We’ve seen statistics that prove we are a fat nation. An appropriate question to ask at this time is why did we, who are just as “equal” as everyone else, become the size that we are? It would be too easy to answer by saying that we ate too much. That might actually be a symptom of the main problem.

The short answer would be that the main causes of obesity have to do with genetics, our living and eating environments, and our psychology. The combination of these influences has nurtured each one of us to become exactly who we are at this moment. But I don’t want to venture into these topics, because we’ve probably been hearing about them for nearly a decade. Instead, let’s discuss an influence that we need to take a closer look at-big business in America.

Before fast food corporations introduce new products, they do some market research. This means they will ask questions of the public, perhaps something like this, “If we started dipping the whole cinnamon bun in icing rather than just icing the top, would you buy more of them?” The answer might be “yes.” If enough people say “yes,” the corporation will have somebody make this product so people can try it and give their opinions. If enough people like it, a new product is born.

I believe the people involved in the market research did answer the questions truthfully. For instance, if I were to take a bite out of a fully iced cinnamon bun, and if I were asked whether it tasted good, how could I say anything but “it’s the best?” But if they asked me whether I would like one delivered to my house at exactly 7:00 AM every morning, I would realize that my compulsive self could not tolerate the daily temptation. To protect myself, I would have to say, with authority, “NO, I NEVER WANT TO SEE ANOTHER ONE OF THOSE THINGS AS LONG AS I LIVE!”

Corporations are always throwing new foods at us. That is why Wendy’s, McDonald’s, Round Table and KFC all have special items on their menus, like spicy calamari or dipping sauces for pizza strips. If the items sell well, then they must have done a good marketing job, and the item might become a regular on the menu. They suggest that the world try their new item, and we eat it up. What happened to eating what we want? Is it that hard for us to pick something out for ourselves rather than relying on the nutrition geniuses atop the corporate marketing buildings of fast food restaurants? They would sell us lard burgers if they thought we would eat them, and they might even laugh at us. Why not laugh at them instead? Choose to be healthy and dance to the beat of your own drum.

If you feel at all sorry for these American fast food corporations, let me ask you this question. Which is more familiar to you: The McDonald’s logo, or the logo of the USDA (the government body that created the “food pyramid”)? I rest my case.

The food pyramid has been updated. You can view the new (2005) food pyramid on the internet: http://www.mypyramid.gov

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