The Modern American Diet: Designed For Disease
What two diseases are you most afraid of? What two illnesses have taken away from you, close friends and much loved family members? Cancer and heart attacks are at the top of most peoples lists. So what are the reasons why heart attacks and cancer are the number one and number two killers in the United States? The reasons are actually clear and well documented by medical professionals. Stress and sedentary lifestyles are certainly factors. But by far and away the main reason for the prevalence of these two ruthless killers is the way Americans eat. Americans currently consume about 42 percent of their calories from fibreless animal foods and another 51 percent from highly processed refined carbohydrates and extracted oils. Almost half of all vegetables consumed are potatoes, and half of the potatoes consumed are in the form of fries or chips. Are potatoes a bad food? Not necessarily. But it must be said, potatoes are one of the least nutritious vegetables on earth. While the many benefits of green leafy vegetables and fruits are beyond doubt, studies continue to show that potato – heavy diets are not healthy and there is a close correlation between potato consumption and colon cancer. What makes matters 100 times worse, is the way Americans consume potatoes … fried or with butter or other dangerous fats. A stark statistic is that excluding potatoes, Americans consume a mere 5 percent of their calories from fruits, vegetables and legumes.
The Modern American Diet – MAD for short!
Cheese is not a healthy food. Cheese is typically high in saturated fat and calories, so eating too much can pose serious health problems in addition to weight gain. Admittedly cheese isn’t all bad. The recommended daily intake for calcium is 1,000 milligrams per day for people between 19 and 50 years old and 1,200 milligrams per day for those 51 years and older. One slice of American cheese can provide approximately 300 milligrams of calcium, thus meeting 25 to 33 percent of daily needs. The problems arise when our diet includes vast amounts of cheese. Between 1970 and 1996, cheese consumption in the United States increased by 140 percent … and continues to rise alarmingly. By a mile, cheese is the primary source of saturated fat in most peoples diet. Why is that the case? Convenience foods have been the driving force behind this increase. In fact, two-thirds of American cheese production is for commercially prepared foods, such as pizza, tacos, nachos, fast-food meals, spreads, sauces, and packaged snacks. From convenience foods to fast-food restaurants, our fast-paced society has divorced itself from healthful eating. Yes … it may be convenient after a busy day to pick up a soda, a burger, a pack of fries, or a delicious freshly cooked margherita . But that convenience comes at a price. Americans are sicker than ever and their medical costs are skyrocketing out of control.
The convenience of “convenience food” may come at a very high price!
Here’s another fact for you to ponder over. The low consumption by Americans of unrefined plant foods is largely responsible for our dismal mortality statistics. The vast majority of Americans die prematurely … mainly because of their dietary folly and poor lifestyle choices. When we look at other countries of the world and compare mortality statistics (death rates) we find without exception, the lands with the fewest deaths due to heart disease and cancer … are the ones where their populations obtain more that 75 per cent of their calories from unrefined plant substances. This is at least TEN TIMES more than the average American consumes. So what is it that makes us so vulnerable to heart attack and cancer? Is it simply the amount of animal products that we eat? Are refined carbohydrates to blame? Or is it just that plant foods are just incredibly good at protecting against disease … and Americans don’t eat anywhere near enough of them? The answer is … ALL THREE!
Now you might say … “wait a moment though … these same countries that you refer to have much higher overall mortality rates than people living in the United States”. And that would be true. The economically poorer regions of the world have significant public health problems: poor sanitation; poverty and malnutrition; high infant-mortality rates; high rates of infectious disease, including AIDS, parasitic diseases, and even tuberculosis. However, in spite of all these things that cause an early death, if we look at the cause-of-death statistics from the World Health Organization (WHO) for people between the ages of fifty-five and seventy-five, we find very few cancer deaths and heart attack deaths in those poor societies. The diseases of poverty are mostly infectious diseases and are found in areas of the world with compromised nutrition. Heart attacks and the most common cancers (breast, colon, prostate) are found in rich societies where nutritional extravagance rules supreme. This is all of coarse a huge missed opportunity for the people of the United States. What could we achieve if we combined economic wealth with a high intake and variety of unrefined plant foods? Can you imagine the health potential of a society that would be able to enjoy excellent sanitation, emergency medical care, refrigeration, clean water, flush toilets, and availability of fresh produce all year-round and yet avoid nutritional ignorance and dietary extravagance? We have this opportunity today … an unprecedented opportunity in human history, the opportunity to live a long and healthy life without the fear of disease. Don’t waste this opportunity … it can be yours if you carefully manage the food you eat .