Tag Archives: processed food

Getting Fatter and Fatter: The Psychology of Eating | The Paleo Diet

What we eat is determined by how we feel. But what we feel is partially determined by what we eat.1, 2, 3 This paradoxical catch-22 is doubly important because of the obesity pandemic which we currently find ourselves in.4, 5 Clearly, there is a great psychological disruption from the obvious paradigm of eating healthy foods, which help us to feel good and keep us on a healthy path.6, 7 And the mere fact that that issue is so largely affecting so many of us, means that there must be a lot more to this issue.

Getting Fatter and Fatter: The Psychology of Eating | The Paleo Diet

Asmaro, Deyar, and Mario Liotti. “High-Caloric and Chocolate Stimuli Processing in Healthy Humans: An Integration of Functional Imaging and Electrophysiological Findings.” Nutrients 6.1 (2014): 319–341. PMC. Web. 10 Apr. 2015.

When we eat vegetables, like kale, broccoli or spinach, we don’t attain any reward, biochemically speaking. However, we, as a world, are now largely subsisting on processed, junk and fast foods – all of which affect our psychology much differently.8, 9 Drinking 20 oz. of soda is a quick way to short-circuit your brain’s pleasure center – by giving it too much, too fast.10, 11

Getting Fatter and Fatter: The Psychology of Eating

Gómez-Pinilla, Fernando. “Brain Foods: The Effects of Nutrients on Brain Function.” Nature reviews. Neuroscience 9.7 (2008): 568–578. PMC. Web. 10 Apr. 2015.

But perhaps worse, is that we are now consuming these foods when we are stressed. And we are now stressed all the time.12 Food as a coping mechanism is a very unhealthy relationship, and more and more, that’s the kind of relationship our citizens are in.13 With the short-term reward of a digital, hyper-connected world, we now seek less and less direct human companionship, resulting in a closer relationship with food, or more accurately, “food-like products.”14

Processed, microwaved pizzas, donuts, pastries, sugary breakfast cereals – these have become our fallbacks.15 As we become lonelier and more isolated, we become closer and closer with our genetically modified foodstuffs. And as a result, we become fatter and fatter. We also develop a deeply unsettling relationship with food, as we psychologically use it as a crutch for just about everything.16, 17

We no longer even seem to know the difference between cravings and hunger. And this is the key difference that stops us from making poor, stress-related food choices. Sugar alone is a key issue that is destroying our world’s health.18 Perhaps having the greatest single impact on the psychology around food, sugar is by far the biggest factor that we can control, and which will make the biggest difference on our mental health, in regards to food.19

Getting Fatter and Fatter: The Psychology of Eating | The Paleo Diet

Gómez-Pinilla, Fernando. “Brain Foods: The Effects of Nutrients on Brain Function.” Nature reviews. Neuroscience 9.7 (2008): 568–578. PMC. Web. 10 Apr. 2015.

By avoiding excess amounts of sugar, we are automatically focusing on more nutritious food choices. And this is what we need, more than anything else, in order to regain a healthy mental relationship with food.20, 21, 22 Eating meals when we’re hungry, full of brain healthy foods, will help us focus on what really matters – rather than something that temporarily relieves our stress.

And perhaps the worst element of all, is that the more and more we consume foods empty in calories and high in reward – the more we need of them – just to feel normal. This is due to a down-regulation of D2 (dopamine) receptors.23 This is the same mechanism that underlies addictions to alcohol, cocaine and other addictive substances.24, 25 Surprising, isn’t it?

Since Americans are now eating about four to five times more than the amount of sugar they actually need – this is a serious problem.26, 27 And, once our brain feels that reward – it never forgets it. This is the crux of the underlying psychological hold which food has on us. When stressed, we don’t turn to sweet potatoes, kale and liver – we turn to candy, soda – the “hard” stuff.

Consuming a Paleo Diet will help us avoid excess, processed sugar, and will reward our brain in a different way – with neuron-boosting nutrients. Not only does this improve our psychological relationship with food, it keeps us trim and fit. Win-win. Instead of spending your brain’s energy thinking about donuts and sugar, focus instead on Paleo-friendly foods like wild-caught fish, grass-fed beef and spinach.

Avoid those psychologically unhealthy “foods” made in factories and with added chemicals and preservatives – and you will be well on your way to improving your mental and physical health.  This is a definite step in the right psychological direction – just by changing the food on your plate. Your health is ultimately in your control – make the right choices when it comes to the psychology of eating, and you will be much healthier for it.

 

REFERENCES

[1] Nguyen-rodriguez ST, Unger JB, Spruijt-metz D. Psychological determinants of emotional eating in adolescence. Eat Disord. 2009;17(3):211-24.

[2] Harris JL, Bargh JA, Brownell KD. Priming effects of television food advertising on eating behavior. Health Psychol. 2009;28(4):404-13.

[3] Wilson GT, Grilo CM, Vitousek KM. Psychological treatment of eating disorders. Am Psychol. 2007;62(3):199-216.

[4] Roth J, Qiang X, Marbán SL, Redelt H, Lowell BC. The obesity pandemic: where have we been and where are we going?. Obes Res. 2004;12 Suppl 2:88S-101S.

[5] Swinburn BA, Sacks G, Hall KD, et al. The global obesity pandemic: shaped by global drivers and local environments. Lancet. 2011;378(9793):804-14.

[6] Blechert J, Goltsche JE, Herbert BM, Wilhelm FH. Eat your troubles away: electrocortical and experiential correlates of food image processing are related to emotional eating style and emotional state. Biol Psychol. 2014;96:94-101.

[7] Asmaro D, Liotti M. High-caloric and chocolate stimuli processing in healthy humans: an integration of functional imaging and electrophysiological findings. Nutrients. 2014;6(1):319-41.

[8] Smeets PA, De graaf C, Stafleu A, Van osch MJ, Nievelstein RA, Van der grond J. Effect of satiety on brain activation during chocolate tasting in men and women. Am J Clin Nutr. 2006;83(6):1297-305.

[9] Gómez-pinilla F. Brain foods: the effects of nutrients on brain function. Nat Rev Neurosci. 2008;9(7):568-78.

[10] Avena NM, Rada P, Hoebel BG. Evidence for sugar addiction: behavioral and neurochemical effects of intermittent, excessive sugar intake. Neurosci Biobehav Rev. 2008;32(1):20-39.

[11] Green E, Murphy C. Altered processing of sweet taste in the brain of diet soda drinkers. Physiol Behav. 2012;107(4):560-7.

[12] Jackson M. The stress of life: a modern complaint?. Lancet. 2014;383(9914):300-1.

[13] Rorabaugh JM, Stratford JM, Zahniser NR. A relationship between reduced nucleus accumbens shell and enhanced lateral hypothalamic orexin neuronal activation in long-term fructose bingeing behavior. PLoS ONE. 2014;9(4):e95019.

[14] Cohen DA, Babey SH. Contextual influences on eating behaviours: heuristic processing and dietary choices. Obes Rev. 2012;13(9):766-79.

[15] Kant AK. Consumption of energy-dense, nutrient-poor foods by adult Americans: nutritional and health implications. The third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, 1988-1994. Am J Clin Nutr. 2000;72(4):929-36.

[16] Greeno CG, Wing RR. Stress-induced eating. Psychol Bull. 1994;115(3):444-64.

[17] Nguyen-rodriguez ST, Unger JB, Spruijt-metz D. Psychological determinants of emotional eating in adolescence. Eat Disord. 2009;17(3):211-24.

[18] Hoebel BG, Avena NM, Bocarsly ME, Rada P. Natural addiction: a behavioral and circuit model based on sugar addiction in rats. J Addict Med. 2009;3(1):33-41.

[19] Lien L, Lien N, Heyerdahl S, Thoresen M, Bjertness E. Consumption of soft drinks and hyperactivity, mental distress, and conduct problems among adolescents in Oslo, Norway. Am J Public Health. 2006;96(10):1815-20.

[20] Lieberman HR. Nutrition, brain function and cognitive performance. Appetite. 2003;40(3):245-54.

[21] Bourre JM. Effects of nutrients (in food) on the structure and function of the nervous system: update on dietary requirements for brain. Part 1: micronutrients. J Nutr Health Aging. 2006;10(5):377-85.

