David Simmonds over at Mexico Premiere points his fingers in both directions, blaming both the U.S. and Mexico for bad food habits now that Mexico’s been named the first runner-up in the international fat folks competition.
Unquestionably, obesity is at crisis proportions in this country, but the blame goes far beyond Coke and McDonald’s. This is a country where Coca-Cola Light, as Diet Coke is known in these parts, sells for more than the old-fashioned sugar-laden version. McDonald’s isn’t exactly affordable for the rank-and-file. The traditional foods of the popular class are laden with carbohydrates and grease and short on protein, because those ingredients are cheap and filling. Tamales, gorditas, chicharrones, and fried tacos are cholesterol bombs, but they’re also a means of making a little bit go a long way. Even the sopa secas are culprits, intended to fill the belly with something cheap and easy before venturing on to the plato principal. Aguas frescas may sound healthy, but they’re full of sugar. The national gelatina fetish delivers nothing more than Jellofied sugar water. This is a country where the primary role of lettuce is to serve as a garnish. The most determined South Beacher or Atkinsite will find locating something to eat in a popular neighborhood a daunting proposition.
Poor folks are fat in Mexico for the same reason they are in Los Estados Unidos, but the incursion of Estadounidense-style comida charatarra shouldn’t bear the full brunt of the blame here. It’s a matter of campesino eating habits in urban cultures. And money.