Thursday, May 20, 2010

How junk food affects your health - example conversation

Conversation Transcript


Puru: You know, I was reading an article just yesterday in the news that the government in England is bringing in a law to make it illegal to show TV advertisements for junk food. On any…

Lori: Really?

Puru: …but on any programmes that are targeted at the under-16s, so kids’ programmes…

Lori: Ah ha.



Puru: Umm, they’re going to completely outlaw it, umm…and…and… I mean, junk food, I mean, it’s anything — that’s from McDonalds to any kind of food that’s high in fat or sugar or anything like that — it’s…and it’s something that people have been talking about for years, you know, that…that…how bad junk food is for people.

Lori: Right.

Puru: Umm…but I was just really amazed that the government is taking such a strong action you know, just something across the board.

Lori: Yeah.

Puru: You know, umm…but I think…errr…from what I can remember, the advertising standards were…people were saying that they wanted to ban all junk food ads before 9 o’clock.

Lori: Ah ha.

Puru: Which…which in…in…in Britain, we have this thing called the…the “9pm watershed.”

Lori: Right.

Puru: I don’t know if you’re familiar with that?

Lori: Yeah, I think it’s the same…In the…the States, they talk about a watershed.

Puru: Right…right it’s sort of like after…after 9pm then they’re allowed to show more “adult” programmes, where they have maybe nudity and violence and things like that, so…

Lori: Yeah, all that good stuff!

[Laughter]

Puru: So, umm…You know, but it…I just thought that it was really amazing that the government would take such a strong stance because…errr…do you remember the film…ahh…what’s it called? The…the…the one…ummm… Supersize Me?

Lori: Oh yeah, yeah, the documentary.

Puru: Yeah, the documentary that they…

Lori: Yeah.

Puru: You know, I mean, I don’t see how anybody could watch that documentary, see the evidence and then try to deny how unhealthy junk food is.

Lori: Right…well you have to remember that was a study of “n=1” and, I mean, that there…there was probably some bias going into it, so I mean…

Puru: Oh…yeah…

Lori: …as far as a scientific study goes, you know, you…you really couldn’t…couldn’t…umm read too much into that, but I mean, it is suggestive, it does suggest that… that you know, that junk food isn’t good for us, and it’s basic sound…principles of sound nutrition…

Puru: Right, yeah.

Lori: ...that if you’re eating a lot of processed, carbohydrates and sugars…

Puru: Yeah, sugary, yeah.

Lori: …and fats and no fiber and no vegetables and…

Puru: Yeah.

Lori: …especially in such huge quantities.

Puru: Right…right, I mean it’s…it’s the thing with the advertising though is that ummm…with the junk food manufacturers targeting young kids…

Lori: Mmm.

Puru: Ummm…I mean, this is something that…that advertisers have been doing for years because they know that if you can get in…into…appeal to a child, then the child will go to his or her parents…

Lori: Oh sure.

Puru: ….and say “Mum, Dad, I…you know, I… I want to go and have a McDonald’s Happy Meal or, I want to go to Burger King.”

Lori: No, tha…that’s not what they will do, they would say “Mom, Dad, can’t we eat at McDonald’s? Mom please? All the other kids can eat at McDonald’s!”

Puru: [Laughs] Right! And…and then when Mum and Dad say errr… “Well no, because we ate at McDonald yesterday! Umm…” [Laughs] “Let’s have something…” push something healthy on the children, the…the kids don’t…they don’t want to know, because the…you know, McDonald’s is portrayed as something that is cool, and of course it’s yummy! I mean…

Lori: Yeah.

Puru: I think McDonald’s is yummy!

Lori: Junk food is yummy! Are you kidding?

Puru: Yeah! Umm…

Lori: Given the choice between junk food and...and healthy food…

Puru: Salad?

Lori: Just…just, yeah, well, I love salads, that’s…that’s the weird thing is I really, truly love a good salad.

Puru: OK.

Lori: But even so, given the choice between a really yummy, good salad…

Puru: Yeah, well I like…I like salad too, but on…on my burger…

Lori: …and a big, honking, stinking great pizza full of all my favorite toppings…

Puru: Right.

Lori: I mean, I would have to be really in the mood for salad for me to choose the salad over the pizza.

Puru: Yeah, yeah I think that’s but it…it’s kind of…

Lori: Or the ice cream sundae.

Puru: Aaahhh! Now…

[laughter]

Puru: You’re bringing out the heavy artillery there!

Lori: Yeah…yeah.

Puru: Yeah, but it…I think it’s umm…I think this is the only way that they can…they can tackle something like this because I’ve seen this situation too many times, and…and what parent err…really wants to be saying “no” to their…their child and being a killjoy all the time?

Lori: Well there’s another more sinister aspect of the whole thing is that, you know, imagine being a parent and you’ve worked all day long at your job that maybe you don’t like so much and that drains so much of your energy, and then when you come home and you have the choice, “I can either go into the kitchen and start cutting up vegetables and…spending an hour preparing a healthy home-cooked meal for my family…”

Puru: Yup.

Lori: “…or, I can give them what they’re telling me that they want by just stopping at McDonald’s on the way home from work or, you know, some other fast food, or popping a frozen dinner in the oven… and giving them what they want.” I mean it just makes it that much easier to…

Puru: Of course, of course.

Lori: …to resist doing the right thing.


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