Despite the fact that the food industry spends literally billions of dollars on creative advertising and packaging, convincing us on how great and healthy their particular product is, or better yet, how convenient it is, we are eating less nourishing and more damaging foods than ever.
There are 5 reasons our food supply is dramatically different than it was 20 or 30 years ago.
1) We know less of what is in our food now than ever.
I’ve become quite the label reader and yet reading a label these days is not very helpful. It’s a mile long and has words and names of ingredients that I can’t even pronounce, let alone know what they actually ARE or if they are healthy. Food companies, in my opinion, have become creative labelers, even deceptive by changing the names of things, not having to disclose what’s in a listed ingredient or saying something contains a “100%” of an ingredient when it contains 51% or more of that ingredient. To say the least it’s incredibly frustrating, but it is also upsetting to be deceived when you are trying to eat healthy. What’s even worse is more and more foods now have poisonous preservatives, fats and sweeteners. You can’t even get away from it! You basically need a PhD in chemistry just to understand what’s listed in modern day labels. And sorry to beat a dead horse, but there are also more than 3,000 ingredients included on the FDA’s list of “safe” food additives, many of which are in everything. I don’t trust their idea of “safe” anyway….so moving on.
2) Since when does food need a shelf life.
What did we ever do before trans fats and how did we actually survive? Well, before we baked it, then we ate it. Now, you can bake it and it will still be preserved for weeks and months to come, gosh maybe longer if it’s a Twinkie (like years or decades according to the rumors). The development of trans fats after World War II opened the door to bake and fry in a cheaper more effective way, but also allowing foods to be stored at room temperature without leaking oils and remaining so called “fresh”. The use of trans fats apparently makes potato chips and french fries crispier, cookies tastier and biscuits flakier. It also doesn’t smoke as much when you deep fry it…..I guess a bonus for restaurants. But the question is….is it good for you to eat them? NO, it is not, on a multitude of levels, but it for sure increases your risk for heart disease by increasing your bad cholesterol and lowering your good cholesterol. (more articles to follow on trans fats….don’t get me started)
3) Even our animal protein sources are less healthy today.
The fat content of many of our meat sources are dramatically higher than 30 or 40 years ago. We feed them corn or grain as well as soy products all laden with antibiotics, which adds unnecessary fat. We should be feeding them grass and bugs while they run around free, but instead they are sedentary, in cages and fed products they would never eat in the wild range. Nowadays you have to pay extra to eat a happy natural source of animal protein. The rest are exercise free and fed unimaginable things. So it’s not shocking to find out that today’s chicken has more calories from fat than from protein.
4) Our fruits and vegetables are also less nutritious.
There is new research emerging that shows that the actual nutrition of our fruits and vegetables is less abundant now than decades ago. I’m not sure why this is, but I plan to get to the bottom of it. And obviously, the subject of GMO’s is a big one and a terrible reason for the decline in these foods. I have more to research and write on this subject….stay tuned.
5) Our calorie intake has increased dramatically by what we drink each day.
This number has nearly doubled from what it was 30 or 40 years ago (and I have to think strongly that this is a VERY conservative number, I would say more like tripled or more). There was no Starbucks or Jamba Juice or the numbers of sodas readily available then like they are now. The introduction of high fructose corn syrup has also dramatically added to our waistlines as well, especially in children.
This is one of those less than uplifting topics to write about, I know, but please don’t lose heart. It’s important to point out and focus on these things so we can do better.
There are many positive things you can do to avoid these things:
– avoid fast food (except maybe In ‘n Out)
– avoid processed foods or choose nutritious packaged food by reading the labels very carefully (the fewer the ingredients the better and making sure those are readily identifiable ingredients, sugar should not be first or second listed)
– drink only liquids that are 100% of whatever you’re drinking (juice, milk, etc.)
– avoid trans fats like the plague
– eliminate high fructose corn syrup from your diet entirely
– select and eat only whole foods
– buy organic produce when you can and learn to identify GMO foods (and avoid them)
– select lean cuts of meat and eat grass fed/free range meats and wild caught fish when you can
I know it sounds like a lot of work and more costly to eat this way, but poor health is even worse and even more costly. I’ve heard people say we spend more on our cars each month than our bodies and health. Hmm….maybe so?
Taking an active informed role in what you eat is a huge benefit down the road, and teaching your kids to do the same. Eating healthier reduces your risk for heart disease, cancer, stroke and diabetes, not to mention you feel a whole lot better!
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