So you’re thin? Your child is thin? You think a soft drink (loaded with 17 teaspoons of sugar in just 12 ounces) here and there won’t hurt?
MRIs are showing that thin adults and children are accumulating lethal abdominal fat around their organs, even if it’s not visible from the outside. Research shows that 40% of thin people have increased belly fat and elevated insulin levels, putting them at the same risks as those who are visibly obese. No one is safe anymore, not if you eat sugar and processed foods.
Sugar, sugar everywhere
Did you know that 80% of the foods found on supermarket shelves today contain sugar? Many of these “foods” contain sugar, even though you’ve never guess it — salad dressings, peanut butter, crackers, canned tomatoes . . .
And we wonder why we have an epidemic of obesity, six-month old babies who are obese, eight-year old having strokes, teens with heart attacks and 30-year olds who must undergo kidney dialysis just to stay alive. One-third of all Americans will have diabetes and all of its downstream complications in the next 20 years. Just think of the toll this is already taking on our national psyche, our workforce productivity and our national healthcare budget!
I’ve written many times that fat doesn’t make you fat, but sugar does. When I say “sugar,” I’m talking about all simple carbohydrates, including the overprocessed grains, including white bread, baked goods and white rice, that are so prevalent in our foodstream.
Most importantly, I’m talking about high fructose corn syrup (HFCS), the cheap alternative to table sugar that is added to so many products. Not only does it stress your liver, most of it is stored as body fat.
The food industry is the culprit
Three-quarters of American healthcare dollars are being spent on metabolic conditions. These are directly related to the foods we consume and the lack of accountability on the part of the food industry.
We love the taste of sweetness. Some say we are hard-wired to crave the sweetness of the ripest fruit.
But there is no question that today’s food industry has fostered cravings for sweetness that has nothing to do with the luscious goodness of ripe fruit and everything to do with addiction to sugar and the destruction of our health and that of our children all while enhancing the corporate coffers.
Governments around the world have placed restrictions on the food industry, but the powerful food industry lobby, especially the sugar lobby, has protected in the U.S. has protected these companies and their deadly foods to our peril.
While giving lip service to the need to reduce sugar intake, the US Department of Agriculture continues to subsidize the sugar industry, especially corn farmers, whose product is HFCS. The fast food industry has taken over the school lunch programs despite efforts by parents to contain the influence of school lunch companies owned by the likes of Coca-Cola, which classify French fries and pizza as “vegetables.”
What Can You Do?
Making better choices at the supermarket and in your own kitchen is the first step. In today’s always-on world, it’s easy to succumb to the temptations of convenience foods. Of course, don’t buy any of that junk. Shop for unprocessed foods in the perimeter of your supermarket.
Stand tough, Mom and Dad. Healthy food doesn’t have to be complicated. A grilled chicken breast, half a cup of brown rice, broccoli and a simple salad can be on the table in 20 minutes.
Local farmers markets can be great sources of healthy food at lower prices.
Become a lobbyist for healthier food in your supermarkets and in your schools. Contact your local school board and your PTA. Contact the US Department of Agriculture (LINK: http://www.usda.gov/wps/portal/usda/?navid=FEEDBACK_FORM) and give them a piece of your mind. Government agencies do respond to large numbers of consumer comments. Send letters to food industry giants telling them you won’t buy their products anymore unless they eliminate unhealthy ingredients. Enlist your friends and family to do the same.
Join local healthy food organizations. If there aren’t any, start one of your own. Write letters to the editor. Make your voice heard.
Those of you who know me know that I am a passionate advocate for voting. Advocating for anything about which you feel passionate is not really any different. No, perhaps one voice in the dark won’t bring about change. But many voices joined as one will absolutely change our world. It has never changed in any other way.