Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Diet and Lifestyle Determine Mid-Life Weight and Disease Risk

(Article first published as Evolved Dietary Changes Lead to Weight Gain and Chronic Disease on Technorati.)
Our diet has changed radically over the past century and has become a significant cause of disease and illness as animal based foods account for a quarter of our calories. Processed foods which didn’t exist 100 years ago make up more than 60% of our present diet while naturally healthy vegetables and fruits provide less than 5% of our daily energy.

The food we eat influences our genes and is the leading cause of the rampant rise in heart disease, cancer, diabetes, dementia and obesity seen today. It’s possible to prevent and even reverse the damage from a poor dietary lifestyle by eating naturally high nutrient density foods.

A Diet of Processed Foods Leads to Illness
We need both calories and nutrients to survive. Modern food manufacturing techniques have removed most of the nutrition from the processed foods which represent such a significant portion of our calories. Vitamins, minerals and a host of essential nutrients provide the fuel we need to neutralize free radicals, facilitate DNA repair, counteract carcinogens and provide an effective immune response. After decades of nutrient deficiency our natural reserves are depleted and the stage is set for the onset of chronic disease often leading to a shortened lifespan.

Children Develop a Taste for Junk Food Early in Life
Many children are fed a diet of processed junk food from an early age and they quickly develop a taste for salty, sugared and fried foods. The instinct to eat vegetables, fruits and meats in their natural form is erased as their taste buds become satiated with a refined diet impregnated with artificially manufactured chemicals which are more pleasing to the taste.

An analysis reported in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association indicates that 800 of 2200 calories consumed by a typical child each day are attributable to solid fats and added sugar. These macronutrients are commonly known as `empty calories` as they provide scant nutrients and contribute to the growing childhood obesity problem. Children who acquire the taste for junk food early are much more likely to develop weight problems in later life and suffer from early onset chronic illness.

A Natural Food Diet Reverses Disease Progression
The vast majority of children and adults eat less than a quarter of the fruits and vegetables they need to provide minimal protection against disease. Include a minimum of five and optimally ten or more servings each day of fresh vegetables and leafy greens, berries, nuts, seeds, lean protein sources and protective monounsaturated fats. Prepare foods raw or minimally cooked and avoid overheating as this quickly removes nutrients. The human body has an amazing capacity to repair and reverse the effects of a poor diet. Health conscious people view natural foods as medicine which leads to a long and healthy life.


Ben Saunders said...

Excellent article, I'm about to have a baby and will do my best to keep it away from any junkfood for as long as humanly possible!:) May I also add that unhealthy diets and lifestyles nowadays are a major cause to male sexual health conditions too, such as low libido and erectile dysfunction. Break the negative vicious cycle, switch to a healthy lifestyle and diet, for many this is all that's required to make a full turn around to happy and healthier life.

Carol said...

I agree. Most of the kids these days are overweight. I'm glad of the First Lady's Campaign on kid's nutrition. I hope it works for the best.