesome foods cannot be the only cure to this issue and perhaps it could help our country with an ever growing issue I hardly ever see discussed. Soil erosion has been becoming a bigger issue in America because of the over farming of our land. In a University article written by Mahdi Al-Kaisi, his group did a study on how the erosion of topsoil will affect the productivity of farming. Some farmers will grow the same crops on the same stretch of land over and over again, or they will reserve their farming to only one crop. This causes the land to lose its important nutrients over time and eventually cause the topsoil to deteriorate over time. In Freedman’s article he brought up how even candy companies can slip in healthier ingredients into their candy bars and no one would notice (Freedman 531). So this being the case, if we had another food crisis on our hands processed foods could be a great way to get the nutrients we need while the crop crisis could be solved!
However there were some issues that also made me disagree with Freedman and many other people who wrote about healthy eating. Eating alone won’t help America lose weight. We can pay attention to how much calories we’re taking in but the only thing that will burn off the extra calories and fat is exercise. It’s sad that the people I’ve read about never brought up exercise as important to prevent obesity. Do you sit on the couch all day eating potato chips? Of course you’re going to gain weight! Do you only eat healthy foods in excess and never exercise? That will also cause you to gain weight! When I had to look up calorie information on Choose My Plate (a government website) it listed an entire chart on the many different ways you could burn calories, I never would’ve known that stretching for 30 minutes would be enough to burn 90 calories if I didn’t do my research! The site even provided a link to a calculator to find out ways to burn off calories. Thank you United States Government!
While losing weight and healthy eating can be tedious work we also need to remember to think for ourselves when it comes to making healthy decisions. Blindly following trends won’t help us, and neither will eating wholesome foods. Before you decide between a hamburger and some carrots just remember to keep calories in mind when making your decision.
Freedman, David H. “How Junk Food Can End Obesity.” “They say / I say”: the moves that matter in academic writing, with readings. New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 2017. 506-37. Print.
Agronomy, Mahdi Al-Kaisi Department of. “Soil erosion and crop productivity: topsoil thickness | Integrated Crop Management.” Soil erosion and crop productivity: topsoil thickness | Integrated Crop Management. Iowa State University, 28 Jan. 2001. Web. 22 Feb. 2017. <http://www.ipm.iastate.edu/ipm/icm/2001/1-29-2001/topsoilerosion.html>.
“How many calories does physical activity use (burn)?” Choose MyPlate. N.p., 22 July 2015. Web. 22 Feb. 2017. <https://www.choosemyplate.gov/physical-activity-calories-burn>.