The Kitchen Think: Best & Worst of America’s Food Scene


What’s good and what’s bad about America’s food scene? Mama has some ideas… but first I’ll let you know what the Center for Science in the Public Interest has to say.

The CSPI is an independent science-based organization that advocates for nutrition, health and food safety. This is a pretty good group… among other accomplishments; they’re the ones that got a law passed to make fast food joints and restaurant chains give us a calorie count on the food they sell.

The CSPI says their list is in no special order, but it’s interesting what tops the list in both the Terrible Ten and the Terrific Ten.

Terrible Ten – Impairing diets, health and the environment.

1. Coca Cola: “Sugar-loaded liquid candy. Has contributed mightily to the obesity epidemic.”

2. McDonald’s Double Quarter pounder with Cheese, a Coke and fries: “Short on fruit and vegetables but bulging with calories, salt, saturated fats, sugars and white flour.”

3. Salt: “The single most harmful substance in our diet.”

4. Feedlot beef: “Unhealthy for humans, harmful to animals and environmentally destructive.”

5. Kellogg’s Froot Loops: “Fruit-less, synthetic dyes… and marketed to kids.”

6. Jack DeCoster’s egg farms: “Recklessly disregarded consumers’ health and caused a huge outbreak of Salmonella.”

7. Powerful lobbying groups: “Thwart reforms on marketing to kids, food labeling and food policies.”

8. Subsidies to companies that blend corn ethanol into gasoline: “Using corn for fuel leads to higher prices for corn and foods with corn ingredients, with no significant environmental benefit.”

9. White Flour: “Adding evermore vitamin-depleted, fiber-poor calories to the diet.”

10. Vending Machines dispensing soft drinks and candy: “Metallic monsters that promote unhealthy diets 24/7.”

Mama’s addition to the Terrible Ten: Pre-made instant “lunch time” meals marketed to kids that contain processed meat, cheese, crackers and a sugary drink.

Terrific Ten Improving diets, health and the environment.

1. Water: “Humankind’s standard beverage for millennia.”

2. Traditional Mediterranean and Asian Diets: “Heavy on vegetables and fruit and light on meat and cheese.”

3. New York City’s Health Department: “Made the city a health leader by banning trans-fat from restaurants and bakeries… pressing industries to lower sodium levels and bringing fresh fruit and vegetables to food deserts.”

4. Sustainably and organically grown foods: “Build healthy soil an minimize harm to farmers, the environment and consumers from dangerous pesticides, fertilizer, antibiotics and synthetic food additives.”

5. Farmer’s Markets: “Fresh, healthy food.”

6. Federal food programs: “Food stamps, school meals, WIC and others protect millions from the ravages of hunger.”

7. First Lady Michelle Obama: “Inspired Americans to eat healthier diets, plant gardens and get active.”

8. Coalition of Immokalee Workers: “Improved the inhumane working conditions endured by many Florida farmworkers.”

9. Dietary Guidelines for Americans: Government advice that promotes fruit, vegetables and nutrient dense food.”

10. Breastfeeding: “If you’re under one-year old… it’s the best!”

Mama’s addition to the Terrific Ten: Food Nutrition Facts labels that let you know the serving size, the calorie count and important info like sodium content and sugar.

And now it’s your turn. What tops your list as the best… and the worst… of America’s food scene?

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I’m Christina Chavez

I was a TV journalist for many years, but with a house full of kids I decided to come off the road, go to culinary school and follow my passion for cooking. Mama’s High Strung is all about food… everything from creative recipe ideas to some really cool kitchen gadgets and cooking tips. I live in Chicago, but I love to travel and write about my food discoveries! You can reach me by email: