News & Publications

America's obsession with food

Sep 03, 2014

We as a nation have an obsession with food.  Being in the diabetes arena brings it even more to the forefront as it has a significant impact on patients’ lives and glycemic control.  It is a fine balance between eating properly, taking the correct medication for your food choices, and not feeling guilty if the choices were not exactly what the CDE had recommended.  A major portion of each of our Diabetes Classes is spent discussing food choices – and it continues to be the part that patients find the most challenging. 

But, it seems, there is good news on the horizon!! As I was perusing the Sunday paper an article caught my eye.  Entitled THE FUTURE of FOOD, the byline was “Is it possible that America’s love affair with processed foods is nearing an end?” The article goes on to discuss the controversies regarding food – what kinds of food we buy, where we buy it, how its prepared, vegetarian vs. meat eaters, au natural vs. convenience foods, eating food out of a sack vs. off a plate, etc.  Included in this debate is the explosion of allergies, ever-increasing issues regarding obesity and its many negative consequences, GMO concerns, and environmental questions.  It is no wonder our patients are confused.

After spending years stocking our kitchen shelves with prepared and processed foods while simultaneously dieting in an attempt to counteract those high fat, high starch foods, the American public finally seems to be realizing that the food we eat isn’t just a way to live, it must be a lifestyle choice.  The article explains that food is medicine and we must associate our health and well-being with the foods we choose to eat.

Some of the topics discussed were:

Food that is good for us will taste better. According to the article, many chefs and restaurants are promoting nutrient-dense foods that are delicious, appealing and exciting.  When the RD asks our Diabetes Class participants what they have heard about the “diabetes diet” – the overwhelming response is “If it tastes good, spit it out”.  That is one of our major challenges – to promote the idea that there is no longer such a thing as a “diabetes diet”, but encourage patients to eat a variety of foods that they like and to realize the potential impact of those food choices on their glycemic control.

Ads for veggies. Class participants often mention is that “It costs too much to eat healthy.” This article suggests that one way to drive down costs is to get people to buy more veggies and healthy choices. There are multi-million dollar ads for high fat/high starch/high salt processed foods but when was the last time you saw an ad promoting the health benefits of broccoli or carrots?

The end of diets. Perhaps we will see the end to all the promotions for dieting. According to this article, in the future we should be focusing on promoting a balanced and manageable way of eating all the time.

I hope these culinary experts are correct.

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