The health of people in the United States is in a downward tailspin. All incidences of chronic diseases are on the rise even though we continue to spend more money on healthcare than ever before.
According the Center for Disease Control more than ⅓ of the population is pre diabetic, very close to being diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes.
Obesity is plaguing our society, It’s estimated by the World Health Organization that by 2015 we will reach 2.3 billion adults considered overweight and 700 million considered obese globally.
As our risk for obesity rises so does our risk for chronic diseases. The conditions closely linked to obesity are: Type 2 diabetes, stroke, cardiovascular disease, hypertension, kidney disease and nonalcoholic fatty liver disease.
Other problems associated with obesity are hormonal imbalances, sleep apnea and depression. Do any of these sound familiar ?
The questions begs to be asked; how did we get here and where did we go wrong ?
We are the same genetically as we were in the paleolithic era, yet our modern diet does not resemble the diet we survived and thrived on for thousands of years.
We have turned away from many of our highly nutritious traditional foods and replaced them with man-made processed foods that are convenient, but the cost of that convenience is turning out to be our health.
It is no coincidence that when these processed foods became the largest portion of our diet, our health started its decline.
Today we are still in the same health decline, largely attributed to daily foods choices and lifestyle. We the consumers are not the only people to blame, we have been repeatedly given the wrong information and told to eat processed foods in place of whole foods that come from nature.
I am going to explain the seven things that are wrong with our modern diet.
1)Total Sugar Intake Has Dramatically Increased ( including soda and fruit juice)
Before humans had access to highly concentrated and refined sugars the only kinds we ate came from whole foods that had enzymes, minerals and vitamins naturally packaged with them.
From an evolutionary perspective, the whole foods that are higher in sugar were only available certain seasons of the year.
We have since refined out all the nutrients and are left with a concentrated source of sugar that is available every day of the year in the forms of sugar and high fructose corn syrup.
This constant bombardment of sugar has been the potential cause for many health problems such as obesity, metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes, hypertension, cardiovascular disease and kidney disease.
When the low fat craze took hold in our society, the food industry began processing the natural fat out of many foods.
When a flavor that we naturally crave such as fats is removed, they were replaced with others such as sugar. Sugar is very cheap, makes foods highly palatable and is a great preservative too.
Now we have highly processed foods that are low in fat, but extremely high in sugar which makes them hyper palatable, last longer on the shelf and cheaper to produce.
Next time you are at the grocery store, flip over you favorite packaged foods and look for “Sugar” on the label. If you don’t see the word sugar on the label you shouldn’t feel smug just yet, there are 56 different names for sugar.
By processing out the healthy fats in foods and replacing them with processed sugars we disrupted the natural macronutrient ratio of our diet.
By consuming unnatural amounts of sugar on a daily basis we force our bodies to deal with the extreme peaks and valleys of our blood sugar which is a completely unnatural state to be in constantly.
Combine the massive spikes in blood sugar with a sedentary and stressful lifestyle and add over consumption of caffeine with a lack of sleep and you can watch health degrade over time-our society is watching it happen right now.
2) Increased Calorie Intake With Very Low Nutrient Density
When we are consuming processed foods they are very calorically dense but nutrient poor. Processed foods are engineered to be hyper palatable but don’t satisfy our hunger in the way whole foods do.
They lack the nutrients that signal our body to feel nourished and tell the brain to stop eating. Because we are never fully nourished our body keeps the hunger signal turned on in hopes that we will consume the right nutrients.This makes over consuming processed foods very easy to do.
Many foods on the market today that are so artificially flavorful that they are able to hijack our built in reward system.
Our natural cravings for foods that are fatty, salty and sweet is an evolutionary way of letting our body know to consume more of this food to obtain sources of energy, vitamins and minerals.
The food engineers who developed the tastes of processed foods knew this, and made these tastes much stronger than anything found in nature.
By increasing these flavor profiles of processed foods our brain gets a reward signal. The brain tells the body we are getting lots of energy , keep it up so we can survive in times of scarcity.
The problem is scarcity never comes, and we open another bag of potato chips.
3) Healthy Traditional Fats Have Been Replaced With Rancid Vegetable Oils and Margarine
Because vegetable oils are polyunsaturated fats they are very susceptible to damage from heat or light. These vegetable oils are much higher in the inflammatory omega-6 fatty acids, which when consumed excessively it can create or exacerbate inflammatory problems in the body.
Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids are both essential which means the body cannot produce them and must be supplied by the diet, but they are required in a certain balance.
Frequent consumption of vegetable oils that are high in the Omega-6s throws off the Omega-6 and Omega-3 balance in the cells which leads to a number of problems and dysfunction.
Many of these vegetable oils are also hydrogenated to make them solid at room temperature, but causes them to be filled with trans fats and increase the risk of diseases such as heart disease, obesity and diabetes.
To be clear when I say “vegetable oils” I am speaking about the highly processed vegetable oils such as soybean, canola, sunflower, corn, safflower and safflower. This does not include the highly nutritious coconut and olive oils.
