Major Crisis In Food Chain Cause for Sick Society – Commentary by Kevin Parkinson – Cornwall Ontario – March 10, 2010

Lots of people and lots of organizations talk about the importance of good health these days, but there’s a world of difference between words and actions.  The ‘importance of diet and fitness’ make great sound bites, but there is so much misleading advertising and so many mistruths in what is being said.

First of all, take a look around and see the overweight people in the western world in 2010. Clearly, more than 50% of adults are overweight and about 20% are obese according to Stats Canada.  Child obesity has become a major issue now and with it a growing list of medical problems including diabetes and autism that have been related to poor nutrition.

Everyone agrees that these problems exist, but why are they are a problem today, and what needs to be done to correct them? Check out some old high school yearbooks from the 1960’s and 1970’s and you see very few overweight students, maybe less than 10%. So what has happened in society?

Let’s talk about the fast food industry that did not exist in its present form 40 years ago.  McDonalds, Tim Horton’s, Pizza Hut, Burger King, Subway and many others were not around.  If our society really wanted to ‘eat healthy’, people would stop eating prepared fast foods, which contain huge amounts of:  fat, sugar, salt, MSG, white flour and preservatives that provide temporary relief from hunger but which are toxic to the body.

This information should not come as a revelation to you. Don’t ever think that the big, fast food ‘corporations’ are concerned about your health. They are not. They may react to bad publicity like the movie about McDonalds’ food called  ‘Supersize Me’ by printing out nutritional pamphlets which only tell you part of the story. If you really want to see how the food chain is controlled rent the movie, “Food Inc” one night and you won’t believe what you are seeing.

Do you know who controls the beef industry in the United States? According to “Food Inc” it is McDonalds because they use so much beef they actually control the way it is produced- in slaughterhouses so vile that some people actually stop eating meat after they have watched the film. That means that the meat we buy in our grocery stores could be off the same assembly line as McDonalds’ hamburgers. That should give us pause.

But government will always come to our rescue, right? Just like the Ontario Liberals did before Christmas when they promised us the HST in 2010, so now we’ll be paying 13% tax on just about everything…but…not on fast food because according to McGuinty, the government did not want “to deprive busy, working people the opportunity to buy fast food on their way home.” Right, I wonder how hard the fast food companies had to lobby for that tax exemption!

Moreover, this is the direct opposite to the direction that the Liberal government should be taking. The Liberal government is reinforcing the idea to the public, that fast food is fine and necessary and should not be taxed. Therefore, people will continue to buy it, perhaps even more frequently because of the tax savings.

This kind of thinking is like a small plane going into a spiral dive. The chances of recovery become less and less the longer the plane remains in the spiral.

So it is with fast food, prepared food, sweet food, soft drinks, and increasingly much of the food in supermarkets. It is full of the wrong ingredients and lacks proper nutrition. The body can withstand it for a while, but the food eventually makes people fat, overweight and in some cases, obese.

That’s just for starters. Then the body, because it is being denied the proper nutrients, becomes weaker, and the immune system caves in to illness and disease. So many of the illnesses that exist today are due to poor nutrition, and some illnesses like autism, can apparently be reversed by changing one’s eating habits.

In summary, what has really happened in the last 40 years is that the food and drink corporations have become so big and powerful, that they exert total control over some of us. Adults and children are watching 3 and 4 hours of television every day, and are being inundated with commercials promoting food that is really just garbage for the body.

We all enjoyed the Canadian effort at the Olympics, the excitement and most of all, the excellence of the athletes. We know that all of these athletes were on specialized programs, carefully controlled diets and fitness regimes and were at the top of their game.

But look at the major sponsors of the Olympics: Wonder Bread, Coca Cola and McDonald’s!   Basically, the advertisers are suggesting that we, the audience, need to purchase these products so we can find ‘excellence’ and a ‘healthy’ lifestyle.  It’s almost laughable if it wasn’t so tragic.

I wonder how many of those Olympians had fast food on their diets in the lead-up to the 2010 games.

We are being duped by the food companies. They are killing us. It is time to wake up, kiss fast food goodbye and get on with our lives.

Kevin Parkinson is an occasional contributor to The Cornwall Free News.  To reach him visit his website.

(Comments and opinions of Editorials, Letters to the Editor, and comments from readers are purely their own and don’t necessarily reflect those of the owners of the Cornwall Free News, their staff, or sponsors.)

