American Kids Eat 40% Junk Food: "Staggering"

Comments

1
How are pizza and whole milk empty calories? Sure they might not be the healthiest, but its not like they are devoid of nutrients like pop. Pizza for example can have carbs, vegetables, meat, fruit, dairy, etc and if you cut back the cheese and make it right you can have a very healthy pizza.

And whole milk is a bit worse for you than skim in terms of fat, but its still fucking milk.
2
I was always told I was a picky eater as a kid. Now that I’m older and watch my family still gorge themselves on junk they consider food I realize that from their perspective I was picky, but from mine, they’re human garbage disposals.
It amazes me what people don’t consider junk food.
3
Commenter #1 said exactly what I was going to say. Pizza's not empty calories, and in fact can be perfectly healthy food. I make home-made pizza for my family, often with a whole wheat crust and farmer's market veggies on top. And a child who is a healthy weight and getting lots of exercise SHOULD be drinking whole milk. A healthy kid NEEDS fat in their diet.
4
The balance to the eating is the moving. Kids are a lot more sedentary than they used to be. Many don't walk to school or to activities. PE time is not daily and some districts have cut recess (not SPS).
5
I would assume that the pizza most kids eat isn't a homemade quality. It is probably chalked full of preservatives and grease and void of nutrition.
6
Pizza is an open-faced cheese sandwich.

Not unhealthy as a food group. I am going to refrain from writing out how to make it unhealthy since you obviously already know that.
7
children age 9 and up require 1200 mg of calcium daily.

"a Swedish study has found that women who regularly consume at least one serving of full-fat dairy every day gained about 30 percent less weight than women who didn't. The researchers, from the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, looked at the intake of whole, sour, medium- and lowfat milk, as well as cheese and butter for 19,352 Swedish women aged 40-55 years at the start of the study. "

How is it that full-fat dairy reduces weight gain in women aged 40-55, but is considered empty calories and contributes to the obesity epidemic in children? Don't women aged 40-55 have more body fat?

Local dairies like Sea Breeze sell whole milk. Are they part of the "processed food" industry?

My kid's body mass index is 13.7. I let him have cheese and whole milk, or "homo milk" as he puts it, and ice cream once a week. It's the sugar that gets limited.

I'm thinking sugar is more to blame for obesity, diabetics, disease than milk is. Maybe the dairy industry doesn't pay its lobbyists enough.
8
Corn sugar is the culprit.

It's rare we have Soda. the only sugary fruit drinks are natural juice (in the frozen section), but we do buy ice cream, locally made pizza (seriously, check out Kylie's Chicago Pizza in Fremont - yum). Who buys whole milk? We switched from 2 pct to 1 pct a few years back.

On the other hand ... donuts. Mostly buy those maybe once a month.

You're far better off getting exercise and eating a varied diet, actually. Too much of anything is bad.
9
@4 is correct: It's not so much what they're eating as the sedentary lifestyle most kids have these days. Make 'em walk to and from school like I did, let 'em outside for recess and to play, and discourage vegging out in front of the TV and computer, and I think you'll see much skinnier kids.
10
The food critic doesn't know what "empty calories" are. She does, however, know how to kiss her boss's ass, so that explains a lot.
11
I saw a commercial on TV recently for General Mills "sugar cereals" (Lucky Charms, Trix, etc.) talking about how they were a healthy choice. Yeah. The food industry is invested in selling us crap? No kidding.

@9 I swear I read a study a few months ago that found that childhood obesity is more related to diet choices than exercise. It's only one study, of course, but I thought that was very interesting, given all the attention that's being paid to getting kids to exercise. I'll see if I can find it...
12
As a kid, my mom was a total health nut. Dried fruit, nuts, add wheat germ to every recipe and never allow refined sugar in the house health nut. I get what she was trying to do - keep her kids from eating crap - but as soon as I escaped the sphere of her culinary influence I went crazy. I remember the day in college when I realized I could eat all the Oreos I wanted with no lecture, or order pizza, or hit McDonald's for breakfast. Small wonder I gained 70 pounds in college.

