Healthier Food Culture in America

Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: After 1900' started by SeaBos, Feb 12, 2018 at 7:08 PM.

  1. marathag Well-Known Member

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    Feb 2, 2013
    Fresh Fruit was seasonal, and not ordinary fair even when it was
    And before refrigeration and cheap transportation, most of that would be canned for the rest of the year

    Not exactly Yum.
     
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  2. Roger II Well-Known Member

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    I mean, I think it's reasonable to point out that we could easily change these dietary trends-a lot of them are cultural rather than actually fixed.
     
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  3. marathag Well-Known Member

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    I'm old enough to have et at MacDonalds when they still had walk up counter and no drive thru, a single Arch on each side of the building
    [​IMG]
    9 Million Sold, a long, long time ago.

    Guess what?
    A hungry teen would buy a sack filled with a bunch of individual 10 cent fries and 19 cent cheeseburgers.
    I did.
    First Big Macs I knew of in the Chicago area was in '67 or so, after Happy Chef was selling a lot of their big burgers, the 'Big Shef' for 39 Cents
    [​IMG]
    They were the first chain to have large Pops and Milkshakes on the menu, too
     
  4. Roches Well-Known Member

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    Agreed. Which is why the adoption of regional American cuisines might be the major part of the change, rather than the rapid adoption of other cultures' cuisines. It won't be possible to stop Americans from eating high-fat fried foods. But it might be possible to stop fast food from becoming as prevalent as it is. The alternative is not exactly the diet of some Greek island where people live to 102, it's more like luncheonette burgers instead of McDonald's burgers. It's still American food, but with the worst excesses trimmed off.

    (Spark of an idea: Could some element of commerce law thwart the fast food empires? For example, heavy taxes on royalties or limits on the number of franchises a person can own. Such laws would protect independent small businesses so could gain some traction.)
     
  5. Roches Well-Known Member

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    Check out this thread: AHC: Save Burger Chef if you missed it.

    It's my understanding that Big Boy did the double-decker even before Burger Chef did. The Wiki article on Big Boy includes some diagrams for those burgers... the Big Shef was closer to the Big Mac, though.
     
  6. big-click Measure 420

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    Exactly, the f in HFCS is fructose, which beginning in the 1970s replaced the sucrose (a different form of sugar) that was used in those earlier processed foods. The change is correlated with a spike in obesity. It's obviously not the only factor behind high obesity rates but it's likely a significant contributor, and doing away with ag subsidies would probably nip it in the bud. No need to have an impoverished America.

    The obesity epidemic is a likely consequence of industrialization, but it's not the sole possible consequence - there are many other wealthy nations with far lower rates of obesity than the United States. I don't think the determinism you propose is really warranted.

    I like these ideas. In the 1930s, Portland's small businesses clubbed together to get the city to pass a tax on franchises, and I'm sure it's not the only municipality that did so. There was a theory among independent business owners at the time that chain stores were a contributing factor in the Depression - maybe that could swell into a national movement.
     
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  7. Magnolia Pol Well-Known Member

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    Sucrose, which is cane sugar or beet sugar, isn't fructose, and there hasn't been enough conclusive research done to say that fructose is a net positive. Just because it's cheap doesn't mean it's good. I think ten or twenty years from now we are going to see studies that find links between the rise of juvenile diabetes, or Type-1 diabetes, with the prevalence of HFCS.

    You can avoid the proliferation of HFCS by seeing a coalition of farmers – and trade groups – pushing back on corn subsidies. Maybe barley and sorghum growers come together to say no to corn.
     
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  8. Landmass Wave Well-Known Member

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    One of my coworkers sent me to McDonald's for her once. I actually called and asked "Are you sure?" When I saw the prices. Those are crazy.

    Beans, chickpeas, rice, fruit...all cheaper than that crap. For that matter, so is throwing a pot roast into a crockpot to feed multiple people.

    Sit down restaurants have larger portions but most people can't afford to eat there on a daily basis.

    The draw of processed food is convenience.
     
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  9. marathag Well-Known Member

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    Correlation is not causation .
    Tobacco smoking decreased from 40% of the population in 1970 to around 20% today

    In 1970, 14% of the population was obese. Today, rates are around 30%

    So was it people kicking the habit, as Tobacco is an appetite suppressant
    or that food overall is cheaper than 1970?
    [​IMG]
     
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  10. marathag Well-Known Member

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    Soaking beans then having them slowcook is more effort and time.
    What's your time worth?
     
  11. Magnolia Pol Well-Known Member

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    My health. You can put beans in a crock-pot on low, go to work/class, come home and have a stew or soup.
     