[22] Bradbury J. Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA): an ancient nutrient for the modern human brain. Nutrients. 2011;3(5):529-54.

[23] Halpern CH, Tekriwal A, Santollo J, et al. Amelioration of binge eating by nucleus accumbens shell deep brain stimulation in mice involves D2 receptor modulation. J Neurosci. 2013;33(17):7122-9.

[24] Liu Y, Von deneen KM, Kobeissy FH, Gold MS. Food addiction and obesity: evidence from bench to bedside. J Psychoactive Drugs. 2010;42(2):133-45.

[25] Suto N, Ecke LE, Wise RA. Control of within-binge cocaine-seeking by dopamine and glutamate in the core of nucleus accumbens. Psychopharmacology (Berl). 2009;205(3):431-9.

[26] Johnson RK, Appel LJ, Brands M, et al. Dietary sugars intake and cardiovascular health: a scientific statement from the American Heart Association. Circulation. 2009;120(11):1011-20.

[27] Terry-mcelrath YM, Johnston LD, O’malley PM. Trends in competitive venue beverage availability: findings from US secondary schools. Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 2012;166(8):776-8.

Mid-Victorian Diet, How Far Have We Come? | The Paleo Diet

Review of: An unsuitable and degraded diet? Part one: public health lessons from the mid-Victorian working class diet (Clayton and Rowbotham, 2014)

Context: Early Victorian era was plagued with starvation; this was corrected, technically, during the late Victorian era, but at what cost?

Dietary changes in the late 19th century in Britain reduced malnutrition and starvation-induced morbidity and mortality, but were far from optimal.

Refined flour, fresh and tinned meat, canned fruit preserved in heavy syrups, and evaporated milk became readily available to the public. In turn, sugar consumption increased exponentially.

Reduced starvation? The population at large became weaker and frailer, their teeth rotted, albeit they were less starved.

Previously, their diet included healthier foods like onions, cherries and apples, bones, dripping, offal, and meat scraps. The study authors inevitably concluded the malnourishment abated because the food got cheaper (less starvation), not healthier.

Another factor in reduced starvation was the fact that physical activity markedly declined in this period, so people simply needed fewer calories to survive. Combine that with sugar-laden confectionaries and otherwise junk food and you have a recipe for disaster.

In other words, they went from a Paleo-template to a Western diet in just a few years. The nutrient density, fibre, potassium, and omega-3 fatty acids were diluted with processed grains and refined flour. And so a sad state of health was born: diets low in fresh fruits and veggies, and rich in high glycemic index foods like potato products, breakfast cereals, confectioneries, and refined baked foods.  And low physical activity.  They call it “Type B Malnutrition.”  The cause?  Sedentary lifestyle and cheap junk food… in other words, “not Paleo.”

History has repeated itself.  Now that we are in a state where healthy food prices are comparable to junk food, we should be striving to get back to our dietary roots.  A diet rich in whole foods, more similar to an early Victorian or otherwise Paleo template.  That is a necessary prerequisite to curb the rising rate of non-communicable diseases.  “It’s too expensive” is no longer a valid excuse.

William Lagakos, Ph.D.
@caloriesproper
CaloriesProper

William Lagakos, Ph.D.Dr. William Lagakos received a Ph.D. in Nutritional Biochemistry and Physiology from Rutgers University where his research focused on dietary fat assimilation and integrated energy metabolism. His postdoctoral research at the University of California, San Diego, centered on obesity, inflammation, and insulin resistance. Dr. William Lagakos has authored numerous manuscripts which have been published in peer-reviewed journals, as well as a non-fiction book titled The Poor, Misunderstood Calorie which explores the concept of calories and simultaneously explains how hormones and the neuroendocrine response to foods regulate nutrient partitioning. He is presently a nutritional sciences researcher, consultant, and blogger.

