In the previous post, I discussed the impact of modern diet on the development of chronic diseases as well as the new food components that are introduced in the modern-day diet.

Introduction of these food components in the diet fundamentally change 7 crucial nutritional characteristics of our diet:

1) Glycemic Load

Glycemic load determines how fast carbohydrate is digested into simple sugar and absorbed into the blood. The intake of refined grain displaces fruits and vegetables raising the blood sugar potential.

Our modern-day diet is high in Glycemic load, which leads to Metabolic Syndrome that is made up of diabetes, heart disease, high cholesterol and high blood pressure.

2) Fatty acid composition

Increase intake of refined vegetable oil as well as fatty meat, baked food and dairy products cause trans fat and saturated fat to be greater than Omega-3 and Omega-6 ratio.

Omega-3 is important in preventing inflammation in the arteries, build up of plaque and high blood pressure. This increases the risk of developing high cholesterol and heart diseases.

3) Macronutrient composition

Present day American diet consist of 51% carbohydrate, 32% fat and 15% protein. The current advise by doctors to reduce the risk of heart diseases is to reduce fat to 30%, maintain protein at 15% and increase complex carbohydrates to 55-60%.

Contrast this to the ancient diet, which consist of 19-35% protein, 22-40% complex carbohydrate. It has been shown in research that a high protein diet improve metabolic control in patients who are obese with type 2 diabetes by increasing insulin sensitivity and reducing muscle loss.

4) Micronutrient

Refined sugar lack vitamins and minerals. However, refined sugar and refined vegetable oil constitute 36.2% of energy in a typical American diet. Half of the American population fail to meet the RDA (Recommended Daily Allowance) requirement of vitamin B6 and vitamin A, magnesium, calcium and zinc.

33% of the American population lack sufficient folate. Both folate and vitamin B6 are important in preventing the accumulation of homocysteine in the blood, which cause plaque formation leading to heart diseases.

5) Acid-Base

Typical American diet yields a net acid load due to the increased consumption of dairy products and meat and reduced intake of fruits and vegetables. A basic environment is important for the optimum performance of the body tissues. Acidic environment increase the risk of kidney stones, muscle wasting, asthma and cancer.

6) Sodium-Potassium ratio

In a typical American diet, the ratio of sodium is greater than potassium due to the following 3 factors:

  • 90% of the diet comes from manufactured salt.
  • Increased intake of dairy and refined grains displacing fruits and vegetables, which, have more potassium.
  • Refined vegetable oil and refined sugar lacking in potassium constitute to 36% of the energy.

7) Fiber

Average fiber intake in the modern-day diet is 10-15 g per day.  The present American diet which is full of refined sugar, vegetable oil, dairy products and alcohol are all low in fiber. The target fiber intake for optimum health is 25-30 g per day.

Diet related chronic diseases represent the single largest cause of death in the world. It is an epidemic afflicting 50-65% of the American adult population.

Can you see it now how critical it is to adopt a healthy eating lifestyle or else you will be eating to your death?

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