Are restaurants and junk food producers responsible?

Discuss the March 2016 Eating Bull by Carrie Rubin.

(Note, Carrie Rubin's previous book The Seneca Scourge was book of the month in December 2012. :) )
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L_Therese
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Re: Are restaurants and junk food producers are responsible?

Post by L_Therese » 06 Mar 2016, 15:41

Food producers can't be held solely responsible, because the individual makes his/her own choices, but food producers and distributors too often price foods in such ways that people constrained by budget have few options. Foods that are sugary, heavily processed, or that contain preservatives and chemical additives are usually cheaper at the grocery store. This makes it difficult for a lot of people to find foods that are healthy and natural. Responsibility is shared for this problem, and as awareness grows, hopefully more and more businesses and people in the food industry will expend effort to find healthy solutions that everyone can choose to enjoy.

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Post by Gravy » 07 Mar 2016, 02:43

L_Therese wrote:Food producers can't be held solely responsible, because the individual makes his/her own choices, but food producers and distributors too often price foods in such ways that people constrained by budget have few options. Foods that are sugary, heavily processed, or that contain preservatives and chemical additives are usually cheaper at the grocery store. This makes it difficult for a lot of people to find foods that are healthy and natural. Responsibility is shared for this problem, and as awareness grows, hopefully more and more businesses and people in the food industry will expend effort to find healthy solutions that everyone can choose to enjoy.
:text-yeahthat:

I agree.
And that also goes for safer, less harmful cleaning products.

Another catch is that there isn't any regulation for products that advertise themselves as "healthy" or "all natural", and the like. They can literally say almost anything they want.

-- 07 Mar 2016, 01:02 --
PashaRu wrote:Admittedly, it has become more difficult to eat healthy in recent decades. But blaming restaurants and junk food is a bit of a cop-out. It seems people want to blame their problems on everything and everybody else these days instead of assuming a mote of personal responsibility.
I agree with a lot of this, especially where adults are concerned. But the brightly colored packages, and cartoon-like commercials aren't geared toward adults. They know what they're doing when they buy ad time for Saturday morning on a kids network.

If the question was about any other mind altering, addictive substances there'd be no question, but because it's food it's okay?

I believe there are laws about bars being within such and such distance of schools. Why can't the same be put into effect for fast food restaurants?
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Post by CCtheBrave » 08 Mar 2016, 00:20

bookfix_blog wrote:No. You have to teach yourself discipline. It's just like I wouldn't blame the gun manufacturers for killing people. It's the people and their mindset you should be focused on for killing people as well as with food.
I completely agree! I think the problem has more to do with what we'd decided, as a culture and collective consciousness, is healthy vs. unhealthy. as a whole, i think our nation has very little self-discipline (in a lot of different areas, not just food) and it reflects in the excesses that we exhibit.restaurants are a business and at the end of the day, they're going to cater to their customers; right now, the american customer wants more sugar, more fat, and high quantity.
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Post by DesiP » 08 Mar 2016, 00:38

I don't think they are responsible. It really doesn't matter how unhealthy their food choices are for you, or how much advertising they put out there, in the end the choice is yours. As an individual you need to make better choices. Eat at home more often. If you're the type of person who is too busy to make your own meals, (or you don't have clue how to put a meal together) there is now a website that you can visit and sign up to have a box of meals sent to you. It's basically a box of fresh ingredients with the step-by-step instructions on how to put it all together (in 30 minutes or less) included. That and moderation if you do have to eat out for whatever reason, like business. I also think that cravings for unhealthy choices ned to be consumed in moderation. If you deny yourself what you're craving then you're more likely to over indulge when you do break, or even over indulge in something that's considered good for you. The expression "too much of a good thing" is there for a reason.

