What’s Wrong with American Foods?

What’s Wrong with American Foods?

If you’re an American, you’re probably fat. And if you’re an American child, odds are overwhelming that your life will be cut short by complications rising from obesity and other complications. Despite what you may have heard, it is not your fault. It is not a matter of “personal responsibility”. There are ingredients in the American food supply that are making you fat. Those ingredients made their debut in the 1970’s. They are a matter of corporate responsibility — and culpability. To protect yourself, there’s a lot you need to know. (Original image courtesy of Natural News.)

Originally published 2007

Obesity and Disease

Sure, your kids need more exercise. But why don’t they want to? For that matter, why don’t you have any energy left at the end of the day? Our parents and grandparents were a lot more active than we are today. But it’s not because we’re lazy. It’s mainly because the foods we eat are a lot less healthy.

If you work at it, you can manage to eat healthy in America. But you really have to work at it. You shouldn’t have to work that hard, but you do. There are some ingredients in the American food supply that you absolutely have to know about — ingredients you might never have heard of before. You have to read labels, and you have to know which restaurant foods contain them. Then you have to avoid them. All of them. All the time.

It’s a pain to read labels. You shouldn’t have to read them. But the fact is, the American food supply is so polluted with metabolic and intestinal poisons that you have to. The dangerous ingredients listed below aren’t part of the food supply of other civilized countries — except where American fast foods are starting to make an appearance, closely followed by the obesity, diabetes, and other diseases they cause. The quality of the food supply is especially high in those countries that have socialized medicine, where everyone pays if you get sick. But they’re legal in America because, here, public health comes a distant second after corporate profits. (And that is probably the main reason that corporations campaign so heavily against socialized medicine.)

Meanwhile, the FDA, which is supposed to be looking out for the health of the citizenry, is instead way too concerned with the health of the corporate bottom line to step up to the plate and do the things that would save millions of Americans from spending their last dollar, and the last several years of their prematurely truncated lives, on a hospital bed.

And what about our legislative representatives? Are they doing anything. Some of them try. But too many of them stand up and brag about how “America has the best health care system in the world”. Sure, we do. Because we need the best health care system in the world. But is it working? No. When it comes to disease, longevity, and infant mortality, the United States consistently ranks at the bottom of all industrialized nations. In fact, often the U.S. ranks just above a handful of 3rd world countries.

In short, virtually every nation in the world has a better record on the health than we do. The food supply is to blame. Food manufacturing corporations aren’t looking out for you. Agribusiness isn’t looking out for you. Drug companies and doctors aren’t staging sit-ins and demonstrating for a healthier diet. And government sure isn’t restricting corporate activity in this area, the way it at least tries to restrict fraud, theft, and other activities that harm society while making a profit. That leaves it up to you — and you alone — to know enough to safeguard your health and the health of your loved ones.

What to Avoid

The dangerous ingredients:

  • Partially Hydrogenated Oil
    Fifty percent of partially hydrogenated oil consists of trans fats. Trans fats are metabolic poisons that interfere with cellular metabolism and neural function. They create insulin resistance, which makes your body store sugar as fat to take it out of the blood stream, eventually producing diabetes.
  • High Fructose Corn Syrup
    High fructose corn syrup is a combination of fructose and glucose. Glucose is “table sugar’. Fructose is “fruit sugar’. Fructose isn’t bad in the amounts you find it in fruit, where it’s accompanied by fiber that slows digestion. But when you concentrate it, remove the fiber, and put it in everything, it becomes lethal. It tastes sweet, so you automatically like it. But so much arrives so fast that the liver converts most of it into fat. And since most of it is metabolized into fat instead of entering the bloodstream as sugar, you ingest a lot of it before you get the feeling that you’ve had enough. The result, in addition to obesity, is insulin resistance, diabetes, and heart problems.
  • MSG
    MSG, and its various aliases and cousins (hydrolized vegetable protein, textured vegetable protein, modified food starch, and “natural flavors”) is a neural toxin. It’s an addictive concentration of substances that fool your brain into thinking, “Hey, this food tastes good.” Without it, the food may be bland and tasteless. But sprinkle some on, and you love it. Worse, you’ll feel bad when you don’t eat it. So you keep going back for more.
  • Antibiotics
    If you’re eating non-organic meat, you’re getting a lot more than just pesticides. You’re getting an antibiotic cocktail intended to keep sick cows from being too sick to walk to the slaughterhouse. As a side effect, you’re creating a whole new crop of antibiotic-resistant diseases that no doctor can help you with.
  • Bovine Growth Hormone
    If you’re eating non-organic dairy, you’re getting bovine growth hormone, as well, which explains why sexual maturity is occuring in the early teens these days, as opposed to the late teens (as it was at the beginning of the 20th century — a time when the legal “age of consent” actually reflected the average age of physical maturity.) Such rapid growth leads to a variety of physical problems, premature aging, and an earlier death.

