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"When in Doubt, Add Bacon and Cheese": How the Food Industry Hijacked Our Brains and Made Us Fat

The food industry has changed American eating habits and helped create the country's No. 1 public-health issue.

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You know, look at the French. They've always had food that's been highly palatable, that's been very good-tasting. What's the difference? You know, what have they done? Because up until recently, they've not seen the kind of obesity that we have seen.

You know, what they have done is they had certain norms where they eat with certain structure. They would never walk down the street eating or drinking. They would not eat in their cars. They wouldn't have food 24/7 at business meetings. So, they have certain structure.

We had this problem under control back four or five decades. We used to eat at meals. Today, what have we done in the United States? We've taken down those barriers. We are literally eating fat, sugar and salt all day long. There are children who go throughout the day without any sense at all of any sensation of hunger, because they're eating constantly.

So, what do we need to do? Obviously, get rid of the food cues that are activating our brains. You know, try to avoid those. Eat with certain structure, eat in a planned way, so you're not constantly being bombarded. But in the end, this is about changing your relationship with food.

I went into one of the restaurants here in San Francisco the other night, and I asked the chef, what's the most important thing I can ask when I'm ordering something off the menu?

It was a very interesting answer. He said, "Ask where the food comes from." If the restaurant doesn't know where the food is coming from, think twice before ordering it.

Goodman:Finally, Arun Gupta, children and food, marketing to kids?

Gupta: Well, this is a very important aspect. It's one of the many things government should be doing. It should be completely banning all sorts of fast-food and processed-food marketing to children.

In a given month -- this is from Fast Food Nation -- over 90 percent of American children between the ages of 3 and 8 visit a McDonald's. That's an absolutely stunning figure. And they're constantly bombarded with these messages to eat this type of food.

And so, we can easily have government saying, like, no, we're not going to allow this to be marketed to children so that they don't form these unhealthy food habits from the beginning.

Amy Goodman is the host of the nationally syndicated radio news program Democracy Now.

 
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