The First Thanksgiving: 1621

A Brief History of Thanksgiving Foods

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English: “The First Thanksgiving at Plymouth” (1914) By Jennie A. Brownscombe (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“ The turkey is certainly one of the most delightful presents which the New World has made to the Old.”  Brillat Savarin.

Most of the traditional Thanksgiving foods we now eat on this holiday are foods that originated or were Native to the Americas. The word for turkey in French is dinde, short for poulet d’inde since they thought that the turkey came from the West Indies of Columbus days.  The turkey was popular in England before the Pilgrims came in 1620.

Turkeys don’t migrate so they were some of the first Native Americans and were available all year.  Turkeys are easy to hunt – when one is shot, the others freeze in place.  Don’t get me wrong – I don’t encourage shooting turkeys – we have lots of wild turkeys here in Western North Carolina. Many times I’ve had to stop and wait until they cross the road.  I once encountered a few hens walking in the woods, followed by a male who wanted to impress them by making a racket and spreading his tail feathers – of course, the “girls” totally ignored him and went on without a nod – I kind of felt sorry for him

Potatoes had reached Europe early in the Columbian Exchange (thanks to Christopher Columbus).  Potatoes had an interesting history – they were native to Peru, a Spanish colony and enemy of England, and went from Peru to Europe and then returned to New Hampshire with Scottish-Irish settlers in 1723.  It is thought that the idea of mashing them with butter and milk also came form Scottish-Irish influence.

Cranberries were native to New England. Cranberries and blueberries were mashed with sour milk and used as paint as well as for food.  To this day, these colors or variations of these colors are used in New England colonial homes.

Many types of squash had reached Europe, but pumpkin was unknown at that time. Pumpkin was used in the early colonies, but did not appear in cookbooks until Amelia Simmons in 1796 wrote the first printed American cookbook.  She referred to it as “pomkin”.  You may prefer pecan pie – and these are also of American origin.  Originating in central and eastern North America and the river valleys of Mexico, pecans were widely used by pre-colonial residents.

Cornbread and sweet potatoes (both being native to the Americas) round out our traditional Thanksgiving fare. Archaeological studies indicate that corn was cultivated in the Americas at least 5600 years ago and American Indians were growing corn long before Europeans landed here. The probable center off origin is the Central American and Mexico region but since the plant is found only under cultivation, no one can be sure.

The sweet potato has a rich history and interesting origin. It is one of the oldest vegetables known to mankind. Scientists believe that the sweet potato was domesticated thousands of years ago in Central America. Christopher Columbus took sweet potatoes back home to Europe after his first 1492 voyage. Sweet potatoes spread through Asia and Africa after being introduced in China in the late 16th century.

So as you enjoy your Thanksgiving this year, give thanks to the Americas for our traditional foods that are truly “made in America”.

BTW –Many of the foods we find on our Thanksgiving table today, weren’t  available back when the colonists celebrated the First Thanksgiving in Plymouth.  The first historical descriptions of the first Thanksgiving do not mention turkey – only “wild fowl” (not identified) and five deer.  The party was in 1621 with fifty-one Pilgrim men, women, and children hosting ninety men of the Wampanoag tribe and their chief, Massasoit.  It was in the fall to celebrate the good harvest of corn (wheat and barley weren’t as successful) and lasted three days.

Have a great Thanksgiving Day from Food, Facts & Fads and STAY SAFE.  SJF

The American Plate 1990-1999

Celebrity Chefs

The nineties has to be the decade of the celebrity chefs. This was mainly made possible by the Food Network with shows entitled Rachel Ray’s 30 Minute Meals, Everyday Italian with Giada De Laurentiis, and The Barefoot Contessa, Ina Garten. Alton Brown explained food chemistry with the aid of graphics; Bobby Flay traveled America to clambakes and a stew called burgoo in Kentucky. Mario Battali ate his way across Italy. A shy young Austrian chef named Wolfgang Puck opened a restaurant called Spago in West Hollywood, California. Puck reinvented pizza by using food from worldwide cuisines such as goat cheese, smoked salmon, duck sausage, chili oil and chicken. He began his own show on the Food Network in 2001.

Emeril Lagasse, a Portugese-American from Massachusetts developed a tremendous following by using signature phrases like “Kick it up a notch” and “BAM” as he adds spices to his food. He owns several restaurants, his TV show, a line of spices and sauces, cookware, and cookbooks.

