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Obesity crisis

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Hope this isn't a dupe, sorry if it is.

 

I was reading something today that said that within 20 years 75% of the USA and 70% of the UK population will be obese.

 

What's the answer? How do we counteract this?

 

Please keep this friendly, no fat jokes.

 

And before anyone asks, I am having issues losing weight myself. I had major surgery 6 months ago and have only recently been cleared to start training again (I do martial arts). I've gained 2.5 stones since my surgery which I really need to lose but so far despite training again it isn't shifting.

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To know how to address it, we need to look at the cause, however there's multiple causes for the crisis. One of which is the increasing automation of the work force and daily activities: the less we need to move around, yet eat the same if not even more, the more pounds we pack on. Laziness adds to this: people driving their cars only one block to the store when they are perfectly capable of walking said distance is an example of this. I do conceed the fact that in some cases it is just not safe to walk (we used to walk to the store to get some things, but the combination of neighborhood going bad and said store moving further away stopped that).

 

Food portions in resturants and the like is an issue too: they have inflated greatly over the years. No, that 12oz steak is not a 'normal' serving size for one meal: more like that's your meat quota for the whole day at least (and sadly the smallest steak I have seen offered in a resturant is 6oz, which is still about twice the normal serving). That's just one example here.

 

Another is lack of personal accountability. Recently there was story about a stock broker suing White Castle for 'descrimination against fat people' because he could not fit in their sitting. This man ate at White Castle every day, but instead of cutting back on his fast food intake and/or exercising (take responsibility for his own actions), he choose to sue instead. Another example was the guy that tried to sue McDonalds for 'making him fat'. :\

 

Then there's the possibility that the drugs we take and may be in our food and such could be screwing with our metabolic rate. That one is speculation though on my part, based on what a friend of mine claims (he was fit and thin as a kid before he was forced to take meds for some problem and ever since he has not been able to keep the weight off).

 

As for solutions...I don't know. The thing is we seem to be very comfortable with the status quo, esspecially with the blaming someone else for a problem an individual is (at least partly) responsible for himself.

Edited by Slaskia

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Starting kids out young for one. Forcing kids to finish their food before they can leave the table is very detrimental to teaching them how much they really only need. Plus, fast food. When a single meal at a drive thru is 1,200 Calories +, there's no way to maintain a healthy weight on a diet made up mostly of that like so many Americans I see. Add on top of that sugar-coated cereals, fat and salt loaded snacks, and a complete lack of exercise all for the sake of convenience, I'm not at all surprised at these statistics.

 

I thought I'd never be a healthy weight, after having been pushing that line between overweight and medically obese since early childhood, but figuring out how to turn most of my meals into soups so I feel full after eating less has helped a lot. It became as sort of training tool so that once I realized how much actual food I was eating, I was able to back off the broth bit by bit until now I can eat nachos, pizza, whatever and still maintain easily at -40 pounds what I was a year ago. At 5'10", 210 pounds was still less than most people my height weighted, but being down on the 170 line is awesome.

 

edit: Also, simple things like parking at the far end of the parking lots and, oh gosh, actually walking? It's really not that hard and takes only a couple extra minutes per errand. Even cleaning the house can be turned into exercise pretty easily, like not using a featherweight vacuum, instead using an older model that weighs something.

Edited by dragon_mando

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I've definitely gained weight after I started to take some meds. Now I'm trying to lose that weight, but I'm finding it harder to lose weight than it ever was before I started taking said meds. I haven't changed my daily activity, or what I eat, the only thing that's changed is the meds. But the meds have definitely improved my quality of life other than the weight gain, so I don't really want to stop taking them so I can lose weight more easily...

 

currently making some soup. And hoping that I'll feel full after eating a small bowl of soup for each meal... and that said small bowl of soup won't make me gain weight..

Edited by Layn

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For some reason, healthy food is more expensive than potato chips and soda. That's why lower class citizens tend to be unhealthy as well.

 

I have nothing else to say.

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We're too focused on skinny and not healthy. Until we focus on healthy, nothing will ever begin to get fixed or get better.