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  1. Yes Kevin, we all need to wake up in this province! In the next provincial election I’m sure that Tim Hudak and his Conservatives will give Dalton McGuinty and his Fiberals the boot and send Dalton to Liar School. I still cannot understand how we could have been so stupid as to re-elect the Fiberals last election.

  2. The constant lying of the Liberal party is clearly responsible for this debacle. Once we get some Conservatives in there, their high level of truthiness will certainly clear this up. All we need is some good, clean, right-wing government to reverse our addictions to sugars, fats, and caffeine. Especially in Ontario, where this is clearly a localized trend. McGuinty and his Fiberals clearly hate healthy people, and probably babies too. PLEASE let’s bring on the Conservatives and some honesty for once.

  3. I think there are other connectors as well. People moving off farms to sit in cubicals all day, women working along side men all day instead of working in the home ( don’t send hate mail, this actually happened) and more electronics to keep us sitting on couchs or computer chairs.

    Women are instrumental in nurturing and helping us all be better people but when taxation started pushing them out to work, something has to give. And that affects families greatly.

  4. Conservative “truthiness.” Interesting choice of term, Destructo. Are you talking tongue in cheek, by any chance? Now, “truthiness” and the federal Conservatives is right on the money… like believing in the Tooth Fairy.

  5. My tongue spends so much time in my cheek it’s been chewed to shreds.

  6. Between 1975 and 1995 there has been an increase in the amount of ‘bad carbs’ we are consuming – mostly in the form of white flour and sugar hidden in a multitude of products. During this same time period, we have actually consumed less fat – thanks to all the market hype about ‘low fat’ products. The simple fact is, fat does not make us fat, sugar and empty calories make us fat. Take the donut, a perfect blend of empty white flour and sugar, tasty yes, nutritious? Not at all, in fact it is harmful to us, yet Tim Horton’s is thriving. So really we need to re-educate ourselves on what we should be consuming, and it is NOT what the industry-influenced government food guides tell us.

  7. Author

    Yes it does seem that our governments like to cop out to industry far more often than to we citizens. Good post! And good thoughts from Kevin.

  8. Dear Mr. Lister, using a donut as an example of empty calories from sugar and starch is not a good choice. A donut can contain up to 40% fat. Given that fat contains 9 kcal per gram and sugar and starches contain only 4 kcal per gram then when eating a 100g donut you would get 360 kcal from the fat and if the rest of the donut was all sugar and starch then you would only get 240 kcal from that part. Of course there is still water in the donut but if you ignore that then 60% of the caloric content of a donut would come from the fat.

    The reality of the obesity situation is that people are over-eating, period. If your diet consists of mainly cakes, donuts, potato chip and soft drinks then you are going to get fat.

  9. Amen to Reg! You should be a doctor.

  10. Plus, if you step outside the Tim Horton’s and through a rock, you will likely hit a Burger King/McDonald’s/Wendy’s/KFC/Pizza Pizza/etc./etc. where fat abounds in plentitudes. So to say we consume less fat is ridiculous.

    The problem as I see it is more closely related to mind control through advertising. All the aformentioned purveyors of rubbish use similar marketing strategies, some more effectively than others. Watch the commercials, thet don’t sell you a product, they sell you a life style, they sell you happiness. We want to be happy like the people in the commercials. Have you ever seen an obese person in a fast food commercial? All you see are happy, well-dressed, family types. Another hook they use is to grab kids young, with fun play centers and toys or hockey cards to accompany their “food”. Refusing your child a trip the McDonald’s is practically considered child abuse.

  11. Yes, all excellent points, Des. I think you should think about a name change: How about “Instructo?”

  12. Much of the solution to this problem comes from within. When we are able to intrinsically validate ourselves we become less prone to the ingenious (if disingenious) marketing from these companies. The reason the marketing is so effective is that most people crave meaning in their lives. I am young, so don’t know what it was like in past generations, but in my experience children are not taught how to create their own meaning and value in life. So, they are “hungry,” for something and these advertisements are the most effective messages at promising it. If people do not develop a way to find purpose, value and emotional well being internally they will always search desperately for it outside. Food is an excellent way to temporarily feel good emotionally and after a short time they are hooked. Also, food is a socially acceptable addiction. Almost all Canadians are addicted to sugar and many health experts agree that sugar addiction is more harmful than smoking.
    So, the solution is not easy, but if as parents, teachers and community members we recognize a responsibility to help others (especially kids) find value from within we will go a long way to curb this very serious problem.

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