The American Diet Essay

1285 words - 5 pages

"We have the best raw materials in the world, both quantitatively and qualitatively, but most of them are ruined in the process of preparing them for the table." stated H.L. Mencken in reference to America and our usage of food (Mitzewich). Food is a necessity for life and survival, however, with the structure of the American diet, the food we eat is assisting us into our [early] graves. Americans are highly unaware of what they are stuffing down their throats and even less unaware of the generational effects. With issues like obesity, diabetes and high blood pressure one would assume that America would turn down a helping or two. The American diet is tainted because of the lack of interest in the origin of food, misinterpretation of food processing, and the desire to get that “full” feeling for as cheap as possible.
When people think of classic American foods they think of hot dogs, cheeseburgers, apple pies and mac n’ cheese just to name a few. However, these foods were not always on the menu of choices among Americans. Michael Pollan, author of The Omnivore’s Dilemma, expresses that around the early 1800’s Americans were consuming great amounts of corn whisky. This epidemic can be put in comparison to modern day Americans and their relationship with coffee. Pollan also explains that although Americans were engaging in excessive drinking of corn whisky, it was not the main issue: the problem was the overproduction and overconsumption of corn. Under the circumstances that too much corn was being produced, marketers conjured up ideas to get consumers to intake more corn therefore raising the demand for it (Pollan). This demonstrates the practice of food processing; the use of raw materials and turning them into food. With the supply of corn at a high, producers could generate more whisky and sell it for cheaper, causing customers to be able to buy and consume more (Pollan). Since that time period, corn has grown tremendously in use. Corn is used for industrialism, livestock, and food purposes (Capehart). Once corn became a major crop, high-fructose corn syrup arose and added to the list of things Americans consume that is not healthy; especially when it is too much of it (Capehart).
The over consumption of traditional American foods is consistent and growing. People take more in when more is available. The standard amount of calories that a person should consume is about 2,000 calories (Avena). Most Americans will not keep track of the number of calories they have consumed; especially when the goal is to become “full” and satisfied. Food establishments make it easy for consumers to get what they want plus more by adding options such as upsizing or super sizing. With those type of selections, customers think less of consumption limits and more of the pleasure of eating. There are some Americans that continue to take the traditional route and cook at home more than often and that group of people are also victims of excessive eating if...

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