Today is part 2 of a 5-part series examining the viability of both animal and plant-based diets.
In this issue, I take a look at where we currently are in terms of our food supply and why it has become increasingly difficult to consistently maintain a healthy diet.
Every minute of every day, in the United States, one person is killed by heart disease.
And every day about 1,500 people die from cancer. Combined, these two diseases kill about a million people a year in the United States.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that seven out of ten deaths are from chronic diseases. Two third of adults are either overweight or obese. Plus, the obesity rate for children has doubled over the last thirty years. And an estimated 57 million Americans are experiencing pre-diabetic symptoms.
However, despite all this, most people are still eating a health-destroying diet, rich in fatty, salty, sugary, junk and animal-based foods.
In the documentary Forks Over Knives, the following statistics are revealed:
– Near the beginning of the last century, Americans ate about 100 lbs. of meat annually. As of 2007, that figure has more than doubled at 222 lbs.
– In 1913 the average American was consuming about 40 lbs of processed sugar a year. As of 1999, the figure, for all refined sweeteners had almost quadrupled at 147 lbs.
– In 1909, Americans consumed about 294 lbs of dairy products. As of 1996 that figure was 605 lbs.
Huge increases in the individual consumption of meat, sugar and dairy products.
But, of course, along with the above increases, there are other considerable changes that have occurred to our food delivery systems that have had a big impact on people’s heath.
For starters, fast food restaurants have become prevalent across the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Australia and other countries across the globe. Although many fast food chains are making the effort to offer healthy alternatives on their menu, their most popular offerings are often the unhealthiest.
Processed foods have also become common place. Processed foods do have their advantages, mostly related to shelf-life and convenience. And while some processed foods are healthier than others, it’s generally accepted that a diet of primarily processed foods can lead to chronic diseases.
Plus, in the United States, the use of High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS) has exploded. In an article featured on The Huffington Post, Dr. Mark Hyman points out, contrary to what the food industry would like you to believe, HFCS is not the same as sugar. That if you look at the evidence “quite a different picture emerges and the role of HCFS in promoting obesity, disease and death across the globe becomes clear.”
Plus on top of all that, we’ve been conditioned by the pharmaceutical and medical industries to believe that the answer to all our health problems resides in a bottle of pills or in a medical procedure. Which, for the most part, just treats the symptom and ignores the root cause of the problem.
The bottom line is to eat healthy. You have to be pro-active about your food choices. Because if you don’t, you will fall prey to the millions of dollars spent on marketing that discourages people from associating bad food with bad health. That’s it for today.
Next time, I’ll take a look at the validity of the claims made by those who profess that a plant-based diet is the way to go.
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