What's Wrong with Our Food? Why is it making us Fat?

Notice that the heading says 'Food' not 'Diet'. There is a lot of debate about the causes of obesity. Mostly of the emphasis is on our diet and the amount we eat.
We are told:

You've heard the story

Are These Concepts the Real Cause of Obesity?

Yes we would lose weight if we did the things listed above

BUT how much of the cause for obesity lies with the food itself? Yes the food we can buy in the supermarket and shops, not the fast-food outlets. AND how much lies with the large Portions that we eat?

You can go to a fast-food outlet and eat more than 2,000 calories in a single meal without necessarily Up sizing. About 25 years ago, most American ate about 1,800 calories each day. Our daily diets now have grown by about 300-400 calories. That's about enough to add an extra 30 pounds (15 kg) to each person every year, especially when people are exercising less. But calories aren't the whole story here. Why are we consuming all those calories?

There are three ways that this can occur:

  1. You can eat too many calorie-dense foods.
  2. You simply eat too much food or beverages in general.
  3. The food you eat contains too many calories because it is processed and has high-calorie ingredients added to it that you are unaware of.

The last point is particularly bad because it can stop you losing weight even when you are try to do the right thing and eat less, and the foods you are choosing are supposedly 'healthy foods'.

In some ways the problems with the food we buy and the unwanted additives can partially cause the other two items in the list above:

The combination of carefully choosing the food we eat and reducing the portion size is the key to success.

For information about reducing portion sizes see The Better Half Diet.

What's wrong with our food supply?

Over the last 50 years or so, the nutritional quality of our basic raw food has declined. Food items such as potatoes, broccoli, tomatoes and even chicken have lost valuable vitamins and minerals. Most of the items we buy are heavily processed and are then loaded-up with fat, salt, and extra carbohydrates, often without us knowing. Look carefully are the ingredient listed for packaged foods. There is sugar in everything. A rather eccentric University Professor I once knew tried to sue Campbell Soups because his ate lots of soup and his teeth rotted. The soup was loaded up with sugar and he had not realised it.

Most of the food we buy straight from the shelves are all far from being natural and most are processed in some way. They have been altered, manipulated, added to, designed, refined or manufactured in some way, usually to make them more appealing to a consumer. Yes, the processors modify the foods because its what you the customer wants, because it's what sells. The two major problems with modern foods are how they are processed and the addition of carbohydrates, sugars, salt and fats.

Just about all the carbohydrate we can buy has been heavily refined. Take white bread for example - it's made from flour that has been whitened by bleaching with chlorine. It has had the wheatgerm removed or "refined", stripping it of it's nutrients? During this process about 70% of the vitamin and mineral content is removed, and, up to 90% of its fibre. Vitamins and minerals are added back in some breads, but the processed bread we buy is nothing like the bread made from unrefined wholemeal flour with real yeast. The same applies to rice (all the bran has been removed) and for pasta made from white flour.

Other processed foods that may also contain harmful chemicals and contaminants such as crisps and french fry snacks (acrylates), milk (hormones), cooked meats such as luncheon meat, salami, ham (nitrosamines) and many ready prepared meals ( monosodium glutamate, colouring, artificial sweeteners and flavourings). There many other foods with ingredients of questionable origin and toxicity.

Most supermarket foods are extremely high in sugar, processed carbohydrate and fat, often with all three. This undoubtedly contributes to our excess weight problem. Carbohydrate and sugar is put into products such as baked beans, salad dressings, ketchup, sauces, pasta sauces, simmering sauces, packaged curry dishes, cereals and yogurts as well as the more well recognized items such as cakes and biscuits. Even so called 'heath foods' such as museli and other breakfast cereals have added sugar.

High carbohydrate foods tend to be cheaper for many people than high protein foods. Bread, pasta and potatoes are much cheaper than meat for example. This price difference may well explain why foods dense in carbohydrates and sugars are a major part of our staple foods. These foods encourage people to put on excess weight, often gradually without them even realizing it. Being processed they are less satisfying than freshly harvested foods and we eat more and get hungry much sooner after eating them.

If you work hard at it, you can eventually find and only eat healthy unprocessed foods. But you really have to work hard at it especially with your food choices. You shouldn't have to do all of this work, but you have to if you care what you eat and want to lose weight and keep slim.

You have to read labels. Even the so-called health food are full of sugar - just read the labels and ingredient lists. It's a pain to read labels. You shouldn't have to read them, but that you have to and you have to find sources of genuine natural and unrefined foods.

Our food supply bears much of the blame for the obesity epidemic.

Its up to you and me to take care what Foods we Eat!





Changes in Eating trends have increased calories and fat in the diet
Changes in Eating trends have increased calories and fat in the diet
        Source: Original Image - Dr John Anderson
Most calories in most diets are from processed foods. Eat less of these and calorie consumption would fall
Most calories in most diets are from processed foods. Eat less of these and calorie consumption would fall
        Source: Original Image - Dr John Anderson
People today eat a lot more calories because food is processed to be stuffed with calories and fat
People today eat a lot more calories because food is processed to be stuffed with calories and fat
        Source: Original Image - Dr John Anderson
We eat too many calories from fats and oils in the diet
We eat too many calories from fats and oils in the diet
        Source: Original Image - Dr John Anderson
Mediterranean Diet Pyramid
Mediterranean Diet Pyramid
        Source: Original Image - Dr John Anderson
The Mediterranean version of MyPlate
The Mediterranean version of MyPlate
        Source: Original Image - Dr John Anderson
Fresh fruit and vegetables are the highest component in the Mediterranean Diet, eaten at every meal
Fresh fruit and vegetables are the highest component in the Mediterranean Diet, eaten at every meal
        Source: Original Image - Dr John Anderson
Fresh oily fish and seafood are used to replace red meat in the Mediterranean Diet. Processed meats should be avoided. Choose poultry instead.
Fresh oily fish and seafood are used to replace red meat in the Mediterranean Diet. Processed meats should be avoided. Choose poultry instead.
        Source: Original Image - Dr John Anderson
Beans, peas and pulses are rich in protein and fiber and are key components of the Mediterranean diet
Beans, peas and pulses are rich in protein and fiber and are key components of the Mediterranean diet
        Source: Original Image - Dr John Anderson
Fresh local produce and with plenty of variety provides the basis of a healthy Mediterranean diet
Fresh local produce and with plenty of variety provides the basis of a healthy Mediterranean diet
        Source: Original Image - Dr John Anderson
Dishes with fish, herbs, vegetables and natural spices and flavors are a good way to used Mediterranean food ingredients in your diet
Dishes with fish, herbs, vegetables and natural spices and flavors are a good way to used Mediterranean food ingredients in your diet
        Source: Original Image - Dr John Anderson
The Mediterranean diet is advocated around the world for healthy hearts, a powerful immune system and a strong anti-inflammatory effect on the body in 3-12 months.
The Mediterranean diet is advocated around the world for healthy hearts, a powerful immune system and a strong anti-inflammatory effect on the body in 3-12 months.
        Source: Original Image - Dr John Anderson