retail news in context, analysis with attitude

The Washington Post had a good piece over the weekend that, while conceding that the term "processed foods" these days carries with it negative connotations, suggesting products that have had all the flavor and nutrients rendered out of them, there is one highly positive thing about such items.

It is possible to chew them. Easily.

Daniel Lieberman, a professor of biological sciences at Harvard University, tells the Post that before foods were processed, people "used to spend a disproportionate amount of our days chewing.”

According to the story, "Lieberman pointed to the eating habits of chimpanzees, who spend about half their day chewing, for perspective. That might sound ridiculous, but it’s not as far off from how we used to eat than one might think. Our teeth, Lieberman said, just aren’t capable of breaking certain foods down efficiently without any form of extra-oral food processing (a fancy term for any and all changes food undergoes before it enters our mouths)."

He adds, "You can go for an entire day without chewing today, and that’s really bizarre from a historical standpoint."

The irony, of course, is that less chewing probably has led to more dental problems ... and more processing also has led to higher obesity levels, as people eat more food but get less energy from it.

But it takes less time.

So chew on that.
KC's View: