Monday, September 26, 2011

Mark Bittman: "Is Junk Food Really Cheaper?"

In yesterday's New York Times, columnist Mark Bittman did his best to redirect the conversation about junk food and if it's really cheaper than real food.
"The 'fact' that junk food is cheaper than real food has become a reflexive part of how we explain why so many Americans are overweight, particularly those with lower incomes. I frequently read confident statements like, 'when a bag of chips is cheaper than a head of broccoli ...' or 'it’s more affordable to feed a family of four at McDonald’s than to cook a healthy meal for them at home.'

"This is just plain wrong."
Bittman also touches upon the demonization of smoking and how a similar treatment of junk food could help change how society views food.
"Obviously, in an atmosphere where any regulation is immediately labeled 'nanny statism,' changing 'the environment' is difficult. But we’ve done this before, with tobacco. The 1998 tobacco settlement limited cigarette marketing and forced manufacturers to finance anti-smoking campaigns — a negotiated change that led to an environmental one that in turn led to a cultural one, after which kids said to their parents, 'I wish you didn’t smoke.' Smoking had to be converted from a cool habit into one practiced by pariahs."
Click here to read the entire piece. If you have time, try to read some of the highlighted comments; there are some interesting and thought-provoking ideas that help expand the discussion.

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