Archive | March, 2013

Dietary Supplements

24 Mar

After reading multiple articles that Marion Nestle posted on her Food Politics blog about the harm of Dietary Supplements, I have to say that I agree that these dietary supplements need to be regulated more closely for the safety of the consumer. Dietary supplements are not considered food or drugs so they are not regulated by the FDA. This allows the supplement industry to produce and market products with general health claims without having any federal oversight for safety and effectiveness of the products. The supplement industry is set up so companies have plenty of room to cut corners and manufactures take full advantage of this. In my Drugs, Society and Behavior class we learned about the process the drugs have to go through in order to be put out on the marketed and it is a very long process (about 5 to 10 years) that involves a lot of testing but it is for the safety of the consumer. Even though supplements do not have to be patented because they are not drugs it is still a bit concerning that dietary supplement companies are able to get around this process. Also these companies are able to not include the side effects on their labeling or a location and phone number for consumers to call and ask questions. Due to this lack of regulation, these companies are able to get away with not reporting and publishing problems that do occur with their products. I am not saying that all companies do this but it does happen. Obviously it would be in the best interest of everyone to have dietary supplements better regulated but I don’t think the FDA is the right route to go. In class we learned that the FDA is already struggling to keep up with the demand of regulating food so adding the responsibility of regulating dietary supplements will probably be spreading them too thin. I think an entirely new organization should be created to regulate products like supplements.


Weekly Food Log

24 Mar

  So Friday night I had to go to the mall and of course every time you go to the mall you have to get an Auntie Anne’s pretzel. It’s a rule. DANIELLE HUSCHER and I decided to turn our need for pretzels into our dinner. So I got the pretzel bites and of course I also had to get the lemonade. And obviously when they asked me if I wanted to get a large lemonade for only ten cents more I had to say yes because what a deal! Anyways once I got over the fact that I had just totally given into the company’s brilliant scheme I thought it was interesting to watch Danielle decided what she was going to get. Because she knew this was going to be her dinner she made it clear that she felt the need to get some type of protein. I found this to be particularly interesting because for my research project I am looking into how people go about choosing what they eat and the evolution of food to nutrition. This is a clear cut example of how Danielle made her decision based on some belief that she needs to have protein at every meal. Her focus was more on getting the ‘right’ nutrition rather than the food itself. So instead of getting the cinnamon pretzel bites she got the mini hot dogs wrapped in pretzel. I was intrigued by this. Oh and by the way we got our growth housing! So next year I will being living in the locavore suite, isn’t that exciting?  

Think about the Bees

17 Mar

My older brother and I have a continuous joke that we should drop out of school and open our own bee farm. He had to do research on bees once and from that came to the conclusion that being a beekeeper is not a bad job at all because of the fact that bee colonies aren’t doing so hot right now and the government pays you money if you have a bee farm plus there are so many products that one can make and then sell like honey and bee wax candles. Anyway I read an article by Marion Nestle on her blog Food Politics about the health of bees and it made me think about bees in relation to our agriculture production not just a backup plan for my brother and me. Bees obviously play a main role in pollinating a huge portion of the food we consume and without bees we would be kind of screwed. Researchers believe that a certain kind of highly used insecticides called neonicotinoid are harming the bees. Europeans are aware of this and already advise against using these products on crops but have no restrictions in place. The US still used these chemicals heavily and seems not to have as much concern as Europeans do. I think the US needs to start being more aware about the effects our agriculture system practices have on other aspects of nature and the world we live in. This is also another reason why using organic pesticides would be an important environmental friendly move for the big corporations.

                Also I think it is interesting to look at the reasons that were giving against making restricts on these insecticides and what they say about the values of our culture. The some that Nestle lists are it would negatively affect agriculture competiveness, prices would rise, and jobs would be lost. So we care more about having low prices, job security even if the job is producing a harmful chemical, and having competition over the preservation of bees. This is just one example of how our society practices means-ends rationality and does not care about the effects that arise from only caring about the end product and not paying attention to the side effects that are being created. Bees need to be saved and something needs to be done now before there are serious consequences.  

Weekly food log

17 Mar

I am the type of person who always reads the food labels on everything just to see what is in the food I am eating. This week I was able to grocery shopping with one of my friends who is equally as weird as me and has the same habit of reading food labels. We spent over an hour at the store comparing and contrasting all the different kinds of each food we could get especially when it came it cereals and granola bars. Most people who don’t pay attention to the nutrition labels on their cereals probably have no idea how much sugar is in them especially when they have appealing packaging and advertise that the cereal is healthy. I also want to point out that granola bars now advertise about being high in protein yet when you look at the label these bars also have double the amount of sugar in them. This could be because of the roughly new belief that it is important to eat foods high in protein for breakfast but that is just an idea. Either way I can see how people might think they are eating something that is good for them because it is packed with protein when in reality that food is not a healthy choice when you look at the big picture of everything that is in it. I enjoy being able to spend the time picking out my food and comparing all my options so I don’t have to rely on advertising and packaging to make my decisions. 

New Books on Books on Books

12 Mar

So after reading New books on how the food industry hooks us on junk food on Food Politics by Marion Nestle I decided that I really want to get my hands on these books and read them over the summer. Obviously it is no surprise that industries are manipulating their products and labels to make sales but both books take a specific view point on why this has become the case and dives deeper into industry marketing strategies. The first book is called Pandora’s Lunchbox by Melanie Warner and it focuses on the shift between real food to food science and who is really benefiting from this shift (Spoiler alter: it is not the consumer’s health). This book reminded me of an interesting article that I am currently reading by Michael Pollan called “The Unhappy Meal”. It talks about the shift in dietary focus between real food and nutrients. This article is what inspired my current research project topic. The second book is called Salt Sugar Fat by Michael Moss and it is about how large food corporations deliberately manipulate consumers by stuffing their products with excess salts, sugars, and fats. These companies cannot be trusted to value their consumer’s health and their main focus is straight up profits.

Ideally if I had more time (and was more motivated) I would read these books now so I could use them in my research paper. For my research project I am interested in looking into why Americans choose to eat the way they do and what are the main influences over their choices. These books would allow me to analyze the claims made by both authors to provide support for my own research question and further establish my argument.  

But let’s be honest, me reading these books for my paper is highly unlikely. That is why I am planning on reading them this summer because it is a much more realistic goal. 

weekly food log

3 Mar

This week’s blog is inspired by my twenty four hour car ride down to Key West, Florida for the Habitat for Humanity trip. While spending some quality bonding time with each other in our close quarters of a minivan, we all started to notice a similar pattern in our eating habits. Between the starbursts, pretzels, bagels, chips, jelly beans, cookies, fries, pizza and soda it is safe to say that our diets are filled with straight up crap. When you only eat this processed crap and are literally sitting for a day straight it is safe to say you start to feel like crap too. It was not our best decision to eat all that but the main reasoning behind our choices came down to price. Our budget is very tight so everything comes down to making the most of our money and this experience just goes to show that eating healthy obviously comes with a price. Even doing grocery shopping here we chose to go to the big super market rather than the local grocery store because the prices at Publix are so much cheaper than the local store. I also noticed that locavorism would be very hard to do in Key West do to the fact that its an island and it is easier to have products imported than making the room to grow them themselves.  But then again driving down here I saw a lot of farmer’s markets and it would have been cool to stop at them to look around but we didn’t. So to sum things up, even though we are eating a lot of crappy processed food I am observing the different food culture down here and seeing how it plays into what we have learned in class. I also just eat this AMAZING chipotle burger wrap from a little tiny sandwich shop and even though it was eight dollars it was totally worth it. SO GOOD.