Exposure to fast food and sodas is counterproductive
By: Marie Schwarz
While the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) just started to redefine ‘healthy,’ the bigger problem seems to be the loss of control when people get hungry.
I think everybody knows to a certain extent that fast food and sodas are not good to be consumed on an everyday basis. However, looking around and seeing these numerous fast food chains and endless long aisles in the grocery stores promoting fast food and sodas, I totally get why Americans deal with obesity and cardio vascular diseases (CVDs) so much.
I moved over here from Germany roughly two years ago. And as much as I love to live here, the eating habits and attitudes toward food and drink choices, really bother me.
In Germany, there are far fewer fast food chains, and therefore, a lot less access to fast food. Don’t get me wrong, Germans drink sodas, eat fatty burgers, and, hell yeah French fries just as Americans do. But overall, Germans are not exposed to the number of bad choices about a healthy
diet like many are in the United States.
It starts with huge grocery stores like Schnuck’s and Walmart. When I walked into a Schnuck’s for the first time, I was impressed with how many choices I had only for a pack of chips.
To me it feels like if I want to keep up a healthy diet, I have to put so much more effort in than a person who really doesn’t care what to eat and drink.
To eat healthy, I need to prepare my food at home and take it with me, and I need to make sure that I have enough to get me through the day. Because if I get hungry, my attitude towards a healthy diet goes down the drain. A fatty burger looks just so attractive on a billboard. And these billboards seem to be everywhere when I’m hungry.
Another thing is that it looks so much more expensive to keep up a healthy diet. In the grocery store, an XXL-package of chips looks so cheap compared with a small pack of strawberries. It’s a no brainer that I definitely get more for less if I buy the chips instead of the fruit.
And I mean students are known for their chronic shortage of money, so prices play a role in what students buy.
There should be less options of fast food and more choices towards healthy foods in general in the United States. Yes, everybody has the choice what to put in their mouth, so the argument ‘just don’t eat it’ is legitimate. But humans are creatures of habit, and it’s not easy to break a bad habit by being exposed to it several times a day.
Sometimes, I really wish there would only be fruits and vegetables within my grasp when I’m hungry, and not the cheap and easy bag of chips. It would prevent me from making another bad food choice because I am definitely not myself when I’m hungry —as Mars is already successfully promoting for their chocolate bar, Snickers.
I don’t want to see the advertisement of a burger or any other unhealthy choice, all I want to see when I am hungry is a delicious healthy food option. Because they exist, whereas fast food chains want to make people believe the only option hungry people have is fast food.
The FDA is continuing to redefine what is healthy, but if people are constantly exposed to so many unhealthy food choices, there is no way the efforts of the FDA will result in reducing chronic diseases like diabetes, obesity, and CVDs.