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Post by bookowlie » 08 Mar 2016, 09:46

PashaRu wrote:Admittedly, it has become more difficult to eat healthy in recent decades. But blaming restaurants and junk food is a bit of a cop-out. It seems people want to blame their problems on everything and everybody else these days instead of assuming a mote of personal responsibility.
I agree that blaming restaurants and junk food producers is a cop-out. That threme was something I didn't like about this book, even though I enjoyed the characters and the plot. I thought Sue was a well drawn character, but I didn't like the whole "pass the buck" attitude she adopted regarding why people are overweight. Instead, she should have worked with Jeremy with behavior modification and understanding his emotional triggers. People need to take responsiblity for their food choices instead of blaming stores for stocking potato chips, cupcakes, puttin candy at the checkout, etc.

This topic reminds me of the huge legal settlements with the tobacco industry as if it was the tobacco industry's fault that people smoked and got lung cancer. Sure, cigarettes should contain a warning that smoking can cause cancer and other health problems, but I think people need to take personal responsibility for their choices.
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Post by PashaRu » 08 Mar 2016, 22:54

Yep, like the lady who spilled hot coffee in her lap and sued McDonald's for not telling her the coffee was hot.

Whaaaa????
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Post by sjshepard4 » 09 Mar 2016, 18:30

No they are not responsible. People make the decision what to eat, drink and even smoke. The fast food places don't advertise that they are healthy or good for you. Its the sole decision of one person to eat or drink from there or to serve it to your child.

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Post by Gravy » 09 Mar 2016, 21:34

While tabacco isn't exactly great, it's the additives that the companies put in that cause most of the problems. I don't know if they ever put that on the package, but if they didn't than I really don't see how they weren't in the wrong. That would be like learning your favorite alcoholic beverage contained arsenic, but they didn't see fit to include that on the packaging.
Now you have people "vaping" instead of smoking (falsely lowering the statistical number of smokers), which causes them to breathe in metal particles. But that's supposed to be better for them than smoking :roll:

Anyway, as to the subject at hand I thought I'd share some links, for both sides of the fence.

10 Things the Food Industry Doesn't Want You to Know
Big Food is Much Worse than Big Tabacoo
Are Junk Food Habits Driving Obesity?
Is Junk Food to Blame?

Basically, no one can agree about it, but we know junk food isn't healthy, and they are targeting children with their ads, so even if junk food isn't necessarily to blame for obesity, they still spend billions of dollars a year pushing unhealthy foods to kids, and while some will always say that it's up to the parents to keep their kids from eating it, that's not really true. Between school, and going out with friends, or whatever, if they want junk food, they'll get junk food.
Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.

The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.

The greater the power, the more dangerous the abuse.


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Post by CataclysmicKnight » 10 Mar 2016, 22:40

bekkilyn wrote:There's also the problem that the junkier foods often cost a whole lot less than the healthy foods, so people who have more financial limitations have more trouble affording the healthier options. I feel like our grocery stores should be packed full of the healthier options and the junk foods be in the smaller "specialty" sections for more special occasions, but it's often the opposite.

And even the healthier options like eggs can be problematic. You can spend $5 for hormone-free, grain-fed eggs, or buy the $2 versions packed with hormones and who knows what else. If you don't have lots of money to spend on food, you're kind of forced into getting the $2 version even if healthier options exist.

Yes, we do need to practice more personal responsibility as a whole, but at the same time we need to admit that the odds are definitely not stacked in our favor.
I SO COULDN'T AGREE MORE!!!! When I was married before and we both worked, it was SO much easier (and cheaper) to go for fast food than to make something at home. And when it came to fast food, while some places have some great salads (Chick-fil-a and Wendy's particularly), it's a lot less satisfying and more expensive than just grabbing a bacon cheeseburger with extra large fries and soda. Heck, a lot of times those salads are as rich in calories and fat as the burgers thanks to bad dressings and toppings!

As for whether restaurants should be held accountable, a big part of me says yes - if those options weren't so readily available and set toward unhealthiness as they are, everyone is responsible for their own choices. In a perfect world I'd be able to go through a drive-thru and snag something healthy and quick, or pay extra money for the unhealthy options. I've heard people mention taxing fatty foods, but then you hit the dangerous realm of taxing anything and everything, and where that tax money would go (would buying extra large fries mean tax money for abortions?).

