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Food

Food Trends & The Growing American Appetite

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While some may still be dismissive of the current craze against high fructose corn syrup, chalking it up as just another food anti-fad (much like the hysteria about carbs in the 90's and saturated fat in the 80's), it can't be denied that the American diet is disproportionately full of processed sugars. An article in the NY Times today discusses just how much of our diet is filled up with added sugars and processed vegetable fats -- and even more frightening, how much more we're eating overall than we were forty years ago. (Yes, there's an awesome visual aid in the article!)

The average American in 1970 ate more dairy products overall than we do today -- but that's about it. Our consumption of fruits & vegetables (good), meats (hrm), grains (agh), and sugars and fats (boo!) has increased so much as to make our weekly food load 1.8 pounds heavier. And we're still not getting enough of the green stuff to make enough of a nutritional impact. We're eating a lot more chicken and fish than beef and lamb; consumption of things like corn sweetener and corn products, processed fats like cream cheese and sour cream, and cooking oils has skyrocketed.

All of this only serves to corroborate a thesis put forth by the new generation of food scholars like Michael Pollan and Nina Planck: Americans are getting fatter because they're eating more processed sugars and carbs, and still not enough fruits and veggies. We took the warnings about fat and cholesterol to heart: but then we just started eating more grains because they were "fat free". Instead of eating less and enjoying a variety of foods, we started eating more and more of the same thing: chicken, microwaveable meals, corn chips, bagels, breads, pastries, etc.