My reaction to the article was actually shocking, it first started by talking about an individual’s 7-day plan of eating junk food in moderation and I thought it was good. But then I continued reading and saw that the individual wasn’t eating in moderation, it’s was a life style. I was very wrong about that. I really liked the part about how there aren’t superfoods but there is supervillain food. That is something that consumers should know because many think that healthy food would beat junk food when in reality it won’t because some are made with harsh chemicals that healthy food won’t be able to beat. I don’t see my self in it, I grew up eating healthy food on a daily basis and no junk food at home (not even a piece of candy). That lifestyle has stayed that way since I left to college. Even now I only eat one piece of junk food every 2 weeks or so. I don’t plan it, it just happens. The next step for me would be to just keep the same diet that I have. I was fortunate to grow up with this healthy lifestyle that changing it could potentially make things worse.
For my project, I decided to compare the price tags of two foods and two beverages that I considered to be healthy and unhealthy. For my healthy food/ beverage I chose spinach/green mix and Blueberry Monster Odwalla juice. For my unhealthy food/beverage I chose Animal Crackers and Mtn Dew Black Label. I chose foods and beverages that were not on sale and were sold at my town’s most attended grocery store. I set out to answer these questions: “Do I really know what I need to make a healthy choice?” and “Why is it so difficult to be healthy/ easy to be unhealthy?” Here’s how I used my project to answer each question:
Do I really know what I need to be healthy?
To answer this question, I wrote down my preconceived notions about each item and nutrient on the chosen nutrition labels (Calorie Count, %DV, nutrients). Then I researched the FDA’s recommendations on how to use nutrition labels in order to make healthy eating choices, and what each listed nutrient did for my body. I compared my preconceived notions to my post research in order to educate myself and figure out if I know what I needed to know in order to be healthy. I found that I did have some of the knowledge that I needed, as I was right about the purpose and function of many items on the nutrition labels. However, I didn’t have much knowledge about the functions of different types of vitamins, the difference between saturated and trans fat, sodium, and carbohydrates. Thanks to my research I am now better informed I now know more of what I need to know in order to be healthy.
Why is it so difficult to be healthy/easy to be unhealthy?
To answer this question, I compared the price tags of each of the chosen food and beverages. I did this in order to determine whether the unhealthy or healthy item would be the better deal. After converting both food prices to the price per ounce (and using the price-per-unit information places in the bottom left square on each price tag), I found that the animal crackers were 37.4 cents per oz and the spinach and green mix was about 59 cents per oz; therefore the animal crackers were the best deal by weight. Using the same method, I found that the Odwalla juice was about 19 cents per fl oz and the Mtn Dew was about 11.8 cents per fl oz; making Mtn Dew the best deal. In both categories, the unhealthier choice was the least expensive. This is why it’s harder to be healthy, because it’s less expensive to be unhealthy.
It took some of these photo’s while I was at the grocery store, and others while I was at home. I bought nearly all of the items that I used, in order to avoid having to take too many pictures in the store. It was slightly nerve-wracking taking pictures in the store, I felt like I looked suspicious. Which is funny because I don’t think I was doing anything wrong. I suppose I felt like I stood out in my environment, because I was doing something out of the ordinary. I think that approaching the Photovoice project in this can be valuable for someone that wants to know more about the daily choices consumers in this area of public health. It helped me learn more about how to read a nutrition label, what types of nutrients I should try to get a lot of and a little of, and figure out how to get the best deal when two products have different units of measurements. Not only have I learned skills that will help my be a healthier consumer when buying food in the future, I am also more informed of the choices that other consumers must face on a regular basis.
In his article “Why ‘Everything in Moderation’ Doesn’t Work”, Jonathon Ross argues that eating unhealthy foods in moderation while mainly eating healthy foods doesn’t live up to is purpose, because the frequency by which the average person “eats in moderation” doesn’t give their body enough time to recover before eating more unhealthy food (n.d). This article was interesting, because a lot of the behaviors it describes reflect my own. I am not above buying processed foods to satisfy my hunger in a pinch or choosing unhealthy foods with fruits and vegetables added in order to “cancel things out”, though it really doesn’t cancel out much. As Ross states, eating processes foods with little to no nutritional value creates a physiological imbalance within the body, which “can take weeks or months to clear” (n.d.).
The article maps out what an average week might look for someone eating under the “moderation motto”, or someone eating under the assumption that eating unhealthy foods once in a while is okay as long as they are mainly eating healthy foods. What is shows is that “everything in moderation” often means eating one unhealthy food each day a week. With all of the advertisements that the average consumer sees, all of which have the aim of convincing them to want their product, only giving into that urge once a day can certainly feel like eating in moderation. When you’re facing several temptations a day, only giving into one can feel like a victory.