Now, I eat a lot healthier. I buy sustainably raised beef and pork, joined a CSA, and get organic eggs, milk and cheese from local sources. I enjoy my healthy food now, as I never did as a kid. And I appreciate what my mom tried to do for me. But there has to be a happy medium between 100% Junk and No Sugar Nazi where parents can live most of the time and teach their kids to make better choices.

If somebody can figure that happy medium out, let me know.
13
A recent study declared that by 2030, 4 out of 5 Americans will be obese. The costs of treating obesity related diseases is predicted to collapse the entire medical insurance industry. But the hell with that - let's just keep our focus on preventing gays from getting married. (sarcasm)

14
Julie in Eugene @11, you reminded me of the reporting I saw on that study plus some others, which was here:
http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/2…
15
I live in Brooklyn and the bodegas here are usually binary in their approach to food. Bodegas either have almost all fancy, organic "good" food or they have 100% HF corn syrup in every sold product.

HF Corn Syrup is so the culprit. It becomes a taste that kids like, and it helps them say no to tastes they don't like, but then the diet becomes all HF corn syrup.

I had a pal who was a fatty loser who only ever ate the worst ghetto food, never EVER a salad, he had colitis due to all the junk he eats. I got him to eat a leafy good salad (No dressing, no high fat cheese or meat, lots of veggies but not a super health salad, it had a little bacon and olives, etc) After choking it down he had horrible diarrhea and told me he passed salad, relatively whole.

His body lost the ability to break down veggies, or something, maybe I should ask science.
16
Why tax soda, candy, and other unhealthy foods?

Sure, they're not good for kids if they eat them 24/7. Hell, you'd get sick eating vegetables, if that's all you ate. Cutting this stuff out of your life is the wrong message, and won't work. Moderation is the key - a candybar a week won't hurt you.

Diet is part of it, but I'd argue that exercise is even more important. Kids sit on their asses and watch TV or play on the computer all day because they see their parents doing it. And they think it's alright to be fat because of all the crap on TV about how being 'different' is okay. They're made to believe it's in their genes, or they were born to be fat, or some other pseudo-medical drivel. How about going out and running around? Play sports.

This is coming from someone who *was* an overweight kid. I'm 5'10 and weighed 290 pounds my freshman year of High school. But I realized that I was fat, and unattractive, and decided to change. I worked out. I stopped eating shitty foods every day. Today, I weigh 175 pounds, and am on my way to the gym right now, because I'm not where I want to be yet.

It wasn't easy, but it wasn't that hard, either. Put down the fork and go run some laps. It's willpower.
17
10

Kiss?

Her tongue is tickling his small intestines...
18
A prof out in Indiana says what Dan Savage has been saying over and over:

"Eating is learned behavior. Kids eat what their parents eat," said Dr. Charles Dick, professor of medicine at Indiana University School of Medicine. "If busy parents throw a nasty cock in their mouth, or up their ass, that's a bad meal that sends a bad message."
19
I don't think the milk thing is such a crime. I'd be hard pressed to find a kid, though, that drinks it straight - it's usually in the form of chocolate milk.
20
People need to see the direct connection between buttsex and getting AIDS, and they need to see it over and over.
21
Interesting article, Gus; thanks for posting it.
22
....regular people, the celebrities of the hiphop, Michelle Obama, Dan Savage ?!
23
The criticism of whole milk is a bit silly, I agree. Although whole milk has more calories, it is also more satiating and has better nutrition (e.g. no need to add Vitamins A or D). (Milk from organic and grass-fed cattle is also more nutritious than corn-fed cattle, e.g. fatty acids, etc.) Also, skim-milk products like skim mozzarella or skim yogurt often compensate for the lost fat with increased added sugar or salt, which are problematic tradeoffs that may harm health long-term more than simply eating the fattier food would.