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  12. marathag Well-Known Member

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    Trying to block Interstate Commerce? Feds would crack down.
    It's fairly difficult to work the legalese to keep the chains out, along with the Feds
     
  13. big-click Measure 420

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    That law was actually upheld by a federal court - Safeway Stores v. Portland.
     
  14. Polish Eagle AntiFa Supersoldier

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    Sucrose is a disaccharide of glucose and fructose. When it breaks down (as it does in any acidic environment), it turns into a near 50-50 mixture of the two lesser sugars.

    In other words, into HFCS, which is mostly used in a 55% fructose, 45% glucose mixture.

    The only consequential difference is cost, which allows HFCS to be put in more things as a preservative, raising calorie counts on processed foods across the board.
     
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  15. deLanglade Well-Known Member

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    One thing to keep in mind is the so-called "typical meat and potatoes diet" was really good at keeping a person going when dawn-to-dusk manual labor was the norm. My grandfather was a logger until he gave up the habit in his late 60's - this would have been around 1988 or so. By then, work in the woods was pretty mechanized compared to when he started as a teenager - but it still meant lugging a chainsaw around 12 hours a day, rolling logs, work on uneven terrain, etc. I would not be surprised that he burned 4000 calories every day - probably add another 500 in the winter, back when it really got cold in Wisconsin. At that point, you're metabolizing all those fats and sugars you eat - not adding pounds.
    You've got generations of people who know this as a norm, and transitioning a culture away from what they've known is "normal" food is not easy. Cultural change never is.
     
  16. GeographyDude Well-Known Member

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    So, given the choice between:

    1) low fat, or

    2) low carb,

    it's amazing that we still don't know which is healthier! This might be the number one practical fact still unknown in the modern world, certainly in the top five.

    And it's probably different for different people, at least to some extent.
     
    Last edited: Feb 14, 2018 at 1:09 AM
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  17. TonyA Curmudgeon like, but nastier

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    Reminded of the great scene from Woody Allen's Sleeper when his character wakes in the future and they ply him with burgers, fries, and shakes, with the explanation in the face of his confusion that science had, decades ago, finally figured out what constituted a healthy diet and this was it...
     
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  18. metalinvader665 Well-Known Member

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    This would definitely help, since I know I've looked at menus which label the calories and I've been a bit shocked by how many calories are in a certain meal and chosen one with lower calories. It's pretty good for soft coercion. A tax on supersize drinks and meals is also great, for the same reason a tax on cigarettes is--the links to obesity and diabetes is too much to ignore, and a tax means lesser consumption of them and thus a public health benefit.

    Also, a ban on advertising fast food to children, which is almost on the level of advertising tobacco or beer to kids given the links to childhood obesity and diabetes. So no toys in Happy Meals except for Happy Meals which are under a certain amount of calories/fat/sodium/sugar, and no commercials on children's TV for fast food except when healthy meals are being advertised. And for that matter, some regulation on liquor advertising, since liquor is full of calories and ethanol is an addictive carcinogen, so there should probably be restrictions on its advertising, especially during sporting events where children are watching. This is treating products harmful to public health in a similar way to how developed nations have fought the tobacco industry.

    I can get similar prices (including 15-20% tip) to fast food at certain restaurants in my area, and I suspect the same is true elsewhere. A gyro plate of rice and meat and salad at a Greek restaurant or a banh mi sandwich at a Vietnamese restaurant isn't much more expensive than a McDonalds meal, not more calorie heavy either, and tastes way better. So some way to promote small business would definitely help--the Republicans have always targetted small business and their owners, but a lot of their policies end up helping big business more.

    Although it's still cheaper to purchase rice in bulk and use that as a base to make meals, especially since a package of meat at the store is more than one portion size. Hunting and fishing is also great, since it serves as a good leisure activity and fish and wild game are low in fat and calories and high in protein--the meat from one deer can fill a freezer. In some states you can legally process roadkill, which unfortunately has been the subject of mockery (like the Tennessee roadkill law) even though IMO it's criminal to waste a freshly roadkilled animal (it could feed yourself, your family and friends, or the homeless, since I bet government vehicles are involved in many roadkill accidents a year). Although the cost of fishing/hunting equipment, licenses, and transport to fishing/hunting areas is rather costly.
     
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  19. manav95 Well-Known Member

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    I'd say low fat bc fat gets stored right away. Carbs get stored as fat if not used up.
     
  20. Sevarics A Bidet In Every Bathroom

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    Feb 9, 2011
    The keto diet is high fat low carb high protein for the most part and it helps people look super fit