One of the most popular shows on the Food Network was Iron Chef. This show pits chefs against each other. Each show centers around a theme food that must be used in the preparation of gourmet dishes. It can be from clams to eggplant to pumpkin and the cooking and preparation is presented as a contest in spectacular ways.

The Rise of SnackWells

Back in the real world, manufacturers were still busy finding ways to make food fat-free, low-fat, or reduced fat. Scientists even made a fake fat, Olestra which reached the market with the hope that we could then binge on foods that contained it. It was not successful – we continued to gain weight and turned to carbohydrates instead since they were low in fat. One problem: many of them were full of sugar. One popular product was called SnackWells, an array of fat-free cookies that suggested that you could eat all of them and not consume any fat. Introduced in 1992, the problem remained that they still contained calories.

The Internet or the World Wide Web opened up a whole new world of food with access to recipes from around the globe. All you had to do was search for a certain dish and voila – an abundance of recipes would appear for your choosing. Most recipes were reviewed by “real” people who offered suggestions for improving the dish or warned you ahead of time what to expect from the ingredients. Recipes were rated from one star to 5 stars with 5 being the best.

Dieting and Diabesity

Although weight loss diets had been around for decades, people began to be obsessed with dieting in the 1990’s. The diet industry exploded with diet books, diet pills, dieting gimmicks, fat blockers, calorie counters. In 1994, the FDA mandated that food labels must include detailed information about calories, fat and fiber. In 1996, it was estimated that six million Americans are either taking fen-phen (the appetite-suppressant, fenfluramine) plus the amphetamine phentamine. The products were pulled off the market when the FDA reports that “fen” might cause fatal heart problems. In 1996, the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute reports that 40 percent of nine and ten-year-olds are dieting and trying to lose weight. In 1999, Nutrisystem began selling its pre-made food and its products on TV and the Internet.

A new word was coined – diabesity. As the world became more overweight and obese, diabetes type 2 began to reach epidemic proportions. From 1990 to 1998 diabetes increased by one-third in the U.S. The vast majority of this increase – 76% was among people aged 30-39. The two major causes are an increase in obesity and a lack of exercise. Sixty percent of Americans do not exercise regularly and 25 percent do no exercise at all.

Survivor Foods and Y2K 

On December 31, 1999, the world waited to see if the coming year (2000) would disrupt computer systems that controlled phones, traffic lights, electricity and communications. Many were panicked and stockpiled food for survival in case the world shut down – None of the fears came to pass.

America’s Green Acres

As the century drew to a close, Americans look to their past to this to rediscover the pleasures of getting back to nature. Cashing in on this desire with farmers markets: there was just a few 100 in the 80s; by 1998 there were more than 2,700. And that number continued to grow as consumers seek out farm fresh produce. Then there were catalogs for fresh and dried herbs, heirloom vegetable seeds and exotic produce.

The organic foods industry was also a big story. As part of the 1990 farm bill, Congress included the Organic Food Production Act, which authorized development of national standards for labeling foods organic. But in 1997 when the USDA released these long awaited rules there was such an outcry against many of the proposed alliances, like permitting the use of sewage sludge fertilizer , and the inclusion of genetically altered foods, that the Department was flooded with an unprecedented 200,000 angry comments from the public.

The draft was scrapped, and the process began anew. A second set of rules was completed and released for public comment before the end of 1999.

But this governmental blunder didn’t stop the organic industry’s burgeoning sales and production because individual states already had their own standards and watchdog agencies in place. The organic industry posted double digit growth throughout the decade, with product sales topping the 4 billion dollar mark.

SOURCES: The Century in Food: America’s Fads and Favorites, Beverly Bundy [Collector Press:Portland] 2002 (p. 172-189)

The Food Chronology, James Trager [Henry Holt:New York] 1995 (p. 694-721)

Bon Appetit, September, 1999, p. 230

Timeline Trivia

1990: The US Department of agriculture introduces the Food Guide pyramid displaying 6 to 11 servings of carbohydrates a day. No differentiation was made between refined carbs and healthier carbs.

1990 The first fully recyclable plastic ketchup bottle hits supermarket shelves.

1991: McDonald’s introduces the McLean Deluxe, a lower fat

burger that is eventually shelved because of consumer lack of interest.

