The processed foods we eat in this country are killing Americans, literally, and killing me, but only figuratively. The issue has cost me a lot of sleep, literally. The manifesto below is a call to arms, figuratively.
Definition of Processed foods: Mass produced, homogenous, foods that have been refined or broken down into various isolated substances and then reconstituted to make other “foods” using chemical, industrial, or demonic processes. These foods are generally low in nutrients, shelf stable, cheap, unhealthy, and are the cash cow of the American food industry. -Dr. Jimmy Westbrook
Did I just quote myself? Anywho, big food companies have been getting rich off of processed foods for decades. Like Kaiser Soze from “The Usual Suspects” these products are protected from up on high by the prince of darkness himself.
Corporations, politicians, and lobbyists, use food pyramids, heart healthy labels, nutrition misinformation, and biased scientific studies to protect their processed food profits. They’ve got teams of scientists, doctors, and nutritionists on their payrolls. They don’t need to get everyone to buy into their lies, instead they can pump out bad information, and leave the public unsure about what to believe, then they win. Useless nutritional claims like “no sugar added*”, “fortified”, “low sodium”, and “fat free” confuse an already lost pubic into buying their poison. Do you know what else is low in sodium, fat free, fortified, and has no sugar added? My couch, and it smells like Febreeze and dog farts. By “fortified” I mean we use it for making forts.
Various civilizations have thrived on a multitude of diets throughout human history without developing the epidemic obesity, diabetes, and heart disease we have in our society since the advent of processed foods. People have maintained high levels of health on plant based diets, hunter gatherer diets, and meat based diets (like the Inuits of Alaska). When these groups start to eat a processed Western diet, collective health is utterly destroyed. One could argue that it doesn’t matter what diet we eat, as long as we avoid processed foods. Unfortunately, today processed foods are so engrained (do you see what I did there?) in our society that they are very difficult to avoid. 60 years ago, a loaf of bread wasn’t a processed food, but sadly it is today. Even if you make your own bread at home, the wheat you are using is far from bueno. I’d even say it’s no bueno.
It is the processing, refining, and genetic modification of the grains that cause them to have such an undesirable inflammatory and pro insulin response in our bodies. Dr. William Davis author of “Wheat Belly” calls wheat the perfect obesogenic food because wheat spikes your blood sugar and make you hungry very quickly after eating it. Can you picture a field of wheat in your mind? Is the wheat waist high and beautifully amber with a child running through it? If that is the case, you are not picturing wheat in its current form. Wheat today is 13 inches tall at maturity (see above) and children would likely be choked by pesticides fumes or the petroleum based fertilizers used on the crops.
100 years ago if you picked corn and then planted the corn kernels in the soil, corn would grow. Today, not so much. Companies like Monsanto have altered industrial corn to be almost incapable of reproduction. That’s weird. What’s even more ridiculous, is the fact that it takes years to get a lifesaving cancer drug approved for a small group of people who are literally doomed without it, but food corporations can make a new plant and feed it to every human being in America without even testing the food out on prisoners, lab rats, or college students. Back in the good ol’ days, grains like wheat and corn were not genetically modified or processed and did not cause the obesity, allergy, diabetes, and inflammation that corn and wheat cause today. This is probably why there were so few obese people 70 years ago and yet there was no such thing as cross fit, 24 hour fitness, gastric bypass surgery, GNC, or gluten sensitivity.
Many processed foods also use shelf stable vegetable fats like: partially hydrogenated soybean oil, partially hydrogenated vegetable oil, and other very pro-inflammatory processed cheap fats. To be clear, these are “trans fats” which are basically poison. They cause heart disease and have also been linked to stroke, diabetes, and other things you don’t want. Fats like these should be avoided at all costs. To be clear, I am pro-fat with the exception of trans fats. **
Processed foods, like most poisons, have a dose dependent response and therefor the more processed foods we eat; the sicker, the fatter, and more reliant on doctors and the pharmaceutical industry we become. Furthermore, the more processed foods we consume, the more addicted we become to their artificial flavors, chemical additives, convenience, and the hilarious catch phrases of their animated mascots. Even worse, when we allow corporations to do the cooking for us, in the form of fast and easy processed foods, we collectively forget our traditional recipes, the joys of cooking, and where we stored our Dutch oven. This is just what the food industry wants to happen, and spoiler alert, it is happening, all of it. And it is not about to stop anytime soon.
- *”No sugar added” or “naturally sweetened” are labels make moms and dads feel good about the food choices they are making, but in reality these labels hide the fact that the manufacturer has figured out a sneaky way to sweeten the food without using plain sugar. Usually they add a sweet juice like pear or peach that has been refined to the point that the only thing left in it is fructose (a potent sugar), which turns out to be worse than table sugar and if people knew what fructose did to their bodies, they would be begging for the sugar to be added back into their foods. My high fructose corn syrup manifesto is coming soon.
- ** The US government banned trans fats in 2018 but many products have been granted extensions until July 2019 and are still prevalent in many processed foods.
Oh my gosh! I have just started keto after doing WW for decades (read losing, gaining, losing, gaining the same 50 lbs over and over). This article speaks to my new WOL. it didn’t take long to realize I have to ditch processed foods in order to keep my total carbs at 20 or lower. For example – sugar free coffee creamer FIRST ingredient is CORN SYRUP – wtf? How they can slap a SF label on it is just insulting.
It’s crazy how much of a difference there is in your health when we get off of processed foods. I am working on a post about the surprising benefits I’ve seen in my patients and in the research. Thanks for your post.
Sorry. I missed this comment initially. Thanks for the great feedback. It’s amazing how bad these foods are and how the percentage of these processed foods is increasing. Let me know if there’s anything specific you want to have covered on the site. Thanks again.
Great information James , did you know up here in Alberta the big grain farmers can legally
spray their grain crops with roundup to get the crops to ripen up faster !
Roundup is the most potent weed killer there is and all that goes in to the food chain !
I didn’t know that. I think in the future we will look back at these practices and think that it was criminal to do such things to the food supply.
Very interesting read this year I had decided to look for healthier receipes and good choices in our everyday life. This meant cooking more but I have found my love for cooking again and my thirst for knowledge in regards to nutrition . I thank your grandma for sending me your link. 😊
Barb, thanks for the kind words. Cooking our own food with healthy ingredients is a powerful first step. Plus, as you mentioned, it can be a joyful experience.