Alicia's Food For Thought

Adequacy, Balance, Moderation, Variety, and Calorie Control
October 15, 2009, 1:41 AM
Filed under: Media Bites

Hi readers,

Sorry I haven’t updated this in a while. Things have been kind of crazy with programs, tests, and whatnot. I’ve missed writing and having metaphysical quandaries about food.

So I just took my first Nutrition & Health test on Tuesday and I’m really enjoying this class. I think Nutrition & Health should become an integral part of our education system (part of elementary, middle school, and high school) as a way to respond to this child obesity epidemic that we are facing. As learn about cell structures, lipids, protein, carbohydrates, etc. we should also learn about nutrition as a real applications of the science we are learning about. I definitely would have been more interested in biology if we associated it with food.

Doesn’t this image disturb you??? Simple sugars (vs. Complex Sugars) and fat tastes good, so of course younger kids are going to bother their parents to buy them those Double Stuf’d Oreos. You are not being a bad parent if you say “No” to your child, they might throw a tantrum but honestly, having an obese child at the age of 4 is a huge problem. Every time you give in you are basically putting a shovel in your child’s premature death. This is probably a very morbid picture and I don’t want you to become a tyrannical food control-freak, but I do think parents should be more conscious of the food they give their children. Like Trez mentioned in one of our staff e-mails, the Cookie Monster is not the Cookie Monster anymore. Some people from our generation (that grew up with Sesame Street), might be pretty upset about this change, but I think it is great that Sesame Street is trying to use their characters as examples for young kids. If you would like to read more about this Cookie Monster change click here.

I’m so sick of watching “get slim quick” commercials. Our society cultivates a culture that is lazy, and (hello!) that is the reason why our waistline continues to increase. Eating healthy is hard work but the benefits to these changes in our poor eating habits are totally worth it. So what are some good ground rules to start off this new healthy lifestyle?

  1. Adequacy: Provides all of the essential nutrients, fiber & energy (calories) in amount sufficient to maintain health.
  2. Balance: Provides a number of types of foods in balance with one another, so that foods rich in one nutrient do not crowd out of the diet foods that are rich in another nutrient. (i.e. A potato should not be considered a vegetable, consider it a carbohydrate/starch from now on)
  3. Moderation: Different foods are used for the same purpose on different occasions.
  4. Variety: Eat as many different types of foods as possible (Make sure you plate is a colorful plate–with food and not with ceramics).
  5. Calorie-Control: Control of consumption of energy (calories).

So Calorie-Control might be the hardest rule (especially if you like eating out). But New York City has started tackling this issue by posting calories on menus. In this article in The New York Times called “Calorie Postings Don’t Change Habits, Study Finds,” did a study in lower-income neighborhoods and fast-food chains and how the calorie postings did not change their habits.

The article states:

“This study focused primarily on poor black and Hispanic fast-food customers in the South Bronx, central Brooklyn, Harlem, Washington Heights and the Rockaways in Queens, and used a similar population in Newark, which does not have a calorie posting law, as a control group. The locations were chosen because of a high proportion of obesity and diabetes among poor minority populations.”

But there are two flaws in this study, they are did the study in lower-income neighborhoods, so where are they supposed to buy these lesser calorie meals? I don’t think there is a organic/healthier option next door to McDonalds. But I doubt a mother working 2 full-time jobs in order to make ends meet is worrying about nutrition when she is thinking about how to pay for next month’s rent? She just wants to grab any meal. Hum, now we wonder why there is such a right rate of obesity and diabetes? I feel like there are so many other social circumstances that need to be taken in consideration and I feel like any way to address this nutrition/health problem we need to also understand the politics behind the situation.

I am an advocate for posting calories and no, not because I want people to become calorie-counting freaks, but because we need to go back to going back down to the 2,000 calories/day. I also feel like posting these calories will have consumers pressure food-chains to lower the fat/sugar content of their meals. These big food corporations should feel ashamed that their hamburger is over 600 calories! That shouldn’t even be allowed on the menu.

Anyways, those are my two cents on the nutrition/health problems we are facing and how we should/are addressing these problems. I know my latest blogs have been focused on the problems with food in society, and I think my next blog is going to be about the celebration of food instead.

But I would love to hear your feedback on the situation and please leave me a comment.

Thanks for reading and good luck with midterms!

Alicia Kim
Food For Thought Resident Assistant

3 Comments so far
Leave a comment

you are right, alicia.

great post. it’s written in a very alicia-like style :)

Comment by Alyssa

[…] I also love how they have a Kids Pouch version to respond to the child obesity epidemic I have talked about before in this post. […]

Pingback by Honest Tea « Alicia's Food For Thought

[…] I also love how they have a Kids Pouch version to respond to the child obesity epidemic I have talked about before in this post. […]

Pingback by Honest Tea | Alicia likes Food

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