“Eat your Veggies!” That is probably one of the few bits of dietary advice that any of us likely hear that isn’t immediately conflicted or confusing. It can be really tricky to sort out all of the information that is thrown at us daily and nutrition information is certainly no exception. It is exceedingly important to pay some mind to our diet as poor choices can have dire consequences. In the study,The State of US Health, 1990-2010: Burden of Diseases, Injuries, and Risk Factors, we find that diet is actually the leading cause of early death and disability in the United States! If you have a moment to look over some of the research with me I think we can come to the same conclusion on at least one simple rule that could be quite beneficial: processed foods are dangerous and they desperately need to be replaced with whole plant foods.
In the paper,Plant-based nutrition for healthcare professionals: implementing diet as a primary modality in the prevention and treatment of chronic disease, we can find a wealth of information. Hever and Cronise have done an amazing amount of research gathering for us and if you want to see some of the most convincing research done to date that backs up this point just check their resources section at the bottom of the paper. In any case, one may gleam from these studies that processed foods, that is, “commercially produced products made with adulterants such as sugars, salts, oils and other food additives” (Hever, Cronise) contribute to inflammation and oxidation which increase risks of disease and injury to the body. They also set the stage for cancer growth and can actually be carcinogenic themselves (which is to say that they can actually cause new cancers to form). Call me an alarmist if you will, but feel free to peruse the article 17 Carcinogenic Foods You Probably Eat Every Day if you like. Need more? World Health Organization Says Processed Meat Causes Cancer is also a fine read. These are not articles from random bloggers or conspiracy theorists, it is actual news from the likes of the World Health Organization and the Huffington Post.
Now some of the recommendations for replacing this are quite gentle. The United States Department of Agriculture, American Heart Association, and American Institute for Cancer Research suggest in their review of the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee that at least half of the plate should consist of fruits and vegetables. The “whole-plant food” recommendation is referring to plants that are minimally processed or are as close as one can get them to the way they left their source (ground, tree, bush, etc). The preparation argument is beyond the focus of my writing today but that is another case of there being loads of conflict. What we can focus on is eliminating the carcinogenic meats and sugar/salt laden boxes and bags of chips, cookies and crackers. If one gets into the habit of checking labels it is startling to find just how many of the “so-called” healthy entrees in the freezer section contain all manner of things that are unidentifiable as food ingredients. Let us just take a few extra minutes to steam a pot of broccoli to go with dinner, that in itself would be a huge first step.
There is so much detail here that I simply do not feel like I have enough knowledge of in order to speak on the subject beyond pointing my readers in the direction of those that I feel are much better suited to inform us on these issues. Feel free to comment back and let me know what you think on the subject. If you would like more resources and prefer video to articles, please check out Dr. Michael Gregor at Nutrition Facts .Org.
I hope my little write up does not come across as overly opinionated. My only intention is to spread information that I have personally found interesting and helpful. I hope you find it to be as well!
Grow Strong. Game On.