The Western Diet– excerpt from “In Defense of Food”
All of our uncertainties about nutrition should not obscure the plain fact that the chronic diseases that now kill most of us can be traced directly to the industrialization of our food: the rise of highly processed foods and refined grains; the use of chemicals to raise plants and animals in huge monocultures; the super-abundance of cheap calories of sugar and fat produced by modern agriculture; and the narrowing of the biological diversity of the human diet to a tiny handful of stable crops, notable wheat, corn, and soy. These changes have given us the Western diet that we take for granted: lots of processed foods and meats, lots of added fat and sugar, lots of everything- except vegetables, fruits, and whole grains.
(author: Michael Pollan)
It seems that people look to every other way to be “made healthy” besides the constant influx of substances they enter into their bodies daily- FOOD. Supplements, medicine, vaccines, vitamins, and a myriad of food-like products are taken in attempt to create health—when in reality food, REAL food, is comprised of everything that is needed to support the human body in its maximum state of health.
Why do we do this? Maybe it is easier…cheaper…tastier at times…maybe we don’t really believe that food is exactly what our body needs? Maybe we really think these “food” products engineered by food science are the key to health that have finally been discovered.
“Food” product– an item that at its origin was food, but that has been processed so radically with so many non-food ingredients added to it– that it no longer resembles food, but rather a concoction of science and manufacturing. This item at one point contained a vast array of vitamins and minerals, but in the process of making its shelf life long, preservable, and nice and “white”- it lost so much of the goodness that it was intended to have. So the responsible food scientist go back to their lab and create chemical “look-a-likes” to a few of these lost treasures and mix them into their novel products.
This is what a “food”-product is…food…but not really. These various thousands of products line most of the aisles in our grocery stores, make up most of our daily consumption of calories, and earn ridiculous amounts of money for the food industry.
Examples: Sugary cereals (“enriched” with 11 vitamins and minerals), cereal bars with added calcium (just like milk!), “cheese” slices, diet fruit drinks with protein added, “wonder” bread (enriched with vitamins and fiber), weight watcher desserts (need I say more?), pop-tarts (with vitamins- hello its breakfast!), lunchables (now with crackers made from whole wheat), chocolate formula by Enfamil (not a joke! But of course with a “triple health-guard” and more sugar than a pop-tart!), french fries and margarine (good source of oil)….need I go on?