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This American Diet: The Impact Of Big Food On Americans And The World

In his 2018 budget proposal, President Donald Trump proposed a cut of more than $190 billion to SNAP  – the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program – in the next 10 years. 
In a country where fast and fattening food is nearly always the easier and cheaper option, SNAP provides a much-needed supplement to provide healthier diets to more than 42 million Americans. 

Host Frank Stasio talks with Lindsey Haynes-Maslow, assistant professor and extension specialist in the department of agricultural and human sciences at North Carolina State University, and principal investigator of NC State’s SNAP-Education Program “Steps to Health.”

Haynes-Maslow recently co-authored the article “The Affordability of MyPlate: An Analysis of SNAP Benefits and the Actual Cost of Eating According to the Dietary Guidelines.” Stasio also talks with Mairym Lopez, an Apex resident and working mother of five who uses SNAP to supplement her income and feed her family.

How White Bread Derailed The American Plate

Highly-processed foods make up more than half of the calories in the foods Americans buy at the grocery store, and they are often the cheapest and most convenient option for low-income families. The journey to this present-day diet started rather innocuously some 150 years ago with new food research and an increased demand for what were considered high-quality American products, like white flour.

Michael Lansing, professor of history and chair of the history department at Augsburg University in Minnesota, explores the beginnings of the processed food revolution in America and reflects on how early advertising sparked a hunger for packaged goods. 

A Deadly Export

For multinational corporations like Nestlé and Kentucky Fried Chicken, the American market is no longer satisfying the hunger for expansion. The American market for processed and fast foods is becoming saturated, but Americans may also be slowly moving away from foods high in sodium, sugars and fat. 

In a new series of reports The New York Times explores how large U.S.-based food conglomerates are now targeting developing nations. The New York Times Pulitzer-Prize winning reporter Matt Richtel speaks with host Frank Stasio about the effects of the spread of Big Food in Brazil, Ghana and other developing nations.

Xernay (JerN-eye) Aniwar is a graduate of Elon University, where she studied strategic communications and psychology.
Laura Pellicer is a digital reporter with WUNC’s small but intrepid digital news team.
Longtime NPR correspondent Frank Stasio was named permanent host of The State of Things in June 2006. A native of Buffalo, Frank has been in radio since the age of 19. He began his public radio career at WOI in Ames, Iowa, where he was a magazine show anchor and the station's News Director.
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