Ms Obama and the Obesity Problem

I applaud the first lady for wanting to help America’s children, I really do.. and perhaps I am a little biased as a food scientist who works for a food manufacturing company, but I think she is really going about it the wrong way.

Browbeating food companies, and the jackboot reaction that followed is not the way to get people to eat healthier. Large companies are stepping into the line.. “We’ll reduce sugar… We’ll reduce fat.. We’ll reduce salt” and it won’t make a damn difference whatsoever.

There are no bad foods… I will say that again.. there are no bad foods. We are bad eaters. There’s nothing wrong with an occasional cheeseburger, or a handful of chips or some candy as a treat but obviously we have lost sight of portion control. Burgers and fries are huge.. Steak dinners at restaurants are 1500 calories etc etc. The answer? Force food companies to only make healthy foods? A) The food companies won’t do that and B) It won’t help.

When are people going to take responsibilities for their own actions? This generation (yes of which I am a part) has gotten into the habit of blaming everyone but themselves for EVERYTHING and it sickens me. A potato chip manufacturer is to blame for your kid being fat, not the fact that you sit them on the couch with a large bag of chips and tell them to sit there and shut up?

I am overweight, and I have struggled with it for a long time and I am finally getting it under control. Who do I have to blame for this? Myself of course. Eat Wendy’s every day for months on end using the excuse “it’s the only place open at midnight” and I defy you not to gain weight. Wendy’s is not bad… Wendy’s everyday is bad.. but it’s not Wendy’s fault.. I made bad decisions.

As someone who hopes to be a parent in the very near future, I hope not only that I continue to lose weight so I can be active and play with them but also be able to teach them, a cookie as a treat after dinner is fine, as long as you don’t sit and eat the whole box.

Will I blame the cookie company when my kids are obese? No.. I will blame myself. But armed with the knowledge I now have, I hope that day won’t come.

It sickens me to read the news stories and disturbs me even more the comments from the people who would have you believe that food additives cause cancer and MSG will make you fat. Let me tell you the honest to God truth. Those strange sounding chemicals on food labels? They all come from food. They may be chemically synthesized but they were originally discovered in a plant or animal product and it was determined that they could serve a specific function. The FDA monitors every single ingredient used by food companies and everything is labeled as GRAS or Generally Recognized As Safe, which means MULTIPLE studies have been performed and whatever the ingredient is has been deemed to be not harmful. Yes, if you eat 300X your body weight in Sacchrin on a DAILY basis, it will kill you.. but who does that? NO ONE.. no one even could. Some of the strangest sounding ones that people think are strange actually are as natural as can be. Carageenan Gum is derived from seaweed and is a natural product. That nasty artifical sweetener Corn Syrup? A byproduct of producing corn starch and is completely natural. Even MSG is produced from sugar fermentation by bacteria the same why wine, beer, soy sauce and other fermented products are made.

Sex, drugs, alcohol, salt, sugar, loud music.. anything in too large of a quantity can harm you somehow, but the key is learning moderation, not trying to change the products to where they are not harmful.

The food companies haven’t made us fat. We have made ourselves fat, and now we have to fix that problem the same way I am.. eat less, exercise more.. it’s that simple.

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  • About Me

    I am a recent graduate in Food Science (NC State, 2009) and I work for a major food manufacturing company. I love food, but I can no longer eat anything that crosses my path. About 24 months ago I begin a serious struggle to get my obesity under control and reduce my chances of developing Type II diabetes. Since September of '09 I have lost 50 pounds and I still have a long ways to go. I've started eating better and exercising more, including taking up running.