Snack Attack

#TBT from another blog I use to write on (this was an excerpt of a paper I wrote for a class at the time) and a PSA I was proud to create:

Science, economics and politics all interact to affect our food choices. Scientists that work for food producers have figured out that we are hard-wired to have a chemical weakness when it comes to fats, sugar and salt. High Fructose Corn Syrup is 25% sweeter than refined sugar. When HFCS is added as an ingredient it creates a bigger chemical surge in our brain.

Things like candy and potato chips are not food. When we eat them they happen to taste great but set off our addictive cells and imbalance our endocrine system. “Instead of satisfying hunger, the salt-fat-sugar combination will stimulate that diner’s brain to crave more.” (Kessler, 2009)   “For many, the come-on offered by Lay’s Potato Chips — “Betcha can’t eat just one” — is scientifically accurate. And the food industry manipulates this neurological response, designing foods to induce people to eat more than they should or even want.” (Kessler, 2009) 

Government policies pertaining to agriculture have fed changes in our food supply which have lead to public health concerns such as obesity, disease and affordability of healthy foods as well as access to them. Regardless of what we purchase at the store, it probably has some form of corn in it. We have driven down the price of corn and soy so low, that these are staple ingredients in most processed foods. Food corporations are thriving with this concept. Not only are taxpayers subsidizing the corn and soybean crops, but we are paying for it again when we purchase from the food corporations that benefit from these low prices.

The taxpayer subsidies are simply a symptom of a broken system, so be careful not to place blame on the farmer. When prices are allowed to be driven so low, agribusiness is able to monopolize the industry and reap the rewards of cheap corn. With the Agricultural Bill affecting so many aspects of our lives, it’s important that we don’t glance over its significance. We must ensure representation in D.C. for not only the policies formed, but why they are formed, who they really benefit and how they are implemented.

Agriculture and our health are linked at the hip. Agriculture is directly linked to nutrition and public health. We can’t tackle one without affecting the other. The failure to address agriculture means we’ve also given stock to health insurance companies and pharmaceutical companies. “For the first time in American history, our generation was at risk of having a shorter lifespan than our parents. And it was because of what we ate.” (Curt Ellis, King Corn filmmaker) It is frighteningly apparent that this current system is literally killing us. Perhaps, instead of asking ourselves the question, “Does it taste good?” we should challenge ourselves to ask, “Is it good for us?”

We are not alone. Together, we can start a conversation early on with our children about food. We must refrain from assembling our food and prepare it. We must involve children in the process and thus allow for a natural connection to our food to occur. You are your child’s first teacher; teach them one of the most basic of all needs—nutrition that sustains a healthy, active, productive life.