Sugar Is Killing Us

It’s no surprise a vast majority of the world recognizes sugar is destroying our health and ruining our lives.1, 2, 3, 4 Over the last 30 years, we’ve seen disease rates skyrocket, alongside our climbing intake of sugar.5, 6, 7, 8, 9 Our concern for this creeping information wavers and takes a backseat to social media, “selfies” and celebrities.10, 11

The growing concern around sugar deserves not only immediate attention, but immediate action.12, 13, 14 Unfortunately, the roadblocks are endless.15, 16 The least of which, is the food industry itself.17 Take, for example, the makers of orange juice, a product which contains a whopping 21g of sugar in a mere 8oz glass,18 and is traditionally the standard American breakfast beverage.

The addictive properties of sugar are well-documented, as are the risks of consuming too much.19, 20 And yet, we can’t seem to stop ourselves.21, 22 Sugar is often added to products surreptitiously, without our consent.23 It is also marketed – quite heavily – towards children.24, 25 We must put a stop to this. Our children are our future, and if they are obese, cognitively impaired, and sick – how much of a future do they really have?

So why sugar is so detrimental? The biochemistry says it all.20 As sugar enters the bloodstream, insulin is secreted.26 The more sugar you eat, the more insulin you secrete. High sugar diets can lead to insulin resistance.27 This condition is one of the hallmarks of obesity and overweight humans everywhere.28 If you consume too much sugar, you’re bound to experience hypoglycemia, commonly referred to as your “sugar crash.”29 This leaves your body craving more sugar – and the addictive process perpetuates.30

Sugar is Killing Us | The Paleo Diet

Sagittal, Coronal and Axial Representations of Glucose-related Regional Grey (A) and White (B) Matter Volumes.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0073697.g002

It’s a simple model, but one which we are all familiar with.36 Stress also leads us to overeat.31, 37 And we do not over-consume just any calories, but rather we eat neurologically-rewarding foods.38 This means foods that are either: high in sugar, or foods high in sugar and fat.39 In a study from 2010, researchers showed a disruption of sensitivity to brain-stimulation reward (BSR) from eating high fat and/or high carbohydrate food.40 So you become accustomed to the rewards of these foods, and crave them more.41

The rates of diabetes both nationally, and worldwide, have skyrocketed.42 This is not debatable. Guess what else has skyrocketed, in conjunction with diabetes rates? You guessed it: sugar consumption. There are now obese newborns.43, 44

All of these problems and conditions can be linked directly to sugar intake, and yet, you may be blindsided by how much sugar you’re consuming in the first place. A recent study showed food manufacturers not disclosing the actual values of fructose corn syrup on their product labels.45 Does this bother you? It should.

Sugar is Killing Us | The Paleo Diet

Besides the physiologic effects of too much sugar, there are vast and damning economic effects.32 Take, for example, that diabetes alone costs the United States $245 billion per year.46 This is a rise of 41% in a mere five years. That is an absolutely terrifying figure. Have I scared you yet?

How about the fact that higher glucose levels are associated with lower memory and reduced hippocampal microstructure?47 Or, how about the study from the New England Journal of Medicine, which showed that higher glucose levels may be a risk factor for dementia.48 What was interesting (and alarming) about this finding, was that this was the risk for those without diabetes. This means that you can be taking in “normal” amounts of sugar, not exhibit symptoms of diabetes, and still be risking dementia. Act and don’t turn a blind eye. Save your health.

Sugar is Killing Us | The Paleo Diet

N Engl J Med. Aug 8, 2013; 369(6): 540–548.

Other studies have shown, unsurprisingly, that sugar consumption promotes weight gain in children and adults.33 All behaviors have a biochemical basis. ADHD, ADD, et al, are all likely partially due to a poor diet.49, 50 A diet that, almost always, is high in sugar.51, 52 Since studies have shown that intense sweetness surpasses cocaine reward, it is not surprising that many Americans cannot stop consuming sugar.53 But, in order to help stop alarmingly rising healthcare costs, they must stop their gluttonous consumption, and re-focus their diet on whole, real foods, all part of a Paleo Diet.

Other studies have shown that most US adults consume more added sugar than is recommended,34 and that this overconsumption leads to increased risk for cardiovascular disease mortality.54 This is literally the smoking gun that shows that sugar is killing us. Other studies have shown that higher levels of sugar also lower fitness.55 And another interesting study showed that junk food alone made rats lazy.56 Does this give you food for thought? Perhaps you should prioritize a change to your diet?