The hazardous foods:

  • Wheat
    Wheat contains gluten, and for a large percentage of the population, gluten is as toxic as MSG. Gluten is the name for a family of proteins that act as “intestinal abrasives”. They effectively sandpaper your insides until your intestines no longer function properly. When that happens, your intestines begin to absorb proteins that aren’t fully digested. The gluten proteins are morphine-like opioids that don’t break down easily. When you’re body begins to absorb them, they produce an addiction response, similar to the one you get with MSG. But gluten proteins produce a variety of other problems, as well, including a type of adrenal exhaustion that makes it impossible to burn fat. Over time, your intestines become swollen, so you get a pot belly that makes you look even fatter than you are. (Medical “science” has figured out that there is a correlation between belly fat and disease, but it has so far failed to put two and two together to figure out that gluten is the cause of both. I put “science” in quotes to highlight that failure. They do study after study but, somehow, they fail to connect the dots.)
  • Fast Food
    Fast food chains deliver up a “perfect storm” of the ingredients listed above. The breads and sauces contain partially hydrogenated oil. The deep fryer is filled with it, and fried foods absorb 50% more of it than they would absorb if it were saturated fat (which isn’t really all that bad for you). The sodas, sauces, and breads contain high fructose corn syrup. The breads, cookies, cakes, and pies are made with wheat. And everything is laced with MSG or its cousins. When you eat in fast food restaurants, you feel good — for a while. But if you stop, you feel lousy. So you have to go back for another “fix”. That’s the addiction response noted in Super Size Me. But the effect of eating all that so-called “food” is disatrous to your weight and your health.

Do the gaint food corporations know these things? Darn right they do. The science has been published for decades. But they pay their scientists not to know. They pay their lawyers to make sure they can get away with it. They pay their lobbyists to make sure legislators stay in the dark. And they pay for advertising to tell you how good their products are, over and over again, so you’ll buy them.

And you? You pay the biggest price of all. So do your children.

What About “Personal Responsibility”?

I was in a supermarket once, talking to a lady about the contents of one of the packages on the shelves. The poor lady said to me, “I’m ashamed to say that I don’t read labels”. Huh? How could she? How would she know what to look for? I’ve been doing this since high school, and I’m still learning about stuff I need to avoid — and they’re putting in a lot more you need to avoid these days. (For example, High Fructose Corn Syrup and Partially Hydrogenated Oils only made their debut in the 70’s.)

So I said to her, as strongly as I could, “You should not be ashamed. The people who put this crap into our food supply — they are the ones who should be ashamed.”

But are they ashamed? Heck no. They have their millions and their mansions, and they’re just as proud as they can be of “living the American dream”. The fact that they destroy lives and cause families to spend every last dime on medical care in the last years of their lives makes no difference whatever to their peace of mind.

And in a blatant attempt to add guilt to injury, corporations pay people to tell you it’s a matter of “personal responsibility”. With one hand, they pay people to say, “You have to make the right choices”. With the other hand, they’re poisoning every drop of food you eat.

Here is the answer to that fallacious argument. The next time you hear one of these people say, “It’s a matter of personal responsibility”, tell them this:

Very well. I agree with you. Now, I want you to agree with me. I am going to pound your head through that wall. And I want you to state for the public record that you are personally responsibile for that. If you didn’t learn enough about martial arts to know how stop me, well, that was your choice. If you haven’t spent enough time in the gym to be fit enough to stop me, that too was your choice. I want you state here and now that you are responsible for the harm you are about to suffer, because the doctrine of personal responsibility holds that the victim is to blame for such evils, not the perpetrator.

When you look it at that way, it’s clear that “personal responsibility” is a two-sided coin. But the very people who talk about personal responsibily are the ones who are trying to evade responsibility. The only responsiblity they accept is financial responsiblity — and as long as they can write enough fine print to avoid that, they don’t care what harm they do.

In short, it is not a matter of personal responsibility. It’s a matter of corporate responsibility. (For more, see You Should Know Better (Or Should You?))

What You Can Do

Okay. So it’s not entirely your fault. But there are still some things you can do to improve your health, your looks, and your waistline:

  • Realize that Corporate Marketing is the Enemy
    • The packaging, the advertising, the pictures on the menu, and even the taste of the food — all were carefully designed to make you love, no matter how bad it is for you. Your instincts are good, but corporate marketing spends billions of dollars to subvert those instincts. Don’t trust it.
  • Improve your Diet
    • Avoid the most egregious offenders in the American food supply, as listed above.
    • Maximize your fiber intake: (See Brenda Watson PBS special, and get her book: The Fiber35 Diet
  • Get more Exercise
    • Start with 10 minutes of resistance training in the morning, 30 minutes of walking in the evening.
    • Add more exercises and activities as you see fit.

The Bigger Picture

Clearly, there is more than one thing wrong with the American food supply. It is a sad fact that American corporations put profit above all other considerations — above morality, above truth, above your health. They don’t regulate themselves, they’re not held in check by government, and the fiction that they are regulated by “the market” is, quite simply, a lie. That problem, and the only possible solution, is described more fully in What’s Wrong with American Corporations?. It’s a problem we must solve, for the sake of our children’s health, if for no other reason.


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