I am also one of those people that somewhat believed in the power of “superfoods”, genuinely thinking that their presence would cancel out any at least some of the junk food that I ate. I knew that this was not completely accurate, but I did think that it was true to an extent. The article states that superfoods aren’t really super, they are just ordinary foods. They are healthy, but they do not have natural “superpowers”. However, food with little to no nutritional value (“freaky foods”) have a disproportionately negative affect on the body. This means that superfoods do not cancel out freaky foods. Ordering vegetables on your pizza does not cancel out the damage that the pizza can do to your body.
So, if I were to change my diet based on this information, what would be the next step? I would make an effort to cut down on processed foods by researching healthy meals that I could quickly make at home. I have been eating a lot more processed foods lately because I have been eating out. Eating at home more often would not only help my diet, it would also help my wallet. I would also do more research on nutrition, in order to have a better idea of which foods are good and bad for my body. This way, I can make my daily eating decisions with specific healthy foods in mind.
Ross, J. (2015, September 23). Why “Everything in Moderation” Doesn’t Work. Retrieved July 21, 2017, from http://greatist.com/eat/everything-in-moderation-doesnt-work
For my photovoice project, I will be examining the nutrition labels and price tags of two sets of “healthy” and “unhealthy” foods. I will be attempting to answer the following questions: “Do I really know what I need to make a healthy choice?” and “Why is it so difficult to be healthy/easy to be unhealthy?”
To answer the first question, I will compare the photographs of the nutrition labels of the four items that I pick. I will research the information on each nutrition label. In order to compare my current knowledge on the subject to my knowledge after my research, I will write down which foods I consider to be the most healthy/unhealthy.
In order to answer the questions, I will compare the prices of the “healthy” and “unhealthy” foods, in order to determine how easy/hard it might be to be healthy when it comes to cost.
What information is new to you as an eater?
Information that is fairly new to me as a consumer of snacks is that almost everything that I consume on a daily basis contains a large quantity of sugar. I have always understood that sugar is not the greatest but I paid it no mind. According to the article “Hidden in Plain Sight” by sugar science the unsweetened truth “there are at least 61 different names for sugar listed on food labels. This include common names, such as sucrose and high-fructose corn syrup, as well as barely malt, dextrose, maltose and rice syrup, among others” (Sugar Science the Unsweetened Truth, 2017, para. 3). In this case the FDA does not require manufacturers to include total added sugar just the total sugar content. According to the article men are not supposed to exceed 9 teaspoons of sugar, females are not supposed to exceed 6 teaspoons. Snacks in this case contain many servings of sugar and according to the article “The Snackification of Everything” by Akst “we gravitate toward snacks because they’re fast, easy and require little commitment” (Akst, 2017, para. 6). In reading these articles I have found that even healthy food can contain a high level of sugar content.
How concerning is this information and what might you do with it, either for yourself or someone you care about?
This information is very concerning considering I use approximately 2 teaspoons in my coffee every morning. Throughout the day I have about two cups of coffee accounting for 4 teaspoons of sugar leaving me with 5 teaspoons of sugar that I have left over. In reading this article I have found that sugar has many names not just sugar. When I walk into a store I typically walk down the snacks isle and pickup a couple of candy bars amounting to 44 grams of sugar total. Understanding the impact and staying informed will help reduce the amount of snacks and sugar consumed.
What policy decisions appear to affect people’s choices and health outcomes around your area of concern?
Currently the FDA is working on considering revising the current label design by addressing the way manufactures measure size and the amount of sugar added. Other policies and regulations that have helped with addressing the food industry is that of the Food and Drug Administration. Also According to Martinez (2013) “in the early 1990’s Congress passed the most significant piece of food labeling legislation Education Act of 1990. This legislation established lebeling regulations that require nearly all packaged products to carry the Nutrition Facts label. The regulations, which are implemented and interpreted by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, also identify which voluntary HNR claims are allowed and under what circumstances they can be used” Martinez, 2013, para. 3).
If people are less well informed than you, what do you think their responses might be when you tell them about this information?
It is my belief that once people learn about the information and resources I have provided they will begin to understand that it can and will affect their health. The very food they eat can affect them. In this case it was found that even healthy food contains an unhealthy amount of sugar. Many manufactures try to confuse their consumers by using names other than sugar to confuse people that purchase their products. Many corporations pay stores a large amount of money to keep their products near the isles while people pay for their food so that temptation or even a craving can make people buy their unhealthy products.