 

EDIT: Just for once, can I please type ever instead of every? =|

Edited by SockPuppet Strangler

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We're too focused on skinny and not healthy. Until we focus on healthy, nothing will ever begin to get fixed or get better.

This too. If you're at a healthy BMI & your weight is causing health problems, then there's no need to lose any more weight other than for aesthetic purposes.

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i do this before every time i eat supper

 

I make some chicken broth and add some seasoning (i make only enough to fill a coffee cup)

 

ive done this for a few months and ive lost 23 lbs!

 

personally i think my healthy weight is 130 ish because if im around 110s i look unhealthy. even though im short so i look a bit chubby at 130, i feel a lot healthier than i did around the 100 mark. also, i think its what you feel comfortable with. (and some weight gives me some shape. im not going to be a stickfigure. it looks bad.)

Edited by kittygrl

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Fast food. It's so fast and so easy and so cheap, so society says: Why not?

 

Nowadays, everything is based on being easy. It's so easy to stop by at McDonalds rather than make a salad! It's so easy to avoid walking when we have cars! It's so easy to avoid working when we can pay someone to do it for us!

 

I don't say it is entirely a person's fault for being or becoming obese, though. McDonalds is just two minutes away. Oh, what the heck. But I do wish that society would do more to help people lose weight and to lower the obesity rate, like hosting more events and encouraging more people to get up and be active, and to eat healthy!

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To know how to address it, we need to look at the cause, however there's multiple causes for the crisis. One of which is the increasing automation of the work force and daily activities: the less we need to move around, yet eat the same if not even more, the more pounds we pack on. Laziness adds to this: people driving their cars only one block to the store when they are perfectly capable of walking said distance is an example of this. I do conceed the fact that in some cases it is just not safe to walk (we used to walk to the store to get some things, but the combination of neighborhood going bad and said store moving further away stopped that).

 

Food portions in resturants and the like is an issue too: they have inflated greatly over the years. No, that 12oz steak is not a 'normal' serving size for one meal: more like that's your meat quota for the whole day at least (and sadly the smallest steak I have seen offered in a resturant is 6oz, which is still about twice the normal serving). That's just one example here.

 

Another is lack of personal accountability. Recently there was story about a stock broker suing White Castle for 'descrimination against fat people' because he could not fit in their sitting. This man ate at White Castle every day, but instead of cutting back on his fast food intake and/or exercising (take responsibility for his own actions), he choose to sue instead. Another example was the guy that tried to sue McDonalds for 'making him fat'. :\

 

Then there's the possibility that the drugs we take and may be in our food and such could be screwing with our metabolic rate. That one is speculation though on my part, based on what a friend of mine claims (he was fit and thin as a kid before he was forced to take meds for some problem and ever since he has not been able to keep the weight off).

 

As for solutions...I don't know. The thing is we seem to be very comfortable with the status quo, esspecially with the blaming someone else for a problem an individual is (at least partly) responsible for himself.

I do think there is an issue of us as a species being less active. Driving - I don't think it is solely an issue of it not being safe to walk, although that is part. I think part of is that 50 years ago most families didn't have cars because they couldn't afford one. Now most families have at least one car. It has become natural, a right of passage even, to pass your driving test as soon as possible and get a car. I can see that changing, at least here in the UK anyway, as petrol is unbelievably expensive here.

 

With eating healthier, people used to shop more frequently due to not have cool storage facilities at home. Now everybody has a fridge and freezer and people no longer need to buy fresh every couple of days. Meals are a matter of convenience for many now.

 

I completely agree with you over food portions. It isn't quite so bad here in the UK but my husband travels to the USA at least twice a year for work and has done for the last 7 years. He always comes home having gained weight and he always states the portion sizes in the USA are huge compared to the UK - I've seen the photo's he has taken when out at restaurants. I'd hazard a guess too that a 12oz steak isn't a normal quota for a day either. More like at least 2 days.

