SOC-401 Week 4 – Research Paper Proposal and Updated Outline

Paper Title: The History and Future of the American Diet

Topic: The topic I plan to pursue for my research paper is industrialized food and its impact on America. I plan to explore the reasons behind the industrialization of our foods and to learn about the history of how our country went from eating home cooked meals to eating processed, frozen dinners. I also intend to explore the procedures and ingredients that make up the ‘foods’ we eat.  In addition, I plan to investigate other harmful effects our food has on, not only us, but the world around us. Since learning to eat healthy is a topic I am interested in and something that I feel more people should know about, I think that this will make the perfect topic for my research paper. I hope to encourage people to eat healthier foods and make better choices about what they put into their bodies.

Working Thesis: The industrialization of food may have its advantages, but do these advantages outweigh the dangers?


I.            Introduction & Thesis Statement

II.            The history of the industrialization of food.

  1. American foods – A brief history.

i.      The early 1900’s

ii.      The mid-1900’s

iii.      2000 and beyond

  1. Why Industrialize? The catalysts of industrialized food, making food easier and more accessible.

III.            What goes into our food? How is it made? What are the side effects of these processes on our environment?

  1. Corn – A staple of the American diet
  2. The Fats
  3. Mechanically Separated?
  4. What about the animals?

IV.            Is there a better way?

  1. The new food pyramid
  2. Alternatives to industrialized foods, whole foods
  3. Baby steps to big changes

V.            Conclusion

  1. Even though the industrialization of food has become something we rely on to help make our lives easier, we should not have to sacrifice our health to this end.

Interview Source: Jennifer Bickford (Bickford, 2012)

  • I hope to gather from this source a good understanding of what it means to ‘eat healthy’ and what steps a person can take to do so.

Bound Book Source: Eat, drink, and be healthy: the Harvard Medical School guide to healthy eating (Willett, 2001)

  • This book outlines the problems with the old food pyramid and explains the changes made to improve it. This book also covers how to eat healthy and offers recipes as well.

Periodical Source: Scientific American: Separating the Wheat from the Chaff: Will Industrialized Foods Be the End of Us? (D’Costa, 2011)

  • This article outlines the reason why we have industrialized foods and the pros and cons. It also describes some of the history behind fast food and industrialized foods.

Electronic Source 1: Time Ideas Website: In Defense of Industrialized Foods (Ozersky, 2011)

  • This article gives reasons why industrialized foods are a necessary evil.

Electronic Source 2: TED: Ideas Worth Spreading Website (Video) Mark Bittman on what’s wrong with what we eat (Bittman, 2007)

  • In this video, Mark Bittman explains some of the problems with the way we eat and some possible results if we [Americans] continue to follow the path we are on.

Electronic Source 3: The Food Timeline Website: FAQs’ – Popular 20th Century American Foods (Olver, 2011)

  • This website is a timeline of foods in America from 1900 – 2010. The author describes the site as a “summary of salient points supported with culinary evidence.”

Electronic Source 4: Center for Ecoliteracy Website: We Are What We Eat (Pollan, 2004)

  • This article explains how corn is one of the main ingredients that we as a nation eat and how for the most part many of us don’t even realize it.

Electronic Source 5: Smithsonian Institute: Key Ingredients – America by Food (Smithsonian Institute, 2003)

  • This Flash slide presentation explores how Americans have grown, prepared, and served foods over the last 500 years.

Electronic Source 6: Timeline beta website: History of Fast Food (Famento, 2008)

  • This website is set up as a timeline that documents the rise of fast food and its advertising and appeal throughout the United States.


Works Cited

Bickford, J. (2012, February). What it means to eat healthy. (J. Peloquin, Interviewer)

Bittman, M. (2007, December). Mark Bittman on what’s wrong with what we eat. Retrieved January 21, 2012, from TED Ideas Worth Spreading:

D’Costa, K. (2011, July 26). Separating the Wheat from the Chaff: Will Industrialized Foods Be the End of Us? Retrieved from Scientific American:

Famento. (2008). The History of Fast Food. Retrieved January 21, 2012, from timeline beta:

Olver, L. (2011, September 22). FAQs: popular 20th century American foods. Retrieved January 21, 2012, from The Food Timeline:

Ozersky, J. (2011, October 26). Taste Of America: In Defense of Industrial Food. Retrieved from Time Ideas:

Pollan, M. (2004). We Are What We Eat. Retrieved January 21, 2012, from Center for Ecoliteracy:

Smithsonian Institute. (2003). 500 Years of American Food. Retrieved from Key Ingrediants – America by Food:

Willett, W. C. (2001). Eat, drink, and be healthy : the Harvard Medical School guide to healthy eating . New York: Simon & Schuster Source.


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