Lack of knowledge about nutrition!

United States
July 14, 2012 6:15pm CST
While I was in school, one of my professors shocked me by repeatedly calling a McDonald's hamburger a balanced, nutritionally adequate meal. His reasoning? You had your bread, your protein, your dairy, and your fruits and vegetables. It made me squirm in my seat, and no one seemed to see the problem with this logic except me. There's not enough whole grain in that bread for it to qualify as nutritional, and the fat in that meat paddy is overwhelming what little vitamins and minerals are in those measly slices of tomato and lettuce. In the same class, there was another misconception brought up when we were talking about the proposed sugar/fat taxes. More than one student insisted that we needed sugar and fat in our diets, so junk food should stay available to us without taxes. I pointed out that the fats and sugars found in whole grains, fruits, and vegetables are more than adequate to cover the sugars and fats that our bodies need, and that no one needed to eat junk food to fill a void in their diet. I'm not a dietitian or a nutritionist, but I've read lots about nutrition... I thought it was pretty common sense to watch what you were putting into your body. But there's a supreme lack of knowledge about nutrition in my country, despite the ever-increasing wealth of information available.
1 person likes this
7 responses
• United States
16 Jul 12
Being a professor does not translate to having knowledge of nutrition--or anything else beyond one's field, for that matter. Students at the college I attended for undergrad would have challenged a professor who said such things, and I very much doubt that he would have managed to gain tenure.
1 person likes this
• United States
16 Jul 12
It's not just that he was a professor, I would think that the average citizen would have enough knowledge about nutrition to know that a McDonald's hamburger was not a balanced meal! And the students made the even bigger error in my opinion, believing that a small amount of junk food was necessary to fill a void in one's diet. And I did challenge him. And I complained about him using the classroom as his personal soapbox, but nothing ever came of it.
• United States
16 Jul 12
Last year, McDonald's had more than $27 billion in revenues. That is just one fast food chain. We won't even get into the rubbish that lines the shelves in large portions of the average supermarket. No, the average American does not possess much knowledge about nutrition. That is actually by design (see articles on Monsanto providing "educational" materials to schools, Channel One, BookIt, soft drink companies and their infiltration of American public schools, etc.). Personal experience has made me very cynical regarding the average American's knowledge of nutrition; having spent hundreds of hours researching the American food system hasn't made me any less cynical.
1 person likes this
• United States
16 Jul 12
Junk food and fast food companies themselves have been bent on spreading misinformation about the nutritional value of their products, but I would think schools would have more control over what information gets taught. When I was in elementary school, none of this rubbish was taught. One of my Physical Education teachers did a demonstration where she put styrofoam in one of the hallways to mimic arteries getting clogged up, and she stuck chip bags and fast food wrappers inside to tell us that this was the junk that caused this. Even if the fast food industry has a monopoly on our education system, which I doubt they actually do, I thought it was common sense to study for yourself what the food you put into your body does to you. But I guess I'm in the minority.
@desiree91 (515)
• Malaysia
14 Jul 12
I'm dumb when it comes to nutrition. I know Mcdonald's hamburger isn't healthy because it's fast food and people keep saying fast food isn't good. But I don't actually know why. Is your professor fat? He might have concocted that notion of his out of pure obsession to Mcdonalds. Oh man I need to improve my nutritional knowledge now that I'm thinking of what nutrients I get from the food I eat.
1 person likes this
• United States
15 Jul 12
Fast food is bad for you because it is very high in fat and sodium, but very low in vitamins and minerals. The food is typically fried and laced with preservatives, which are all bad for you. My professor wasn't overweight in the least, I wouldn't even say he was even chubby, but weight is not necessarily a good indicator of internal health. I'm pretty certain he was going to have heart disease. All that yelling undoubtably led to high blood pressure, and I don't know how he actually ate... but calling a fast food hamburger a balanced meal? Nu-uh. I really encourage you to look for books about nutrition! I'm a firm believer in the idea that if you treat your body right then you can dramatically increase your quality of life and ward off a whole host of health problems. I'll let you know the basics though, more fruits and vegetables of every color on the rainbow, less processed foods.
• Malaysia
15 Jul 12
Thank you for telling me all that, I'll keep that in mind. Now there is a difference between the mcdonald's fries and the fries I cook at home. Would you recommend me any books on nutrition? :)
1 person likes this
• United States
15 Jul 12
The fries you cook at home would probably have less preservatives which would make them better than Mc's fries, but still not necessarily good for you. Potatoes are kind of on the starchy side even when they're not loaded with grease, so I wouldn't say they make the best side dish even by themselves. If you're okay with reference books then the American Dietetic Association Complete Food and Nutrition Guide. They use the USDA Food Pyramid, which is sometimes argued against by other nutritionists and dietitians, but it's a good starting point and has lots of great information.