 

We are less active. How many jobs now involve sitting in front of a computer screen. The same with leisure time too. How many of us have spent hours online or playing console games. I'm showing my age now but there was nothing like this when I was a child. We played out, in all weathers. We were far more active.

 

I do think that the problems we have now, particularly with the younger generation are so ingrained in that solving them is going to take some radical action.

 

@ Lila

For some reason, healthy food is more expensive than potato chips and soda. That's why lower class citizens tend to be unhealthy as well.

 

That is a fallacy actually. At least it is in the UK anyway. It is far cheaper to cook from scratch using fresh veggies and cheap cuts of meat. The meal will be far healthier than any convenience food. Unfortunately basic cooking skills are not seen as a priority to taught in schools now. When I was at school we did home economics (again showing my age sigh...) and we were taught to cook. I still to this day cook some of the dishes that I was taught at school. I was also fortunate in that my grandmother was an awesome cook and she passed her skills on to me (which is bizarre because my mother is an awful cook!). But people do that now? I don't think they do so much and what we have now is a generation who have no idea how cook good healthy meals. It is also easier to bung something in the microwave or go to McDonalds.

 

As for myself, I have always been at the upper end of normal weight/edging into slightly overweight. However I am active, train at the dojo three times a week, run twice a week and do circuit training. I have a lot of muscle so that has always pushed me over in the borderline overweight. I am very fit though. However since my surgery my training ground to a halt as a necessity and I'm just building back up now. I'm training at the dojo, not sparring though and running twice a week having just build up from walking. I'm not up for the circuit training yet as I'm not cleared by my doctor for push ups, sit ups and the like. Despite this I haven't lost a single pound and it's getting very frustrating.

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This too. If you're at a healthy BMI & your weight is causing health problems, then there's no need to lose any more weight other than for aesthetic purposes.

Hells, BMI is misleading. Just as long as you look, feel, and act healthy, things should be decent.

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I always feel bad when I read about this subject because I feel like I am contributing to the problem. I'm overweight (not excessively) and probably could cook healthier meals, but prepackaged stuff is so much more convenient and tasty. All those added sugars and chemicals. -.- I've found that healthy foods (with the exception of nuts, which are so good for you but RIDICULOUSLY expensive) are priced right about the same when I'm shopping for a family of three, and cooking from scratch tends to be less expensive in the long run.

 

We don't really have a problem with fast food, but portioning is definitely a beast. Most foods don't keep for more than a day or two but it's hard, even cooking mostly from scratch, to portion correctly. And when you go to a restaurant you get enough food for three people ON ONE PLATE, but sharing is not allowed (or at least frowned upon heavily). I have a hard time creating meals that aren't bland or just...gross, for lack of better articulation. Maybe I just don't know how to work them spices, but I usually enjoy ready-made meals more. Although the stuff in them is what's throwing my metabolism out of whack.

 

Honestly I just feel that cooking is a specialty that no one really cares for anymore. Everyone eats out, few people genuinely know how to cook, and nobody gets out and active anymore (excluding people who are physically unable for some reason, or chemically etc). I don't feel that it's the job of our government to try to force people to get skinny, because skinny does not automatically = healthy. I think a stronger focus on health education in school is definitely a good place to start, but a lot of schools are so focused now on making students take standardized tests that they've completely gotten rid of most beneficial nutrition classes.

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As a cardiovascular research scientist, I see the effects of obesity and poor health choices on people as a whole and in the molecules of their heart muscle as my daily job.

 

Little changes in one's lifestyle go a long way.

 

For example:

-switching from whole to skim milk

-adding fresh fruit to your breakfast cereal

-getting a group of friends together to go for a hike or a walk around the neighborhood every evening instead of playing playstation

-leaving the butter off your breakfast toast

-switching to whole grain bread (improves GI tract health as well)

-choosing to park in the spot furthest from the entrance

-taking the stairs no matter how many flights

-diluting your soda with tons of ice or switching to diet

-leaving the cheese off your sandwich/burger

 

A great way to improve one's physical and emotional health is to volunteer your time at events where you can meet new people, help others, AND break a sweat. These include:

-walk & runs

-car washes

-habitat for humanity

-horse shows

-weeding the local cemetary

-planting flowers at your church or community center

-doing tree counts for the forestry service

-cleaning hiking trails for your local state park

 

Hope this info is helpful

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-choosing to park in the spot furthest from the entrance

LOL, I like this one (:

 

Obesity is definitely a crisis, as I fear one day humanity--if humanity still exists by then--we'll become like the people in Wall-E.