Akst, D. (2017). The Snackification of Everything. Retrieved July 19, 2017, from http://www.latimes.com/opinion/op-ed/la/oe/akst-snacks-20141221-story.html
Hidden in Plain Sight. (2017). Retrieved July 19, 2017, from http://sugarscience.ucsf.edu/hidden-in-plain-sight/#.WW7w18aZOCS
Martinez, S. (2013). Obesity and other Health Concerns Lead Food Companies to Step up Health and Nutrient Claims. Retrieved July 19, 2017, from https://consuminghealthmatters.files.wordpress.com/2016/05/healthconcernsleadtolabelclaims.pdf
Consumer Protection and regulation is a huge area that we as a country are really hit or miss about. We have certain regulations that are set honestly, kind of low. This is because we a re a huge market and company based country, obviously, so there are places where our government can not go in and step on company toes if they are at least meeting our semi-safe regulations. While this balance is so important to our country because it is at the very core of our belief system, sometimes, it fails us. The articles posted about this area were quite interesting but I love seeing and reading about the nutritional changes that have been occurring within our national school lunch programs. I think that as a student (consumer at the time) of our school lunches, they sucked. I mean the food was pretty decent tasting, but nutritionally speaking, they sucked. I would have these like cheesy mozzarella sticks and an apple EVERYDAY for lunch when I bought lunch at school and that was decent compared to the nachos and pizza my friends all scarfed down. This was high school, I remember in middle school it was pizza everyday for me as well. Being in school studying nutrition and actually planning to go into the education nutrition world outside of college this is terrifying to me. I get that kids do not want to eat their veggies and whole wheat can taste drier, but installing children with not only the opportunity to eat healthy, fulfilling foods everyday if they cannot at home is huge, but knowing that those children are also getting some sort of nutrition education that will help them all the way through life is fantastic. The whole vending machine process that is being set up right now and implemented is huge because if you put a vending machine in a middle school, without the kid’s parent, you know that kid is going to choose the bag of Cheetos over the trail mix every single time. When I was a student in school I was not as protected as the students now, and hopefully the students of the future will be even more protected than they are now. The USDA is doing such a good job working with the National School Lunch Program, and Michelle and Barack Obama made such a great contribution to all of this through the Healthy, Hunger Free Kids Act.
Meals served in American’s Schools was the reading that caught my attention. Nearly 32 million kids that participate in school meal programs every school day, with the changes done by the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act those kids will now have healthier lunches at a school. Each student who participates in the meal program is offered fruits, vegetables, and more grains. They will also have portion size and calorie counts to keep a healthy weight. This is very important because this will determine the future health of our families and love ones (USDA Unveils Historic Improvements to Meals Served in America’s Schools 2017).
Today kids are eating more fruits and vegetables since the act was placed. 90 percent of the schools reported that they were able to meet the updated nutrition standard and schools revenue has gone up when the original thought was that the standards were going to cost them more (FACT SHEET: Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act School Meals Implementation 2017).
I believe that we are protected as a consumer because due to the act many schools change their lunches and allowed them to have an increased revenue instead of costing them. This would make the schools continue to stay in this program because there is a huge benefit for them and also allowing them to give the kids healthy meals.
The act was implemented a year before I came to Central and I saw that there was a huge change in our meals at school. The Same food was provided from the previous years except it tasted different. The pizza was very popular the previous years but because of the act, it was made healthier causing students not to go to that line. I knew there was going to be a change because it was under Michelle Obama “Lets Move!” campaign. But I did not know that the schools had the option to follow this program.
I would recommend looking at http://www.ncsl.org/research/human-services/healthy-hunger-free-kids-act-of-2010-summary.aspx because they would explain more about the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act and provides other information that will help the kids and the community. Currently, this is helping the kids have a healthy lunch and breakfast but because the food does not taste well many kids will go off campus to eat or bring junk food to school to replace the food they are given. This falls on the school if they want to allow the students to leave off campus for lunch. We as the consumers need to talk to our family and love ones and let them know that the food that is being provided for them is healthy and help them keep a healthy diet.
FACT SHEET: Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act School Meals Implementation. (2017, June 1). Retrieved July 06, 2017, from https://www.fns.usda.gov/pressrelease/2014/009814
USDA Unveils Historic Improvements to Meals Served in America’s Schools. (2017, June 1). Retrieved July 06, 2017, from https://www.fns.usda.gov/pressrelease/002312
The time article on suicide by plane has two interesting ideas, but one of these will only serve to understand the crash rather than prevent it. Putting a camera in the cockpit could be a good idea for company policy to prevent liability as well, and preventing the problem by requiring two pilots could save lives and money, so a legal angle for those ideas may not even be needed. Many drivers in Russia use dashcams to simplify insurance problems due to an accident.
Food consumption is always going to be a hard thing to take care of, many people (including myself) dont pay enough attention to what they eat. Even with all of the information widely available on nutrition labels and websites like the FDA link about salt consumption.
Michelle Obama’s lunch program may have been targeted at improving the lunch served to students, but it made the situation worse in many states which were underfunded or caught off guard (http://www.npr.org/2017/05/01/526451207/trump-administration-rolls-back-2-of-michelle-obamas-signature-initiatives). Though i dont like most things that the Trump Administration does, giving states exemptions for certain parts of the law so that they can provide better options is a good thing.