We have discussed and we can read almost everywhere something related to the modern food. There are dozen and dozen of websites and blogs that fight against calories with all kinds of diets. There are nutritionists that build new diets and every year the so called doctors and food gurus “kill” new products: 5 years ago it was the sugar, 10 years ago it was the gluten, now is the poultry and fast-food; next step was taken against carbohydrates, fat and salt.
But, today it is about something that maybe you never wondered:
Why are some foods considered “breakfast” and others not? Why do you “choose” to have for breakfast the old eggs and bacon? Why don’t you eat some pizza or pasta for breakfast. What is wrong with that? Well, it’s just marketing and the beginning of all this was THE BACON.
It may or may not be the most important meal of the day for personal health, but one thing’s for sure: Gone are the days when Americans relied on cereal with milk and a side of orange juice to kickstart their mornings. Americans aren’t eating breakfast like they used to. Breakfast has been on the decline for over 20 years now, according to a recent study. Some 89% of American adults ate breakfast back in 1971, according to data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys.
As of 2002, that number has fallen to 82%, and is likely lower now.
Some decades ago, all over America the typical american breakfast was some toast, cookies and coffee or orange juice. But, during that period one man changed the way we eat our breakfast. Public-relations pioneer Edward Bernays convinced the Americans that bacon and eggs was the true American breakfast. He was the nephew of Sigmund Freud and he used his ideas to manipulate the public and convince everyone that bacon is good and it should be part of the breakfast.
Edward Bernays, the forefather of modern PR, was given a simple task: sell bacon.
He was quite good at using psychology to get people to buy a product or an idea. He was the guy who was hired by the Aluminum Company of America to use the American Dental Association to convince people that water fluoridation was safe and healthy to the public. His campaign for Dixie Cups scared people into thinking the glasses they were drinking out of were unsanitary, and could be replaced by disposable cups.
Also Bernays was hired by President Coolidge to help run his re-election campaign in 1924, and encouraged Coolidge to invite the country’s leading vaudevillians to the White House for a meet-and-greet over pancakes. This was one of the first known political pancake breakfasts that are now so popular among presidents and council members alike.
American Breakfast – Bacon time
He took Freud’s complex ideas on people’s unconscious, psychological motivations and applied them to the new field of public relations. Bacon seller Beech-Nut Packing realized that sales of their products were slipping and so they hired Bernays to fix that.
So, because there was a lack in the people education about breakfast he decided to attack din specific meal. All Bernays had to do was to convince everybody that the real american breakfast was eggs and bacon. It was bacon time.
At that time he already knew that the words of famous spokespeople were nothing compared to the words of a trusted professional. In this situation he approached a doctor with a simple question:
Was a hearty breakfast better for a person than a smaller one?
Once he had some answers, he asked a doctor if a meal made of bacon and eggs can be considered a hearty one. Once again the doctor agreed. And this is what he needed at that time, because he repeated this with 5,000 other doctors. He used this trick to make them say that small strips of fried pig fat is a healthy way to start your day. From that moment all newspapers treated this bullshit like a law.
This story was taken as a scientific study and everyone started to discuss about bacon. About the fact that if you don’t start your day with a plate full of eggs and bacon you were signing your own death. What happened next?
Beech-Nut’s sales soared.
We can’t really do the story as much justice as the man himself, because you can totally tell that all the way through the story, he still can’t quite believe that people fell for his bullshit:
This was an extremely successful marketing campaign that used “scientific” information, a trusted authority figure, word of mouth and our subconscious desires for more energy and vitality which would now forever be associated with bacon.
Today, 70 percent of bacon eaten in the US is eaten at breakfast. The vast majority of people who feel they must have bacon and eggs for breakfast have no idea that they are actually victims of their desires and propaganda.
American Breakfast table isn’t what it used to be
The New York Times reported recently on the decline of cold cereal in the US and the change in the american breakfast table. In fact, US cereal sales have been off their peak for about two decades now. America has now new eating habits.
A desire for portability—being able to eat breakfast on the way to work or school—is one major factor. The other one is that consumers got smarter.
The main factor is the new food preferences of the new generations: the millennials, who either don’t eat breakfast at all, hate processed food, are embracing Paleo, or are allergic to gluten. At many universities students continue to eschew the morning meal, at least in campus food service outlets, while in other segments breakfast continues to enjoy healthy, even growing, participation.
According to Josh Vales, the Paleo Diet also limits your options. Modern food production makes it virtually impossible to eat what cavemen found in the wild. And between choices like oatmeal and bacon on a diner menu, the paleo-follower chooses the bacon because he can’t eat grains. The diet, in some forms, also allows for cheat days where you can eat dairy, carbs, and refined sugar — thereby negating some potential benefits.
Paleo dieters don’t realize the added bodily harm they can cause from avoiding carbs to the extreme. Dieters lose fluid quickly without carbohydrates, but can’t effectively burn fat, which accounts for rapid (but unsubstantial) weight loss. Many Americans already get more protein in their diet than they need.
But perhaps cereal’s biggest obstacle now is this: Consumers are going crazy for protein. More than half of Americans want more of it in their diets, and a quarter of them examine nutrition labels specifically for information about a food’s protein content. At home, they’re gobbling up Greek yogurt. Away, they’re now finding an array of egg-and-cheese wraps, sandwiches, and scrambles at full- and quick-serve restaurants.
Me as millennial I have also a tough time believing the whole crap that cereals are a great source of whole-grains. Mainly because they contain 40 percent more sugar by weight in the case of kids cereals. We already now that sugary foods are not a healthy food, even if producers pump them with proteins or alternative sugar sources.
You see, it’s not that we don’t enjoy the taste of sugary deliciousness, it’s that we’re becoming smarter consumers. We’re smarter because we’ve seen these tricks before. Other companies have been trying to sell us products that cater to millennial interests — by making our cars tech-friendly, smarter mobile phones and pushing fast-food look quaint and local. But those marketing ploys that tell us we should be slaves to our automobile, or that food products are healthy when the nutrition label reads “sugar: 19 grams” — well, they’re starting to feel a little stale.
You’re probably well aware that nowadays most of the food Americans eat is no longer dependent on local farmers and seasonal growing conditions. Instead, it’s dictated by corporate America. The foods you may call “staples” are actually wildly successful marketing creations drummed up by some of the forerunners of the modern-day food industry as we stated above. The end result of letting corporate marketing dictate your breakfast choices is that they are sorely lacking in nutritional prowess. Most bigwigs in the food industry are in the business of selling, and that means creating foods that are highly palatable to most people (including your kids), which generally just means they are loaded with sugar, fructose and artificial flavors.
Time to re-think about your breakfast
The bottom line is although you may be used to the idea of eating bacon, orange juice, cereals and bagels for breakfast, this is only because of corporate PR campaigns! These foods fall way short of giving your body the high-quality fuel it needs to get through the day, so it’s time to re-assess your breakfast options.
If you’re not ready to try new alternatives, at least avoid grains and sugars for breakfast and choose raw eggs, lightly cooked, with some veggies like spinach, mushrooms and green onion, or alongside a rare grass-fed steak, instead. If that doesn’t appeal to you, leftovers from a healthy lunch can make for a great breakfast.
Remember, there’s no “rule” that says you have to eat cereals, bagels and fast-food just because it’s morning. Buck the corporate breakfast “tradition” and start a healthy one of your own instead. Please feel free to write in the comments your idea of breakfast. There are plenty of alternatives and a wide range of options that are both healthy and quick.