I don't see individual diets as the problem. Instead, there are some societal issues that need fixing:

Kids don't walk or bike to school any more. They should, in the rain and in the snow.

Our entire food economy is designed around repurposing corn and soy, which are subsidized so they are artificially cheap, into various edible forms--from HFCS and corn chips to cattle feed and food-added ascorbic acid.

Salt (and/or sugar) is added as a filler to add weight and the impression of flavor to almost all food--instead of using actual ingredients to create a sense of flavor and satiety (and nutrition). Our grandmothers would pucker at the saltiness we tolerate in modern food.

Western cultures are undergoing a serious "technology loss" in that people no longer know how to cook, even very basically, and people no longer know what food is in season when.

Western societies have grown up on mass-produced food and don't know what grass-fed beef, heirloom turkey, or a proper strawberry or peach actually taste like. All our food is bland nowadays, so we are trained to seek out flavor from saltier, sugarier, and fattier fare.

The only people who can make use of nutritional labels are those with a certain level of education. The vast majority of people in Western cultures cannot make use of nutrition labeling, and companies no that.

The only people who realistically can cook from scratch at all are those who can afford child care and/or have at least one stay-at-home parent--and can afford pricier raw ingredients.
24
This weekend I ate Daring Donuts and Tofurky Cheese Pizza and then even more Daiya "cheese" over a bunch of TJ's Veggie and Flaxseed Tortilla Chips.

How many empty calories is that?
25
@15

Essential to the digestive process are cultures of bacteria found primarily in the intestines, the primary region of nutrient absorption. People consuming unvaried or specific diets will find themselves with the sort of bacterial cultures for the most part incapable of digesting uncommonly consumed foods. If one, nevertheless, keeps at it and attempts to consume a more varied diet from the one your friend ate primarily, one should be able, ultimately, to digest such without issue.

Many transitioning from a vegetarian to omnivorous diet experience similar problems digesting animal matter.
26
Here we go with the fucking high fructose corn syrup again. Yeah, if all the shit food mongers replaced HFCS with regular sugar the fat fuckers will just magically shrink overnight.

Give it a rest, will ya?
27
It doesn't have anything to do with grease or preservatives or HFCS. It's just massive quantities of calories.

I see hordes of middle-schoolers every afternoon in the convenience store across the street. Everyone gets an Icee, and then as much junk food as they can afford -- candy bars, gum, stuff I don't even recognize.
28
Not to excuse us "lazy" parents at all, but the fact that my wife and I need to work longer and longer hours to (barely, if at all) stay financially afloat leaves us very very little time (not to mention money) to shop for and cook decent food, and leaves their kids at home by themselves or at friends' homes to graze on junk.

We try -- we make an effort to try to give them at least one decent, healthy meal at dinner that we all sit down and eat together, barely ever eat fast food and also limit things like candy, soda and junk food. I'm sure my kids are way under that 40% stat, and they are both very active in afterschool sports.

Still, I can sympathize with the parents (especially single or divorced parents) who are too exhausted to go to battle every night with their kids after 14 hours at work to get them to eat their vegetables. The fact that we live in an economy where wages have stayed stagnant for decades while the price of everything else has ballooned to ridiculous levels has taken a toll on the health of families and kids.
29
gloomygus - sweet, thanks!
30
Children older than two should be weaned off of whole milk. Most pizza, especially the frozen & fast food kinds, do not deliver enough nutrition to balance out the calories. They're loaded with too much cheese, carbs, and fatty meats.
31
We held a 70th birthday party this weekend for a family member and there were about 50 people there. My 3 year old great nephew came in and after playing for awhile walked over to the appetizers. But when he only found cut up veggies and some sliced cheese, he loudly questioned "Hey, where's the junk food?" Everyone laughed and then looked at his parents, who remarked that since he doesn't get junk food at home he is only too happy when they are invited to a party. He knows everyone else has junk food at their house, just not at his house. Then he commented "If there is nothing good to eat at this house, then I want to go to another party. I don't think I want to stay here anymore, let's go!"