Insulin, which is secreted in order to deal with sugar in the bloodstream, blocks leptin signaling.35 Leptin is the “satiety” hormone, which helps to tell our hypothalamus to stop eating.57 Since we are now secreting 2-3 times the amount of insulin than we used to, you can see, directly, how this has resulted in disastrous consequences for our world’s health.58 And why are we secreting more insulin? Quite simply, to deal with all the sugar we are over-consuming. It is not a complicated formula, but it is a formula that is bankrupting our nation, and making so many sick and overweight.

Prevention is paradigm. Avoid a high-sugar diet, become leaner, think faster, and feel better. There is not a single better thing you can do, diet-related, that will help you to improve your health. A Paleo Diet, which is intrinsically low in sugar, high in nutrient-dense foods, and filled with micronutrients, is the best path to wellness.

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References

1. Lustig RH, Schmidt LA, Brindis CD. Public health: The toxic truth about sugar. Nature. 2012;482(7383):27-9.

2. Available at: //www.nytimes.com/2011/04/17/magazine/mag-17Sugar-t.html. Accessed September 13, 2014.

3. Available at: //www.telegraph.co.uk/foodanddrink/healthyeating/9987825/Sweet-poison-why-sugar-is-ruining-our-health.html. Accessed September 13, 2014.

4. Moreira PI. High-sugar diets, type 2 diabetes and Alzheimer’s disease. Curr Opin Clin Nutr Metab Care. 2013;16(4):440-5.

5. Ford ES, Giles WH, Mokdad AH. Increasing prevalence of the metabolic syndrome among u.s. Adults. Diabetes Care. 2004;27(10):2444-9.

6. Seaquist ER. Addressing the burden of diabetes. JAMA. 2014;311(22):2267-8.

7. Available at: //www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/databriefs/db122.htm. Accessed September 13, 2014.

8. Available at: //wholehealthsource.blogspot.com/2012/02/by-2606-us-diet-will-be-100-percent.html. Accessed September 13, 2014.

9. Johnson RK, Appel LJ, Brands M, et al. Dietary sugars intake and cardiovascular health: a scientific statement from the American Heart Association. Circulation. 2009;120(11):1011-20.

10. Available at: //www.newsherald.com/opinions/letters-to-the-editor/too-many-americans-are-selfish-and-self-absorbed-1.195653. Accessed September 13, 2014.

11. Available at: //www.today.com/id/30312181/ns/today-today_books/t/me-me-me-americas-narcissism-epidemic/#.VBTMylbD_IU. Accessed September 13, 2014.

12. Available at: //well.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/02/19/learning-to-cut-the-sugar/. Accessed September 13, 2014.

13. Available at: //blogs.kqed.org/newsfix/2014/09/12/berkeley-is-talking-about-sugar-and-the-conversation-isnt-sweet/. Accessed September 13, 2014.

14. Available at: //www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/netherlands/10314705/Sugar-is-addictive-and-the-most-dangerous-drug-of-the-times.html. Accessed September 13, 2014.

15. Available at: //www.nytimes.com/2010/07/03/nyregion/03sodatax.html. Accessed September 13, 2014.

16. Available at: //www.publicintegrity.org/2009/11/04/2758/food-lobbys-war-soda-tax. Accessed September 13, 2014.

17. Available at: //www.npr.org/blogs/thesalt/2013/02/26/172969363/how-the-food-industry-manipulates-taste-buds-with-salt-sugar-fat. Accessed September 13, 2014.

18. Available at: //www.orangejuicefacts.com/nutrition.html. Accessed September 13, 2014.

19. Ahmed SH, Guillem K, Vandaele Y. Sugar addiction: pushing the drug-sugar analogy to the limit. Curr Opin Clin Nutr Metab Care. 2013;16(4):434-9.

20. Avena NM, Rada P, Hoebel BG. Evidence for sugar addiction: behavioral and neurochemical effects of intermittent, excessive sugar intake. Neurosci Biobehav Rev. 2008;32(1):20-39.

21. Gearhardt A, Roberts M, Ashe M. If sugar is addictive…what does it mean for the law?. J Law Med Ethics. 2013;41 Suppl 1:46-9.

