This research guide pulls together a variety of resources you may want to use if you are conducting research for Food, Diet & Health.
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The American attitude toward food is filled with contradictions. Americans eat "home-style" meals in restaurants because they are too busy to make similar meals at home. They spend virtually the same amount of money on remodeling kitchens as they do on diet products. The average American is overweight, yet eating disorders remain common among young women. Americans eagerly read about which foods to consume and which to avoid, but after reading the articles many drive to the nearest fast-food restaurant for lunch. These contradictions point to a society that is alternately obsessed with and fearful of food...
"Introduction to Food: Opposing Viewpoints." Food. Ed. Laura K. Egendorf. Detroit: Greenhaven Press, 2006. Opposing Viewpoints. Opposing Viewpoints In Context. Web. 27 Aug. 2013.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), chronic diseases like heart disease, stroke, cancer, and diabetes are among the most common, costly, and preventable of health problems in the United States, affecting one in every two adults. Heart disease, cancer, and stroke account for more than 50 percent of deaths each year, and diabetes, which can result in kidney failure, loss of limbs, and blindness, is the leading cause of disability among adults.
Poor nutrition has been identified as a major factor in the high incidence of all of these conditions. Recently, attention has focused on shortcomings of the so-called Western diet; this diet has been shaped by a series of agricultural innovations that began during the Neolithic period and has continued to the modern era with the development of food-manufacturing systems associated with industrial agriculture. In the typical US or Western diet, some nutrition experts claim, 72 percent of energy value is provided by foods that were not part of the diets of hominids, early humans, or close human ancestors. These include dairy products (10 percent of energy value in today’s typical diet), cereal grains (23.9 percent of energy value), refined sugars (18.6 percent of energy value), refined vegetable oils (17.6 percent of energy value), and alcohol (1.4 percent of energy value). Often these foods are presented in mixtures, for example in cookies, cakes, crackers, chips, snack foods, and pizza, all of which can be combinations of processed sugars, fats, dairy products, and grains. Processed sugars also appear in large quantities in soft drinks, candy, and ice cream...
"Western Diets." Opposing Viewpoints Online Collection. Detroit: Gale, 2013. Opposing Viewpoints In Context. Web. 27 Aug. 2013.
Americans are among the most unhealthy people in the world. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, almost two-thirds of Americans—approximately 97.1 million adults and 6.7 million children and teens—are overweight. The number of overweight Americans has more than tripled in the last twenty years. In addition to high rates of obesity, Americans suffer higher rates of heart disease and cancer than people living in any other country in the world. Cardiovascular disease is the number one cause of death in America, and at least 58 million Americans experience some form of heart disease. Cancer is the second highest cause of death in the United States, resulting in more than five hundred thousand deaths per year.
Despite the fact that rates of obesity, cardiovascular disease, and cancer are rising, the sorry state of American health is not new. Health experts have admonished people to eat healthy foods and to exercise since the 1950s, but the incidence of "lifestyle diseases"—noncommunicable diseases related to unhealthy lifestyles and unbalanced diets—continues to increase. Since many health problems are related to a poor diet, government health departments have issued numerous guidelines over the last fifty years to help the public navigate the bewildering abundance of food choices. However as new research about the causes of lifestyle diseases surfaces, the guidelines quickly become outdated. Thus, many people remain confused about which foods, and in what quantity, constitute a healthy diet.
"Introduction to Health: Opposing Viewpoints." Health. Ed. Auriana Ojeda. San Diego: Greenhaven Press, 2004. Opposing Viewpoints. Opposing Viewpoints In Context. Web. 27 Aug. 2013.
Suggested keywords and subject headings to use in your searches in the library catalog, electronic databases, and online resources. You may also mix and match keywords and subject headings in your search expression (i.e. food AND diet)
|food AND diet||food of animal origins|
|food AND diet AND health||food habits|
|diet AND health||diet|
|food AND health||food contamination|
|food habits||genetic engineering|
|paleo diet||prehistoric peoples -- nutrition|
|fossil man diet||obesity|
|nutrition -- social aspects|