@bjc66bjc (6746)
• United States
14 Jul 12
hi allyoftherain, what an interesting reporting by your professor..How ever I guess we have been hearing for years that those fast foods places are not good for us..and they may not be but they are making so so much monies on that "no good for us foods" and it dosesn't look like they are closing their doors anytime soon.. I am happy for you that you have read and learn so much about nutritions but I thin the majority of people eat for the enjoymemt and the taste of foods not the nutritions..
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@bjc66bjc (6746)
• United States
15 Jul 12
I do agree with you somewhat..however I don't know how cigerettes came into the conversation about fast foods ater all there are people who smoke for their entire life and live to be high in age...80-90's just incase you queston that.. where as you think taste is a superficial reason to eat something, is your opinion..and I still disagree with you.. have a great weekend....
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@ladym33 (11012)
• United States
16 Jul 12
Unfortunately there are not enough vegetables on most fast food hamburgers to be counted as a vegetable serving so they are not a complete meal. If you add a salad then you could probably count it as a complete meal, but not the best. Most of us learned the food pyramid when we were kids but the bread section is a bit misleading if you eat that many servings of white bread, or white pastas in a day you will not be a healthy person. People don't seem to realize they are talking about whole grain starches not white bread, noodles, and rice. Most people don't start to really learn about good nutrition until they or someone they love starts to experience health problems, and that is very unfortunate.
1 person likes this
• United States
16 Jul 12
It is very unfortunate, especially considering those health problems could have been avoided had better care been given to nutrition earlier. Even if you added a salad to a fast-food meal, it still wouldn't be that healthy. Fast food salads don't have enough vegetables, and when you add the dressing there's way too much sugar. Plus the burger itself isn't a healthy source of protein because it has so much fat in it. A turkey burger patty would be better, but most fast food chains don't serve those.
@syramoon (655)
• United States
15 Jul 12
I know what you mean. It's insane what people consider balanced. Now I will admit I have trouble eating a balanced diet, because of my finical situation, but I won't lie to myself or anyone else by saying that it is balanced. I was become irritated when people do that - I mean I have a friend that consider Jolly Ranchers hard candy an actual serving of fruit. *shakes head in not knowing what to do*
1 person likes this
• United States
15 Jul 12
That is sad! There's not a trace of real fruit in a Jolly Rancher. I wouldn't know what to say to that person either. I don't really expect everyone to become nutrition saints, but believing such blatantly bad nutrition information is so ignorant. I would think everyone would know the basics... Real fruits and veggies good, candy bad! I saw this propaganda poster at a ice cream shop that was trying to pass off eating ice cream as good for you. It said, "Lots of calcium to build strong bones and teeth... improve athletic performance!" And it stuns me that people would fall for that kind of stuff.
@sanjay91422 (2677)
• India
15 Jul 12
I agree to you that junk food is not necessary if one do have the good knowledge about nutrients. I eat no junk food, I eat the self cooked food one time and eat at the canteen the other two times. I take salad with my food. I have felt that I feel healthy if I drink good amount of water and take salad regularly.
1 person likes this
• United States
15 Jul 12
I drink lots of water with every meal, and I try to get fruits and vegetables with every meal. I'm not a huge lettuce fan, so I don't eat lots of those kinds of salads, but there are lettuce-free salads that I try all the time. I love feeling healthy, and having lots of energy to do things. I always felt bogged down and lethargic if I ate more than a bite of junk food.
@cher913 (25899)
• Canada
14 Jul 12
odd that he would think that. is he aware what is in the meat and how it is cooked? and white bread too? nothing in that at all that is healthy is there? i would think a salad would be more healthy. i like the kind with grilled chicken in it.
1 person likes this
• United States
14 Jul 12
If you added lots of additional fruits and vegetables to the salad, and kept the dressing off, a McDonalds salad might make a balanced meal. But lettuce itself is really just kind of watery, it's not the best leafy green out there! And the dressings they have are always so full of sugar, you might as well be eating ice cream. The tomato slice might be healthy. If it were by itself, lol. He was a big conspiracy theorist, always showing us videos about new things "they" were doing, and I recall one of the things he kept talking about was the so called "meat glue" that food companies would use to put scraps back together and sell as a prime cut. He was so willing to believe his meat was laced with harmful artificial chemicals, and yet ignorant of the completely natural harmful chemical.