Are restaurants and junk food producers responsible?

Discuss the March 2016 Eating Bull by Carrie Rubin.

(Note, Carrie Rubin's previous book The Seneca Scourge was book of the month in December 2012. :) )
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Re: Are restaurants and junk food producers are responsible?

Post by hsimone »

I agree with many here that the food industry should not take all the blame for obesity. After all, it's the person that walks in and decides what he/she wants to buy.

It might not be easier to eat healthy (it's more expensive, takes longer to cook, might require more ingredients therefore more money), but exercising is also difficult for people to do consistently. Sometimes, it doesn't cost money (a walk around the neighborhood, taking the stairs vs. the elevator), but people still have difficulty in doing this as well. Not exercising also contributes to obesity, it's not just food. Yes, a healthy diet helps, but exercise is the other key ingredient in staying healthy. Just like decisions for food are based on personal responsibility, decision on exercising is as well. Just another point to throw out there :).
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Post by KateNox »

While I completely agree that we all should take more of responsibility for our actions, especially when it comes to what we eat, I also don't think that we should ignore the fact that food chains invest incredible amount of money and resources into different marketing strategies. It's not an accident that healthy food is usually so much more expensive than junk food, which you can find literally everywhere you turn. Healthy food, not so much.

I think that the responsibility is ours as much as it is restaurants' and junk food producers'. It would be only ours if healthy food was be the same price as junk food, and just as reachable.
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Post by Skoraeus »

I do not think it contributes that much either. It could be a case of varying metabolism, though Junk food itself is a major concern in society that might lead to health related problems. But well, Junk food is part of our lives! We unconsciously treated it as such and grown attached to it! I guarantee every single person in this forum have consumed Junk food before!
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Post by SharisseEM »

The blame can't be placed on one party. Yes, junk food producers and restaurants are responsible for such creations but people popularise it. It's our responsibility to make healthy choices. Junk food is all right in moderation and is like a treat but to eat it too often is a personal choice.
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Post by Sarah G »

Gravy wrote:I agree with Jeremy at the end of the book: no single source is deserving of all the blame.

Everyone has their own part to play in it. That's what makes the issue so hard to deal with.
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Post by [seven] »

The fast food restaurants and food producers are responsible for obesity but are they? Each individual in this country has the right to choose what they want to eat. I think a lot of people have not had the experience of preparing their own meals and are conditioned to having some person in a uniform prepare their food impatiently fast. I think there is a deeper problem with obesity which is fed by the non-stop ads by the grocery store cashiers desk and TV commercials that show people, BEAUTIFUL PEOPLE having so much fun consuming their seductive fare. The more and more we are expose to this marketing the more we believe it is true!
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Post by Igor Martinez »

They don't have have all blame BUT it must be take into account that their participation has been important in this issue.
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Post by alicia_fountain »

I am a firm no on this question.

Restaurants and junk food producers can do their part by making meals more proportionate and healthy, but it is ultimately up to the consumer to decide what to put in their body. Of course there are things that restaurants can do - like focusing more on the health of their customers rather than the speed at which they can crank out burgers - that would help, overall, the diet of an average American.
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Post by hintofjam »

KateNox wrote:While I completely agree that we all should take more of responsibility for our actions, especially when it comes to what we eat, I also don't think that we should ignore the fact that food chains invest incredible amount of money and resources into different marketing strategies. It's not an accident that healthy food is usually so much more expensive than junk food, which you can find literally everywhere you turn. Healthy food, not so much.

I think that the responsibility is ours as much as it is restaurants' and junk food producers'. It would be only ours if healthy food was be the same price as junk food, and just as reachable.
Like many others have said, restaurants and junk food producers are not the only source for the obesity epidemic. However, they are part of a bigger scheme of actions and reactions that lead to the issue of rapid weight gain.

I believe that, since abundance can be viewed as a form of wealth, our tendency is to abuse the ideal by overindulging in food, junk or not. For example, "I bought this bag/box/container of food, have the time to eat, and am told by commercials that I deserve it, so I will consume it because I can." Although we may not think in these exact terms, these factors process into the decisions we make with our food.

