food

Globally getting bigger and bigger…

I have decided to write this article after watching this short video on Cooking at Home. A habit that with the change in lifestyle, globally transferred nutrition trends, kind of disappeared from our day-to-day routine. After watching the short movie I have decided to deed deeper when it comes to the relationship between obesity and globalization.

Yes. We are all getting bigger and bigger together. I am not talking about the economic achievements reached by globalization, what I mean is that we are all literally getting “bigger and bigger” in size.

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Have you ever wondered how is that possible that your mum at the same age as you weighted maybe 5 to 10 km less? The changes in our diet lied us to end up with at least a couple of kilograms in plus. I am not talking about you, you might be very lean, than congratulations, but the nutrition changes might effect your health or life expectancy as well on a long-therm. I don’t wanna sound pessimistic, but we should really start looking at the food, that globalization brought us, meet it, analyze it and say goodbye to it. Even if it’s very tasty.

Obesity in the developing world can be seen as a result of a series of transitions in diet, physical activity, health and nutrition, collectively known as the ‘nutrition transition.’ As poor countries become more prosperous, they acquire some of the benefits along, with some of the problems of industrialized nations. These include obesity.

dreamstime_l_38190374While technology and development is transferred throughout globalization from the rich to the poor economies, the trends when it comes to nutrition habits are also implemented by the followers of the “big guys”. More and more choices are available to us, just within our rich, that taste much better and are faster to have that their traditional, homemade counterparts.

A new report from the Britain-based Overseas Development Group on changing global diets finds that there are now more than twice as many overweight or obese people living in the developing world as in wealthy countries. Overall, the number of affected people in developing countries ,more than tripled from around 250 million people in 1980 to 904 million in 2014. By contrast, the number of people who were overweight or obese in high-income countries increased 1.7 times over the same period.

The Food Superbrands

The Food Superbrands

Through globalization we are invaded by huge brands that control what we eat. If we enter in a supermarket we see thousands of products, and we really think that we have an enormous variety when it comes to the food we eat. Yet, we are highly mistaken. The great majority of products that we see on the shelf are produced by non-domestic, multinational corporations. As a Romanian, I can still consider myself a lucky one, because we can still by local products in the supermarkets-even though they are less and less-or by bio vegetables and fruits for a very cheap price from old-ladies on the market.

Even like this the local producers have to fight against the competition of the huge corporations and brands that, due to the economy of scale.

This can actually mean that they can keep low prices, while the local producers might not have competitive prices, which can drive to decrease in quality.Looking at thefollowing picture we can see that the food market globally is a segment ruled by very few, big companies.These huge corporations control certain segments, making the food and beverages industry constructed by oligopoliesqsr

In the other hand we are surrounded by food chains that brought a new way of understand food. They have developed a demand towards eating for taste, selling high fat, high sugar and high calorie foods. The other thing is that this market is growing and together with some already presented beverage brands-you always get a Coke or Fanta next to a Burger-they make your successful “fat-maker” team.

These new food consumption is addictive, filled with ingredients and chemicals that will wan’t you to get more and more. Which is also quite sad, that people mainly desire to eat these kind of foods, giving birth to local fast food restaurants. The market supplies mainly the needs of its costumers. A need that was created by global reach of similar products. The need was constructed by the change of life-style, less physical jobs, less exercise, more stress. Here you can see the top 10 fast food consumer countries, some of them is trying to implement new and healthier fast food mails.

Since urban areas are much further along in the transition than rural ones, they experience higher rates of obesity. Cities offer a greater range of food choices, generally at lower prices. Urban work often demands less physical exertion than rural work. And as more and more women work away from home, they may be too busy to shop for, prepare and cook healthy meals at home. The fact that more people are moving to the city compounds the problem. In 1900, just 10 percent of the world population inhabited cities.Today, that figure is nearly 50 percent.

