How does food affect the health of people?
As someone who loves to cook and bake, I wanted to connect my captone project to food. My original idea was the connection between cooking and health, but then it changed to how food and specifically diet affects human health.
My thesis is: The recent changes to the American lifestyle such as consumption of junk food, lack of home cooking, and economic insecurity all lead to unhealthy eating habits that have put the U.S. into a dangerous, but fixable, health crisis.
Fast Food Nation by Eric Schlosser has been my favorite source throughout my research and writing process. The book dives into the roots of the fast food industry and how it expanded so quickly in America. The book also covers how fast food has impacted the health of Americans. In general, it covers everything there is to know about fast food.
These are two entries from my annotated bibliography about sources that were helpful for me.
Tsugane, Shoichiro. “Why has Japan become the world’s most long-lived country: insights from a food and nutrition perspective.” European Journal of Clinical nutrition, vol. 75, 921-928., 2020. Nature.com,
In this journal, Shoichiro Tsugane explains why Japan has the highest life expectancy out of all the G7 countries. He starts off by saying that in the 1960s, Japan had the highest mortality rates among the G7 countries, but that has changed over time. He offers the explanation that Japan has low death rates due to heart disease and cancer and very low obesity rates. Next, he talks about the diet of Japan and how it’s low in red meats and saturated fats, but high in fish and soybeans. He says that this diet leads to low death rates due to stomach cancer, high blood pressure, and cerebrovascular diseases. This journal is geared for people who want a deeper explanation of why Japan has a high life expectancy. This journal helps me because I’m now able to understand one of the more healthier diets in the world and its effects which I can now compare to other countries that I look into.
Wolfson, Julia A., and Sara N. Bleich. “Is cooking at home associated with better diet quality or weight-loss intention?” Cambridge University Press:, vol. 18, no. 8, 2015. Cambridge.org, https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/public-health-nutrition/article/is-cooking-at-home-associated-with-better-diet-quality-or-weightloss-intention/B2C8C168FFA377DD2880A217DB6AF26F.
In this journal article the authors explain the reasons why Americans aren’t cooking as much as they used to. The authors set up the issue with the fact that in 2007, 8% of adults lived in households where dinner was cooked 0-1 times per week. Next, it’s stated that cooking at home is proven to result in a healthier diet than fast food. The authors then explain reasons for why adults aren’t cooking as much. The most important reasons are not having access to quality ingredients, price constraints, and not having skill or confidence in cooking ability. It’s then explained that not eating home cooked food enough is a cause of obesity. The authors then explain some ways to break down the boundaries that prevent people from cooking such as teaching kids cooking and health skills at a younger age which would at least give them the skills and confidence they need when they’re older. From the start of my research I wanted to find the connection between cooking and health so this journal is very useful for me.
This is the introduction paragraph from my research paper that talks about how the American diet has changed overtime, resulting in it becoming more unhealthy.
Out of all the industrialized nations in the world, the United States has the highest obesity rate, which has doubled since 1960. While smoking causes the most deaths each year in America, obesity comes in second as it is the direct cause of death for 280,000 Americans. While there are multiple reasons why people become obese, one of the most determining factors is one's diet. In a recent survey, 73% of Americans said they were somewhat focused on maintaining a healthy diet. Despite that, the average American diet has been declining in nutritional value as the consumption of grains, flours, fats, and oils is up 37% than what it was in the 1970s. Meanwhile, the consumption of meats, dairy, fruits, and vegetables is down 9% from what it was 50 years ago. The higher consumption of low nutritional food and low consumption of nutritional food has meant a steady increase in diabetes, heart disease, and cancer amongst the American population since 1950. Fortunately for the American public, advances in medical technology have meant death rates from these diseases have decreased over time, but they are still major issues. The recent changes to the American lifestyle such as consumption of junk food, lack of home cooking, and economic insecurity all lead to unhealthy eating habits that have put the U.S. into a dangerous, but fixable, health crisis.
If you want to read more of my research paper click here:
For my second product I chose to make a cooking video where I show how to make the classic fast food meal of a cheeseburger and french fries at home. Cooking this tasty meal at home can be healthier than getting it from a fast food restaurant because one can use fresher ingredients and lesser amounts of high-fat oil.
To view the video, please click the link below.
For my third product, I made a cookbook. In this cookbook, I have assembled a variety of recipes, mostly from NYT Cooking that my family and I have begun to cook over the past few years. I hope that this book inspires more home cooking, while also bringing a healthy diet. To view the cookbook, please click the box to the right.