American Diet: How Americans eat and drink

After seeing such a topic, the first view that comes into my mind is fat, abdominous man with a hamburger or hot dog and a bottle of coca cola in his hand. But this view is not contrived. It is a widespread known fact that most Americans eat a diet that’s too high in fat, cholesterol, and calories, and too low in vitamins, minerals, fiber, and complex carbohydrates. According to the statistics, today, about 65% of adults and 15% of children and addolescents in the US are overweight or obese. The physiological mechanism causing the increase in obesity is no mystery: Americans eat more calories than they burn, and the excess energy is stored as fat. Junk food is very popular in America, and that‘s the reason why Americans are called „fast-food nation“. Their fast food restaurant chains also have been very successful at introducing American style fast food around the world. Nowadays almost in every country you can see such names off fast food reastaurants as McDonald‘s, McChicken, Burger King, Kentucky Fried Chicken etc. where hamburgers, hot dogs, fried chicken, coca cola etc. are provided.

As the melting pot of many different cultures, the US has also become the mixing pot fo

or many different countries, and we have a rich variety of foods to choose from. Americans are all from different cultures, and they adopt other‘s, so you will see that they are eating food from all other countries. What i mean is that Americans eat pizza and spaghetti often even though not all Americans have Italian blood. The same is can be said for tacos and other mexican food. Of course they prepare their food differently. I mean chinese food in America (e.g. Chinese egg rolls) is not the same as in China. That is true for American- Mexican and American- Italian food also. Of course, not all of their food is so fancy. Americans like meat and potatoes very muuch too.

A second thing to be said about American food is that the US is very big and they have a lot of regional variation. For example, in New England they eat a lot of seafood, in New Orleans they eat spicy food, and in the southwest and Texas, they eat more Mexican food. In cities people are more likely to eat food from other countries, and in the country people are more likely to eat meat and potatoes and co
orn (the word corn here means „kukurūzai“, not „grūdai”; the British use the word “corn” to mean all grain). It is from the Indian (native American) diet that this come from. Americans also eat a lot of beans (which is from the Indian diet too) and cheese.

What is more, subcultures of America have unique diets too. For example, black people in the south eat a lot of fried chicken and watermelon. While Mexican- Americans eat a lot of Mexican food (e.g.Mexican tacos).

Speaking about corn, in American Indian folklore, some tribes believed that quiet spirits lived inside of each popcorn kernel (and it was almost sacred). When their houses were heated, the spirits would become angrier and angrier, shaking the kernels, and when the heat became unbearable, spirits would burst out of their homes.

With the opening of movie theatres, across the USA early in the 20th century, popcorn became a part of the new excitement. When TV became popular in the 1950s. popcorn sales made a sudden rise. As families started buying television sets, they were changing their life-styles and staying home more and consuming popcorn as they watched television. Nowadays all this became even a tendency. We cannot think of an
ny cinema where popcorn isn‘t sold. Popcorn became an inseparable part of cinemas.

Many Americans are at risk for diseases that are linked to eating too much fat and cholesterol. Surveys have found that only nine percent of Americans eat fruit and vegetable servings a day and, on a typical day, 11 percent consume no fruit, fruit juice or vegetables at all. Fruits and vegetables are very low in fat and contain no cholesterol.

As for the drinks, Americans drink similarily to Lithuanians. They drink juice, milk, water, coca cola etc. What concerns alkohol, whiskey and brandy are probably the most popular hard drinks. Vodka is more popular among young people. Beer is lighter and less rich and actually not such tasteful as European beer.

Another thing about America is that, as i have already mentioned, they eat a lot of junk food. They like chips, candy, cookies, biscuits, soda pop, quickbreads, hamburgers, hod dogs etc. Hamburgers, fries, hot dogs, apple pie are foods that we identify Americans with their culture. Therefore i want to speak about them more.

Hot dogs are also called frankfurters, frank, weenie, wiener, dog and even red hot. A cooked sausage that consists of a combination of be
eef and pork or all beef, which is cured, smoked and cooked. Seasonings may include coriander, garlic, ground mustard, sugar, salt, nutmeg, and white pepper. They are fully cooked but are usually served hot. Hot dogs are among America‘s favourite foods. According to the statistics, every year, American people consume on average 60 hot dogs.

