Monday, October 24, is Food Day and much of what its organizers would like to eliminate in the American diet was spelled out Thursday by the Center for Science in the Public Interest, the force behind the new, national day to rally for healthy, affordable food.
In advance of the upcoming Food Day events, CSPI released its “Terrible Ten” list — what it sees as among the worst of the culprits and bad habits that are making us fat and unhealthy.
Here they are, as CSPI says, in no particular order:
Coca-Cola: “The most aggressively promoted and widely consumed brand of sugar-loaded “liquid candy” in the world …”
McDonald’s Double Quarter Pounder: “…together with cheese, a Coke, and fries typifies many restaurant meals: short on fruit and vegetables, but bulging with calories, salt, saturated fat, added sugars, and white flour …”
Salt: “…over-consumed from countless packaged foods, restaurant meals, and salt-“enhanced” meat and poultry, the single-most harmful substance in our diet …”
Feedlot beef: “…unhealthy for humans (saturated fat, raised with antibiotics), harmful to the animals (crowded, filthy feedlots) …”
Froot Loops: ” … a fruit-less sugary cereal gussied up with synthetic dyes …” made by Kellogg, “… one of many companies seeking to kill the government’s voluntary nutrition standards intended to promote children’s health.”
Jack DeCoster’s egg farms: which in 2010 caused a huge Salmonella outbreak that “… dramatized the need for tougher enforcement of food-safety laws to clean up the whole food industry.”
Lobbying groups: ” … soft drink, meat, food processing, grain, advertising, and other industries … ” thwarting reforms of marketing to kids, food labeling, farm policies…”
Subsidies: to companies that blend corn ethanol into gasoline … “costing taxpayers $6 billion a year” and leading to “higher prices for corn and foods with corn ingredients…”
White flour: ” … in bread, pizza crusts, pasta, doughnuts, cakes, burritos, cookies …” “adding evermore vitamin depleted, fiber-poor calories to the diet.”
Vending machines: “…the ubiquitous, mute, metallic monsters that promote unhealthy diets 24/7.”
CSPI countered the baddies with a Terrific Ten list, applauding those individuals, efforts and trends working to improve diets, health and the environment.
Again, in no particular order:
Water: “…from the tap or filtered, carbonated or not, a far better choice than soda pop and other sugary drinks.”
Mediterranean and Asian foods: traditional diets “heavy on vegetables and fruit and light on meat and cheese” … reduce the risk of heart disease and other maladies.
New York City’s health department: for “banning trans fat from restaurants and bakeries, requiring calories on chain-restaurant menus, pressing industry to lower sodium levels, and bringing fresh fruits and vegetables to food deserts.”
Sustainably and organically grown foods “build healthy soil and minimize harm from pesticides, excess fertilizer, antibiotics in animal feed and synthetic food additives.”
Farmers markets, “now more than 7,000 strong, bringing fresh, healthful foods to consumers…”
Federal food programs: SNAP (food stamps), school meals, WIC, etc. — “a smart investment in protecting tens of millions of Americans from the ravages of hunger.”
First Lady Michelle Obama has “inspired Americans to eat healthier diets, plant gardens and get active and urged companies to market healthier foods, especially for children.”
Coalition of Immokalee Workers for “challenging –and improving –the inhumane working conditions endured by many Florida farmworkers…”
Dietary Guidelines for Americans: “the government’s sensible nutrition advice that promotes fruits, vegetables, and other nutrient-dense foods …”
Breastfeeding: “not for everyone, but if you’re under one year old, it’s the best!”
Food Day will involve more than 1,500 events coast-to-coast in homes, schools, universities, parks, and in Times Square.