22. Available at: //www.ars.usda.gov/is/AR/archive/jun00/sugar0600.htm. Accessed September 13, 2014.

23. Available at: //www.webmd.com/food-recipes/features/sugar-shockers-foods-surprisingly-high-in-sugar. Accessed September 13, 2014.

24. Available at: //www.cbsnews.com/news/cdc-kids-consume-too-much-sugar-mostly-from-processed-foods/. Accessed September 13, 2014.

25. Lythgoe A, Roberts C, Madden AM, Rennie KL. Marketing foods to children: a comparison of nutrient content between children’s and non-children’s products. Public Health Nutr. 2013;16(12):2221-30.

26. Daly M. Sugars, insulin sensitivity, and the postprandial state. Am J Clin Nutr. 2003;78(4):865S-872S.

27. Musselman LP, Fink JL, Narzinski K, et al. A high-sugar diet produces obesity and insulin resistance in wild-type Drosophila. Dis Model Mech. 2011;4(6):842-9.

28. Gallagher EJ, Leroith D, Karnieli E. Insulin resistance in obesity as the underlying cause for the metabolic syndrome. Mt Sinai J Med. 2010;77(5):511-23.

29. Hofeldt FD. Reactive hypoglycemia. Endocrinol Metab Clin North Am. 1989;18(1):185-201.

30. Yang Q. Gain weight by “going diet?” Artificial sweeteners and the neurobiology of sugar cravings: Neuroscience 2010. Yale J Biol Med. 2010;83(2):101-8.

31. Oliver KG, Huon GF, Zadro L, Williams KD. The role of interpersonal stress in overeating among high and low disinhibitors. Eat Behav. 2001;2(1):19-26.

32. Available at: //www.forbes.com/sites/aroy/2012/04/23/trustees-medicare-will-go-broke-in-2016-if-you-exclude-obamacares-double-counting/. Accessed September 13, 2014.

33. Malik, Vasanti S., Matthias B. Schulze, and Frank B. Hu. “Intake of sugar-sweetened beverages and weight gain: a systematic review.” The American journal of clinical nutrition 84.2 (2006): 274-288.

34. Yang Q, Zhang Z, Gregg EW, Flanders WD, Merritt R, Hu FB. Added sugar intake and cardiovascular diseases mortality among US adults. JAMA Intern Med. 2014.

35. Kellerer M, Lammers R, Fritsche A, et al. Insulin inhibits leptin receptor signalling in HEK293 cells at the level of janus kinase-2: a potential mechanism for hyperinsulinaemia-associated leptin resistance. Diabetologia. 2001;44(9):1125-32.

36. Available at: //www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2013/07/26/why-is-sugar-so-addictive_n_3643965.html. Accessed October 2, 2014.

37. Greeno CG, Wing RR. Stress-induced eating. Psychol Bull. 1994;115(3):444-64.

38. Available at: //www.cnn.com/2012/02/08/health/healthy-eating-tips-stress/. Accessed October 2, 2014.

39. Torres SJ, Nowson CA. Relationship between stress, eating behavior, and obesity. Nutrition. 2007;23(11-12):887-94.

40. Epstein DH, Shaham Y. Cheesecake-eating rats and the question of food addiction. Nat Neurosci. 2010;13(5):529-31.

41. Johnson PM, Kenny PJ. Dopamine D2 receptors in addiction-like reward dysfunction and compulsive eating in obese rats. Nat Neurosci. 2010;13(5):635-41.

42. Weeratunga P, Jayasinghe S, Perera Y, Jayasena G, Jayasinghe S. Per capita sugar consumption and prevalence of diabetes mellitus–global and regional associations. BMC Public Health. 2014;14:186.

43. Soubry A, Murphy SK, Wang F, et al. Newborns of obese parents have altered DNA methylation patterns at imprinted genes. Int J Obes (Lond). 2013.

44. Available at: //healthland.time.com/2012/11/29/predicting-obesity-at-birth/. Accessed October 2, 2014.

45. Walker RW, Dumke KA, Goran MI. Fructose content in popular beverages made with and without high-fructose corn syrup. Nutrition. 2014;30(7-8):928-35.

46. Available at: //www.diabetes.org/advocacy/news-events/cost-of-diabetes.html. Accessed September 29, 2014.

47. Kerti L, Witte AV, Winkler A, Grittner U, Rujescu D, Flöel A. Higher glucose levels associated with lower memory and reduced hippocampal microstructure. Neurology. 2013;81(20):1746-52.

48. Crane PK, Walker R, Hubbard RA, et al. Glucose levels and risk of dementia. N Engl J Med. 2013;369(6):540-8.

49. Millichap JG, Yee MM. The diet factor in attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder. Pediatrics. 2012;129(2):330-7.

50. Johnson RJ, Gold MS, Johnson DR, et al. Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder: is it time to reappraise the role of sugar consumption?. Postgrad Med. 2011;123(5):39-49.

51. Kanoski SE, Davidson TL. Western diet consumption and cognitive impairment: links to hippocampal dysfunction and obesity. Physiol Behav. 2011;103(1):59-68.

52. Crescenzo R, Bianco F, Coppola P, et al. Fructose supplementation worsens the deleterious effects of short-term high-fat feeding on hepatic steatosis and lipid metabolism in adult rats. Exp Physiol. 2014;99(9):1203-13.

53. Lenoir M, Serre F, Cantin L, Ahmed SH. Intense sweetness surpasses cocaine reward. PLoS ONE. 2007;2(8):e698.

54. Schmidt LA. New unsweetened truths about sugar. JAMA Intern Med. 2014;174(4):525-6.

55. Ruff JS, Suchy AK, Hugentobler SA, et al. Human-relevant levels of added sugar consumption increase female mortality and lower male fitness in mice. Nat Commun. 2013;4:2245.

56. Blaisdell AP, Lau YL, Telminova E, et al. Food quality and motivation: a refined low-fat diet induces obesity and impairs performance on a progressive ratio schedule of instrumental lever pressing in rats. Physiol Behav. 2014;128:220-5.

57. Myers MG, Cowley MA, Münzberg H. Mechanisms of leptin action and leptin resistance. Annu Rev Physiol. 2008;70:537-56.

58. Larsson H, Ahrén B. Glucose intolerance is predicted by low insulin secretion and high glucagon secretion: outcome of a prospective study in postmenopausal Caucasian women. Diabetologia. 2000;43(2):194-202.

What Exactly ARE You Eating?

Many Americans subsist primarily on a processed food diet,1 and more importantly, they do not realize what exactly they’re consuming.2 In fact, a very important and so far, criminally under looked recent study, revealed consumers drinking soda were ingesting more fructose than labels showed.3 Many sodas, and other sweetened beverages, such as juices (which are almost entirely marketed and consumed by growing children4) list no high fructose corn syrup on the label. In the study, many of these drinks were found to actually contain more fructose than the beverages that did list it on the label. In fact, the lead author states “we found what ends up being consumed in these beverages is neither natural sugar nor HFCS, but instead a fructose-intense concoction that could increase one’s risk for diabetes, cardiovascular disease and liver disease.”

This is but one example of the many mistruths that are put out on a daily basis by the food industry.5 Since eating at “fast food” restaurants is positively associated with households with children, a high fat diet and body mass index (BMI),6 it is increasingly important, especially for our children’s health, to make sure food companies labeling accurately. The average American consumes 23 teaspoons of added sugars and sweeteners per day,7 when the AHA recommendation is between 5 and 9 teaspoons daily for adults.8 And yet, children consume roughly 15 teaspoons of sugar per day, by some estimates.9

How inaccurate and deceitful is the food industry? In 2008, eight fast food hamburgers were scientifically assessed, to determine their actual content. The results? “Fast food hamburgers are comprised of little meat (median, 12.1%). Approximately half of their weight is made up of water. Unexpected tissue types found in some hamburgers included bone, cartilage, and plant material; no brain tissue was present. Sarcocystis parasites were discovered in 2 hamburgers.”10

With 25% of hamburgers containing parasites, I cannot stress how much we need to pay attention. The detrimental effect of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) has received slightly more attention, yet 88% of corn and 93% of soybeans are still genetically modified.11 Compare this with less than 20% of crops that were genetically modified in 1996, a mere 18 years ago.12

In a laughable attempt at self-regulation, the food industry has repeatedly stated that it will: curtail children’s food marketing, sell fewer unhealthy products in schools, and label foods responsibly.13 Of these criteria, only one has been met: periodic assessment to determine compliance. And this has been funded by their own industry, not a third party group.