Hoo boy are they gonna have their hands full. Kids do say the darndest things. LOL
32
28 I hear you. We're so overextended that a frozen pizza is often the fastest answer - or nachos, or a quesadilla, both amde at home.

But I also follow my mom's rule: if we're eating something quick and easy at home, we ALWAYS have fresh produce with every meal. I cut up an apple, some cucumbers/carrots/peppers/tomatoes, and whatever other fruit is on hand (one thing I admit I love about globalization is we have fresh strawberries year round). My son gets fresh produce at EVERY meal, so frankly, I don't really worry about the occasional donut or fried chicken finger.

And: zero soda. None, ever. IMO that shit's nasty, though my husband is addicted to it.
33
Also, most of these problem foods have been around for generations. I was eating Cap'n Crunch with Crunchberries and Lucky Charms in the early seventies. We had frozen pizza and ice cream, too. Coca-cola has been around for more than a century.

What's changed is the cost, and the portions. Coke was originally sold in 6-ounce bottles; now, the smallest one you can get from a fast-food place is 16 or 24 ounces, and kids typically get the 32-ounce size, with free refills. I see people on the bus chugging out of half gallon "juice" (mostly sugar water) or "sports drink" (entirely sugar water) bottles. And, adjusting for inflation, and people's incomes, junk food is practically free.
34
From my observations, America's infatuation with huge meals is what needs to change. Serving size matters! Almost all food is fine in moderation. But the donuts they sell are gigantic. 20 oz of soda is ridiculous. Even the salads are drenched in tablespoons of oily dressing.

Even "good" food is served in huge portions. I'm convinced that we'd do well to fight obesity by showing people what a normal portion of food is. Meat portion should be about the size of a deck of cards. Butter portion about the size of a dice. Drinks should be at max in 8 oz servings.

I was raised to eat what was on my plate. To this day, I have to "clean my plate."

35
@33, ha ha, yeah, I love looking at old 1970s cookbooks that my Mom still has around the house with recipes for Jell-O salads and ham roasts basted in maple syrup and rolled in miniature marshmallows. Also, factor in that everyone smoked around the kids all the time.
36
Everyone is on the wrong path here, because you are working with a faulty assumption. I read a story a few years back, wish I had a cite, that said American Agriculture and food production industries are so efficient, they produce 500 calories per day per person.

Most of us need in the neighborhood of just less than 2000 per day.

This efficience has been created in teh last 30 years or so. Think back to the late 70s, early 80s. Are portion sizes in any restaurant twice what they were then? Or even larger?

The truth is,t here is 2.5 times as much food out there as we need, in terms of calories. Where is to going to go if we don't eat it? No one knows, because so far we have been eating it, and it has gone to our waistlines.

Until we address the issue public health issue of too much food available, telling us to eat less is the wrong thing to do. Those who grow and make the food are not going to just throw it away, they will find a way to make it palatable.
37
@15- You've gotta start slow on the high-fiber foods. Start by putting a bunch of salad on your burger.

Also, when you eat nothing but processed foods, you don't chew much. Raw leafy vegetables need to be chewed up.
38
Peter, don't forget that it was sausage and bacon and eggs for breakfast, a big lunch (almost always involving meat), and things like steak, fried chicken, and pork chops for dinner.

A lot of those folks have lived into their 90s anyway - the nursing homes are full of them.
39
My kids - 6 & 3 scoff at the good wholesome home made meals my wife & I prepare. Any chance they get to have processed food - hot dogs, macaroni & cheese, etc - that my wife & I don't eat - they wolf it down and beg for more.
40
@28 The key point of being a parent is keeping them safe. If you can't keep kids from eating shit, don't have kids.

Or you can just take the easy way out and blame the economy for your bad decisions.
41
Fnarf, my grandmother turned 98 last week and I think her diet always consisted mostly of things fried in Crisco and/or bacon grease. She never smoked, though...

DavidC, you are describing my kids as well. Dan Savage's ideal of parents modeling behavior may work in the extreme long term, but it hasn't seemed to work on my teenagers.
42
@38: um, no. Those old folks didn't eat much lunch, or if they did, it was dinner too. Three huge meals a day has never been normal, even for farm workers. Huge meals slow you down. My grandfather typically ate an apple for his lunch every day. My father ate a big lunch, but never breakfast, and dinner was frequently about 95% martini.

Our Founding Fathers mostly drank cider or whiskey for their meals, including breakfast.
43
@42 -- We are about the same age. My grandmother was a farm wife who was very happy when they ultimately became city folk because she didn't have to cook so much. The farmers and help ate a lot --- and exercised it off of course.

The pics of before and after the in-town move are revealing how fast it took my grandfather to put on weight. He kept eating his farm menu portions. He died overweight but thinner than many people at my local Walmart.

My parents now live at a senior center and a quick perusal of the dining hall shows some fat but again, NOTHING like what they younger people on the outside are sporting.
44
People years ago sometimes ate huge meals.

But then they would go and do things, like build a house.

Nowadays people eat a huge meal and then sit around tweeting about what they just ate.
45
@41, I'll bet she didn't drink 128 ounces of Powerade Mountain Berry Blast every day, either. Or Jamba Juice Power Smoothies. Or Outback Steakhouse's Aussie Cheese Fries with Ranch Dressing (2,900 calories, 182 grams of fat, 240 grams of carbohydrates, and it's a SIDE DISH.
46
@45, no indeed, but nor did she ever mess around with low fat anything. Not that she was ever more than a couple of pounds overweight at most (she weighs about 6 grams at this point).

My kids like Jamba Juice and Powerade style crap, but they are each rail thin thanks to their constant activity. They'll have to give up on that stuff when their metabolisms finally give out like mine did.
47
Another factor to consider is the schools. Huge numbers of children get both breakfast and lunch at school, and too much of the time what they are getting there is either junk food, or horribly unappetizing.
48
@40,

The key point of being a parent is to raise responsible, intelligent, educated adults. By your logic, the insane helicopter parents who are too terrified to let their kids play in the front yard or walk to school (because OMG pedophiles!) are the very model of good parenting.

Parents that can 100 percent control what their kids eat are not fulfilling the real objective of parenthood -- they're raising kids who can barely stand up and walk let alone deal with adulthood.
49
I let my kids, now five years old, have treats, but in very small portions. I've witnessed them tell other parents at birthday parties that their piece of cake is too big, so I think this strategy is working pretty well. They don't feel deprived, and they are learning self control.

This year they started public school, where they only have twenty minutes to eat lunch in a busy room with lots of distractions. My kids are already under weight -- my son is consistently around the 10th percentile -- so my ideas about a healthy diet have gone to hell. I am willing to put just about anything in their lunches to get them to eat it quickly, just so they get a few calories during the day.
50
@49- I've started fixing my daughter's lunch so it makes a good post-school snack too. She eats about half a sandwich during that 20 minute lunch and is always starving after school.
51
Popularize the local food "show": http://cookusinterruptus.com/

The focus is on healthy/local/organic - and it's funny too
52
@48 What the hell are you babbling about? I don't know where you get helicopter parenting from my post. I will spell it out again, since you clearly missed the point. If you feed your kid twinkies, dr. pepper and hot pockets you are a bad parent because you are hurting the long term health of your child.

I think you may have over analyzed my post just a wee bit.
53
Children older than two should be weaned off of whole milk.
Yes, far better for them to drink nutritionally deficient milk fortified with spray-dried skim milk powder and synthetic vitamins to make up for the fact that all of the natural vitamins have been removed, along with the conjugated linoleic acid, glycospingolipids, and medium-chain triglycerides.

