By the 1980s, nearly a million Americans were dying of heart disease each year.
Again, Americans were told to eat less fat and eat more carbohydrates. These recommendations were built into a monument and lauded to the public as the salvation for American health: The Food Pyramid.
The Food Pyramid recommended carbohydrates as the staple of a healthy diet. Fat was a killer, or so we were led to believe, therefore recommendations for fat intake were drastically reduced. A $150 million dollar study, which pushed the same message, came fast on the heels of these recommendations. The study said to eat less fat and avoid foods high in cholesterol in order to reduce your risk of heart disease.
Americans followed this advice and carbohydrate consumption rose. Not produce consumption, we increased consumption of grains and sugar. Americans are now sicker than before. Deaths from heart disease have dropped a bit, but obesity and diabetes is on the rise.
Whole milk has been banned from most of our public schools, but strawberry milk, chocolate milk, and soda machines are usually available. Whole plain yogurt is usually difficult to find in a grocery store, but low fat, sugar filled, artificially flavored, artificially colored options are everywhere. The prevailing belief is that these low fat options are healthier, even when loaded with sweeteners, than whole milk.
Deaths from heart disease have indeed slightly declined, but its close cousin, cardiovascular disease, remains the nation’s number # 1 killer and the leading cause of death for individuals with diabetes. According to Time Magazine, diabetes has increased 166% from 1980 to 2012. The low-fat trend was directed toward lowering cholesterol. Today the high fructose corn syrup found in nearly every processed food is the reason cholesterol remains high.
American Health is on a Downward Trend
In every measurable way, Americans are in worse health than ever before. It is widely predicted that our lifespan is shortening; the generations that came before us will outlive us, and we are likely to outlive the generations who succeed us.
Despite the variety of diets, popular and obscure, safe and dangerous, on average, Americans are fatter than ever before. Most Americans eat slightly less red meat and eat more lean meat, but they eat more sugar and more highly processed and refined foods. The CDC predicts that by 2030 up to 42% of the U.S. population will be obese, and 11% will be severely obese.
Over time, some foods have gone up in demand, while others have fallen in popularity. Sugar consumption from sugar cane has dropped 35% while corn-based sweeteners (mostly high fructose corn syrup) consumption has risen by 8,853%. It’s not that Americans choose to eat corn syrup, they choose to eat processed foods, and high fructose corn syrup is added to nearly every processed food.
The current government guidelines are only a little different than the original food pyramid. The current recommendations are still high in grains, but the recommendation for fruits and vegetables is higher.
A truly healthy diet is a diverse, whole food, plant based diet. A full 80% of your diet should consist of raw, fresh, organic produce – more vegetables than fruits. Meats should be organic. Nuts and seeds should be soaked or sprouted. Grains should be limited and gluten should be avoided if any illness is present. Dairy should be organic and raw or limited. Omega 3 fatty acids from flax seed oil, fish oil, or a blended oil and oily fish should be added to your diet.
You should avoid all artificial flavors, colors, and preservatives; MSG; high fructose corn syrup; and GMOs. Seriously limit or eliminate all processed sugar.