Last updated on April 11th, 2017
At Salon, David Sirota examines Why Americans can’t afford to eat healthy. He argues that “healthy food could easily be more affordable for everyone right now, if not for those ultimate elitists: agribusiness CEOs, their lobbyists and the politicians they own.”
Sirota has a point. Something ain’t right here, folks. The federal government with its “Food Plate” is urging Americans to eat more vegetables and fruits, less sugar and less refined grains. It promotes whole foods over junk foods. However, at the same time, government farm subsidies “have manufactured a price inequality that helps junk food undersell nutritious-but-unsubsidized foodstuffs like fruits and vegetables.”
Sirota quotes a Time article to illustrate the price imbalance caused by the subsidies: “a dollar [can] buy 1,200 calories of potato chips or 875 calories of soda but just 250 calories of vegetables or 170 calories of fresh fruit.”
I’m not a fan of the USDA Food Plate, but I am a fan of nutritious whole foods. If we’re going to have subsidies, we should have logical ones. From the standpoint of health, it makes more sense to subsidize broccoli, cauliflower and blueberries than wheat, corn and soy.
Throw in a grass-fed beef subsidy, too.
Let China buy the corn.
In a study [PDF file] published in the Journal of Consumer Research, researchers conclude that the size of your fork influences how much you eat. The smaller the utensil, the more food you are likely to consume with it.
To put it another way, small bites not only resulted in more bites, but in more total food consumed.
The study took place in an Italian restaurant in the United States. Patrons were given one of two forks with a 20% difference in the size of a forkful. Their plates were weighed before and after the meal to determine how much they had eaten.
The explanation for the results is that when people eat to satiate their hunger, they look for visual evidence that they are achieving their goal. That’s because, as most dieters know, there is a time-lag between eating and feeling full. So we need to see that we are making progress toward the goal. The smaller the forkful, the less the apparent progress. This perception drives diners to put more effort into satisfying their hunger. They lift their fork more, and they eat more — significantly more.
The authors suggest that equipping restaurants with larger forks would be one way to curb over-eating.
They also note that chewing our food more slowly — as Grandma advised us — would give the stomach time to signal the brain “all full.” So that would be another way of curbing over-eating. But the authors suggest that swapping forks is a surer path to reducing consumption.
I know I eat too fast. I always have, and adopting a low-carb diet plan hasn’t slowed me down any. However, I now have a way to explain it. I’m the sort who zeroes in on a goal with single-minded intensity. I’m like that with most tasks. It seems like a good way to be.
I hate it when my positive traits betray me.