4) Over Consumption Of Processed Carbohydrates
The availability of these processed carbohydrates has dramatically disrupted the macronutrient balance of our diet.
Before the agricultural revolution access to dense sources of carbohydrates were regulated by nature only allowing access to these foods during certain seasons of the year.
When agriculture was invented mankind had access year round to dense sources carbohydrates, for the first time in our history.
Having the same dense carbohydrates available year round didn’t force humans to eat with the seasons anymore creating nutrient deficiencies.
Our body is continually monitoring the amount of glucose (sugar) we have in our bloodstream to maintain a balance.
Too much or too little sugar in the blood stream causes the body to release hormones that will return blood sugar levels to normal. This process is a delicate balancing act that is greatly disrupted by the unnatural amount of carbohydrates we now have access to.
The problem with the highly processed carbohydrates we have access to today is that many of them come packaged with tons of sugar and vegetable oils.
These modern carbohydrates are very dangerous because they force the body to constantly be balancing blood sugar.
While our body has the ability to balance our blood sugar, forcing it to continually do so all day long puts it in a stressed state that causes adaptation leading to metabolic syndrome, obesity and type 2 diabetes not to mention the chronic diseases that are associated with obesity, metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes.
5) Increase In The Amount Of Processed Foods We Eat
I’ve spoken about some of these individually, but as a whole the main shift in our diet has come replacing nutritious natural foods to highly processed substitutes.
Processed foods are typically high in sugar and high fructose corn syrup which when consumed in large amounts can cause metabolic damage cascading into other health problems.
There are also many chemicals added to these foods for texture, color, preservatives and added flavors. While these foods have been examined and labeled safe for consumption they are pumped with chemicals, contain inflammatory vegetable oils, filled with sugar and high fructose corn syrup and are very high in calories while low in nutrients. Thats sounds like a poison not food.
We have over time moved farther and farther away from our natural diet that nourished and made us robust for thousands of years. Dr. Weston A. Price was a dentist who traveled the world studying indigenous cultures and examining how their diet affected their dental health and overall health.
One of his main findings was cultures who ate the natural foods in their environment were strong, lean and healthy, but when these cultures adopted what he called “ the foods of commerce” also known as processed foods their health quickly deteriorated.
Our culture here in the united states is no different, we have been consuming more processed foods than ever before and our health is plummeting at an alarming rate. A transition back to real foods is what our society needs.
6) Industrial Livestock Production
Over the years many foods have steadily increased in price, yet today meat is cheaper than ever. Over the years we have shifted from raising animals on pasture, where they are free to roam, eat grass and be part of the natural ecosystem.
As demand for meats rose there was a shift from animals raised on pasture to Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFO).
With the large number of animals being raised in such tight quarters the spread of pathogens is a constant battle being fought on CAFOs.
Not to mention the pathogenic potential when transporting thousands of animals from different farms together to be slaughtered.
Animals are given antibiotics as a preventative measure against sickness, and hormones to promote rapid growth in a shorter span of time. Meat sold from CAFOs contain hormones and antibiotics in them.
The animals living on these CAFOs are fed a highly unnatural diet of soy, corn and grains which they are not designed to consume, let alone subsist on exclusively.
Because CAFO animals are fed a highly inflammatory unnatural diet they develop many health complications that would not be present when raised on pasture eating grass.
7) Mono cropping
Mono cropping means growing the exact same crops year after year in the same fields. It strips the soil of the vital nutrients required for crops to be grown, and over time ruins the soil to such a degree that crops cannot be grown without the use of chemicals.
To replace the naturally occurring nutrients in soil that have been stripped farmers have turned to chemical fertilizers. The large amounts of fertilizers needed to grow crops in this dead soil has caused these chemicals to leach into nearby streams and nearby rivers.
Because of mono cropping a lot of the soil is ruined, and needs years of work to revive. The problem is farmers need to make money from crops the year they plant.
The soil that is used to grow many crops has been abused for years and is missing vital nutrients needed to grow nutrient dense produce. As a result of mono cropping a large majority of the produce we have access to is missing key nutrients.
To avoid the common problems with our modern diet we need to eat whole unprocessed foods that come from nature. Our ancestors did not have Ipads or bluetooth, but they thrived on a natural diet with no processed foods.
Along the way we got lost and let the modern foods that have degraded our health become the staples.Since the adoption of these highly processed nutrient dead foods our health has only worsened. We are getting fatter and sicker day by day and year by year.
A dramatic shift back to real foods needs to happen if we are going to turn this ship around.
If you’re tired of working hard, and not getting the results you want, I can help you adopt the simple habits necessary to reach your health or fat loss goals.
These habits are based on getting you to your goal in a sustainable fashion that can be maintained. I’ll be there every step of the way to support and keep you accountable.
Get on a Strategy Call with me to Discover how to achieve your health or fat loss goals, and make them yours to keep this time around.
Whether you decide to work with me or not I can guarantee you will leave this call with more knowledge on how to achieve your goals.
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