When my fiancée and I dieted before, we were able to get fast food and still be okay - a side salad and small burger each while splitting a small fry at Wendy's was surprisingly cheap and didn't ruin our fat/calorie balance for the day, yet was still filling. Argh I'm so torn on this question!
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Post by L_Therese » 10 Mar 2016, 22:48

At one of my jobs, we pass the time by telling each other gross stories about unhealthy food restaurants - stuff like rat problems at the local pizza joint and what nasty things showed up in someone's McDonald's burger. I don't know how many of the stories are true, but it encourages people to find alternative food sources regardless of how tired you are after 8 mind-numbing hours. Sometimes it can be hard to find the motivation to be creative, and none of us are paid very much, so it would be far too easy to feed one's family with a $6 pizza instead of working harder to find the time and money to cook something healthy.

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Post by tortoise keeper » 11 Mar 2016, 11:56

I don't think restaurants are responsible for obesity, but they certainly make it easier to eat high calorie, high fat foods. I saw a commercial on TV yesterday for a meal that consisted of a large burger, fries, two tacos, and a soda for a little over four dollars. Eating "badly" is much cheaper and quicker that having a healthier meal. For many years I lived in a small city and worked evenings. If I was hungry when I got off work, and too lazy or tired to cook, there was absolutely nothing open that offered healthy foods. Most of the fast food places, however, had some type of limited menu 24 hrs a day.

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Post by bookowlie » 11 Mar 2016, 11:57

L_Therese wrote:At one of my jobs, we pass the time by telling each other gross stories about unhealthy food restaurants - stuff like rat problems at the local pizza joint and what nasty things showed up in someone's McDonald's burger. I don't know how many of the stories are true, but it encourages people to find alternative food sources regardless of how tired you are after 8 mind-numbing hours. Sometimes it can be hard to find the motivation to be creative, and none of us are paid very much, so it would be far too easy to feed one's family with a $6 pizza instead of working harder to find the time and money to cook something healthy.
It's true that it's hard to be motivated to cook a creative, healthy meal, especially if there are many ingredients that you don't already have on hand. For example, I cooked an interesting new recipe last week. I had to buy various ingredients such as a jar of olives, capers, minced garlic, canned tomatoes, and eggplant in addition to the chicken breast I already had on hand. Sure, I was able to use the other half of the eggplant and olives to make the meal a second time that week and have leftover garlic and capers to keep for future meals. However, the original cost was pricey.
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Post by The_Venturas » 11 Mar 2016, 18:49

I don't think they are responsible for this.
I mean, people keep buying their foods, so i think it's people's unhealthy obsession for junk food that makes them unhealthy.

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Post by ash77atc » 14 Mar 2016, 11:07

I don't think one group, like restaurants and fast food chains, can be to blame. Everyone has a choice of what they want to put in their bodies. However, I do think that some of the portion sizes that are served are way too big. When I go out to eat I very rarely finish my meal and usually have enough left for lunch the next day. Some people are not able to stop eating and will just finish everything on their plate. There are also some ingredients and additives that are not so healthy for us as well. Again, it goes back to choice. No one has a gun to your head forcing you to eat that Whopper.

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Post by JessiAnne26 » 14 Mar 2016, 13:13

I agree with some of the threads here. It's sort of a devil's advocate situation, where the consumer needs to be responsible and educated to utilize their buying power to the fullest but the industries also need to continue to take responsibility for what they are offering.
My personal feeling is that the industry is trying hard to introduce small changes. For example Mcdonalds offering fruit instead of fries in the children's meals, or I live in Los Angeles where restaurants like Skynny Kitchen and Lyfe Kitchen are popping up offering nutritious meals throughout the day. As far as junk food in grocery stores, that's a little bit harder but I've seen small changes in my shopping as well, like peanut butter that's just peanuts being offered at $0.20 more than the peanut butter with preservatives.
So while the industry may have initially pushed the obesity epidemic along, it's doing it's best to atone for the mistakes it's made. Reducing the obesity epidemic will be more of a team effort between the individual with the buying power, and the industry with it's offerings.

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