Say It Ain’t So

The Silent and Brave revision page #119

In this country, we are coming to terms with the idea that the companies which manufacture, process, and supply us with food may not have our best interests at heart. It seems strange, since they sell us stuff that we like. Once they’ve made friends with us, wouldn’t they want us to live longer, so that we can continue to buy their products? The answer, I think, is both yes and no, and what it comes down to, as happens so much in life, is money.

Companies have to make money to stay in business. To make money, they have to cut corners, or find ways to produce and sell things at a profit. Where our taste buds are concerned, this is pretty easy. We like salt, sugar, crunch, and fat. All of those things are cheap. In fact, there are some sorts of food, like the Easter jellybeans on my counter right now, that actually trigger a response in my mouth as they disappear–as their deliciousness is consumed, my brain actually encourages me to put more of them in my mouth, to continue the feeling. Does my body need more jellybeans? No. Does my brain want more? Yes. Do I stuff them in there? You bet I do.

Do you remember when candy bars were 30 cents? I do. Now a Snickers bar costs a dollar, or more. Has my income tripled? No. Does it cost three times as much to make a Snickers bar? No. Has Mars discovered that people will pay three times as much for their candy? Yes. Yes they have.

Companies have begun to market “healthier options.” Unfortunately, the FDA has also relaxed its standards, and it always turns out that these chemically engineered “healthier options” are not good for us at all. Adding to the problem is the fact that most people still eat what tastes good to them, and will pick the cheeseburger or the hot dog over the salad most of the time. Is it fair to blame companies for feeding us what we want? We put farmers out of business and don’t grow gardens. It’s easier and cheaper to buy crap than search for natural options, and crap always taste better. It is now in vogue to blame the companies who give us what we want for our health problems, but is it fair? Maybe we should be blaming ourselves instead. We’ve voted with our wallets, and what we’ve voted for is obesity, diabetes, and cancer.

 

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