In another excellent paper,14 food companies were found to operate similarly to tobacco companies, which should come as no surprise, since Philip Morris bought Kraft Foods in 1988.15 Astute readers will notice that combining the emerging food science, with increasingly ruthless marketing tactics by big tobacco companies (who now own big food companies) and the invention and subsequent widespread deployment of high fructose corn syrup – all directly coincide with the timing of the current obesity pandemic.16 A pandemic that has skyrocketed since the 1970s.17

Pay attention to the food additives and preservatives which may be harmful to the human body. These include:

  • Butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA)
  • Propyl gallate
  • Aspartame
  • Monosodium glutamate (MSG)
  • Acesulfame-K
  • Olestra
  • Potassium bromate
  • Saccharin
  • Yellow #6
  • Blue #1, #2
  • Red #3
  • Sodium sulfite

When making food choices, eliminate these additives and reap the wealth of benefits from eating an all-natural Paleo Diet. Eat real food without reservations. Organic, grass-fed, pasture-raised or wild caught. Read and understand the ingredient list. You (and your body) will know exactly what you are getting, and a Paleo Diet is the easiest, simplest, and most delicious way to do it.

References

1. Eicher-miller HA, Fulgoni VL, Keast DR. Contributions of processed foods to dietary intake in the US from 2003-2008: a report of the Food and Nutrition Science Solutions Joint Task Force of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, American Society for Nutrition, Institute of Food Technologists, and International Food Information Council. J Nutr. 2012;142(11):2065S-2072S.

2. Nyenje ME, Odjadjare CE, Tanih NF, Green E, Ndip RN. Foodborne pathogens recovered from ready-to-eat foods from roadside cafeterias and retail outlets in Alice, Eastern Cape Province, South Africa: public health implications. Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2012;9(8):2608-19.

3. Available at: //www.nutritionjrnl.com/article/PIIS0899900714001920/. Accessed June 29, 2014.

4. Skatrud-mickelson M, Adachi-mejia AM, Mackenzie TA, Sutherland LA. Giving the wrong impression: food and beverage brand impressions delivered to youth through popular movies. J Public Health (Oxf). 2012;34(2):245-52.

5. Available at: //www.theguardian.com/world/2014/feb/07/fake-food-scandal-revealed-tests-products-mislabelled. Accessed June 29, 2014.

6. Jeffery RW, Baxter J, Mcguire M, Linde J. Are fast food restaurants an environmental risk factor for obesity?. Int J Behav Nutr Phys Act. 2006;3:2.

7. USDA, ERS (2012) Loss-Adjusted Food Availability.

8. American Heart Association (2009) Dietary Sugars Intake and Cardiovascular Health.

9. Available at: //www.bbc.com/news/health-27941325. Accessed June 29, 2014.

10. Prayson B, Mcmahon JT, Prayson RA. Fast food hamburgers: what are we really eating?. Ann Diagn Pathol. 2008;12(6):406-9.

11. USDA, ERS (2012) “Genetically engineered varieties of corn, upland cotton, and soybeans, by State and for the United States, 2000-12.”

12. USDA, ERS (2012) Adoption of Genetically Engineered Crops in the U.S.

13. Sharma LL, Teret SP, Brownell KD. The food industry and self-regulation: standards to promote success and to avoid public health failures. Am J Public Health. 2010;100(2):240-6.

14. Brownell KD, Warner KE. The perils of ignoring history: Big Tobacco played dirty and millions died. How similar is Big Food?. Milbank Q. 2009;87(1):259-94.

15. Available at: //abcnews.go.com/Business/story?id=88088. Accessed June 29, 2014.

16. Available at: //www.nytimes.com/2013/02/24/magazine/the-extraordinary-science-of-junk-food.html. Accessed June 29, 2014.

17. Caballero B. The global epidemic of obesity: an overview. Epidemiol Rev. 2007;29:1-5.

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