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The Modern Food Environment: Changes in Food Quantity and Quality and Their Impact on Hedonic Eating 

The Modern Food Environment: Changes in Food Quantity and Quality and Their Impact on Hedonic Eating
Chapter:
The Modern Food Environment: Changes in Food Quantity and Quality and Their Impact on Hedonic Eating
Author(s):

Wendy M. Stein

and Kathleen L. Keller

DOI:
10.1093/med/9780199330454.003.0009
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date: 07 May 2021

Over the past 50 years, the world’s food environment has undergone substantial changes to increase the widespread availability of highly palatable foods. At the same time, the quality and nutrient density of these foods have decreased. We provide an overview of the modern food environment and its implications on hedonic eating and obesity. We discuss how the growth of supermarkets, food marketing, and portion sizes have contributed to increases in the quantity of palatable foods available for consumption. In addition, we review how changes in food processing and use of sweeteners have impacted dietary quality. As the population is faced with epidemic rates of many diet-related chronic diseases, the response has been an increased interest in fad diets and a return to organic, locally sourced foods. We argue that these changes reflect population-level attempts to adapt to an obesity-promoting environment.

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