 

user posted image

^that movie makes me laugh every time

 

I think if we all chose to do those little changes like Leidarendi said, we should lose a significant part, if not all, of our excess weight. If we all chose to compete in a sport, jog 30 minutes every evening while watching Simpsons, or do 20 sit ups every morning, we can make a change. For me, I love playing volleyball so much, and ever since I started I've been much more active than I would have been if I hadn't been introduced to the sport. Those seemingly tiny changes in your lifestyle are quite important and most definitely can make a difference.

 

And once you're healthy, you might not have the "perfect" body like the next Angelina Jolie. Your body's natural standard of "healthy" is when your weight (and anything else for your body, really) is proportionate to your age and genes and stuff. "Healthy" isn't when you're extremely thin like chopsticks because you've starved yourself or something.

 

Eating healthy's also an important part too. Organic food's good, but usually they're really pricey. -______________-

Edited by xFlame990

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That is a fallacy actually. At least it is in the UK anyway. It is far cheaper to cook from scratch using fresh veggies and cheap cuts of meat. The meal will be far healthier than any convenience food. Unfortunately basic cooking skills are not seen as a priority to taught in schools now. When I was at school we did home economics (again showing my age sigh...) and we were taught to cook. I still to this day cook some of the dishes that I was taught at school. I was also fortunate in that my grandmother was an awesome cook and she passed her skills on to me (which is bizarre because my mother is an awful cook!). But people do that now? I don't think they do so much and what we have now is a generation who have no idea how cook good healthy meals. It is also easier to bung something in the microwave or go to McDonalds.

 

As for myself, I have always been at the upper end of normal weight/edging into slightly overweight. However I am active, train at the dojo three times a week, run twice a week and do circuit training. I have a lot of muscle so that has always pushed me over in the borderline overweight. I am very fit though. However since my surgery my training ground to a halt as a necessity and I'm just building back up now. I'm training at the dojo, not sparring though and running twice a week having just build up from walking. I'm not up for the circuit training yet as I'm not cleared by my doctor for push ups, sit ups and the like. Despite this I haven't lost a single pound and it's getting very frustrating.

Organic food is more than processed food, at least in my area...I don't know. But it's easier for someone to grab a burger when they're busy and can't get home to cook, and healthy snacks aren't people's first choice.

 

It's personal responsibility & our resources.

 

@RheaZen

 

Hells, BMI is misleading. Just as long as you look, feel, and act healthy, things should be decent.

 

Imho BMI is a decent guideline, if you feel healthy but your BMI isn't on target, whatever. My brain just might work differently from everyone elses...

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Imho BMI is a decent guideline, if you feel healthy but your BMI isn't on target, whatever. My brain just might work differently from everyone elses...

The problem is that BMI doesn't take into account muscle versus fat or your body type or anything else. It's a very simple calculation and is kind of like things like the ideal gas law in science. Not really useful for reality. =X

 

Why BMI is a Crock (link broken for some bad words, especially in the comments): shakespearessister.blogspot.com/2007/09/why-bmi-is-crock-in-pictures.html

 

The flickr is also pretty interesting.

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The problem is that BMI doesn't take into account muscle versus fat or your body type or anything else. It's a very simple calculation and is kind of like things like the ideal gas law in science. Not really useful for reality. =X

 

Why BMI is a Crock (link broken for some bad words, especially in the comments): shakespearessister.blogspot.com/2007/09/why-bmi-is-crock-in-pictures.html

 

The flickr is also pretty interesting.

