Most of us realize that in modern day, the non communicable diseases and the lifestyle diseases are at their peak. Health products are available everywhere, but aren’t working. How did we end up such? Why is there a need in the modern day to eat healthy? Why is obesity on the rise? What has changed throughout the years? Why are the things which worked for older generations not working for the current one?
Via this blog I will help you understand the reasons behind the modern health crisis. So lets find out why is there a need to improve health?
Changes in soil:
This by far remains the primary reason of modern diet NOT working. From always we used to get many nutrients, many minerals from the soil. Because of conventional farming, which is the use of pesticides for growing a produce, the quality of soil has reduced and the modern soil doesn’t provide a lot of nutrients to the produce. The two biggest nutrients which have taken a hit are potassium and iodine. And these are critical minerals. That’s why the conventional diet worked till 30 years back, worked for the generation of my parents (who are around 60) up to a point, and it stopped working for them and for my generation it never worked.
Potassium is critical in managing heart health, muscle quality, maintaining sugar levels by providing sustained energy levels. Iodine on the other hand, is critical in controlling the metabolic rate of the body.
One needs to ask why the majority of population is developing a thyroid condition, and depleted soil (or lack of iodine) remains a major reason for that.
So an apple a day now won’t keep you away from a doctor. On the contrary, an apple has about 20g of sugar and might be counter productive to improving health. Most fruits now a days are. And we need to understand if they really are helping our cause or are just plain sugars.
Uprooting and urbanization:
Most people have migrated from their native lands. They now live in a new environment, with more responsibilities and working too hard. The food is new which might not always suit them and they are under tremendous stress physically and mentally. And they need something extra in terms of nutrition. Cutting down is not the right solution to this problem. It’s replacing what doesn’t work to what heals where the answer lies. There are many examples around all of us about someone relocating to a new country and gaining weight like never before. Any sort of a major change to the body, is a kind of stress. In stress, we gain weight and one needs to be aware of this and make changes accordingly in diet to not let this happen.
Affordability of foods has increased over the years for many people which was not the case long back and in many cases, the feeling of accomplishment and happiness supersedes the nutritional profile of a food. Most of us have seen those birthday party rooms in a major fast food chain which is an indication of people wanting to eat junk food at special occasions because they can afford it. Is it really tasty? May be not. But they do it there because now they can afford it. This is more of an instinct now than anything else. Same applies at the supermarkets where people can pick up on any item just because they can. So while it’s really commendable what people have overcome to be where they are, they should be spending on foods which HEAL and not foods which make them sick. There is no middle ground.
Introduction to sugars:
This remains by far the primary cause of modern health crisis. While it’s quite a discussion in itself, sugars essentially came to our mainstream foods when the “fat is bad” argument came to life in the 70s in the US. To sell more “healthy” foods, companies took out the fat from the foods and because fat contains flavor in the food, the product would taste like cardboard. So they added sugar to it to make the finished product palatable. And sugar is addictive, sugar stimulates hunger, and now whatever product we pick up from the super market, it has quite a lot of sugar in it. You add that to the argument people give for consuming “healthy sugars” – the dates, the fruits, the jaggery, the honey, the little bit of something sweet and the carbs which we eat – rice, roti, breads, pancakes, waffles, pastas, you find yourself in a hot soup which is not sweet at all.
One needs to be very, very aware of how much sugars they are consuming in a day. On an average Indians are consuming about 15 teaspoons at least. In the US they are consuming 32 teaspoons a day on an average. There is something cheaper than sugar now – high fructose corn syrup, or hfcs. That is also adding to the damage. While sugar is causing the damage, sugar also goes by 60 different names. People usually don’t realize that they are hooked up on sugars though they are not consuming the table sugar.
The inclination of eating low fat:
There are fats called essential fatty acids which are fats that the body CANNOT make and you HAVE TO eat them from the diet. Fats are responsible for the immunity, skin health, hair health, muscle repair, reproductive hormones, heart health, happiness and pleasure hormones. And the modern diet simply doesn’t have enough fats. It’s the myth that fat causes high cholesterol which has really done the damage. This is another major cause of why things need to change now.
Another reason of why things need to change is frequent snacking in the modern diet. The snacking has become such that its more grazing now than snacking. You visit someone who has just come out of the hospital and they are eating every two hours to boost their health. Why are we doing exactly the same? Why are we eating like a sick person? And it does not help that professionals and experts recommend eating every two hours (five meals a day). Eating every two hours creates a load on the digestive system which over time, creates many problems, such as insulin resistance. One has to ask if eating smaller meals every two hours works, wouldn’t everyone be healthy then, assuming most people have heard of this concept? But are they? Probably not.
Weak gut health:
Because of a busy lifestyle, nutrient depleted foods, too many sugars, the gut has been depleted for the modern population. Gut health is the health of bacteria present in the intestine which help in digesting and absorbing foods and certain nutrients. When the good bacteria die, the digestion and absorption of certain nutrients which are absorbed from the gut, declines. One needs to ask why all of a sudden many people walking around us is deficient in vitamin D when India gets so much of the sun? Intake is one thing, absorption is another thing. What about calcium? Same thing. Both of these are absorbed from the gut and when the gut health is not good, these nutrients plummet. There is NO need of a calcium supplementation for a decade despite menopause if you are doing enough vegetables (which also have calcium) and the vitamin D levels (responsible for calcium absorption) and gut health (from where the calcium would be absorbed) are doing fine. And the modern diet is very hostile to the gut. That’s another reason why things need to be changed.
These are some of the main reasons for why we need to look at the modern diet and lifestyle and just ask is it really working OR will this HEAL my condition OR will this make me LOSE weight? Of course there are other reasons like inflammation, environment, toxins etc etc but these remain the primary reasons.
Hope you found this interesting to read. Please leave your comments and questions below to discuss.