Critical Thinking

So, I attended a webinar last week: Can consumers think critically about weight management: Insights from behavioral science. This was sponsored by the Weight Management Practice Group affiliated with my professional organization the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

The speaker was Jason Riis, PhD who has been on the faculty at Harvard and currently serves at Wharton in the area of marketing and consumer behavior; Dr. Riis opened with some work done by two Nobel Prize winners – unquestionable bona fides.

Because the topic was so “meaty” I want to give this a couple Minutes.

Why do consumers make poor food, diet and nutrition decisions?

The first premise is: “People are not ‘naturally good’ at critical thinking”.

Early survival depended upon quick decisions. Is that lion going to attack me? It would be ill advised to think about the time of day the lion last ate, look around for cubs, consider what other food choices the lion could make. Deciding to protect oneself is innate and the decision made immediately.

So, quick decisions are a natural bias. Trading our lion for the candy bar at the grocery check out lane, browsing the sundae pictures while ordering from the car at DQ or adding on to a meal at a restaurant because the waitstaff suggests it. You’ll make those decisions without pondering the consequences of other options.

How can we use this information?

  • clear the “junk” food from your kitchen counters
  • add a bowl of fruit on the counter
  • add already prepared fruits/veggies front and center in the fridge
  • don’t bring temptations into your house or store them in a hidden locale
  • decide what you’re going to eat at a restaurant without looking at the menu

There’s hardly another issue where that quick decision gratifies instantly so I can certainly understand our lack of critical thinking while in front of the bakery case!

Prepare your environment to be well,


Permanent link to this article: http://marciacrawford.net/archives/critical-thinking

Food recalls

Are there more food recalls lately or does it only seem so? Take a Minute with me for some relevant facts.

Our extremely safe food supply is governed by the inspection arm of the US Department of Agriculture (meat, poultry, some egg products) and the Food and Drug Administration (pretty much everything else we eat).

Additionally, we are served by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Equally important, food manufacturers do their own routine inspections which they take seriously as reputations can be lost one recall.

Food recalls fall into one of three categories:

  • pathogenic (organism which can cause disease)
  • physical contamination (metal from machinery)
  • misbranding (errors in labeling)

While we may rightfully fear pathogens in our food, presence of an undeclared allergen can be life threatening too.

The actual number of recalls for both the USDA and FDA declined comparing 2017 to 2018 figures. But, communication systems have gotten better, or more widespread so most of us think recalls are on the rise.

While food that has been processed more has the greater potential for the introduction of contaminants, my personal opinion is that our food handling habits from grocery/market to table isn’t emphasized enough.

When hot summer weather hits, I think about foods that sit a long time in the car, kitchen counter, or picnic table. Temperatures matter! Consider a thermal bag for your car.

A USDA study found 97 percent of us failed to wash our hands properly before handling food! Basic, I know, but we’re not doing it – 20 seconds says the CDC.

Cross contamination is the other major issue. Does the cooked meat from the grill go on the same plate that held raw meat? Were the same tongs or spatulas used for cooked and raw meats?

Any time of year, but especially now, use safe food handling practices to be well.


Permanent link to this article: http://marciacrawford.net/archives/food-recalls

Older posts «

» Newer posts