You are barraged by ads for junk foods. You see other ads, for weight-loss programs, that say you can eat whatever you want, not exercise and still lose weight. It’s easier to find a Snickers bar, a Big Mac or a Coke than it is to find an apple. And your kids eat at a school cafeteria whose idea of a vegetable is the ketchup on the burgers. You go to your doctor for health tips. In the waiting room, you find a glossy 243-page magazine titled Family Doctor: Your Essential Guide to Health and Well-being.
Published by the American Academy of Family Physicians and sent free to the offices of allSO,OOO family doctors in the United States in 2004, it’s full of glossy full-page color ads for McDonald’s, Dr Pepper, chocolate pudding and Oreo cookies. You pick up an issue of National Geographic Kids, a magazine published by the National Geographic Society “for ages six and up,” expecting to find wholesome reading for youngsters. The pages, however, are filled with ads for Twinkies, M&Ms, Frosted Flakes, Froot Loops, Hostess Cup Cakes and XtremeJell-O Pudding Sticks.
This is what scientists and food activists at Yale University call a toxic food environment. It is the environment in which most of us live today. The inescapable fact is that certain people are making an awful lot of money today selling foods that are unhealthy.
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They want you to keep eating the foods they sell, even though doing so makes you fat, depletes your vitality and shortens and degrades your life. They want you docile, compliant and ignorant. They do not want you informed, active and passionately alive, and they are quite willing to spend billions of dollars annually to accomplish their goals.
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