The most hilarious thing about skim milk is that it costs just as much, even though it's basically a waste product. Fortunately for the dairy industry, there's a sucker born every minute.
54
Taxing the hell out of candy is just throwing money at the problem and that has worked so well for terror, drugs, and poverty. You can continue to count on the corrupt, near bankrupt government for everything or you can take personal responsibility. Problem is, most people that are fat are poor non-whites, and that's pretty much all liberals want in this country. They dont assimilate, have no money and low IQ's, so you get a bunch of fat stupid people who depend on the government for everything, and liberals are their greatest aides.
55
It's really not all that complicated - calories in, calories out. Yes, it's important to eat a healthy and balanced diet with all the necessary nutrients, but portion size is equally important. Look at how the French eat. They eat butter and foie gras and all manner of things that would have the Nutri-Nazis' panties in a twist, bt they do it in moderation.

Americans need to practice a lot more moderation in their eating. The fact that places like Claim Jumper exist is proof of how ingrained a "more is better" approach to eating has become. You pratically have to go out of your way to get pre-made food that isn't super sized.

Bottom line: eat like a pig, look like a pig.

Oh, and that obnoxious three-year-old who made the comment about leaving the party because there was no good food there? He needs a swift kick in the ass.
56
You know, I feel like my parents did a pretty good job of teaching us healthy eating habits, but also fairly healthy attitudes about treats. We weren't allowed sugar cereals in our day-to-day life, but when we went on vacation we could have them. We always had a fruit & vegetable at every dinner (and usually fish or chicken instead of red meat), but my mom loved to bake so we had lots of cookies in the house too.

But, this influenced my brother and I in totally different ways as adults -- e.g., he loves sugar cereal, I think it's disgusting. So, even if you have a reasonable approach to teaching your kids about food, they're going to internalize it different ways. Doesn't mean you shouldn't try though.
57
This year I gave up red meat, sugar and most processed foods and as a result I've lost 30lbs. I am an accidental vegetarian - most of my diet is fruits and veggies. But I DO NOT support the idea of overly taxing "bad food". What people choose to eat is one of our basic freedoms and if someone chooses to be a big, fat slob then so be it.

Punishing people for what they eat is the worst kind of government intervention and intrusion into our lives. What can be more personal than what you put in your mouth? Every time Lefties start talking Nanny-state laws meant to "protect us", I hear exactly the same rhetoric that the Righties use when they want to ban abortions or discriminate against gays.
58
#57, what's the difference between taxing candy or other crap food and taxing cigarettes and alcohol? All can have deleterious health impacts that result in higher medical costs. So while I get your point about government intrusion, I also think people need to take responsibility for and bear the costs (or at least some of them) for their choices.
59
If you have to chose between high-fat and high sugar, you should go with high fat every time. Fat keeps providing energy for much longer, so you don't get hungry and eat again soon, and eating fat doesn't crank up the insulin (which induces fat-storing cells to convert sugar into fat and stash it away, not release it). Blame the American Heart Association, which got it horribly wrong a few decades ago, and is only gradually coming around to admitting it. Blame also the easy vocabulary equivalence (fat food makes fat person) for this confusion, too. If we used the word "obese" to refer to people, and I dunno, "lipids", or something to refer to fat in food, that might help us get away from this idea that colories from fat are worse for you than calories from sugar and refined carbs, when the reverse is true. A hugely publicized "mea culpa" from the AHA would help, too,but that won't happen. I saw an ad for highly sugared "iced tea" the other day that said "fat free" on it, and wished I carried a sharpie to deface it.
60
Continuing the rant: If you're on a diet and are going to have a slice of white-flour toast for breakfast, you are much better off putting a big pat of butter on it rather than eating it dry, as you would be then more likely to make it to lunch without having a candy bar from the office vending machine. Strictly speaking, you'd be better off eating _two_ pats of butter and skipping the white toast altogether, as you'll then have no insulin boost in the morning and will be more likely to have net fat-flow _out_ of your fat-storing cells during the forenoon. You'll have more energy at 11 a.m., too. Of course, two pats of butter is a little unappetizing. So put those pats on butter on something hypoglycemic -- steel cut oats, say, not white toast.
61
Didn't you get the memo? Encouraging healthy eating habits is socialism. If you love freedom, you must encourage people to stuff their mouths with extruded chicken paste.
62
Just to add to the fun here, there is a recent issue of Time magazine (not that I endorse reading Time Mag, generally) with a cover article discussing how the fetal conditions in-utero apprently have life-long impacts ... obesity, diabeties Type 2, etc.
(( Sadly, Time's website doesn't seem to contain the entire article text. Lame.))
63
Skim milk is disgusting and I refuse to drink it. Attacking whole milk in the name of health is ridiculous. It's highly caloric, yes, but those are not empty calories, they come with a huge nutritional payload. And did I mention that skim milk is gross?
64
@54- "Taxing the hell out of candy is just throwing money at the problem and that has worked so well for terror, drugs, and poverty."