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In Cluj-Napoca, for example you can find many fast foods, also because of the high number of students, that are many times in the situation when they cannot afford going to another restaurant, they don’t have time or just simply grew up in the era of high calorie processed foods.

“The unprecedented increase in average body mass index (BMI) since World War II, in both developed and developing countries has resulted in 500 million adults worldwide who are obese and 1.5 billion who are overweight.

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This is the first time in human history that a larger share of the population is overweight rather than underweight , especially in the past two decades, which have been marked by increasing globalization and integration across economies and societies and thus affected lifestyles in several ways. This observation suggests a “globesity” hypothesis, predicting a contemporaneous association between progressive economic globalization and the so-called obesity epidemic.” Source

The main issue is that obesity is one of the main cause of death worldwide, alongside with diabetes, high-blood pressure and other cardiovascular diseases is one of the main serial killers worldwide.

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What are countries doing? Some of them are coming up with restrictions trying to stop or make it more difficult operation of the companies that have contributed to this epidemic.

Anyhow, the decision is in our hands, and in our kitchen. Considering, that the processed high fat and high sugar fast food or pre-prepared foods, are so reach in calories and addictive components, you should start using your kitchen at home and prepare your own food. Even the fattest home-made dish, cannot compete with those products that are sold by fast-food chains. In the other hand if you are sugar addicted, you will have to put a great deal of effort in getting read of your food addiction. But before buying another snickers or chips in the supermarket, or a Big Mac with coke, just think about in which segment of the world do you wanna belong to, the 30% or the 70%.

Just don’t let the food kill you.

V.T.

Reference Links:

http://poseidon01.ssrn.com

http://www.who.int/gho/ncd/risk_factors/overweight/en/

http://www.therichest.com/expensive-lifestyle/location/countries-that-consume-the-most-fast-food-or-junk-food/

http://www.fao.org/focus/e/obesity/obes2.htm

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Dans le Noir

The concept of “Dans le Noir” is very simple, dinner in the dark. You are served by blind waiters and eat with your hands. There are five restaurants like this in the world: in Paris, Barcelona, London, New York and Sant-Petersbourg.

It is a sensory experience where you have to trust the other. People will ask questions like: How I will know what to order or how can I get to the bathroom? The waiters will tell you the menu at the entrance and they’ll also accompany you to the bathroom.

In this way you’ll have the chance to put yourself in the blind person’s skin and try to use your other senses. It’s interesting that as you are deprived of the sight you tend to shout. Everyone can hear you but no one sees you so it doesn’t matter.

Even the food taste different. You can’t see its visual presentation. So why you don’t need cutlery?  Because it’s useless. As you don’t have the abilities of the blind person it will be difficult to find the fork and the knife. Plus in the dark touching your food it’s fundamental to understanding what you are about to eat.

In the end the staff reveals you what kind of food you’ve eaten. Some costumers are shocked of their low abilities to recognize the food but they discover that the funniest part of this experience is the actual interaction.

Adriana Nistor.

References:

http://www.oh-barcelona.com/en/blog/2013/culture/food-and-drink/restaurant-dans-le-noir-barcelona-29512

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Food as a cultural universal

by Adriana Nistor

Peter Menzel and Faith D’Aluisio traveled around the world to see what an average family eats. They presented 28 families from different cultures. Their project “Hungy Planet” reveals in detail the food a family consumes within a week and its costs.

At a first look some families have a lot of food and I wonder if they really need that amount. Each family has on the table some traditional dishes. The Asian ones have a large amount of fish, rice and vegetables revealing a healthy way of life. On the other hand the families from United States have the table crowded with fast food and meat. Although the food culture of United States is influenced by cultures all over the world, they are the most likely to preserve the Fast food industry.
The South America’s countries and some places from Asia like Bhutan have the most variety of fruit and vegetables. The poorest ones are the African regions, Breidjing Camp and Mali. These families are the proof that you can survive with less and still be happy.
(more…)