Well, this stuff wasn't available like it was before, either. Willpower is actually a small factor in all of this. If economics is the argument, if people simply can't afford to buy higher quality food are stuck with one choice, willpower really is a much smaller issue.
The amount of sugar that appears in virtually all foods has nothing to do with willpower. It's there whether people have the willpower or not. Manufacturers have found cheap ways of overloading sugar in foods (unless they aren't processed) in everything you wouldn't think even has sugar in it.
And now researchers are pointing out that these over sugared foods have very similar effects on the brain as does addictive drugs in the way they target the reward pathways of the brain. These food makers are clever- this is not an accident. I even briefly dated a food scientist who explained to me what they did. This is by deliberate design.
Watch the sugar consumption increasingly rise over the last century ( the USDA's own stats say that we consume on average at least 150 pounds of sugar every year)
Then there is this:
And note the last section, which refers to the research finding that, given the way it acts on the brain, sugar may be just as addictive as cocaine.
I know that is sounds preposterous when this is claimed, because after all sugar is legal and there is a strong prejudice against cocaine- for what legal product consumed since we were kids given to us by parents, which while not necessarily recommended by dietary authorities and government but not prosecuted would we begin to associate sugar with a cocaine habit. But that's the way the research appears to be looking. It's not just the taste that we crave, chemically the way sugar works on the brain makes us experience the highs and lows of sugar like a drug, the binge effects like a drug (for given the choice, people don't normally binge on foods which contain hardly any sugar at all).
Then there is the deceptive marketing of things like vegetarian or 'healthy' choices in the freezer aisles. Prepackaged vegetarian meals are processed foods like anything- often containing lots of the same chemicals in non-vegetarian meals, including other chemicals in order to texture the food in order to look, taste and feel like their meat counterparts, and very often containing tons of sugar. A vegetarian alternative doesn't necessarily mean healthier- a candy bar for instance is vegetarian, they are plant based when they have cocoa and nuts and sugar in them.
No doubt we have a very selfish brain. Given that nerve cells can metabolize nothing but sugar and oxygen the brain will always create a desire to eat anything sweet even if that condemns the rest of the body to diabetes. And I agree with you, Mechanus, that this isn't just a matter of self-control (even our brains are quite capable of observing themselves creating the sugar crave).
But we are on a massive tangent here. The original topic was a critique of consumerism that pretty much exclusively played the audience's emotions to get its message across. From an artistic point of view that's an impressive show of workmanship, but to be honest, I expect more if it's supposed to start an honest debate. So I gave a counterpoint to the opening message which then brought up a counter-counter point that brought us to discuss our current dietary habits and to which extent we're able to change them, plus the usual freedom-vs-socialism debate.
If you don't mind however, I'd like to stick with the original topic, the guilt trip about our well-being and/or whether it's a great idea to have cheap food in abundance. I'd like to hear from the empathic supporters of the consumerism critique what their idea is how we're going to tackle the issue of providing sufficient nutrition to a world population that may peak at 10...11 billion people around the mid to end of this century. Because we essentially have three options - to massively change our lifestyle, to try and further increase food production (no doubt industrialized), or to reduce the number of people. And to be honest, I'm not sure if some of the more rabid proponents of a sustainable lifestyle aren't secretly hoping for option #3.
Well, I don't know if anyone else is going to jump in here, but I think one of the attempts to answer your question is in vitro meat- meat grown from animal cells rather than the commercial slaughter of animals. There might be a certain ewww factor to 'test tube meat' until it becomes accepted by consumers, and there might be issues such as hormones added to make the meat grow, but that might be a possible direction.
I am a pescetarian myself, and I pay notice to sustainable labels on species that are wild caught or that I catch myself. But I would try such a thing, and it may be necessary, too- environmentalists are warning of the dire collapse of the world's commercial fish stocks in the decades to come.
Well here in the USA we're still eating like it's 1850 and we've got to get behind the mule and plow the back forty...changing the culture of diet is tough!
We never told our kid to "clean his plate" when he was little. We told him to eat until he was satisfied, with a reminder that he might get a little hungry before the next meal if he is just anxious to get back to his Lego set.
And eating healthy isn't that expensive, really. We've been told that over and over again, but one doesn't have to go to Whole Foods to have a good diet. Good ol' Gold Medal flour is inexpensive, as are eggs. The secret is that one has to actually cook the food from ingredients. Canned green beans are just as good as fresh ones when it comes right down to it.
But we slap a box into the nukeawave for two minutes based on convenience.
On the broader subject of consumerism for the sake of consumerism, it's part and parcel to economic success that 99.98% of the West enjoys. We have more disposable income and time to use it than any other time in human history, so we're going to use it. The smart folks will moderate their purchases and have some breathing room for emergencies or really cool luxury items by saving up for them...but most folks aren't smart.
The opinions of this poster are largely based on facts and portray a possible version of the actual events.
Basically a paste that is baked into a firm texture. Marketing and packaging do the rest to add the magic consumers like.
This is different of course than small scale farming, or hand made food from specialists using old methods. This is factory made food designed to remove the consumer from what they are eating as much as possible.
This is factory made food designed to remove the consumer from what they are eating as much as possible.
I can see your point but like SSnake has brought up earlier in this thread, when you have a global population at 7 billion and increasing rapidly, that pretty much necessitates food being produced at an industrial level.
“Whoever fights monsters should see to it that in the process he does not become a monster. And if you gaze long enough into an abyss, the abyss will gaze back into you.”