According to the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports & Nutrition, “good nutrition is an important part of leading a healthy lifestyle.” Good nutrition, along with regular exercise, promotes health and decreases risk of diseases.
Poor Diet Leads to Poor Health
As per the President’s Council’s website, the United States is experiencing an obesity epidemic that has resulted in 33.8% of U.S. adults and 17% of children and adolescents being obese. Nutrition is the key to maintaining a healthy weight and body. However, nutrition comes in different forms. Consumers need to be educated and aware of nutrition basics and how high quality ingredients promote health and well-being. This is because the quality of ingredients directly influences quality of health and life.
Consumers tend to make quick, easy choices for the best price. This results in consumers regularly purchasing super-sized meals at McDonalds or low quality, processed food at stores like Wal-Mart. It may be convenient and cheap, but it is not good for your health.
Morgan Spurlock, in his documentary film Super Size Me, ate only McDonald’s food for 30 days straight. As a result, he gained 24 lbs. and increased his body mass by 13%. He had high cholesterol (230 mg/dL), fat accumulation in his liver and experienced mood swings. It took him fourteen months to lose the weight through strictly following a vegan diet.
Processed foods high in fat, sugar salt and artificial chemicals slowly destroy the body one bite at a time. But the good news is that organic products with high quality ingredients are available to increase our health and reducing the risk for disease.
Misinformation in Labeling
There is often confusion about premium ingredients, and it doesn’t help that the mainstream food industries promotes myths to market their items. For example, packages often claim they are “made with” a natural ingredient. Fruit juice and smoothies often display “100% pure” but are in fact loaded with abnormal amounts of artificial ingredients and high fructose corn syrup (HFCS). Michael Pollen, a well-known nutrition author, points out that “of the 37 ingredients in chicken nuggets, something like 30 are made, directly or indirectly, from corn.” Food labels and packaging are often misleading so it can be difficult to identify premium ingredients.
High Quality Food Ingredients
High quality ingredients are made through high standards of sourcing, freshness, safety and nutritional value. Real premium ingredients are naturally produced, ethically harvested and good for the body.
Consumers can learn to recognize premium quality ingredients. This can be done through analyzing the food label for things like artificial flavors, colors, sweeteners and preservatives. Michael Pollen, in his book Food Rules: An Eater’s Manual, recommends “not eating anything your great grandmother wouldn’t recognize as food.” If the food label has 20 different ingredients with unpronounceable names like dioctyl sodium sulfosuccinate (DSS) or tertiary butylhydroquinone (TBHQ), it is not healthy, natural or premium quality.
Premium Ingredients and the Vegan Diet
So what can consumers do to protect their bodies and increase their health? Dr. T. Colin Campbell famously proved that consuming more animal/dairy products results in higher risk for coronary heart disease, diabetes and cancer in his groundbreaking book The China Study. This was proven through a rigorous 20-year study called the China-Cornell-Oxford Project which compared disease mortality rates, diet surveys and medical testing in different Chinese counties. The scientific conclusion of the study and follow up studies show that those who eat, whole-food and vegan diets reduce the development of these diseases.
Therefore, food ingredient quality directly influences quality of health and life. The next time you shop for food think of Michael Pollen’s 7 word mantra that sums it all up: “Eat food, not too much, mostly plants.”