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Asked by Tony Wilson on Nov. 1, 2019
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The epidemic of obesity in the USA is rising with renewed vigor. The following figures eloquently support the fact that it is a real epidemic: men comprise 33% of the obese in the US, women – 35%, and children - 32%. In general, overweight affects roughly one third of the American population. Obviously, the US obesity has become a national problem, and the scientists are raising the alarm publishing reports, analyzing the background of its uprising, and pointing to the impossibility of leaving this topic in oblivion. However, it can be said without hesitation: food industry continues flourishing. The more weight one has, the more food he/she buys. The products that make a person feel satisfied are the most popular among the obese. It is rather advantageous for food giants to produce food with flavor enhancing ingredients causing addiction, which subsequently increases sales rates. Researches show that the most dangerous ingredients are sugar, salt and fat. The book Salt Sugar Fat: How the Food Giants Hook Us by Michael Moss tells the terrible and impressive story of the rise of the processed food industry, and the way it uses the three pillars of ready food - salt, sugar and fat - to affect people’s wallets and stomachs. Salt Sugar Fat is a useful book that helps immerse into the highly secretive world of the most popular food suppliers and understand the rules for the production. In this book, the author communicates with the food industry insiders, such as Coca-Cola, Flito-Lay, Nestle, Craft, etc. and with the help of these examples, demonstrates what marketing techniques are used in the food industry, how specialists create the perfect combination of ingredients to produce attractive products in special food laboratories, and how they have deployed salt, fat and sugar to dominate the North American diet. This paper is devoted to the problem of overweight in the USA as a result of overuse of salt, sugar and fat in ready food. Also, the essay investigates the desire of food supplies to cause an addiction in population to concrete food by means of increasing the amount of harmful ingredients in it.
Eric Finkelstein, the specialist in National Health, in his book The Fattening of America How the Economy Makes Us fat, If It Matters, And What To Do About It offered the purely practical explanation why in the last forty years Americans have put on weight so much. It appears that Americans began to gain weight in the 80s because of the pecuniary benefits. In comparison with other goods and services, food became cheaper over the past few decades, especially fatty food. Between 1983 and 2005, the real value of fats and oils fell by 16%. During the same period, the price for carbonated beverages fell by 20%. If, instead of the sweetened beverages, an average American man drank clear water, he or she would lose 8 kg in weight.
However, this economic theory does not solve the problem of obesity in the American society. Another economist David Kessler looks at this issue from another point of view and does not offer solutions. It is not that sweet and fatty foods become cheaper over the years, but the fact is that they were modified or even created. Kessler met anonymously with consultants who invent products, which later became known in the food industry as “entertaining meal”. Fat, sugar and salt were the main ingredients in such a creative food search. A variety of "exciting" food elements were mixed with these ingredients in different but always in high-calorific combinations. For example, the food company Frito-Lay creates a new mixture causing "a lot of joy and fun in your mouth." In their corona product Nacho Cheese Doritos, three different types of cheese are melted apart from a mass of salt and oil. Kessler invents his own term "reflex binge" – in such way, people react to these experimental products created in the laboratories. They react in the same way as an addict to cocaine - greedily eat those sweet, fatty, inexplicably attractive foods. Of course, the ever-increasing portion of fast food products contributes to the American mass obesity.
It is important to realize all the effects of obesity to understand its threat. In fact, obesity is a terrible disaster both for an individual sufferer and for the health care system where a patient with overweight asks for help. Obesity is associated with a whole bunch of diseases: diabetes, coronary disease, hypertension, various cancers, gallstones and osteoarthritis. The question is whether it is possible somehow to stop this "obesity epidemic" in America. Fitness and healthy lifestyle propaganda that includes a balanced diet and physical activity for some time stabilized the number of American fat people. Nevertheless, it had brief effects. The problem is the corporate interests in the multibillion-dollar investments that make people buy harmful products.
