featured posts

CUBA IS THE FUTURE FOR LATIN AMERICA AND PERHAPS THE WORLD

CUBA IS THE FUTURE FOR LATIN AMERICA AND PERHAPS THE WORLD On my way out of Cuba, from La Habana, on COPA airlines flight to Panama, I w...

jeudi 4 septembre 2014

WHAT DO AMERICANS EAT? QUANTITY VERSUS QUALITY

One of the first lessons I learned from the American Indians was that the Europeans think Quantitatively while they themselves thought Qualitatively.
This way of thinking is so pervasive that it is ingrained in the American Society. When it comes to talk about nutrition, it is always Quantitative: How much, How many, High Income, Low Income etc
While Nutritionists put their emphasis on Carbohydrate, Fats, Proteins (the fashions change, in 10 years we are going from Low Fat to Low Carbohydrate diets!) but never on micro ingredients(Palm Oil, Maltodextrin etc) nor on the quality of food(organic, pesticide, Genetic modification etc)
If you "google' you can find anything you want, and unfortunately you would find a lot of things which you are not sure whether to believe or not, and most people have enough time to "google" but not analyze, much like the way CNN presents the News as against the BBC.. same news but one is rather shallow and the other rather erudite and sensible.
Note: Caloric Sweeteners 136 POUNDS PER YEAR per person. this would include High Fructose Corn Syrup, Dextrose, Maltodextrin among others, all products of CORN.
Analysis of the above list lets us realize how bad the American nutrition is!


 I do not believe that Americans eat 263 pounds of FRUITS and 202 pounds of FRESH VEGETABLES per year per person!
CDC data show that one third of americans do not eat fruit or vegetable on a daily basis and that most adults and adolescents have only one serving of fruit and one serving of vegetables PER DAY.. that cannot amount to the above numbers?
and what are Processed vegetables?  French Fries? 214 pounds per person per year?
Most american adolescents know only Banana, Orange and Apple as fruits. Most think French Fries are vegetables!


 Mexico has overtaken USA in their Soft Drinks consumption. In USA a substantial proportion of people do not drink soft drinks so the 50 gallon per person per year, is an average, among drinkers it could be as close as 70 to 90 gallons!
A very interesting study has been published from Harvard University on the Sept 1, 2014 issue of JAMA internal Medicine Journal(as an anthropologist, I enjoyed reading the list of authors: Wang, Leung, Li, Ding, Chiuve, Hu and Willett in that order! Welcome to diversity!)
On a Quality scale of 9-110, americans on the average, a mere 49, rich or poor. The quality of food available to the rich was much better than that is available to the poor and this disparity increased from 1999 to 2010. 
"Our findings are consistent with an earlier report that nearly the entire US population fell short of meeting federal dietary recommendations"
Trans Fat reduction has contributed to the greatest increase in Quality of food in America. Intakes of vegetables , omega 3, red meat, processed meat did not change over the years!
"Time trends in dietary quality varied among population subgroups. Socioeconomic status was associated strongly with dietary quality, and the gaps in dietary quality between higher and lower SES widened over time. Less educated people also eat poorly"
An interesting finding was the racial/ethnic subgroups and their tastes.
Mexican Americans had the best dietary quality, whereas African Americans had the poorest dietary quality. Adjustment for income eliminated the differences between Whites and Blacks, but poor mexicans did eat better quality food than other poor people!
This point is heartening since the poverty rate among Mexicans are higher than any other groups except American Indians.

So QUALITY VS QUANTITY and let us hope we would hear more about this from Nutrition Researchers and the Dietitians and Nutritionists would pay attention to Quality rather than Quantity.

In a humorous vein to close this blog:
here is a list of favorite domestic vacation spots for Americans. Faneuil in Boston beat Magic Kingdom, vow!

As a frequent traveller to various parts of the USA, I have always wondered at the quantity of tattoo one encounters, so was not surprised to hear that America is also the Tatoo Capital of the World!