The connections between the rising rates of chronic disease and the production and consumption of modern foods can no longer be ignored. Our food supply is not healthy, nor is it sustainable. It has changed so dramatically that we have yet to adapt to the changes. Our food supply has been completely adulterated over the past few decades alone, more drastically than during any other time in history.
In an article by Eaton et al., it states that “although our genes have hardly changed, our culture has been transformed almost beyond recognition during the past 10,000 years, especially since the Industrial Revolution.”1 We have strayed so far from our ancestral diets and lifestyles. Ancient peoples and even isolated hunter-gatherer cultures that still exist today ate wild, fresh foods in their natural state with minimal processing and certainly without synthetic chemicals. Their lifestyles were also very different from ours. According to another article by Eaton et al., “groups whose way of life tends to continue the Stone Age pattern have low rates of complex degenerative diseases.”2 They did not suffer the same rates of degenerative diseases that plague modern society.
The majority of food Americans spend their money on is processed food. It may resemble food, but it certainly is not real food. Food that has been overly processed and packaged into a container is not food for it is virtually devoid of nutrients. Food manufacturers oftentimes must add vitamins and minerals that have been lost during the processing back into the food. These synthetic vitamins and minerals, usually isolated from their natural forms, act more like anti-nutrients than nutrients in these foods, adding to the body’s chemical burden. Modern methods of food preparation and processing have effectively depleted many nutrients and co-factors necessary for the absorption and utilization of foods that in order for the body to process these modern foods, it must use its own store of nutrients. Consider the stress that your body undergoes, the vast amounts of energy that is required for digestion, only to be left short-changed and worse off than before you had that food in the first place. Â
Factory farms and monoculture are responsible for most of the food that makes it to your plate. Consider factory farms — the animals from these operations are given massive doses of drugs not only to stave off disease in such conditions but to increase their growth as well. They are fed unnatural diets and have little or no access to their natural environment leaving them prone to disease and suffering. Their meat is unhealthy and should not even be considered fit for human consumption. Agriculture has been around for thousands of years, but the way it exists now is a far cry from what has existed before this modern age. Intensive farming and monoculture has left our soil depleted resulting in poor quality plant foods, which then affect the nutrient composition of animal foods. Also, with today’s technology, we are able to manipulate the genes of plants and animals, something that nowhere near resembles selective breeding techniques used by our ancestors.