The topic of this essay is ‘nutritional globalization’ -respectively, the detrimental impacts it can have on our daily lives. The notion of ‘nutritional globalization’ for the purposes of this essay will include the following aspects: first of all, nowadays all kinds of comestibles can be sourced worldwide without any problems (Lang, 1999). This development is based on several economic processes such as trade liberalization and tariff reductions. Thus, comestibles which could formerly only be found in Asia for example, are now available all over the world. Hence, it can be argued that food is slowly losing its roots in terms of identification of a certain comestible with a certain culture. Second, the global food market is increasingly controlled by multinational corporations forcing smaller national enterprises and family farmers out of business (Lang, 1999). The third meaning refers to the spread of fast food which can be observed throughout the world. The fourth and last meaning refers to food and eating habits as a part of culture and a means of communication. Thus, we will observe ‘nutritional globalization’ on an economic and a cultural level.
As will be demonstrated during the course of this essay, ‘Nutritional globalization’ as defined above has severe detrimental impacts not only on people’s health - which is reflected in the ever-increasing number of chronic degenerative diseases - but also on people’s social life.
Four major consequences of ‘nutritional globalization’ - An overview
In the main part, the essay will consider four major consequences of ‘nutritional globalization’. Firstly, we will have a look at adverse impacts of ‘nutritional globalization’ on people’s physical condition. Thus, it shall be discovered as to whether or not there is a direct linkage between ‘nutritional globalization’ in the sense of changing eating habits and the spread of all kinds of comestibles around the globe on the one hand and an increasing number of cases of so-called ‘Western’ diseases on the other hand (Lang, 1999). These diseases are usually brought about by a one-sided and imbalanced nourishment. They include chronic degenerative diseases such as cases of obesity, coronary heart disease, some cancers (Lang, 1999), diabetes, osteoporosis (MacLennan and Zhang, 2004) and other nutrition-related diseases.
The second consequence of ‘nutritional globalization’ this essay will consider reflects the cultural aspects of ‘nutritional globalization’. Thus, eating food is seen as a means of communication occupying a special place in the social scheme of things (MacLennan and Zhang, 2004). Hence, it does not solely come down to what one is eating, but with whom the meals are taken is just as crucial. This aspect seems to be especially essential, since people seem to have forgotten how to indulge in and appreciate high quality food on the one hand and the importance of having meals with family and friends on the other hand. This development is reflected in the fact that people view eating food increasingly as a necessary evil, the mere intake of comestible goods in order to keep going. As we will see, the adverse impingements on people’s social life arising from that development are ubiquitous in all generations.
The case of boredom which we will shed some light on thereafter is argued to arise from the fact that all kinds of food are available at all times and, above all, by the rationalization and standardization of food production developed most notably in the fast food sector (Finkelstein, 2003). Thus, it is argued that food loses its initial appeal as something exciting (Finkelstein, 2003) in the overall system of consumption. Food has become highly standardized especially in the case of fast food of big fast food chains such as McDonald’s or KFC. Subsequently, one could argue that it is not only the people eating fast food that become bored, but also those people making the food, since also the preparation of fast food has become a highly standardized process.
The fourth and last major aspect will consider possible remedies to the problems of ‘nutritional globalization’. As a means of such remedy, we will shed some light on movements which oppose the trend of ‘nutritional globalization’ in general and the spread of fast food in particular. Thus, as a case in point for anti-fast food movements the case of the Slow Food movement launched in Paris in 1989 (Parkins, 2004) will be sketched out. We will have a closer look at what the ‘slow’ really refers to and what the movement’s ambition is. Moreover, further developments antagonizing the globalization of the food markets will be revealed by giving a brief overview over national groups opposing the globalization of the food market.
Detrimental impacts on our health
It is a well known fact that the cases of so-called ‘Western’ diseases (Lang, 1999) such as obesity, coronary heart disease, some cancers (Lang, 1999), diabetes, osteoporosis and other nutrition-related diseases have increased with the industrialization and globalization of cuisines (MacLennan and Zhang, 2004). Each culture has its distinct cuisine -the so-called cultural cuisine (MacLennan and Zhang, 2004). Cultural cuisines continue to evolve through globalization so that they change continuously and parts of them get lost. As can often be witnessed these days this development can bring about “Diseases of Western Civilization” as Burkitt (as cited in MacLennan and Zhang, 2004, p. 132) described it. In this context, it is argued that the disruption of ecological systems and human adaptations induced by aforementioned developments prompt adverse detrimental impacts on health most notably in former hunter-gatherers. As a case in point might account the consequently high death rates of Australian aborigines from chronic heart diseases as a result of loss of their traditional cuisines (MacLennan and Zhang, 2004).
 This cuisine, although also comprising specific staples and flavourings, is also said to be independent of available foods to a certain degree because the notion of cuisine also includes different modes of cooking, preparing and serving (MacLennan and Zhang, 2004).