1991 US sales of salsa pass those of ketchup by $40 million dollars.

1992: Basketball greats Kareem Abdul Jabbar and Larry Bird advertised for Lays potato chips new formulation. The motto becomes “too good to eat just one.”

1993: US annual per capita egg consumption falls to 232, down from 321 in 1960, as the country becomes consumed with worries about cholesterol.

1993: the nation’s first 24-hour food channel, The Food Network, goes on the air.

1995: DiGiorno Rising Crust pizza is introduced.

1996: Four of five grocery bags used are plastic.

1998: Potato sprouts carried aloft on the space shuttle Columbia produced the first food grown in outer space.

1998 Organic farmers, marketers, chefs and consumers send more than 280,000 protest letters, prompting the US Department of Agriculture secretary to withdraw proposals to allow food to be labeled organic even if it is irradiated to kill germs, genetically engineered, or subject to sewage sludge or chemical spraying. The USDA continues to work on guidelines to have a national standard for organic food.

1999: genetically engineered corn is found to contribute to the death rate of Monarch butterflies.

1999: Prepackaged convenience foods are the fastest growing segment of the natural foods market, which is seeing a 20% annual growth rate. Consumers are gobbling up soy-based frankfurters, veggie burgers, frozen tofu desserts, and vegetable burritos.

1999 the average household works 40 days to buy its food for the year and spends 11% of household income on the annual food bill.

Are Vitamins Just a Placebo?

Do we all really need to take multi-vitamin/ mineral supplements as the supplement sellers suggest? This has been a debatable topic with nutritionists for the past few years. Some studies suggest that they are really not necessary unless you are diagnosed with a particular vitamin/mineral deficiency or underlying health issue. Others say that vitamins are only placebos and are marketed to the “walking well” population. In other words, they show no benefits when taken by healthy people.

Supplements can be very expensive and some studies say they only add to the profits of the vast supplement industry. Every supplement consumer should be aware of these realities and make their own educated health care decisions.

Dietary Supplement Realities: What Consumers Need to Know

  • FDA does not approve, test, or regulate the manufacture or sale of dietary supplements.
  • The FDA has limited power to keep potentially harmful diet supplements off the market.
  • Dietary supplements may not have been tested for safety or effectiveness before they are sold.
  • Dietary supplements often do not list side effects, warnings, or drug or food interactions on product labels.
  • Ingredients listed on supplement labels may not include all active ingredients.
  •  Dietary supplements may not relieve problems or promote health and performance as advertised. Claims on labels are often vague and unsubstantiated by clinical trials.
  • Studies have shown that the multivitamin/mineral pills that most people take provide plenty of B vitamins and vitamin C, but little calcium. The intake of both calcium and Vitamin D may be less than optimum and should be discussed with your doctor.

One of the most serious consequences of supplements results when they are used as a remedy for health problems that can be treated, but not by vitamins or minerals. Vitamin and mineral supplements have NOT been found to prevent or treat heart disease, cancer, diabetes, hypertension, premature death, behavioral problems, sexual dysfunction, hair loss, autism, chronic fatigue syndrome, obesity, cataracts or stress. Some such as vitamin E, vitamin C and beta-carotene may be harmful to certain groups of people. If taken, dosages should not be excessive.

Who may benefit from vitamin and mineral supplements? 

People with diagnosed vitamin and/or mineral deficiencies

Vegans (vitamin B12 and D)

Pregnant women (folate and iron)

Elderly persons on limited diets (multivitamin/minerals)

People on a restricted diet (multivitamins/minerals)

People at risk for osteoporosis (calcium, vitamin D)

People with alcoholism (multivitamin/minerals)

Elderly people diagnosed with vitamin B12, vitamin D and/or folate deficiency

  • Guidelines for Using Vitamin and Mineral Supplements
    Purchase products with USP (U.S. Pharmacopeia or the CL symbol (Consumer Laboratories) – tested for purity, ingredients, and dose.
    Choose supplements containing 100% of the Daily Value or less. Megadoses are not recommended.
    Take supplements with meals.
    Tell your health care provider about the supplements you take.

Source: Judith Brown, Nutrition Now, 2013.

Lori A. Smolin and Mary B. Grosvenor, Nutrition: Science and Applications, Third Edition.

Obesity: Some Solutions?

September 26, 2019 by foodworksblog Leave a comment

The Obesity/Diabesity Pandemic

Obesity is a major risk factor for the development of type 2 diabetes mellitus, so much so that the epidemic is often called diabesity. It has been described as one of the most important crises that has invaded our public health system.

