Overfed ... But Malnourished!
As we have seen, if we are to live a long and healthy life we must ensure that our diet is nutrient dense … ie rich in nutrients and fibre but low in foods that are nutrient deficient. To appreciate the importance of a nutrient dense diet we need to carefully consider what most people eat (and what the consequences of a nutrient derelict diet are) and compare this with what the benefits would be if they ate healthily instead. Humans are one of the few animal species on earth (along with primates) that can see in colour and also have a highly developed palate for sweet foods. We were designed by our creator to be attracted to the flavour and appearance of colourful,delicious sweet fruits. Why … because they are an indispensable requirement for us to maintain and enjoy a high level of health. Numerous studies have shown that fruit consumption is the very best way that we can protect ourselves against certain cancers esp oral and oesophageal, prostate, lung and pancreatic cancer.
The great news is that we are naturally drawn to the very foods designed to satisfy our sweet tooth – fruit! In addition fruit also contains many added extra’s – valuable and health enriching benefits. For example, scientific studies have discovered unique substances in fruit that have powerful effects on preventing aging and the gradual deterioration of the brain. Certain fruits, esp blueberries are super rich in anthocyanins and other well known compounds that seem to have anti-ageing effects. Exciting research in the field of disease prevention has repeatedly shown that more than any other food, fruit is most frequently associated with lower mortality in cancer patients.
With all this evidence, it would seem only common sense to eat as much fruit as possible to achieve optimum health, well-being and long life. Unfortunately more often than not, most Americans prefer to satisfy their desire for sweet things by heavy consumption of products containing sugar … such as ice cream and candy bars … not fresh fruit. The typical American now consumes a breathtaking 32 teaspoons of added sugar per day. (Source: U S Food and Drug Administration). You heard right … 32 teaspoons in one day! Imagine if Americans changed their ways and satisfied their sweet tooth with fresh natural fruits and other plant substances … which not only supply carbohydrates for energy but also a complete package of illness preventing substances.
Make no mistake … pasta and bread are the nutritional lightweights in the world of health and nutrition. Unlike fruit which has the full ensemble of nutrients, bread and pasta (and other processed carbohydrates) are almost total missing the vital ingredients essential to a balanced healthy diet … fibre, phytonutrients, vitamins, and minerals, … all of which have been lost in processing.
Compared with whole wheat, typical pasta and bread are missing:
•62 percent of the zinc
•72 percent of the magnesium
•95 percent of the vitamin E
•50 percent of the folic acid
•72 percent of the chromium
•78 percent of the vitamin B6
•78 percent of the fibre
In a six-year study of 65,000 women, those with diets high in refined carbohydrates from white bread, white rice, and pasta had two and a half times the incidence of Type II diabetes, compared with those who ate high-fiber foods such as whole-wheat bread and brown rice. These findings were replicated in a study of 43,000 men. Diabetes is a very serious problem; it is the fourth-leading cause of death by disease in America, and its incidence is growing. Starchy (white flour) foods, removed from nature’s packaging, are no longer real food. The fiber and the majority of minerals have been removed, so such foods are absorbed too rapidly, resulting in a sharp glucose surge into the bloodstream. The pancreas is then forced to pump out insulin faster to keep up. Excess body fat also causes us to require more insulin from the pancreas. Over time, it is the excessive demand for insulin placed on the pancreas from both refined foods and increased body fat that leads to diabetes. Refined carbohydrates, white flour, sweets, and even fruit juices, because they enter the bloodstream so quickly, can also raise triglycerides, increasing the risk of heart attack in susceptible individuals.
When we eat processed foods, you exclude from your diet essential nutrients. For example, when the nutrient rich outer cover is removed from whole wheat to make it into white flour, the most nutritious part of the food is lost. This is because the outer portion of the wheat kernel contains trace minerals, phytoestrogens, hytoestrogens, lignans, phytic acid, indoles, phenolic compounds , and other phytochemicals, as well as almost all the vitamin E in the food. You must realise that the whole grain foods which are associated with longer life, are vastly different from the processed rubbish that makes up the bulk of the calories in the modern American diet. (MAD for short!). To support this, medical investigations clearly show the dangers of consuming the quantity of processed foods that Americans do (… and by extension those in other countries who emulate the American way of life). Because refined grains lack the fibre and nutrient density to calm our appetite, they also cause obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and significantly increased cancer risk. For example, one recent nine-year study involving 34,492 women between the ages of fifty-five and sixty-nine showed a two-thirds increase in the risk of death from heart disease in those eating refined grains.
Summarizing fifteen epidemiological studies, researchers concluded that diets containing refined grains and refined sweets were consistently linked to stomach and colon cancer, and at least twelve breast cancer studies connect low-fibre diets with increased risks. Eating a diet that contains a significant quantity of sugar and refined flour does not just cause weight gain, it also leads to an earlier death.
Refined Foods Are Linked To:
•Oral cavity cancer
•Respiratory tract cancer
So what are the most important foods to avoid if you want to lose weight? Without question, these are processed foods … in particular: condiments, candy, snacks, and baked goods. Don’t be fooled by the slogan “fat free” … fat free has nothing to do with it! The real secret to consistent and prolonged weight loss is to eliminate refined carbohydrates, including bagels, pasta and bread. Low fibre carbohydrates such as pasta are almost as damaging as white sugar. Please understand: pasta is NOT a health food … it’s a hurt food. Now I know many people love pasta … including myself. However if you must have pasta in your diet, use it only in small quantities perhaps in a generally healthy dish that is rich in green vegetables, onions, mushrooms and tomatoes. And when choosing which pasta’s to use (sparingly!), select the whole grain pasta’s and bean pasta’s found in health food stores rather than the commoner varieties found in supermarkets that are made from white flour. The damage done by eating a little pasta should not be that great provided it constitutes only a small percentage of your total caloric intake.