Back in the day when people had to grow their food before they could eat it, they did not really use food for any other purpose than for eating for when they were hungry. However, as civilization moved away from purely agricultural societies to industrialized societies, it became easier to purchase food, and unhealthy food selections became much more readily available.
Commercialization of food production has allowed us to buy any amount of food we fancy and store them in our house. We no longer consumed food merely because we were hungry, we ate because there was food stored in the house. We ate when we were bored, we ate when people came over, we ate when we watched TV, we ate when we entertained visitors and we ate whenever we felt like it.
When globalization became a trend, we could find exotic food, wine, cheeses from any corner of the world right at our supermarkets. We can find a fast-food joint on every street that allowed us to buy as much food as we wanted and in any quantity we desired.
Gradually, we no longer looked at food as mere fuel for our bodies. Food became a symbol of our economic wealth. Where before we only bought enough fresh food that we can consume in a day, we started buying in large quantities.
Those who earned a fixed and regular monthly salary can afford to buy food on credit and pay for it on each payday. Grocery carts piled high with canned and processed frozen food became a symbol for one’s economic wealth. Our sense of identity was tied up with what we were able to buy and consume instead of what we do and how we deal with ourselves and others. We no longer just ate food, we consumed food.
As commercialization and consumerism grew prevalent, we found ourselves needing to work more hours in order to earn more money which enabled us to consume more goods. The traditional balanced or “square” meal which meant a bit of protein, fruits, vegetables and bread, was replaced by processed food that is high in salt, sugar and fat as these types of food were easiest to buy, took little or no time to prepare and were readily available no matter what time of year or state of the weather.
Sugar, salt and fat used to be only a small part of our diet, but, as we began to rely more on readily available food which are sold ready-to-eat, sugar, salt and fat became a large part of our diet.
These substances are alright in small doses, but in high doses, and when taken in regularly with food, it alters the chemistry in our brains. We develop a taste and tolerance for the highly sweet, highly salty and highly fatty food and most destructive is that we develop a craving for these kinds of food. It builds in our bodies a kind of dependence upon these substances.