Global Statistics, Source: Lancet

  • Since 1980, the number of adults with diabetes worldwide has quadrupled from 108 million to 422 million in 2014.
  • Diabetes is fast becoming a major problem in low and middle-income countries.
  • From 1980 to 2014, the prevalence of diabetes more than doubles for men in India and China.
  • Half of adults worldwide with diabetes in 2014 lived in five countries: China, India, USA, Brazil and Indonesia.

So what are some solutions?  

The standard American diet is in much need of an overhaul and our national food systems need to change if we wish to reverse or at least slow down this trend. Many say that it would take the same determination as the campaigns to change behaviors that were utilized during the campaigns against smoking.

Prevention awareness should be first on the front lines of treating the people with prediabetes that can often be reversible using lifestyle modifications. There are already some prevention models in the community; however, these should be expanded so that they become more easily accessible to more people. The Diabetes Prevention Program (DPP) uses intensive behavioral therapy to help people lose a little bit of weight (typically 5-10%). When this program is followed, the number of people progressing to have diabetes comes down by more than half. In people over 60, the reduction was 70%.

Nutrition education should be incorporated into the school system in the early years to help young children understand the importance of knowing where our food comes from and why nutritious foods are the best choice. They can be taught about balanced eating, calories, reading labels and grocery shopping. Nutrition education can also be offered at the middle and high schools’ levels by returning to a revamped and modernized home economics course in the curriculum.

A lingering problem has existed for many primary care physicians for many years in that they say they were never adequately prepared in nutrition principles in medical schools. In a survey of family physicians (2009), two thirds said that dealing with extremely obese patients is “frustrating “and one-half said treatments are often ineffective. This is reflected by a lack off obesity training.

Shockingly, another survey in 2010 of 140 doctors revealed that nearly one-third were not even familiar with the American Diabetes Association (ADA) prediabetes guidelines. Only 6 percent were able to identify all 11 risk factors and on average, the doctors could only identify just eight of the warning signs. Only 17 percent knew the correct laboratory values for blood glucose and only 11 percent said they would refer a patient to a behavioral weight loss program.

There should be an increased access to professional treatments. Medical professionals not trained in obesity management should refer their patients to outside providers such as dietitians, exercise trainers, behavior therapists, psychologists, or the new concept of health coaches. These providers should be trained, certified, and credentialed to protect the public from unscrupulous treatments and to provide quality care. Reimbursement of qualified health professionals needs to be enhanced to keep patient volume high and lessen out-of-pocket expenses.

We have become a nation of non-cooks and prefer to have our meals prepared by someone else. Encourage home cooking and home kit meals to help to counter using fast foods and packaged highly processed meals loaded with calories, fat, sugar and salt.

Educate the public on food labeling including ingredient lists. Beware of food companies that promote products with a “health halo” meaning exaggerated claims made that appear to make unhealthy foods seem healthy because of an added nutrient or ingredient. Corporations also mislead consumers with their labeling, so they include four different types of sugar to keep sugar from being listed as the first ingredient. This is misleading to the consumer when attempting to make wise food choices.

Stop corporate-government partnerships and diminish lobbying.
“Lately, the food industry (Big Agriculture, Big Meat, and Big Food ) has been highly implicated in this epidemic. This includes the advent of ultra-processed foods. “To sell these foods, companies bombard us with billions of dollars in ads, normalize eating junk food, and make it available 24/7, everywhere, and in large amounts at remarkably low cost.”

Source: “Against the Odds: Why our food system makes it tough to eat healthy, Nutrition Action Healthlettter  November, 2020.  

The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (formerly the American Dietetic Association) is funded by myriad food companies such as Coca-Cola, PepsiCo and Kellogg’s. The dairy industry has a long history of influencing the food pyramid and Dietary Guidelines. A good example is the placing of a glass of milk on the MyPlate Logo. Often this practice only serves the dairy industry and not necessarily the consumer.

Another health organization guilty of taking in millions from food companies is the American Heart Association. They offer a “Heart – Check logo for a price: $5, 490 to $7,500 that is renewable for another fee annually. The product has to be low in fat, saturated fat and cholesterol to gain this “honor.” However, some products such as Boar’s Head processed meats have the logo and still may still contain high levels of sodium. If the AHA were sincere in their efforts to help consumers choose healthier foods to rein in obesity/diabetes, they would realize that research has shown that a 1.8 oz. daily serving of processed meat raised the risk of diabetes by 19 percent and heart disease by 42 percent. Most current dietary recommendations emphasize a reduction in processed meats (my emphasis).