Merr. Works for me. I suppose not everyone is like me :P

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user posted image

 

I also think this will be humanity in a few hunted years. My school makes everybody do track and field, also we have P.E everyday. Our PE concludes of running 5 miles, 50 pushups/sit-ups, and occasionally a dodge-ball game.

 

I hate McDonalds they treat their cows and chickens absolutely horrible! It is disgusting even thinking about that putrid company! Have any of you watched Food Inc.? It will make you cry about what fast food restaurants do to their cows, chickens etc.. Here is the link to Food Inc.

Edited by orange

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Having just worked my butt off for 3 months to climb out of the obesity range, I think it's way too easy to tell people to do this or that and they'll lose the weight and way more difficult to actually lose it. I made all the diet cuts: skim milk, no soda, no fast food, parking farther away, taking more stairs, etc. for years and did nothing but maintain my girth. I can honestly say that when I was ready to lose it, I could not have done so without a good therapist to fall back on because weight is so tied up with emotions in our society. Shame, stress eating, Comfort foods, depression,eating disorders, it's all a vicious cycle that can be impossible for one person to break on their own.

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I believe that we (Americans, mostly, because I haven't got a lot of experience with anyone else unfortunately) have gotten used to a much more sedentary lifestyle. That's not entirely our fault, because the point of technology is to make our lives easier...it's just that most of that technology takes the physicality out of our lives. And I don't mean just cars and computers, but even just food science; preservatives permeate our food choices (I've even heard that the American human body decomposes slower due to the amount of preservatives in our food, but I haven't been able to verify that), as do other chemicals that enhance flavor, make it more colorful, etc. However, I personally feel this has led to a lot of health problems for us as well. We're taking in less real nourishment, and doing less that will flush things from our systems.

 

Speaking as someone who has lost weight since high school, it's mostly been through conscious food choices, and making the most of my physical activity whenever possible. In the past two years, it's gotten harder to maintain most of my healthy eating values due to monetary restrictions and lack of time, but I try to stick to a few basic rules: Always eat real food products, whenever possible (the best example I can think of being sugar vs. aspartame or hfcs) and making sure that my food products have as few barely-pronouncable additives as possible. Only eat until I feel satisfied (not full, but satisfied). Park further from the store/school/work. When shopping for myself, use a basket instead of a shopping cart (not only because I buy less, but because carrying it can be like light weight training, and I stop when it gets too heavy xd.png ). Do I think that everyone can do this? I dunno, but it worked for me.

 

Some areas just don't allow for much though. I live in the middle of nowhere in Tennessee, and the nearest store is a Dollar General, which REQUIRES a vehicle to get to from my house, and the nearest decent-sized town is about 20-30 miles away. Choices are limited, in regards to food as well as mode of transportation. It's cheaper and far more convenient to just drive somewhere, get a McChicken and a sweet tea, and be about my business, and it does happen. But I'm aware of it, and I try to avoid it if I can help it.

 

I do however, think that more people do need to realize that being 'fat' isn't the problem. BMI isn't everything. There's a blog, called Dances With Fat, that expresses this quite well. The author is a 300-something pound dancer who's healthier than most people I know that are half her weight. Muscle weight, cholesterol, blood pressure...these are all things that should be at the forefront of establishing what is "healthy", but there are many doctors/medical staff who will assume that since someone is fat, that any health problems must be directly related thereto, or that they MUST be unhealthy and NEED to lose weight, which is nonsense.

 

But that's just my $0.02

 

Side note: long post is looooong >.>

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I think the most damaging part of the obesity "crisis" (really?) is the ferocious backlash against people who are fat or even a bit overweight. Yeah, it's not healthy (for the most part, there are exceptions) to be 300 pounds and it increases your risk for certain diseases, but let's be honest, the general public isn't being nasty to the obese because it's worried about their health. People aren't helping the obese by insulting them and being ashamed of them and making jokes at their expense and portraying them negatively in the media. And the worst part of that is, it's so ingrained into our brains that even the obese and overweight hate themselves for being obese or overweight.

 

That loathing of ourselves and our fellow people based on girth is far more toxic than any obesity "crisis" we're facing.