What concerns hamburgers, i think there is no more american food than hamburger. As the statistics show, American eat, on average, three hamburgers a day. They eat them everywhere, but mostly on the run. It is hard to go more than half a mile in the United States without finding a drive up window ready to sell you a ready made burger to eat on your way to anywhere. The American hamburger is a relatively recent creation. Hamburgers were not commonly made in America until the early 20th century. The first hamburger fast-food chain was White Castle, founded in 1916 by J. Walter Anderson of Wichita, Kansas. He sold five cent hamburgers along with french fries and colas. White Castle thrived along with other fast-food operations. However, fast-food did not become a significant part of the American landscape until after World War II. Richard and Maurice McDonald chalked out a design for a new type of hamburger restaurant on a tennis court in 1948. By 1990 there were almost 11,803 McDonald’s, 6,298 Burger King’ s, and 3,721 Wendy’ s fast-food establishments in the United States. Other fast-food chains were developed to market main products such as chicken, pizza, tacos, sub-sandwiches, etc. Today, 160,000 fast-food restaurants serve more than 50 million Americans daily. These businesses generate sales in excess of $65 billion annually.

What concerns American eating habits, they are quite funny for me. Americans eat almost everything with a fork, and it appears that holding a knife in one’s right hand longer than a few seconds is considered to be against good table manners. The system is that if it is absolutely necessary to use a knife, people take the fork in their left hand, and cut off a piece of meat or whatever it is in the normal manner. Then they put the knife down, transfer the fork to their right hand, and only then do they transport the food to their mouth. This is clearly ludicrous, but it is considered good manners. Baron Louis de Closen once told about American eating habits (1780):
“Another peculiarity of this country is the absence of napkins, even in the homes of the wealthy. Napkins, as a rule, are never used and one has to wipe one’s mouth on the tablecloth, which in consequence suffers in appearance.”

In conclusion i would like to quote famous American writer, James Fenimore Cooper:
“The Americans are the grossest feeders of any civilized nation known. As a nation, their food is heavy, coarse, and indigestible, while it is taken in the least artificial forms that cookery will allow. The predominance of grease in the American kitchen, coupled with the habits of hearty eating, and the constant expectoration, are the causes of the diseases of the stomach which are so common in America.”
James Fenimore Cooper
American novelist [The Last of the Mohicans, etc.] (1789-1851)

Some additional interesting info about Americans taken from the internet:
American Children’s Eating Habits
Even before their second birthday, many American children are developing the same bad eating habits that plague the nation’s adults — too much fat, sugar and salt and too few fruits and vegetables.

A new study of more than 3,000 youngsters found significant numbers of infants and toddlers are downing french fries, pizza, candy and soda.

Children aged 1 to 2 years require about 950 calories per day, but the study found that the median intake for that age group is 1,220 calories, — an excess of nearly 30 percent. For those 7 months to 11 months old, the daily caloric surplus was about 20 percent.

“By 24 months, patterns look startlingly similar to some of the problematic American dietary patterns,” said an overview of the Feeding Infants & Toddlers Study, commissioned by baby-food maker Gerber Products Co.

Recent research has found that roughly one in every five Americans is now considered obese, double the rate in the mid-1980s.

“(Your children) are watching you — they see what you do,” said Chicago-area dietitian Jodie Shield, who has written two books on child nutrition. “We’re on a very dangerous course if we do not make some changes in helping parents step up to the plate and be role models.”

“Across cultures, it’s a positive thing to overfeed your chubby little baby,” said Dorothy DeLessio, a dietitian at Brown University Medical School in Providence, R.I. But she added that Americans were crossing over to negative patterns of “round-cheeked overweight toddler, overweight preschooler, overweight child, overweight adult.”

An overview of the FITS study was presented Saturday at a meeting of the American Dietetic Association. The complete study results are to be published in the association’s journal in January.

The study involved random telephone interviews conducted in 2002 that asked parents or primary caregivers what their youngsters ages 4 months to 2 years ate that particular day.

Up to a third of the children under 2 consumed no fruits or vegetables, according to the survey. And for those who did have a vegetable, french fries were the most common selection for children 15 months and older.

Nine percent of children 9 months to 11 months old ate fries at least once per day. For those 19 months to 2 years old, more than 20 percent had fries daily.

Hot dogs, sausage and bacon also were daily staples for many children — 7 percent in the 9-to-11 month group, and 25 percent in the older range.

More than 60 percent of 12-month-olds had dessert or candy at least once per day, and 16 percent ate a salty snack. Those numbers rose to 70 percent and 27 percent by age 19 months.

Thirty to 40 percent of the children 15 months and up had a sugary fruit drink each day, and about 10 percent had soda.

Shield said early diets strongly influence children, whose food preferences are generally shaped between ages 2 and 3.

“If kids are having soda and soft drinks at such an early age, it’s going to be very, very challenging to introduce other types of foods for them later,” she said.

The study also found that parents were ignoring widely accepted practices by allowing:

* 29 percent of infants to eat solid food before they were 4 months old.

* 17 percent to drink juice before 6 months.

* 20 percent to drink cow’s milk before 12 months.

Shortcomings were more pronounced for families receiving financial assistance through the federal Women, Infants and Children program, the study found. More than 40 percent of WIC toddlers did not eat any fruit on the survey day, and those children also drank more sweetened drinks.

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