Super Food vs. Junk Food


Processed Food Strikes Back
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Historically, eating has been viewed as an act of [1] ingesting nutrients vital for a healthy life. Thus, people from all cultures have devoted several hours each day to the preparation and consumption of fresh and nutritious meals.

  • Early humans’ primary form of labor was to hunt and gather, and even after the agricultural revolution, humanity has devoted much time and energy into the ritual of preparing food.
  • In the Korean reality-documentary show “Laws of the Jungle,” a cast of celebrities travel to uninhabited areas around the world to experience the local lifestyle. Even here, viewers see that most of the participants’ waking hours are spent sourcing and preparing food.

However, with the quickening [2] pace of life, people began transforming the meaning of food. Rather than eating to stay healthy, more and more people view food as a quick and tasty solution to their hunger.

  • Fast pace of life: We work 2 to 3 times more than people did during the Paleolithic era. The average work day has grown from 4 to 8-12.
  • Work is prioritized over meals: We dedicate approximately 30 minutes to an hour for each meal – a 30-70% reduction from previous eras.
  • A shifting view of food: We prefer to eat better tasting food than food that is better for us.

People resort to purchasing cheap and fattening foods.

  • The percentage of people who cook and eat at home is decreasing yearly.
  • On the other hand, the percentage of people who eat out, take food out, or buy ready-made meals are increasing. → The global restaurant, food delivery, and processed food industries are growing at a rate of 30% each year.
  • As a result, the amount that the average person dedicates to food expenses has grown by 150%, and much of this growth is observed in the rise of the fast food industry.

Our stomachs are being filled with food that has been processed and manufactured in factories.

  • Fast food: 50% of South Korean college students eat fast food five or more times a week.
  • Frozen foods: The South Korean frozen food market has grown threefold between 2008 and 2014, and dumplings/fried food accounts for 70% of sales.
  • Processed foods: Worldwide consumption of Spam and other processed food items has doubled in the past five years, demonstrating people’s growing reliance on processed food.

However, there are countless problems involved in the manufacturing process, some of which are grave enough to discourage a consumer from purchasing the product upon learning how they are made.

  • Low quality ingredients: Processed food manufacturers use low quality ingredients to keep costs low.
  • Detergents: Manufacturers use toxic detergents to reduce the cost of labor associated with cleaning ingredients.
  • Chemical additives: To boost the taste and appearance of their products in the absence of quality ingredients, manufacturers pump the food full of sugar, artificial coloring, and chemical additives.
  • Unsanitary procedures: Much of the machinery used in producing processed food is old, rusted, and have not received upgrades. The use of oil that has been recycled multiple times and low sanitation standards also pose health risks for consumers.
  • Preservatives: Manufacturers inject the food with preservatives to prolong their shelf-life (e.g. A Youtube video that showed that McDonald’s fries did not [3] decompose after a year went viral several years ago).

⇒ Watch Ringle’s 2nd & 3rd Video Clips for a better understanding of how McDonald’s manufactures its food.

Furthermore, as competition among food manufacturers grows fiercer, firms are adding more flavor-enhancing chemicals into their products to increase their market shares and raise revenues.

  • Fierce competition: As the processed food industry continues to grow, the variety of products has also increased. Ddeokbokki, jajang-myeon, jjamppong, pasta, and ham are examples of popular processed foods in Korea.
  • First way to increase revenue: Loading food with more sodium, sugar, and fats makes the products more addictive because humans have evolved to crave and seek out high-calorie foods.
  • Second way to increase revenue: Manufacturers are investing in genetically modified organisms (GMO), importing cheaper food products from abroad, and diversifying the range of chemical additives that are added to the food.
  • Third way to increase revenue: Some franchises may resort to lying about the ingredients in their products.

However, most people today remain unaware of what ends up in their stomachs.

  • The percentage of people who cook and eat at home is decreasing yearly.
  • It is difficult to determine what you are eating if you cannot accurately identify the source of the ingredients.
  • In addition, people are not managing their diets sufficiently.

Worst of all, our growing intake of processed foods is worsening our health.

  • The average American adult eats about 20 teaspoons of sugar per day. The average Korean adult eats 2.5 times the recommended intake of sodium per day.
  • Eating trans-fat-filled foods likes popcorn, donuts, fries, croissants, and chips has increased incidences of stroke, heart attack, obesity (nutritionists agree that trans-fats are among the worst compounds you can ingest).

Health experts throughout the world recommend four practices to eat more healthily:

  • Buy your own ingredients and cook them yourself. This is the only way you can know for sure what is in the food you are eating.
  • Dispose of unhealthy foods in your vicinity and replace them with healthy alternatives. For example, you could [4] swap out your instant ramen with fruits and nuts. Additionally, you can use smaller plates to reduce your portion sizes.
  • Make a meal plan and keep a log of what you eat.
  • Educate yourself to identify and eat nutritious food.

These are some of the foods that experts recommend.

  • 12 superfoods (to be eaten in moderation): avocados, kale, sweet potatoes, blueberries, almonds, apples, salmon, oats, garlic, carrots, dark chocolate, broccoli.
  • 12 junk foods: ice cream, bacon, cereal, bagels, candy, chips, sausage, fried food, soft drinks, pastries, mayonnaise/cream-based salad dressings, processed meats (e.g. ham).

How many meals per week would you consider to be healthy? Have you ever rigorously checked the ingredients of the food that you are buying? How many of the 12 superfoods did you eat this week? What about the 12 junk foods?

Please discuss your diet with your Ringle Tutor and take this time to increase your English speaking skills as well as your knowledge of proper eating habits.

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