Guatemalan Town Fair Pizza

Guatemalan Town Fair Pizza

We get a lot of things from our neighbors from the big white north like remittances, retired chicken buses, junk cars, and so on. Now, it it looks like we are also getting the eating habits and as a result Guatemala has made the top ten of the most obese countries. 🙁

Other Latin American countries with high obesity rates are Mexico (fifth) and Venezuela (sixth) according to an article recently published by the newspaper El Tiempo.

It seems like Guatemalans are abandoning the traditional cuisine in favor of fast food. This can be seen even in the remote villages where pizza, hot dogs, french fries, tacos, hamburgers, et cetera, can be found at town fairs.

What do you think of this switch in eating habits?

Democracy Now Podcast Aside: I am subscribed to receive the Democracy Now podcasts which go directly into my iPod Touch to listen to anywhere I find the time. Interesting enough today’s podcast from Democracy Now was an interview to Michael Pollan, who is the author of Food Rules: An Eater’s Manual. He is a professor of journalism at the University of California, Berkeley. His earlier books, In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto and The Omnivore’s Dilemma: The Secrets Behind What You Eat. Below you can read the introductory paragraph to the very interesting interview or listen to the entire podcast.

MICHAEL POLLAN: The way we eat has changed more in the last fifty years than in the previous 10,000. The modern supermarket has, on average, 47,000 products. The industry doesn’t want you to know the truth about what you’re eating, because if you knew, you might not want to eat it. (… Continue reading the entire interview transcript at DemocracyNow.Org)

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  • Antonio Palomo

    in an effort to preserve our cousine traditions, the Antigua Guatemala Municipal Council, has banned non-traditional foods to be offered in the streets in Semana Santa or Holy Week. for the 3rd year, only traditional foods will be autorized. this of course doesn´t means, that some people will not observe the measure, but some awarenes it´s been made toward this, maybe, little problem

  • Stephanie

    I hope Guatemaltecos can resist the lure of the EEUU diet. You have such wonderful foods. My mouth waters every time I see the food photos here. I commend all efforts to preserve your traditional as well as contemporary, authentic, new Guatemalan traditions. We have a similar problem here in EEUU, actually. So many regional foods and seasonal diets are disappearing because we instead ship in bland hybrid crops from afar so we can have strawberries in the middle of winter instead of savoring what is in season when it is in season. Too, our shift toward processed rather than fresh foods is a large cause of our obesity epidemic. We lost so much when we abandoned local, small and sustainable agriculture. I hope you can avoid making the same mistakes.

  • carol

    estados unidos food pales in comparison. The fast food I have had when I visit guate, is not that great anyways. papitas fritas on the street are good though. I prefer traditional guate food 100%!

  • Luis

    Well, it’s hard to believe that Guatemala is in the top ten obese countries worldwide. I know for a fact that high poverty levels, no access to health care, poor sanitation, etc., are long time ongoing issues in this country, so, with all those problems and more, that I don’t want to recall, and I don’t see were resolved, partially or completely, probably the numbers published in that article in El Tiempo, are misguided. What is the population that they involved in the trial?, just people over 15 years old, or something in between? Population at the capital city, or small towns outside? Which ethnic groups, ladinos, indigenous? I lived in Guatemala during 40 years, now I live in the US and I went to visit Guatemala two years ago, and let me tell you, I had not been there for 8 years, and I was impressed…then I was shocked how I saw the population, the ones over 30 years old especially, and I’ll share a comment that I had with my wife at that time when I came back… Apparently malnutrition is punishing not just the kids, now is punishing adults also. I went to the capital city and I saw adults with just bones and skin, like the little infants under one year old in the past, years ago, that was not a problem with adults at that time, I’m talking about the 90s, now the problem is part of the adults. I didn’t see obese people, and I stayed in the capital city, I went just to Antigua Guatemala, and the physical characteristics of the adults there didn’t change that much. So, this is just a comment, I’m not saying that fast food is not a factor to increase the chances of obesity, of course, this is the everyday issue here in the US, is easier and cheaper to buy fast food instead of cook a healthy meal, but Guatemala, come on, you have to live there and not just write an article to give your opinion about the real issues in that country.

    • @Luis, I do live here and obesity is a problem. Now, the article at El Tiempo is taking its figures from another newspaper from Europe and they in turn by the WHO. How they arrived at those figures, I don’t know. Malnutrition and Obesity are both problems present in Guatemala. For instance, according to an article in elPeriódico, 23% of the population don’t even have access to meat because of poverty. On the other hand, often you find the most expensive automobiles on the streets of Guatemala. You have to remember that Guatemala is, for better or worse, a country of extremes.