Disease Proof

America Fat, World Starving...

Discover magazine’s Better Planet blog points out that while the United States is fat, many countries are in famine. Check it out:
Food prices have doubled as commodities prices have soared around the world. This puts people on the brink over the edge and may cause widespread starvation and rioting (some of which we’ve already see in Cairo, Mexico City, and the Philippines). The crisis is so bad that this week President Bush released $200 million in emergency food funding to help nations in need.

Walk through the slums of Mumbai, wonder out into the rural areas of Third World countries, as I have, and you’ll see how little margin for food error there is. This is serious. These are lives.

The World Food Bank reports that its reserves are the lowest they have been in about 30 years. Rice and wheat have become so expensive that nations have stopped exporting them. This causes panic and problems the likes of which the world has never seen. Meanwhile, recent health reports show the obesity rate for US adults stands at 64%. The Environmental Protection Agency says one of the most common items at landfills is tossed food
Okay, America might have a lot of food, but we eat too much of the wrong stuff—that’s why we’re so fat! It’s the quality of food that’s important. Dr. Fuhrman talks about it in his new book Eat For Health. Here’s a bit:
What makes a food healthy is how many nutrients it delivers to your body. In other words, for optimal health we must eat foods that are rich in nutrients, in particular, foods that deliver the maximum nutrients in each calorie. This can be a strange concept for many people because they are accustomed to judging whether or not a food is healthy by analyzing how many calories, fat grams, or carbohydrates it has. Try to wipe those ingrained ideas from your mind. With this plan, your primary concern will be the nutrients in the foods you eat. However, to eat this way, we must first understand what nutrients are and which foods are richest in them…

…Eating foods that are rich in micronutrients is essential to achieving optimal health. A micronutrient-heavy diet supplies your body with 14 different vitamins, 25 different minerals, and more than 10,000 phytochemicals, which are plant-based chemicals that have profound effects on human cell function and the immune system. Foods that are naturally rich in these nutrients are also rich in fiber and water and are naturally low in calories, meaning they have a low caloric density. These low-calorie, high-nutrient foods provide the ingredients that enable your body’s self-healing and self-repairing mechanisms.
News like this worries me, because a lot of developing countries see America and start to emulate the good and—unfortunately—the bad too and the Standard American Diet is NOT something worth copying.
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