top of page

Food consumed in the United States vs. Europe

MON.| 11-07-22 | OPINION

     In the sixth grade, I watched a documentary about the American food industry in relation to obesity throughout the country. This film was extremely eye opening as I realized for the first time that healthy foods in the grocery store are priced much higher than processed foods. This can lead to people being more likely to purchase unhealthier foods since it is cheaper. Even though these products are more affordable, diets consisting mostly of processed food result in health concerns in the future such as obesity, heart disease, high blood pressure and diabetes. 
     Globally, America overall has the worst reputation considering citizens' relationship with food. In fact, the average caloric intake of Americans has increased “about 23% more than in 1970” according to Pew Research Center Senior Writer Drew Desilver.

     This is not a healthy lifestyle and a 

american food graphic .jpg

Graphic by Abby Ershadi 

major concern for younger generations exposed to foods made out of chemicals and artificials. Within processed foods, certain chemicals can cause the brain to become addicted to junk foods that light up the pleasure centers within neurons, triggering the release of chemicals such as dopamine. Psychologist Susan Albers from the Cleveland Clinic explains how food addiction can be described as “cravings, withdrawal and feeling out of control,” when one goes without eating a specific food for a while. Because of this, overeating becomes a strong habit of individuals and is the first stepping stone to severe health concerns. I think that because of this we can no longer trust processed foods. If these chemicals are really addictive, our bodies are being poisoned.

     Not only is junk food common in most American diets, the ingredients are nowhere near as nutritious and clean compared to other places around the world. Recently, I went to London and Greece, and the drastic difference in food quality astounded me. Firstly, the meal portions are much smaller than general American portions yet were very filling. Secondly, the food tasted better, even foods common in America such as steak and potatoes had a lighter feel and were generally more enjoyable. Thirdly, my body felt better after eating these meals. Even though I was only in Europe for two separate 10 day periods, I noticed a small bit of weight loss. I was eating almost the same foods that I ate back home, but I was eating smaller portions with healthier meal components. For example, a standard Greek breakfast that I ate was watermelon, toast, Greek yogurt with fruit and a small espresso. This was smaller than my normal American breakfast of cereal, an egg sandwich and a sugary latte, I felt full afterwards. Not to mention the price of an average meal in Europe is far less expensive, even though there is use of fresh and quality ingredients. Most food is seasonal, locally bought and produced, with no size or color restrictions, the only requirement is to have excellent taste quality.  

     It must be acknowledged that not all food in America is unhealthy and unsustainable. In fact, many local restaurants are farm based and use nutrition packed ingredients. These local businesses and markets are a much better alternative because the ingredients are more nutritious and contain a higher quality.  

     This begs certain questions, what is really in American food? What is the fast food we buy constantly actually made of? Can we trust the canned pasta and frozen chicken nuggets? What even is an energy drink? How can dye be considered an ingredient? 

     I admit I am guilty of eating fast food often and processed meals such as canned spaghettiOs. However, I think America needs to go on a cleanse and stop mass manufacturing foods before artificial foods consume our beings. 

bottom of page