Naturally, a great number of popular products of major food companies contain a huge amount of fat, sugar and salt. The consumption of these ingredients in large quantities on a continuous basis obviously leads to obesity. It is hard to find someone who would disagree. At the same time, it is a well-known fact that fats, sugar and salt contain a large amount of energy. They cause pleasure in the chains of people’s brain, in which hunger is ever-present danger over millions of years of evolution. People enjoy the stimulating sensations that these ingredients provide them with. This food strengthens the associations causing a person to try it again, often in larger quantities than it is necessary. The main problem is not that people eat harmful products but the fact that people almost never have alternatives to such products. Those who have their own farm or garden are definitely lucky. However, if the only source of food for one is the local supermarket, it can be said with confidence that the food he/she eats is far from being healthy. People eat what food manufacturers want them to eat. Dr. Kessler in his book cited a study by Dr. Anthony Sclafani of the City University of New York proving that a variety of foods and the ready availability of foods “further amplify overeating”.
Mark Gold, a professor of psychiatry and neuroscience made a collection of articles entitled Eating Disorders, Overeating, and Pathological Attachment to Food: Independent or Addictive Disorders. In this work, he noted that neuro-imaging studies have supported the hypothesis that loss of control over eating and obesity produced changes in the brain which are similar to those produced by drugs of abuse. That means addictive desire to eat concrete harmful food comes from the internal processes that changed the chemistry of the brain. Great amounts of salt, sugar and fat can develop a strong need or desire for that substance in brain. There is no doubt that leading food producers know about that fact and actively implement the ideas of food addiction into action while producing attractive and tasty ready meal.
Researches show that salt, sugar and fats are definitely useful for our organisms; however, the amount of these ingredients should be controlled. Sugar is highly refined carbohydrate, which is an excellent source of energy. If a person consumes much sugar but leads a sedentary life and does not expend energy, sugar leads to the formation of fatty deposits. In addition, excessive consumption of sugar violates appetite - the more sugar people eat, the more they want it. As is the case with drugs, sugar is addictive. Obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease - all of this can be a result of the fact that a body receives excessive amount of sugar.
It is known that fat is also a source of energy but a more economical one. Fats can be unsaturated and saturated, and in this essay, the question is about harmful saturated fats, as well as artificial trans fats used in the industry for the creation of sweet desserts and meat, condiments and fast food. Fat excess leads to increased levels of cholesterol in blood, the appearance of overweight and cardiovascular disease.
Salt is "white death" as it is often called while it is not as harmful as fat and sugar. Actually, it is not a nutrient; it is a mineral containing sodium. In small quantities, it is useful for the body, but sodium excess disrupts the process of removing water from the body. Every day, people consume twice the recommended standards of salt intake, and almost the entire amount is contained in ready food, which is supplied by the industry with an annual turnover of up to a trillion dollars.
In virtually every sphere of human existence, people turn to technologies to help solve their problems. People’s unwillingness to prepare food by themselves leads to overconsumption of harmful ready food, and then overweight. Obesity is the most serious health problem arising from the fact that people eat. Arguably, the problem lies in the fact that with the help of national education, training and regulation, people need to achieve replacement of edible evil created by large corporations for fresh, unprocessed, local, seasonal real food. A new look on ready food rises a public discussion about healthy eating. Numerous scientists, doctors, activists, nutritionists, chefs and food experts approve the aforementioned facts. Thousands of restaurants and shops appear responding to calls to abandon the industrially produced food in favor of a return to natural, simple, not the factory one that is to the beneficial and healthy food. If new influential people in the food culture win in the end and develop the aversion on harmful food, people will witness a food revolution. Despite the best efforts of a small army of heroic fighters for a healthy diet, there is no reasonable scenario whether this food is cheap or not. At the same time, food suppliers do not provide consumers with information on quantitative content of such food components such as sugar, saturated fat, and salt. The importance of providing people with this information is connected with the proven harmful influence of these ingredients on human health. This will help make the right choice when purchasing food, thereby promoting respect for the principles of healthy eating and, consequently, reducing the health risks and the obesity among population. Scientists should make more efforts to promote healthy food, which does not cause obesity, for mass consumption. The next generation of public and political figures should also reduce the gap between obesity among the poor and wealthy people rather than expanding it for profit desire. If people change their attitude towards food today, the future generations will be healthier and more energetic than those whose parents preferred fast food and ready food. Every action should have consequences.
About the author: Thony Wilson is a master in English philology and histoty at California University. Tony is currently working as one of the best writers at https://essaysempire.com He also studies feminine psychology.




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