There are 7 billion people on the planet, and in 30 years, that number will grow to 10 billion. While the population boom in the last century has encouraged an abundance of advancements in food safety, science, and convenience, we still have 795 million people worldwide who go hungry every day.
The taste of sweets is a basic biological adaptation that evolved to allow humans to find hard-to-find, energy-rich foods, specifically fruit. Once hard to get, fruit rots quickly after it ripens, and before refrigeration, it could only be eaten seasonally. In 1822, Americans ate 6.3 lbs. of sugar per year, and with the rise of modern technology and more food options, it has risen to 96 lbs. annually.
The International Food Information Council (IFIC) Foundation would like to correct media reports raising concerns about infant formula containing ingredients produced using biotechnology (also referred to as “genetically engineered” ingredients or “GMOs”):
Foods produced using biotechnology have been consumed widely for nearly 20 years, with no evidence of any harm to health found, including in pregnant women and children. In addition, scientific research has shown foods produced through biotechnology to be as safe and healthful as their counterparts.
“I want to make eating healthy and preparing meals as difficult and complicated as possible” … said no one ever. Packaged foods provide a convenient and time-efficient way to eat balanced, nutritious foods without the hassle.
When it comes to healthy, convenient, and nutritious, packaged foods can deliver all of these results. But it can be hard for us to see their true value when headlines vilify packaged foods. Well this is our headline, “don’t automatically judge a food by its package”. Packaged foods can be part of a healthful diet by contributing important nutrients that we need for a healthy diet. Through packaging and processing, some foods even have enhanced nutritional value! (Hint: tomato, tomahto . . .
From calculating the nutrients for a TPN drip to answering the question “what’s the deal with kale?,” registered dietitians are equipped to handle any nutrition issue. But RDNs aren’t only giving advice about nutrition anymore. With more and more focus being put how food is produced, RDNs have been tasked with answering some tough questions about agriculture.
Each week, it seems a different nutritional topic – sweeteners, caffeine, food coloring, salt, carbs, or fat – is in the headlines. Is it good for you? Should you avoid it? Usually the advice changes before you can get to the grocery store. It’s no wonder people are confused. They sometimes go to extremes and cut certain foods and ingredients from their diets altogether.
Fresh fruit, crusty bread, tuna, yogurt, chocolate. We put a value on every food we come across, and it isn’t just about whether that food is nutritious. There can be a certain glamour to food, as 10 minutes on Pinterest will quickly tell you. Sure, there are some Pinterest pages of nutritious meals. But much more often, we can end up valuing food by stunning visuals or elite origin stories. Or, at least, our research may suggest that those who benefit from higher incomes do.
Science is about focused, objective analysis, independent questions, and nuanced answers. So when science steps out of the lab and into the public dialogue, it can be heartbreaking when it morphs into the opposite: a disorderly swarm of bias, groupthink, and black-and-white assumptions.
How much money you make could influence how you buy and think about food. See what the latest consumer research says for income differences in how we feel about processed foods, what we look for on food labels, what we'd do with a bigger budget, and what food we avoid.