Introduced in the early 20th century, synthetic fertilizers dramatically increased crop yields, eliminating the need for farmers to use fallow or manure to renew the soil. Americans eat more chicken and less meat than they used to. They drink less milk, especially whole milk, and eat less ice cream, but consume much more cheese. Their diets include less sugar than in previous decades, but far more sweeteners derived from corn.
And while the average American eats the equivalent of 1.2 gallons of yogurt a year, they also consume 36 pounds of cooking oil, more than three times as much as in the early 1970s. For many, eating at fast food restaurants is an important part of life because of their convenience, ease, and flavor. In the United States, an estimated 37%, or nearly 84.8 million adults, eat fast food on any given day. Of adults ages 20 to 39, 45% said they ate fast food on any given day, compared to approximately 38% of adults ages 40 to 59.Foods eaten away from home tend to have larger portions and contribute more to the total daily caloric intake.
Research strongly links the number of times a person eats outdoors to the health challenges they face today, such as obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure and many more. A study published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics aimed to evaluate changes over time in fast-food menu dishes, including variety, portion sizes, calorie content and amounts of certain micronutrients, such as sodium, iron and calcium. Despite the important findings of this study, some limitations include the categorization of food, which was subjective. In addition, it did not take into account the frequency of information on consumption or sales.
However, one of the main strengths is that it can be considered a model for future studies in order to continue monitoring changes in fast foods. Considering the alarming rates of obesity and chronic diseases around the world, the findings of this study are worrying. When people are presented with larger portions of fast food, they tend to eat more. However, in recent years, fast food restaurants have made more of an effort to offer healthier options.
This could be due in part to the introduction of federal legislation on menu labeling. Other suggested future approaches could include introducing calorie taxes, mandatory restriction on portion sizes, and restricting restaurant locations. Finally, there is great potential to educate and empower people to make better and healthier choices when it comes to eating out. A growing percentage of the food that is sold goes to people instead of the people who come to get it.
Before, if customers didn't come to the restaurant, their only options were self-service and pizza delivery. Online ordering and third-party delivery companies now help operators get their food to customer locations. As a result, the current value equation must take into account not only the way in which an operation prepares food, but also the way in which the customer receives the order. Chains such as Panera Bread, Shake Shack and Chipotle have helped to introduce the so-called fast and casual restaurant concept, which is based on freshly prepared food with quality ingredients that cost only nominally more than fast food in terms of money and time.
Nearly all members of Generation X are familiar with the Food Pyramid, a graphic produced by the government designed to show the type and proportions of foods that Americans should eat to stay healthy. The sustainability of the food industry has recently become a difficult topic to digest, as essential questions arise around the global food supply chain “just in time”. .
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