Excerpts from an article by Mark Hyman, M.D.
A hundred years ago all food was organic, local, seasonal, fresh or naturally-preserved by ancient methods. All food was food. Now less than 3 percent of our agricultural land is used to grow fruits and vegetables, which should make up 80 percent of our diet. Today there are not even enough fruits and vegetables in this country to allow all Americans to follow the government guidelines to eat five to nine servings a day.
What most of us are left with is industrial food. And who knows what lurks in the average boxed, packaged, or canned factory-made science project.
In the 21st century our tastes buds, our brain chemistry, our biochemistry, our hormones and our kitchens have been hijacked by the food industry. The food-like substances proffered by the industrial food system food trick our taste buds into momentary pleasure, but not our biology, which reacts, rejects and reviles the junk plied on our genes and our hormonal and biochemical pathways. We need to unjunk our biology.
Industrial processing has given rise to an array of addictive, fattening, metabolism-jamming chemicals and compounds including aspartame, MSG (monosodium glutamate), and trans fats, to name the biggest offenders.
MSG is used to create fat mice so researchers can study obesity. MSG is an excito-toxin that stimulates your brain to eat uncontrollably. When fed to mice, they pig out and get fat. It is in 80 percent of processed foods and mostly disguised as “natural flavorings.”
And trans fat, for example, is derived from a real food — vegetable oil — chemically altered to resist degradation by bacteria, which is why modern cookies last on the shelf for years.
But the ancient energy system of your cells is descended from bacteria and those energy factories, or mitochondria, cannot process these trans fats either. Your metabolism is blocked and weight gain and Type 2 diabetes ensue.
Your tongue can be fooled and your brain can become addicted to the slick combinations of fat, sugar, and salt pumped into factory-made foods, but your biochemistry cannot, and the result is the disaster of obesity and chronic disease we have in America today.
No wonder 68 percent of Americans are overweight. No wonder that from 1960 to today obesity rates have risen from 13 percent to 36 percent and soon will reach 42 percent. Over the last decade the rate of pre-diabetes or diabetes in teenagers has risen from 9 percent to 23 percent.
The best advice is to avoid foods with health claims on the label, or better yet avoid foods with labels in the first place.