The Blame Game

Pointing the accusatory finger at the food industry seems like a logical choice when trying to determine what is causing the obesity crisis here in the United States. Unfortunately however, the list of collaborators is long and chubby victims needn’t look far when searching for the guilty parties.

Americans for the most part are lazy. Their battle cry of “give me convenience or give me death” can be heard echoing throughout drive-through burger joints and touchless carwashes.

In the article Fast-food culture serves up super-size Americans by Bridget Murray, Yale University psychology professor Kelly Brownell comments on a sloth-enabling innovation about to revolutionize gas stations from coast to coast.

“While you’re pumping your gas you punch in the Fritos, the Twinkies and the Coke, and somebody brings it to your car,” Brownell said. “So the physical activity required to go in and get it is eliminated.”

Adults aren’t the only being charged with inactivity. Children are found glued to the boob-tube as opposed to cruising the neighborhood on their bikes. Moms and dads however might argue that companies like Nintendo aren’t helping the matter. Mega-mart shoppers can barely find a football or a baseball and bat, but will practically get lost in the aisles devoted strictly to video games.

Yet again, parents shouldn’t be able to pass the buck off on Wal Mart or the Mario Brothers for their children’s weight problems. If any flabby American wants to the play the blame game though, the U.S. government is usually a favorite target and in this case one of the heaviest hitters regarding the country’s weighty predicament.

One of the most popular of government subsidies is focused on corn production. On the surface this handout seems to be a brilliant idea formulated by the great minds in the oval office, in order to lower the price of one of America’s favorite vegetables. The fact of the matter is that about two thirds of U.S. grain corn is labeled “processed,” meaning it is milled and otherwise refined for food or industrial uses and more than 45 percent of that becomes sugar, especially high-fructose corn sweeteners, the keystone ingredient in three quarters of all processed foods, especially soft drinks, the food of America’s poor and working classes (The Oil We Eat, Richard Manning).

So, while this government scheme keeps our junk food affordable, farmers of healthier produce, like spinach and broccoli, can’t afford to sell their product at the same low, low prices.

The food industry should by no means be held more responsible for the large waistline than the individual who is sporting it, but when it comes right down to it, big businesses could be a bit more forthcoming in regard to what its customers are consuming.

Frequenters to fast food joints and Little Debbie enthusiasts definitely know that their Big Macs and Twinkies are teeming with fat and calories, however; they probably aren’t aware of the levels of acrylamide lurking in their dish. Acrylamide is a carcinogen and by-product created in high temperature cooking oils. Fast-food restaurants and snack-food makers may therefore infuse additional fat into french fries and other fried foods by increasing the temperature of their deep fryers (Reformulating The Strategies of Big Tobacco For The Fast-Food Industry, Foley & Lardner LLP). Since the Burger King bags and Hostess boxes do not contain labels warning of the possibility of acrylamide in their products, faithful customers are essentially being lied to.

In order to stay fit and lean, consumers must retain high levels of personal responsibility. In addition to healthy eating and getting plenty of physical activity, Americans need to keep a keen eye on the food industry and the government’s shifty activities. If overweight citizens don’t feel ready to study up on McDonald’s or Frito Lay and if a movie marathon is the only type of exercise they’ll be getting, a good rule of thumb has always been everything in moderation.

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