Don’t blame the West for junk food culture

Readers debate fast food. Other topics: marine life and high rent costs

Readers debate the effect of fast food on our daily lives. Fatima Al Marzouqi/The National
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In reference to the story How the western diet is the worst colonial export (May 8), it’s not about western or Arab diets. It’s about moderation, education and choice. All types of cuisine have unhealthy options. It’s up to us to regulate our consumption of those things. It’s wrong to blame the fast-food industry.

Ahmed Alanzi, Abu Dhabi

Calling predominantly American fast food a “western diet” is quite an insult to many western cuisines. And just for the record: spaghetti alfredo is not Italian.

Wiltrud Matthes, Dubai

Western food is not fast food, even though many popular fast-food businesses originated there. Western food is diverse. In America you will find many different cuisines from different parts of the world.

There are healthy and unhealthy foods. When I was young growing up in America’s Deep South, I rarely ate fast food. Everything was homemade, and fatty foods were eaten in moderation.

In addition, we were very active. Today’s society is just the opposite – people prefer fast food and a sedentary lifestyle. It’s awful.

Casey N Corley, Qatar

Western diet means more choices. That translates into more unhealthy choices, too. It’s important to educate the public. Perhaps a columnist, who is an expert on nutrition, can explain.

Patricia Estep, US

This is an economic problem as much as it is anything else. Healthy food is more expensive. Go to the grocery store and compare the price of normal pasta with whole wheat, or price-check quinoa. Or salmon with beef , or fresh-pressed juice with concentrated juice. People on lower incomes are forced to choose the unhealthy options.

Marie, Abu Dhabi

This is not about geography, but content. All cultures have junk foods and these are much easier to prepare, because of far greater availability and affordability of refined sugars, refined flours, starch, meat, salt and oil. This will adversely affect people – including western people – even if they stick to “traditional” cuisine.

Eating greasy mandi, noodles or biryani all the time and washing it down with sweetened traditional beverages is not a healthy diet either. Moreover, it is very much possible to have a healthy “western” diet.

Sohan Dsouza, Dubai

We need to save marine life

Regarding the story Third oil spill in Fujairah in two months leaves hoteliers fuming (May 7), what about the marine life and the safety of the people who enter the water before realising it’s full of oil? Where are the coast guards?

It’s obvious that these tankers are cleaning out their tanks not too far from the coast. And they know they can get away with it, so they keep coming back. More action is needed to protect this beautiful coastline.

Lisa Justice, Dubai

I was at Sambraid beach near Dibba on Saturday. Thankfully I didn’t see the spill. Something needs to be done quickly. The spill will have a huge impact on the marine life and ecology of the area.

Name withheld by request

We were at Al Aqah earlier this year and everyone who came in contact with the sea was covered in oil.

Osama Rashid, Dubai

It’s not just about high rents

I don’t think it’s just high rents (Mall rent hikes may force retailers to go online, May 9). It’s a combination of excessive mark-ups for luxury and high-street brands, poor customer service and old stock that have driven consumers online or to shop abroad.

Hessa Al R, UK