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C-Force: We Need to Find Our Way to Foods That Fight Disease

Chuck Norris on

Processed foods very well could be making us sick. It is not a hard conclusion to reach. Jerold Mande is CEO of Nourish Science, a new non-governmental organization focused on solving the country's current nutrition crisis. He is also an adjunct professor of nutrition at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. According to Mande, "federal food law is clear: It bans 'any poisonous or deleterious substance which may render [a food] injurious to health.'"

In an opinion piece posted on the Harvard Health website last March, he makes a pretty compelling case. He writes of evidence mounting in recent years that chronic illnesses such as obesity, diabetes, heart disease and cancer are connected to "deleterious substances" found in highly processed foods. "From heat-and-eat meals such as frozen pizza to sweetened breakfast cereals, ultra-processed foods are industrial formulations of ingredients from substances extracted from foods or synthesized in laboratories. They are also staples of our diets," he writes.

Mande reports that the economic cost of poor diet-related chronic diseases has been estimated at $16 trillion from 2011 to 2020. He points to evidence suggesting that "ultra-processed foods are causing much of this harm."

The piece also references a study conducted by the National Institutes of Health designed "to discover the cause of sharp increases in obesity in the U.S." In their finding, researchers also raise concerns that a root cause might be that "additives and processing -- not just the percentage of fat or sugar in a diet -- (is making) us sick." According to Mande, "more research is urgently needed."

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the Department of Agriculture are the agencies with the authority under federal law "to protect us from highly processed foods." But for them to take dramatic action would require "a paradigm shift" in policy, Mande writes. No one should be holding their breath as if that is going to happen any time soon.

Meanwhile, an estimated "678,000 Americans die each year from chronic food illness," Mande writes. "That toll is higher than all our combat deaths in every war in American history -- combined. That's right: there are more deaths each year from our food than all the combat deaths from the Revolutionary War through the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq."

 

The sad irony is that many foods -- in their natural state -- have been proven to help fight disease, not bring it on.

Take for example our need for calcium. As pointed out in a Cleveland Clinic report, it is an essential mineral "that keeps your bones and teeth strong. It's also necessary for many of your body's functions, such as muscle movement, blood clotting and nerve signaling.

"Your body can't make calcium -- it must come from your diet."

According to registered dietitian Anthony DiMarino, "As you grow older, your body absorbs less of the calcium in your diet." As a result, many Americans aren't getting enough.

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