3 Shocking Ways Modern Diet Lacks Nutrients And 3 Ways to Fix

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What if I told you that you might be killing yourself by eating? I hate being the person that resorts to shock and awe, yet it’s never been more necessary than it is today. Some of you may already be aware of this, but most of us continue to be oblivious to the effects that the modern diet has on our health. Death by food is a painful, slow, and harrowing process both for the patient, as well as for their families and it occurs in at least 3 of the 10 most common causes of death for people in the United States [1] – namely with heart disease, the primary cause of death in the U.S., with stroke (no. 5), and with diabetes (no.7). According to Paul Jenkins, the founder of dna-lean, “food should be our medicine, yet commercially prepared foods have become chemical laden and are now poisoning society, this is a major contributing factor toward the increasing trend of disease”.

Each and every one of these diseases were shown to be reversible with the help of diet change [2, 3, 4]. The dilemma is that, more often than not, our modern diet fails to provide us with essential nutrients for our well-being, while, at the same time, over-feeding us with things we don’t need. This is why, instead of getting healthier by eating, we usually get sick.

3 Shortcomings of the Modern Diet

  1. Empty Carbs

Using artificial flavours, trans fats, as well as various combinations of salt and sugars, food and drink manufacturers have devised calorically dense products that capitalize on our internal reward system. Our brains developed in such a way so as to make us feel good when we eat certain foods. The enteric nervous system ensures that we have “gut feelings” which guide our food choices [5].

Unfortunately, 100,000 years ago, evolution did not foresee the appearance of cheese, ice-cream, sugary drinks, burgers, bacon, and chicken wings. Evolution also couldn’t have known that food will be plentiful and easy to come by in the 21st century, which is why our brains get high on calories, rather than quality. It made sense then, when food was scarce and difficult to come by, but it doesn’t now.

  1. Lack of Fiber

On average, we eat just over half of the recommended amount of fiber or about 16 grams out of 25 to 30 grams, per day [6]. Mainly found in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes, fiber effectively lowers your risk of diabetes, heart disease, and certain types of cancer [7, 8]. Roughage, as fiber is also known, does not just facilitate bowel movements, as you probably already know.

Aside from reducing our appetite, roughage helps us maintain a healthy weight by altering our metabolism, slowing the absorption of glucose into the blood stream, and even by helping us regulate our blood sugar.

  1. No Healthy Fats

We tend to demonize fats, but they are actually incredibly necessary to our well-being. Yes, low-density lipoproteins (LDL) is incredibly harmful, as it can build up in your arteries and gradually worsen your cardiovascular health. However, high-density lipoproteins (HDL), the good guys, are also part of the wider concept of cholesterol. The purpose of the latter is to help carry its harmful counterpart from your blood vessels down to your liver in order to be processed and dispensed with.

The problem is that many of our processed foods do not have a healthy balance of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, which our bodies cannot produce. Instead, we resort to hydrogenated vegetable oils (the ones that are solid at room temperature – like margarine, for instance), as well as trans fats, because they act as preservatives.

3 Ways to Correct These Lacks

  1. Replacing Empty Carbs

The entirety of nutritional research carried out in the past century is now synthetized into what is referred to as the best diet. Guidelines have changed numerous times over the years, but now we have the resources to put these contradictions to rest once and for all. There’s no doubt that calories matter, but our focus should not be on counting calories.

Instead, we should have a firm grasp of the amount of macronutrients we eat – carbohydrates, protein, and fat – and try to balance them out in a healthy way. More importantly, you can completely replace empty carbs if you switch your attention from counting calories to high-quality foods in decent portions.

To do away with empty carbs, substitute refined white grains and sugary beverages with whole grains (whole-wheat bread/pasta, and brown rice), freshly squeezed juice, as well as fresh fruit.

  1. Veggies and legumes

Our behaviour plays a great part in the consistent, widespread lack of fiber across Western societies. For one, we cook less and eat out more, which greatly predisposes us to meals that are low in fiber [9]. Another reason why we lack so much fiber nowadays is that we often chose sugary treats over healthy fruits when we crave a sweet treat.

According to the latest dietary recommendations, fruits and veggies should make up at least half of everything we eat, with a ratio of 60% to 40% in favour of veggies. The greater variety in these, the better. Remember that French fries and potatoes don’t count.

  1. Fish, nuts, seeds

It’s high time we quit the low-fat fads and acknowledge that healthy fat in moderate amounts is a necessary component of a healthy diet. In order to replace unhealthy fats with healthy ones, you need to severely restrict or completely eliminate margarine, shortening, lard and butter from your diet and cooking. These are the ones that contain the most trans fats medically associated with coronary artery disease, Alzheimer’s, diabetes, obesity, and much more.

Avoid snack foods, packaged baked goods, and any kind of fried fast food at all costs. Replace them with avocadoes, fatty fish, nuts, seeds, and even dark chocolate. When cooking, healthy oils that are liquid at room temperature, such as olive, canola, flaxseed or grapeseed, are the way to go.

The post-Modern diet

Although we’re slowly finding out that the effects of our diet are more serious and widespread than we initially thought, the most popular diets remain relatively unchanged. With the increased amount of attention that millennials and generation Z pay to the things they eat, the food industry also seems to be experiencing a healthy revolution.

This does not mean that everything you normally eat is now made from healthy sources, but that there is a great variety of healthy eating options at our disposal. The best part about replacing these harmful dietary habits is that you do not have to compromise on taste while significantly improving the quality of what you eat.

List of References:

[1] The top 10 leading causes of death in the United States – https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/282929.php

[2] “A Review of Plant-based Diets to Prevent and Treat Heart Failure”, Cardiac Failure Review, Conor Kerley – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5971679/

[3] “Effect of diet on type 2 diabetes mellitus: A review”, International Journal of Health Sciences, Waqas Sami et al. – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5426415/

[4] 7 things you can do to prevent a stroke – https://www.health.harvard.edu/womens-health/8-things-you-can-do-to-prevent-a-stroke

[5] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21750565

[6] Fiber intake of the U.S. population – https://www.ars.usda.gov/ARSUserFiles/80400530/pdf/DBrief/12_fiber_intake_0910.pdf

[7] What Do We Know about Dietary Fiber Intake in Children and Health? The Effects of Fiber Intake on Constipation, Obesity, and Diabetes in Children – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3262613/

[8] Dietary fiber: Essential for a healthy diet – https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/in-depth/fiber/art-20043983

[9] Away-From-Home Foods Increasingly Important to Quality of American Diet – http://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/download?doi=

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