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CHEM181x Unit 1 Discussion: Nutrition Transistion

What transpired on the Food for Thought discussion forum?


  1. NOW AND THEN: Global nutrition transition and the pandemic of obesity in developing countries

  2. In this unit several complementary points of discussion spread across the questions/topics. Among those, were peoples thoughts regarding subsidies on corn, the price of healthy versus unhealthy food, the stressed and busy lifestyle, and the lack of proper education.
  3. The Questions 

    1) In low-and middle income countries there are cases of under-nutrition and obesity in the same household. What are your thoughts on this situation? How do you think this could happen?

    A few highlights:

    One can find obesity and undernourishment in the same person.
    It's more than calorie intake that matters; where those calories come from is important.
    People are overworked; they don't have the time to take care of their kids, let alone themselves.

    Some links related to the post (optional readings):

  4. 2) This question is taken directly from the article – Can we recover all the healthful elements of diets lost over the last half century? What ideas do you have that could accomplish this goal?


    With increased reliance on processed foods people have lost touch with where their food comes from and how its made. By putting in place appropriate policies we can restore our connection with our food -- remove the subsidies, stop the advertisements and lower the price of healthy food.


    Everyone has the will and right to choose; even with policy changes, and a great deal of taxation people will keep on with their habits. After a long day at work people choose the most convenient and "tasty" food they can find; the only option they have is unhealthy food.
  5. 3) Do you think sugar taxes or bans on junk food or "ultraprocessed" food are effective in reducing the overconsumption of sugar-sweetened beverages and fatty, salty and sugary foods?

    Students put forward motions both for and against taxation of junk food. 

    Sampling points from the side for taxation/bans: 

    Decrease the price of healthy food with the revenue from taxation on junk food.
    Put money back in the pockets of consumers by removing the subsidies provided to junk food companies, corn and alike.
    Junk food companies should be taxed for the health care and environmental costs that their practice incur on society.

    Sampling from the side against taxation/bans:

    We need education about how whole foods can taste good, be satisfying, easy and inexpensive.
    Taxes would take money out of the pockets of consumers.
    People should have the right to choose what they eat.
    Taxes wouldn't work; tobacco taxes didn't; people still smoke like chimneys.

    Links posted during the discussion (optional readings):
  6. 4) Market changes – in many developing countries there is a shift away from local farmers markets towards big supermarkets. However, in North America and Europe there is resurgence in the popularity of local farmers markets. Why do you think this is the case?

    A few highlights:

    Its the stage of development a country goes through.
    People are better educated in North America and Europe.
    After seeing the consequences of big supermarkets North Americans and Europeans are trying to shift back to the local farmers even if it costs more .

    Some links related to the posts (optional readings):