Yes, because our taxes on terrorism, illegal drugs, and poverty have cost us money and not solved the problem. Because they don't exist.

Are you trolling? I can't tell. You're saying something stupid and weird, so it might be an attempt to parody Libertarian babble.

Anyway, taxing alcohol and cigarettes haven't cost the general public anything, just consumers of alcohol and cigarettes. Because it cost too much, I quit smoking and now there's less garbage in the world, I'm sick less often and I'll probably have a longer more productive life.
65
I was just at UW where a bunch of vendors came and most of them gave away a bunch of junk food, little that was healthy. What a great way to introduce the freshman to a university. Bad message to our young people. How about next year having everyone volunteer for a local charity, and rewarding the volunteers with healthy food?
66
Milk has almost as much sugar as soda and more than most sugary fruit drinks. Chocolate milk is even worse. 2% and whole milk are like dropping some bacon in your soda. It's one of the worst "foods" on the planet.

DRINK WATER!
67
@26 - it seems that you don't understand. HFCS and sugar are not processed the same way. The LIVER processes HFCS in much the same way that alcohol is processed. HFCS leads to diabetes - not only weight gain. HFCS is a poison, as is sugar, but the real issue is moderation and this country does not engage in moderation. HFCS is cheaper than sugar and has been placed in almost EVERY processed food.
68
@65: Last year they were giving out free samples of "Venom" at my university. It's got warnings on it about the caffeine levels.

@66: Water is the best beverage, really, but milk is good for you in moderation, due to its obscenely high calcium content and the decent amount of protein it contains. Don't knock it.
69
@26 - Corn Sugar makes your body process all of your calories differently. It is a real problem. Look it up.
70
This thread would not be complete without the young King Curtis, poster child of the obesity epidemic:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7HQ0sfOCa…
71
If we just ended the Cane Sugar embargo and the tax subsidies for corn, ethanol, and corn sugars, the market would correct itself and Americans could eat healthy again.

But that would be cheaper.

And it would WORK.
72
@20-"The only people who realistically can cook from scratch at all are those who can afford child care and/or have at least one stay-at-home parent--and can afford pricier raw ingredients"

That's bull! Anyone who has the time to watch TV has the time to cook food from scratch. It doesn't take that long. My mom was a single parent, and she cooked from scratch, and taught us how to do the same from an early age. Cooking from scratch is both the cheapest way to eat and the healthiest. When I was a kid, my family was simply too poor to be able to afford junk food.
73
Gee, but if children aren't taught to eat badly and struggle with their weight, who will continue to fund our struggling dieting industry?
74
Cane sugar is no better for you than HFCS. You should avoid both equally.

http://www.groceryshopforfree.com/2010/0…
75
@70: I wish I could unsee that video. Holy fucking shit, what is wrong with those people?
76
54, it's not a matter of who pays for it, it's the matter of the fact that people think throwing money at a problem fixes it.