Looking at how fast food addiction started finds Jacques Peretti documenting the history in his 2012 BBC documentary The Men Who Made Us Fat, can now be seen over at You Tube.
And it has turned into an addiction, where I don’t know about you, but in the past I’ve referred to myself as a food addict.
“We are, on average, 3-st heavier than we were in the 1960s, and not because we’re eating more or exercising less, and unwittingly we became sugar addicts.”
Fast food diet
The story begins in 1971 with Nixon’s government where the agricultural minister, Earl Butts, wanted to help the farmers get better pay returns for their yield.
He came up with the slogan Get Big Or Get Out (ironic huh) by introducing mass farming on a giant industrial scale which developed the fence to fence policy, leaving no soil un-turned. The product they chose for this revolutionary move, was corn.
And this is what lead to an increase in obesity, but how?
Well the corn was turned into fructose corn syrup and used in tons of things, which to this day can be found in foods like:
- cereal bars
- lunch meats
And so it started.
Fast food addiction in the UK
In the UK the confectionery manufacturers saw an opening and the advertisers got creative with slogans that in hindsight can be seen as the start of a landslide, as far as getting away from regular meals is concerned.
I remember singing along to the original television adverts, and we didn’t question it at the time, as far as I can remember.
Facts about fast food television advertising
Here’s the original Milky Way advert from the USA and note the emphasis on a healthy milk content:
In the UK we were told that Milky Way:
- Is the sweet you can eat between meals without ruining your appetite.
Another one was Cadbury’s Fudge:
- A finger of fudge is just enough to give your kids a treat
I remember the feel-good association with that ran alongside. But the story takes a further turn in terms of the pile ’em high sell ’em cheap philosophy of an empty calorie intake to which we have become so accustomed.
The introduction of fast foods
As the phenomenon of the snack and confectionery industries blossomed, the dessert market began to develop with frozen foods, black forest gateaux was all the rage in the UK.
Freezer shops arrived on the scene and we started to buy and freeze all these goodies without really knowing what ingredients they contained, we just liked the taste right?
In hindsight this film makes it all too clear how the interim 30+ years have become a massive multi-billion pound industry, that is stoking the war on obesity, whichever you look at it.
In the 1980’s there was a backlash from the W.H.O. (The World Health Organisation) advising the dangers of these high fat and sugar loaded products, but they didn’t get their way, as commercial influences were stronger.
The Sugar Association got themselves off the hook, and unfortunately fat took the brunt and became the fall guys, which the manufacturers turned into an advantage, and Low Fat products became the next big trend.
This is highly recommended viewing and the goes on to look at super-sized portions and the thinking behind them.
Peretti’s approach is just right, as his calm mannerism manages to distract us from what has become a fairly cynical industry.
Step up to the plate
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