The Highly Disputed Definition of Nutritious Food

I’ve been recently reading a lot of Mark Bittman’s articles on the Opinion pages of the New York Times and I definitely think that the topics he brings up are worth sharing here too.

First off, what actually, is food? According to the internet, it’s any nutritious substance that animals eat or drink in order to maintain life and growth. As we do in my SAT prep class, let’s reread the sentence again and identify key words: nutritious…well, that’ really all that I see, or care about right now for that matter.

With that in mind, let’s analyze some of the foods that are and are not nutritious.

Nutritious: Carrots, milk, whole grains, nuts, leafy greens

Not: French Fries, potato chips, candy, soda (hopefully you know that already)

Surprisingly however, according to Bittman’s article, cookie crisp cereal, kraft singles, and happy meals are part of the latter category. Why? Well, it’s because of a two part failure. The first one is called self regulation, in which the companies set nutrition goals for their products  that they then meet. I guess it’s sort of like changing the average weight to be ten pounds higher so that you would be normal weight if you were overweight. It’s changing the rules of the game. And frankly, companies are doing just that; promoting their products as part of a healthy diet, which they clearly are not. The second failure is a failure upon regulatory agencies. They let self regulation by the industry to slip by, and even praise them as being a step forward in the right direction.

So really, the next time you see a label on a cereal box that says something along the lines of “now with more fiber!” or “essential for a balanced breakfast!”, I beg you to just roll your eyes and say, “what have we become?” because I’ll be saying that right along with you.

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