The funny thing is that while I grew up in America and I wasn't as deprived as you were (no ice cream in the freezer *ever*? egads!), I see it as a time difference as well. Growing up we had sugar cereals only on Sundays (like frosted flakes or honey nut cheerios, most of the sugar cereals out there were never allowed). Dessert was not a given; we had dessert maybe once a week and then it was frequently homemade and thus, possibly, less sugary. We very very infrequently had sodas - those were an unimaginable treat. I do not ever remember having a candy bar in our house unless it was near Halloween or, possibly, Easter. We picked strawberries and dewberries and ate them with no extra sweetening; sometimes we didn't wash them either :). Even after our small town got a McDonald's, it was extremely rare for us to go there. Eating out at a real restaurant was reserved for very special occasions maybe twice per year. Some of that was because my parents were living with 5 kids on one teacher's salary. Some may have been where we lived back then (Arkansas). But I think quite a bit of it is an attitude shift over the past few years. Not even that many years - I'm only 27. Now, a whole 15 or so years later, soda is a daily occurance (I don't like the taste of regular sodas and so have always had diet sodas but even those shouldn't be daily...). Dessert is almost as frequent. Candy is in bowls or containers on at least 5 desks at work that I can think of. It is considered retraint to get fast food or eat out only once per week. Like I said, I don't know if this is geographic -- small town in AR vs. larger suburban area in CA -- or economic or if these past 15 to 20 years really has changed the face of the whole country that much.