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Processed and Fast Foods

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The industrialization of our food system has resulted in major transformations in the way we eat and relate to food. Despite our overflowing supermarkets, many eaters in developed countries indulge in and (even rely on) cheap processed and fast foods. Our diets are dominated with simple carbohydrates, refined sugars, sodium, hydrogenated vegetable oils, and artificial ingredients. This is not a sustainable situation for an individual's body or for the food system that exists to make such consumption possible.

Over-consuming these processed and fast foods has had a deleterious effect on our national health, especially in children and teens, with most data showing a increase in diseases such as obesity, heart disease, cancer, diabetes, stroke, hypertension, and more. These effects are generally more pronounced in neighborhoods where people's socioeconomic status leaves them vulnerable to a lack of access to fresh, healthy food (areas as known as food deserts).

Things are pretty bad for the animals in our food system as well. Many of them come from a concentrated animal feeding operation (CAFO) where many more animals live in much closer quarters than they naturally would, creating unhealthy conditions. The ethics and degree of sustainability vary widely from operation to operation, but as a whole the system of efficient production and economies of scale is unhealthy for both animals and humans-those that work at the CAFO, leave nearby, or intend to eat the meat produced there.

Non-meat fast food products like oils, vegetables, fruits, sugars, and grains are almost never organically grown, nor are many of them grown and harvested in a socially, economically, or ecologically just manner. They also heavily rely on fossil fuel inputs at every step of production from pesticides, herbicides, fungicides, fertilizers to packaging and shipping.

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