Deplorable Diets




There’s some things in life you simply can’t avoid. Benjamin Franklin (and my dad) probably would have said death and taxes. From a less morbid yet equally realistic standpoint I find the cardinal sin of our modern society to be bad food. No, this isn’t some “My body is a temple” article on the benefits of eating like a bird, nor is this an article on the benefits of buying all of your groceries at Whole Foods and eating at farm to table restaurants. Instead, I’m choosing to look at why people living in first world societies frequently encounter, and ultimately consume, food which they are perfectly aware is detrimental to one’s physical and mental health.

Sure, decades of targeted advertisements, false marketing, and unrealistically low prices have made the choice between cheap, fast food and a real meal too easy. However, the crux of the matter is no longer price, as a 2013-2016 report of 10,000 people 20 and older from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey found that “1.7% of lower-income, 36.4% of middle-income and 42% of higher-income adults” eat fast food. So how could there be a positive correlation between fast food consumption and income? Because it tastes so good. Every bite of meat-like substance is a marvel of modern science and tastes delectable regardless of one’s net worth.

Loaded with sugar, fat, and as much sodium as the dead sea, it’s hard to complain about a $3 burger when it tastes 10times better than your local pub’s “world famous burger.” I’ll admit it, there are few experiences as satisfying as a late night fast food run leaving you in a chemically induced state of euphoria for less than a tenner but, as we all know, there’s repercussions the next day (or even that night). Feeling like a kid who’s eaten half of his Halloween candy may be worth it once in a while, though a diet which consistently incorporates heavily processed food will surely lead to steadily declining health. A longitudinal study of 12,400 people over seven years from NCBI found that those who increased their consumption of fruits and vegetables rated themselves considerably higher on questionnaires regarding their levels of general happiness and life satisfaction. Who doesn’t want to be happier in the long run? As with any other chemical dependence, the trouble lies within an inability to see oneself being any happier without the source of satisfaction. 

Whether you consume copious amounts of unhealthy food or only eat food from the farmer’s market, life is going to have its ups and downs. However, you possess the free will to decide if you wish to exacerbate the stresses of life with an unfulfilling diet. A diet with less processed food inevitably leads to real food becoming more satisfying. With the simple notion of consuming less junk and more natural foods, the opportunity for becoming aware of one’s unhealthy habits is facilitated.