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Fast food. Too easy, too cheap, too unhealthy. It's disgusting, we really need to find a better alternative. Or sell healthy food for less, maybe encouraging it by giving money to companies that use healthy, natural ingredients in their food.

 

This might be unpopular, but I also see the media, its 'believe in yourself' attitude in particular, as part of the problem. We're constantly being told that being skinny is not OK, and it's ok if you're overweight. Of course, it's a good message for average-to-slightly-overweight people. But for severely overweight, unhealthily so, it could give them the wrong idea. Instead of trying to become healthier and lose some pounds, they'll think of their weight as 'normal and OK', even when it's clearly not. We need to encourage a healthy mid-range weight. Too fat is as bad as too thin.

 

ETA:

 

@Angelkitty - It's not just fat people, though. We're getting a lot better at recognizing that plus-size is beautiful, too, I think. Lately, I've been seeing a LOT more hate generated towards us naturally skinny ones. I'm 168 cm tall, 46 kilograms (5'6 1/2, just under 105 pounds), I'm a size 0. I constantly get called anorexic. People keep telling me to go eat a cheeseburger. My whole family is tall, and we have very fast metabolisms. I can eat virtually anything and not gain a pound. And I'm very athletic, so a lot of my weight is muscle. If fat people can't help but be fat, I can't help but be skinny. And yet people call me ugly, fake, anorexic.

Edited by SPQR

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We're constantly being told that being skinny is not OK, and it's ok if you're overweight.

 

LOL where? Seriously, tell me where you see this sort of attitude of thin being bad being CONSTANTLY being shoved down our throats. Because what I see is constant picking at Oprah's and Rosie O'Donnell's weight, drama over Adele not being stick-thin, people trashing Kelly Clarkson because she's not the skinny little girl she used to be, and people like

being turned away from American Idol despite having a fantastic voice because she's skinny (the judge's little charade there with the "big girls rock" shirt doesn't fool me).

 

Edit:

 

@Angelkitty - It's not just fat people, though. We're getting a lot better at recognizing that plus-size is beautiful, too, I think. Lately, I've been seeing a LOT more hate generated towards us naturally skinny ones. I'm 168 cm tall, 46 kilograms (5'6 1/2, just under 105 pounds), I'm a size 0. I constantly get called anorexic. People keep telling me to go eat a cheeseburger. My whole family is tall, and we have very fast metabolisms. I can eat virtually anything and not gain a pound. And I'm very athletic, so a lot of my weight is muscle. If fat people can't help but be fat, I can't help but be skinny. And yet people call me ugly, fake, anorexic.

 

It's true, there's always somebody trashing somebody because of their size, large or small. But, skinny people don't get NEARLY as much hatred as fat people do. Yes, there are skinny people getting picked on, but I don't see the media in general making jokes at thin people's expense or turning them away from a singing competition because they're too thin. In the media, for women, being super-skinny is the in thing, the ideal to strive for.

Edited by AngelKitty

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Fast food. Too easy, too cheap, too unhealthy. It's disgusting, we really need to find a better alternative. Or sell healthy food for less, maybe encouraging it by giving money to companies that use healthy, natural ingredients in their food.

Unfortunately, there are far too many people with far too much money invested in the current food market for this to be feasible. I'm not entirely sure how recent it was, but there was a bill passed (S.510) that allows greater control by the FDA in food production, to the point that the smaller farms that are producing the healthier, organic, whole, etc. foods are unable to maintain.

 

There have literally been small farms who sell to local grocers and in farmers' markets who have been shut down and had all of their assets seized by the FDA because they weren't up to the new FDA regulations, or they didn't have all of the new paperwork filled out in time, etc.

 

Link 1

Link 2

Link 3

 

A bit of food for thought, in regards to "healthy food". Call me a conspiracy theorist, but I truly feel that the people in charge of our food choices really have other things on their minds besides our health.

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Plus, the companies that sell "health food" would want to keep their primary demographic of people who want to be healthy and lose weight.

 

It's lose-lose really.

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