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Nutrition 101

Updated on July 2, 2013

Nutrition is something most people overlook. People eat whatever they want to eat. Many are not focused on their diet because people love to eat. The Center for Disease Control has predicted that 42% of Americans will be obese by 2030. This is an alarming rate because obesity has started plaguing this country. What do we need to know more about nutrition? Health experts Loren Cordain, the founder of The Paleo Diet, Cat Cora, a restaurateur, and Dr. Colin Campbell, a professor at Cornell University and the author of the book Whole discussed how we can achieve a healthy lifestyle.

Most fast foods are cheap. Some of them cost only a dollar making it easy for Americans to buy cheap unhealthy food that will eventually lead to sedentary lifestyle. They buy processed foods that contain refined carbs that are detrimental to one's health. Refined sugar is mostly found in processed food. When we say processed food, we mean food that is not natural. They are usually high in fat and can induce high cholesterol levels. According to Cora, there are 5 commodities that end up in processed food. These are soy beans, wheat, rice, corn, and sugar. Mr. Cordain mentioned that people need to follow the Paleo Diet. This is an animal based food diet. We need the protein to maintain a balanced diet. But Dr. Campbell doesn't agree with the concept of the Paleo Diet. According to Campbell, we should eat a plant-based diet. We do not get protein from meat. We can get protein through plants such as legumes. Whole grains also have protein.

Many people believe that cancer is caused through genes and not diet. Dr. Campbell believes that diet can trigger cancer. It's not just having a faulty gene, but what we eat can affect our overall system. Dr. Cordain said that we should take more omega 3 fatty acids and Vitamin D. Americans are not so knowledgeable about GMO. These are genetically modified organisms that are placed in most foods. Most countries such as France and Germany have banned GMO's to grow food.

Dr. Cordain mentioned that 90% of vegetarians consume dairy. These are high in fat an end up having cardiovascular diseases. The same thing is true with vegans. They end up eating processed food. Dr. Cordain said that 40,000 people who eat a plant based diet die due to cardiovascular diseases.

The three speakers agreed that the government is partly to blame for the obesity epidemic. This is due to the farm bill. According to Corta, 80% of the farm bill goes to food stamps. Those people who have food stamps end up consuming more calories since they can only afford fast food. They are consuming $25 worth of calories. The new farm bill has cut $5 billion dollars from small farmers and food stamps.

We have an interesting fact that we would like to take note of. In Sweden and Scandinavian countries, they score the lowest in mortality rate. Japanese have the longest life span. This is due to their governments banning products that have GMO's.

Exercise is an important component in maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Engaging in physical activities can ward off diseases such as diabetes, obesity, and other heart related diseases. It sharpens the mind and prevents signs of aging.

Mississippi has the highest number of cases of obesity. This is because most people living in this state are from the low income bracket and lack proper education when it comes to food. According to Corta, not much has been done to educate children about food and nutrition. Most children think that foods only come form groceries and supermarkets. More funding is needed to educate the nation about food and nutrition.

A gluten-free diet should also be taken into consideration. Cordain stressed that 5 to 7% of the population have Celiac Disease. He suggested that we should eat less processed meat and eat more spices, citrus, and herbs instead.

In a nutshell, people should be conscious of their diet to improve their well- being. It's not just having bad genes, but what we ingest is a major contributor to our health. The government and its citizens have to work hand in hand in promoting a healthy lifestyle. The government should supply more funds in educating the children about the food that they eat. GMO's should be eradicated in growing fruits and vegetables. We have to grow our products organically to prevent diseases that can have harmful effects on our health.

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