According to Nutrition Author Michael Pollan in his book In Defense of Food, humans historically consumed about 80,000 different species of plants, animals, and fungi, of which 3,000 were widespread foods in the human diet. Unfortunately recent studies show this number has decreased dramatically & that on average, people in the US, Canada, and Australia consume 67% of their calories from just three foods; corn, soy, and wheat.
These three foods and their derivatives make up the majority of our diet, when normally they should only make up 1%-5% of our total caloric intake each day. Based on thousands of years of human history and the natural diet of our ancestors, our human digestive system was never meant to consume these substances in such high quantities. In turn, over-consumption is a major reason why we have such problems with our health, weight, and gluten allergies in this country.
The problem with cutting these three items out of our diets though, is that they are in almost everything we buy. Examples of derivatives of corn, soy, and wheat include high fructose corn syrup (HFCS), corn oil, soybean oil, soy protein, refined wheat flour, and hundreds of other food additives. High fructose corn syrup has become a staple in processed foods & sweet drinks as well as marinades, salad dressings, condiments, breads, and more. Then you add the foods that are fried in soybean or corn oil and the processed foods with the oils as additives, you’re looking at chips, candies, cakes, tomato sauces, burritos, breaded chicken, etc. It becomes an overload of calories stemming from these few corn and soy derivatives.
In addition to all of these foods making up the 67% of our calories, the other 33% biochemically contains corn, soy, and wheat as well. Cows are fed mostly corn in factory feedlot farms, even though their digestive systems are meant to eat grass and other forage. This makes the cows sick, alters the omega-6 to omega-3 ratio of the fats to unhealthy levels, and diminishes the healthy CLA fats that would occur naturally in grass-fed animals. Chickens are also fed a diet of mostly corn and soy and crowded in tight pens rather than roaming and eating a mixture of greens, insects, worms, seeds, etc. This leads to unhealthy meat for you and less healthy eggs compared to free-roaming chickens. In many farms, fish are fed corn and soy products as well, to make them grow bigger, faster, at a cheaper cost.
Although factory-farm companies look at this as a cost-effective solution, they ignore the cost that this has on your health as the consumer. Eating this much corn, soy, and wheat has many negative side-effects including:
- Skewing the ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fats in our diet as high as 30:1, when a natural ratio of 1:1 to 2:1 is considered healthy
- Problems with gluten intolerance
- Problems with weight gain, blood-sugar swings, and reduced insulin sensitivity because of the excessive refined corn and wheat flours and HFCS
- Consuming more herbicides and pesticides, as corn and soy are the most genetically modified crops around
- Many of the pesticide and herbicide residues in these crops are xenoestrogens which increases stubborn belly fat
- Feeding corn and soy to animals reduces the nutritional benefits of those animal products
So What Can You Do About It?
1. Don’t purchase processed foods! It starts with grocery cart discipline. Choose only 1-ingredient foods such as fruits, veggies, beans, eggs, nuts, and meats from grass-fed or free roaming animals
2. Get most of your carbs from fruits and veggies instead of grains
3. Avoid store bought salad dressings & sauces as they almost always contain soybean oil and HFCS, and instead make them from scratch so you can control the ingredients
4. If you like guacamole & hummus, dip veggie sticks rather than oil-soaked chips or crackers
5. Reduce your cereal, bread, and pasta intake by having these foods only on a rare “cheat day” and stick to more of the 1-ingredient foods mentioned in #1 above
* Data and Information sourced from original article “3 So-Called Healthy Foods You Should Stop Eating” by Mike Geary, Certified Personal Trainer & Nutrition Specialist
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