Bottom Line: It will take a concerted effort from government, politics, industry, communities, and consumers and the perpetrators of our obesigenic culture to begin to change this trend.

Living in an American Blue Zone

CLICK HERE.

(In 2008, National Geographic writer Dan Buettner published his bestselling book, The Blue Zones: 9 Lessons for Living Longer From the People Who’ve Lived the Longest, about the five “longevity pockets” around the world. Here, Next Avenue Money and Work & Purpose editor Richard Eisenberg, a Gerontological Society of America Journalists in Aging Fellow, takes a different look at the Blue Zones — places where there’s a high concentration of people living past 90 without chronic illnesses. Rather than focusing on the residents’ diets, he reports on how the oldest people in the Blue Zones make their money last and what Americans and America can learn from this.)

This article discusses healthy aging from the financial aspect. For more information on the Blue Zones, search “Blue Zones” on the Food, Facts and Fads Homepage (www.foodfactsandfads.com).

How Much Do We Eat?

Is  Super- sizing Leading to Super- sized Americans?

Many Americans are eating a good deal more food than needed and it appears that rising rates of obesity are partly related to increased portion sizes.

Supersizing fast food can double or triple the caloric content of the foods compared to their regular sized counterparts. A single, supersized meal including a cheeseburger, large fries, and thick shake provides more calories (about 2200) then many people need in a day. Larger portions don’t cost restaurants much more than smaller portions, they increase sales volume, and they encourage people to eat more.

Among adults, a 50% increase in portion sizes of meals has been found to increase daily energy intake by 423 calories.

Frequent dining at fast food restaurants (three or four more times per week) that primarily serve burgers and French fries is associated with a higher intake of calories, soft drinks and fat and a higher risk of overweight and obesity than frequent use of full-service restaurants. On a positive note, some restaurants have recently begun to offer smaller portion sizes or small plates and healthier menu options than in the past. 

CLICK HERE.

Oregano

Got pizza?  Next time remember to sprinkle some oregano on it for some unexpected health benefits.

Oregano is an herb from the mint family and plays an important role in the Mediterranean diet, so often touted as one of the healthiest diets on the planet to prevent heart disease and other chronic ailments. It has been used for centuries as a treatment for diarrhea, indigestion or colds and muscle aches.

Compounds called thymol and carvacrol are found in oregano and are considered to be responsible for many of its health benefits that include potent antiviral and anti-bacterial activity, so important these days of COVID-19.

  As far as antiviral activity, several in vitro studies have shown that carvacrol inactivated the norovirus within one hour. Norovirus is a highly contagious viral infection that is the main cause of the stomach flu.

In another study, carvacrol, and thymol  inactivated herpes simplex virus within one hour. Oregano oil extracted from the oregano leaves has been shown to have antiviral activity against respiratory syncytial virus (RSV. Respiratory syncytial (sin-SISH-uhl) virus, or RSV, is a common respiratory virus that usually causes mild, cold-like symptoms. Most people recover in a week or two, but RSV can be serious, especially for infants and older adults.

Oregano has promising anti-bacterial properties. An in -vitro study, oregano was found to have activity against 23 species of bacteria related to three genera, Staphylococcus , Micrococcus, and Bacillus, a sporeformer. Sporeformers are highly resistant to environmental conditions. Another study found that oregano as an essential oil was effective against different strains of Escherichia coli and Pseudomonas. Another study showed that oregano oil has significant antibacterial activity against 11 microbes that are resistant to antibiotics.  

How can you use oregano in your diet? The traditional use of oregano is in Italian dishes such as pasta sauce and pizza; however, it can be used in salads to add flavor as well as give you beneficial nutrients like vitamin C , arginine and minerals like calcium and potassium.

Arginine is a a building block (amino acid) that helps create proteins. It stimulates the release of insulin and gets rid of ammonia. Most importantly, the body uses arginine to make nitric oxide. Children need arginine to help them grow and develop. In adults, it helps improves blood flow, heals wounds, and repair damaged tissue.

