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Jon Niehaus / Blog

Another Page in the Book of Jon: "Bananas at 7 -11"

Another Page in the Book of Jon: "Bananas at 7-Eleven" .by Jon Niehaus on Thursday, October 15, 2009 at 5:18pm. I recently read an article where the nation’s largest convenience store, 7-Eleven, is going to test a new plastic wrap developed by Del Monte to keep single bananas yellow. This high-tech, plastic wrap is supposed to slow banana respiration by keeping most oxygen and moisture out, extending the banana’s shelf life from two to five days. If the pilot is successful, 7-Eleven may roll the packaging out to its nearly 5,800 stores by early 2010. This is in an effort to change 7-Eleven’s image and gain a competitive advantage in the $623 billion convenience store industry. In a recent study from the Centers for Disease Control it was reported that only 17% of American adults eat the recommended number of servings of fruits and vegetables a day. While I applaud 7-Eleven’s efforts to increase American’s fruit consumption, I have to question the logic in putting plastic wrap around a fruit that is naturally wrapped in the first place. This seems to be the personification of excess. It’s amazing that this endeavor is to simply extend the shelf life of bananas by 3 days. Do we really think this change will impact American’s poor nutrition with “healthy eating” at a convenience store crammed with high calorie and high fat items? So go ahead and purchase your plastic wrapped banana, but don’t forget your 64 ounce, Double Gulp, Big Bite Hot Dog, Slim Jim’s and Slurpee. All I can say is “Oh Thank Heaven for 7-Eleven!” And that is ……another page in the book of Jon. .

Another Page in the Book of Jon: "The Drive Through Diet"

Another Page in the Book of Jon: The "Drive Through Diet" .by Jon Niehaus on Friday, January 29, 2010 at 1:07pm. January is when millions of Americans begin diet programs and hundreds of thousands join a gym. However in 2010, there has been a disturbing trend in the food industry that has recently received a great deal of media attention. This development has focused on using fast food as a way to lose weight. It has been referred to as the “Drive -Through Diet.” Many of the nation’s largest fast food chains, better known for their high calorie, high fat foods are loudly touting diet and “low-calorie” offerings. Familiar brands like Taco Bell, Applebee’s, Starbucks, Dunkin Doughnuts and Subway are rolling out new products and national ad campaigns in an attempt to attract calorie-conscious consumers during the time of the year when the $170 billion fast-food industry typically sees their sales slide. To make matters worse, updated national data show that 68% of Americans are now overweight or obese. Research from the 2009 Food and Health Survey shows that some 61% of Americans would like to lose 20 pounds. Additionally, 64% of Americans say they are taking steps to improve the “healthiness” of their diets. So the environment is perfect for this “caloric con-job” to succeed. Unfortunately the wallets of these restaurants won’t be the only thing that is expanding. The first problem with using fast food as a part of a weight-loss strategy is that the food at these restaurants typically contains more calories than advertised. A recent study indicated that the calories on menu items were an average of 18 – 20% percent higher than listed. So people with the best of intentions to eat low calories, may in fact, be eating foods with much higher calories than they ever thought. The second problem is the menus at fast-food restaurants are overflowing with high calorie and high fat foods. This makes overcoming the history of ordering high fat items and “cherry picking” lower calorie items easier said than done. Let’s face it; the “Drive -Through Diet” is really no diet at all. So before you start to binge on burritos and chow down on chimichangas, keep in mind that Americans will do a much better job losing weight and managing their health by simply eating more vegetables and fruits and increasing their level of physical activity. This is a much more successful approach compared to inhaling car fumes in the drive-through lane waiting to get your Fresco Burrito Supreme at Taco Bell. And that is.............. Another Page in the Book of Jon .

Another Page in the Book of Jon: "Obesity in a Barnum and Bailey World"

Another Page in the Book of Jon: “Obesity: in a Barnum and Bailey World” .by Jon Niehaus on Tuesday, April 27, 2010 at 2:10pm. I recently came across an article that featured Chauncy Morlan. Chauncey worked over 100 years ago in the Barnum and Bailey Circus as a “sideshow freak.” People would pay at the circus just to see him because he was obese. At that time, there were such a small number of Americans who were obese, that there was a natural curiosity to witness someone who weighed over 500 pounds. Things have changed and as a result, yesterday’s extreme is today’s common place. Now we have more people in the United States who are obese, than overweight or ideal body weight. Recent statistics show that 68% of Americans are overweight or obese. This fact is staggering when you consider that just over 100 years ago, people were paying to catch a glimpse of an obese individual. How does a transformation like this happen? The environment we live in is filled with huge portion sizes of high calorie, and high fat foods. Our society is living an almost sedentary lifestyle. Some have commented that as a result of these cultural pressures, becoming obese in America is “almost inevitable.” It’s been said that “Every country gets the circus it deserves.” Spain gets the running of the bulls, Jamaica gets cliff diving and the United States gets the check out line at Wal-Mart…the Greatest Show on Earth! And that is ……another page in the book of Jon.