‘Tis the season for scholarship essay writing, and so of course it is the season for misreading requirements for said essays as well. (Maximum word limit is 500 words, Em, not the minimum word limit.)
1,400+ words later, and I have a brilliant essay that I can’t submit.
HELLO, Coffee Au Courant.
The topic I had to write about is near and dear to my heart, because what’s more important that the food you are fueling your body with, am I right? So I decided not to put my effort to waste & share an edited version with you.
As I’m sure you may be partially aware, the nutrition status of Americans is extremely detrimental and is, quite frankly, an epidemic. To get people on the path to wellness, many many things about our society’s food industry, as well as people’s attitude toward nutrition, needs to change. In my personal opinion, nutrition encompasses a wide aspect of wellness; mental health, relationships, sunlight, etc., not solely the food you put into your body. For the purpose of this
essay blog post, however, I will focus strictly on food and its supplements, because I believe that it is a good starting point to getting people on the road to health.
To start these changes, the biggest thing is going to be education. There are countless numbers of books, magazine articles, and “Doctor” shows on television that all try to promote the most recent trend or newly “researched” information to the public. Every few years or so there is a brand-new scientifically proven trend that all of the celebrities are using that can supposedly put you on the fast track to health. High protein-low carb, low fat-high carb, Paleo diet, juice cleanse, the list goes on and on. It’s not a surprise that people get confused over what a good diet should consist of. That misinformation on top of the food industry issues such as inhumane meat production, the use of preservatives, and others, have made it nearly impossible for a person to construct a diet that fulfills their nutrition needs to the full extent.
When I open my chiropractic practice, nutrition is going to be a huge education topic that I will cover extensively with my patients. I think that along with chiropractic care, positive nutrition choices can drastically improve people’s lives. The first step to these improvements is going to be debunking some of the most popular myths that grace the pages of tabloids and grocery shelves.
So without further ado, here are the top 5 Myths that YOU should not fall for.
Myth 1: It’s good to shop for Low Fat/Low Sugar/Low Salt products.
A topic that you will see a few times in this post is going to be problems with the labeling of food products. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has something called a “Nutrient Content Claim” or NCC, that requires companies to label a food product in accordance to the levels of nutrients in the food in order to characterize it. An example of this might be a product labeled “Low Fat.” In order for a company to put this label on the packaging, the only requirement is that the level of fat falls below a certain line determined by the FDA. This is a problem because while it may be true that a food item may contain what is considered a low amount of fat, it could be giving the consumer high levels of sodium or sugar, or other things that can be considered harmful to their bodies. This is especially true because typically for the product to still taste good with such a low level of fat, more sugar or salt or preservatives must be added in. For that reason, I consider the labeling of foods to often time be very distracting from what is actually in the food. For your benefit I urge you to read the entire nutrition label, and not just the large, colorful claims on the front of the packaging when at the grocery store.
Myth 2: Supplements can replace food.
An industry that has grown exponentially, especially in the last few decades or so, has been the supplement industry. There is a common belief among the population that taking a handful of pills every day can magically solve your health problems and get them the nutrients you need. The “Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act” of 1994 is a law of Federal legislation which defines and regulates dietary supplements. The issue is that it allows dietary supplements to go largely unregulated by the FDA. There is little to no research done on their safety and efficiency. Because of this, many supplements have much higher levels of vitamins and minerals than the body actually needs. This is an issue because other than spending money on something your body will just excrete, too much of one thing can cause a toxicity in the body. Toxicities can cause a plethora of chronic diseases at the very least, and in extreme cases can be fatal. If you are one of those supplement takers, please do your research on the safety of the product (don’t buy it from that shady, under-the-radar website just because it’s cheap!). The truth of the matter is that a well-balanced diet full of plant products should meet all of your vitamin and mineral needs.
Myth 3: Popular diets work.
A reason that many people lean toward supplements and other diet pills is because they’re looking for a “quick fix.” Something that will allegedly “melt fat” and “shed pounds” quickly, and with little effort on their part. For that reason, people also gravitate toward extreme fad diets simply for the reason that some celebrity swears by it, and that what they can & can’t eat is completely written out for them. A large issue is that yes, you may lose a substantial amount of weight at the beginning, but it is usually only water weight. Once you start eating carbs again, or switch back to solid foods, you’ll just blow up like a balloon once again. THERE IS NO QUICK FIX. Losing weight will happen if you eat less calories than expend; it’s as simple as that. & If you have any questions at all about a particular diet, then please come and ask me about it!
Myth 4: It’s okay to eat GMO’s.
With the numerous science advancements in the United States comes advancements in the agricultural industry as well. Increasing population size means more food needs to be grown to feed everyone. To achieve this, scientists created ways of genetically modifying foods so that they could be grown larger, in larger quantities, and with resistance to many pesticides. (I won’t even get started into the meat industry, ya’ll. That deserves a post all in itself. Here I’m strictly talking about fruits and veggies.) A simple example of this is soy bean crops. They were genetically modified to be resistant to “Round Up”, so that the chemical could be sprayed to get rid of weeds without harming the crop. So, in a nut shell, scientists changed the DNA of the plant so that it could resist the chemical. After this, not only did consumers begin eating a modified plant, but they also started consuming loads of harmful chemicals that began being sprayed on the crop. This is now happening on such a large scale that essentially all store-bought produce are “mutants,” and are completely covered with chemical products that are dangerous to human health.
Another labeling issue that we see in grocery stores that furthers this problem is the use of the word “natural.” At this time, the FDA has no definition for the word natural, and so there are hardly any requirements or guidelines for a company to put that claim on their label. You can typically see if for foods that do not contain any added color, artificial flavors, or synthetic substances; the labeling for identifying GMO’s is not often seen. Are you okay with that? To get around this, you can visit local farmer’s markets and Whole Food stores in order to shop the most natural, local produce you can. At the very least, make sure you wash your store-bought fruits and vegetables extremely well before eating.
Myth 5: Diet sodas are a good alternative.
Many people see the word “diet” on a label and assume that it is a healthy alternative. This is absolutely not true, and is especially not in the case of diet sodas. To make a beverage considered “diet,” it typically means that the caffeine is taken out, and an artificial sweetener is used instead of sugar. The artificial sweeteners used are aspartame or sucralose, both of which have many negative side effects with their consumption. They have a more intense sweet taste than traditional forms of sugar, and over time this can dull the senses to natural sugars found in fruits. One of the biggest problems is that they cause sugar cravings later in the day, which tempt people to consume more calories than they typically would which leads to the weight gain they are trying to avoid. A study in the American Journal of Public Health found that more obese adults drink diet soda than healthy-weight individuals. Do yourself a favor, and leave the soda behind, but especially the diet soda. (A better alternative is to drink water with a few slices of lemon, cucumber & a few mint leaves added in…guys I’m seriously obsessed!).
If you’ve made it this far, props to you! I was up on my high horse for that one for sure. In my (humble) opinion, nothing is more important than eating foods that allow your body to function as efficiently as possible.
This past weekend I decided to take a trip up to Ohio, and I surprised the good majority of my family and friends. I love surprises! It gave me some good motivation to keep getting on with the rest of this quarter’s classes, and I got to introduce my guy to the family. Gotta love when your worlds start to collide!
I hope you all have a fantastic week, and that you make conscious decisions about your nutrition. Cheers!