J500 Media and the Environment

Test tube snacks by marybethw
January 29, 2009, 5:08 pm
Filed under: Food + Health | Tags: , ,

How often have you stood in the store and pondered a food item’s ingredients list, blithely passing over the long, hard to pronounce words that seem straight from the chem lab?  Would you skip over them if you not only could pronounce them but if you also knew what they are, what they do, and where they come from? Would that knowledge make you put back the bag of chips and box of Twinkies?

For many, the answer is, “no, my Hostess cakes are staying in my buggy, thank you”; especially if the alternative (read food lacking much if not all of the 15-letter words) seems a little more expensive or less readily accessible. One answer to this is that there are a growing number of options that aren’t that expensive and are in more and more chain supermarkets. Also, why not fix your sweet tooth with something locally (or home) made? Another might be that yes, the general public should be more aware of what’s in the processed food it eats. However, it’s probably not realistic to expect a dash for the science books.

An alternative to trying to create a nation of chemists might be, instead, to address how we can work to remove Twinkies and other highly-processed, chemically-laden items from our nation’s diet, because, yes, Twinkie sweets alternatives may be a few cents more than the Hostess cakes, but the health issues those cakes create are something like millions of dollars more.

— Mary Beth

Image from: stanford.wellsphere.com


5 Comments so far
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I think that part of the solution will start with schools – getting kids into healthier habits will hopefully make healthier adults. Schools at home have removed all soda machines and are offering healthier alternatives. Now it’s just a matter of kids choosing those options.

Comment by meganr21

I agree and I’m glad that schools are taking that step. I went to a small private school from 1-12 grade and we didn’t have the same vending machine options that are now so prevalent. Beyond removing the sugary vending options, there’s a movement (that involves kids, too, not just parents/educators/etc) to bring healthier options, especially vegetarian options, into school lunch lines (http://www.healthyschoollunches.org/).

Comment by marybethw

I don’t think your being negative at all!
I doubt that knowledge about food will really change habits, but I am very hopeful!

Comment by tylerw09

I’m definitely one of those people pouring over ingredient lists. Trying to find bread that’s just bread is always an adventure. And I agree, getting the general public to think more deeply about their food is where the heart of the problem lies.

Comment by amandat09

Label reading is definitely an adventure; one I think most consumers choose not to go on. As a vegan I’ve gotten very used to reading and rereading food labels and I often revisit labels of “safe” foods, just to be sure. It can get frustrating sometimes because I’ll be reading along and think the product’ll be veg friendly and, literally, the last ingredient will be whey or honey and it’s like “really? couldn’t just leaving out the animal product?!” *Sigh* Now that I’ve thoroughly gotten off topic…

Comment by marybethw

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