This becomes even more problematic with the more affordable pricing of junk food compared to healthful options, which gives us more reason to keep putting money into the cyclic machine of low-cost food, abundant supply, constant suggestion, and continuous demand. Thus, obesity becomes the adverse effect of a combination of causes.
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Post by Raven Potter »

I believe they are not. Although they may sell many amazing, fattening foods that are extremely tempting, it is not their fault. They don't forcefully take you money and stuff the food down your throat do they? If thy did the it might be their fault. But it is your choice as to what you eat where you eat and when you eat it. McDanalds has salad, but how many people get salad there? Now how many bet burgers? It's our choices that matter, not the menu. :P
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Post by dgood-33 »

No I don't believe restaurants and junk food producers are responsible. One one can make you walk in a fast food restaurant and order. We all are giving choices in life. You get to choose what choices you make.
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Post by bluemel4 »

Gravy wrote:
bekkilyn wrote:There's also the problem that the junkier foods often cost a whole lot less than the healthy foods, so people who have more financial limitations have more trouble affording the healthier options. I feel like our grocery stores should be packed full of the healthier options and the junk foods be in the smaller "specialty" sections for more special occasions, but it's often the opposite.

And even the healthier options like eggs can be problematic. You can spend $5 for hormone-free, grain-fed eggs, or buy the $2 versions packed with hormones and who knows what else. If you don't have lots of money to spend on food, you're kind of forced into getting the $2 version even if healthier options exist.

Yes, we do need to practice more personal responsibility as a whole, but at the same time we need to admit that the odds are definitely not stacked in our favor.
Completely agree :text-yeahthat:
bookfix_blog wrote:No. You have to teach yourself discipline. It's just like I wouldn't blame the gun manufacturers for killing people. It's the people and their mindset you should be focused on for killing people as well as with food.
That's a fair point, but I'd like to counter with a disturbing statistic.

A certain fast food chain spent $963 million on advertising in a single year.

I'd bet that if gun manufacturers spent that much to get people to buy their products there would be a lot more shootings than there already are.

I'm not even arguing because I agree, if people were more aware of the tricks that are being played on them with ads, they would be less susceptible, but they don't spend that much on advertising for nothing. They hack into all the things they know will draw your eye, and make you feel hungry. That is just fact, as well as smart business. But they know what they're doing :confusion-shrug:
I absolutely agree that healthier food options are more expensive and harder to get ahold of in some areas. I also agree that advertising and misleading labeling are adding to the obesity problem. They use buzz words like: Fat Free, Whole Grains, Diet, and Healthy. I think it is the fault of food producers. They use cheap inferior ingredients that cause horrible long term effects on the human body. They are not looking out for our health, they are trying to squeeze as much profit as they can from us. They also pay more for the premium spots in the grocery store (eye level in the aisles). If someone isn't educated about the tricks that are pulled through advertising and placement then how would they know their low fat-lean-whole grain treat isn't healthy at all?
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Post by TrishaAnn92 »

PashaRu wrote:Admittedly, it has become more difficult to eat healthy in recent decades. But blaming restaurants and junk food is a bit of a cop-out. It seems people want to blame their problems on everything and everybody else these days instead of assuming a mote of personal responsibility.

I agree! We are in a pwriid pf blaming everything on everybody else but never taking responsibility when they should. I think the food producers play a small part in affecting affordability of foods whoch does make it harder of some people but in the end we have nobody to blame but ourselves for the choices we make.
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Post by Rachaelamb1 »

I think there is a lot more that could be done in America to help people be healthy. I think it is unethical for businesses to use science to figure out how to addict people to their products. And it is a sad fact that many people can not afford to eat organic in America, but that still doesn't mean you can't eat relatively healthy. So yes the consumer is at fault.
Honestly though, I do not think any one source is to blame. There are many sources; the consumer, producer, FDA, lack of education, etc. Pointing fingers doesn't do much good though! The best thing we can do is educate ourselves and exercise self-control.
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Post by abithacker »

The problem with blaming restaurants and fast foods is it takes away consumer choice. No one is forced to eat at a fast food joint. It is convenient and tempting, yes, but as a consumer we have the choice and therefore the responsibility. Options are practically limitless when it comes to choosing a meal, and the way to obtain the food is equally diverse. The idea that fast food is 'easier' than going to a store and buying food to prepare might have some truth to it, but humans have existed for thousands of years without the convenience of a drive-through, does it really make sense that all of a sudden we can't lend a half-hour to prepare a simple meal? Obesity is a result of poorly-informed choices. We can no sooner blame a hamburger for obesity than we can a knife for murder. It was the driving force behind these tools that is the culprit.
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