Oregano is a nutrient dense food in that it also contains an antioxidant forty-two times more effective than in apples, thirty times more than potatoes, twelve times more than oranges and four times more than blueberries.

It also can be helpful when added to cooked meat, as one of the active ingredients, carvacrol has been shown to reduce the formation of potentially cancer-causing hetero-cyclic amines, chemicals that are formed in cooked meat that can be carcinogenic.

Of course as with most nutrition studies, especially on single food items, industry-funding is often suspect when it comes to the food industry in general about what is healthy. Many use only positive study results designed to be used for marketing purposes and additional independent research is needed. But give it a try – it can add flavor to your cooking and hopefully provide a source for essential nutrients and phytochemicals as well.

Processed Food: Not all Equal?

What has happened to “real” food?  Many traditional foods used in cooking today are processed in some way, such as grains, cheeses, dried fish, and fermented vegetables. It has been said that almost all foods undergo some form of processing; they are usually referred to as minimally processed.   The processing itself is not the problem, only much more recently has a different type of food processing emerged: one that is more extensive and uses new chemical and physical techniques. This is called ultra-processing and the resulting products, ultra-processed foods are everywhere.

To make these foods, cheap ingredients such as starches, vegetable oils, sugars, salt and trans fats are combined with certain additives such as colors, flavors and emulsifiers.  A previous post has addressed the possible problems associated with emulsifiers in our food supply. You can find this article by searching this blog for: Food Additives and the Metabolic Syndrome. Certain food additives can disrupt our gut bacteria and trigger inflammation, while plasticizers in packaging can interfere with our hormonal system.  Examples of ultra-processed foods include but not limited to as sugary drinks, confectionery, mass produced bread, snack foods, sweetened dairy products, and frozen desserts. Foods that come in a box or bag are often suspect.

Unfortunately, these foods are terrible for our health. And we are eating more of them than ever before, partially because of aggressive marketing and lobbying by big food. More ultra-processed foods in the diet associates with higher risks of obesity, heart disease, and stroke, type 2 diabetes, cancer, depression, and death. Ironically, these diseases have become some of the leading causes of death in the world. Certain features of ultra processed foods also promote over consumption. Product flavors , aromas, and mouthfeel are designed to make these foods ultra tasty, and perhaps even addictive.

Ultra processed foods can also harm the environment. For example food packaging generates much of the plastic waste that enters marine ecosystems. (see the example below).

Sales of ultra processed foods are highest in rich countries such as Australia, the United States and Canada. However they are rising rapidly in middle income countries such as China, South Africa, and Brazil, which are highly populated. Supermarkets are now spreading throughout the developing world, provisioning ultra processed foods at scale and at low prices. Where supermarkets don’t exist other distribution strategies are used for example, Nestle uses its door to door sales force to reach thousands of poor households in Brazil’s urban slums.

How can things change? The evidence that ultra processed foods are harming our health and the planet is clear. We must now consider using a variety of strategies to decrease consumption. This includes adopting new laws and regulations, for example by using taxation, marketing restrictions and removing these products from schools.

According to the authors of this article, simply telling individuals to be more responsible is unlikely to work when big food spends billions every year marketing unhealthy products to undermine that responsibility. Should dietary guidelines now strongly advise people to avoid ultra processed foods? Brazil and other Latin American countries are already doing this.

Will the new dietary guidelines for 2020  due to be published in the next few months, include the advice of limiting ultra-processed foods in our diets? It is doubtful since as in the past, adherence to the dietary guidelines has been low and also because the dietary guidelines alone in the United States unfortunately is highly associated with the food industry. This includes lobbying policymakers, making political donations, funding favorable research, and partnerships with community organizations.

This post includes excerpts from an original article first published by The Conversation. It has also been published titled “The Rise of Ultra-Processed Foods” by Phillip Baker, Mark Lawrence, and Priscila Machado in The Epoch Times, Wednesday, September 23, 2020.

BOTTOM LINE: Try to avoid or at least cut down on using processed foods, especially snacks (which can be addictive). Read the serving size and stick to it –and please not the whole bag – practice mindfulness and be aware.

Philip Baker is a research fellow at the Institute for Physical Activity and Nutrition at Deakin University in Australia.

Mark Lawrence is professor of public health nutrition at the Institute for Physical Activity and Nutrition at Deakin University, and Priscilla Machado is a research fellow at the School of Exercise and Nutrition Science in the Faculty of Health at Deakin University.