Poor Nutrition Produce may be Sabotaging our Health
“If there is a health food section in the grocery store, what does that make the rest of the food sold there?” - Dr. Hyman
When we enter the supermarket we subconsciously assume that the food sold there is relatively safe. We know that we should limit our intake of certain products, but we don’t think that corporations or governments would allow food to be sold if there was an imminent danger to our health or extremely poor nutriton. Unfortunately, this assumption is false and not based on facts. We have entered the age of mass produced foods, where international corporations have put their touch on almost everything we consume.
Big Farming, Big Pharma, and Big Food have become known as the toxic triad. We often tend to think of these industries as harmful, but separate. This is not the case; between portfolio diversification and company mergers, it is entirely possible for the company producing products which are causing illnesses and poor nutrition to also be the same company profiting from the sale of medical treatments. A notable example is Bayer's acquisition of Monsanto. Is the toxic triad purposefully making us sick to make a profit from us? They know the damage that their products cause, but repeatedly try to downplay it or put the responsibility on the consumer.
These multi-billion dollar industries not only have the capital to influence global policy, they fund much of the agricultural research that informs public policy debate. It is no wonder then, that a large portion of research is funded on increasing yields and not on the negative health impact of the way we farm, raise livestock and consume. Through the use of hormone injections, heavy antibiotics, and other drugs the size of the animals grown for slaughter have greatly increased in the past 20 years. While all of these practices have been found to have harmful effects and poor nutrition on human health they still continue.
There are certain trends occurring on a global scale that many feel point not to negligence, but rather to an outright plan to make the general population of the world sick. In countries around the world family, farms are being wiped out of existence. Trade and agricultural policies internationally favor agribusiness and not the traditional small farmer. The industrial food manufacturing process from GM seeds, pesticides, and packaging have all been found to have harmful effects on human health. Yet these large international corporations only care about high yields at the lowest possible price.
The nutritional value of the food produced via modern methods of mass production, pesticides, and focus on high yields has fallen in the past 20 years. This makes the fruits and vegetables we eat less beneficial to our health than they use to be. Donald Davis published a comparative study in 2009, in Hortscience, where he analyzed the scientific studies on the nutrition of modern food. He found a reverse correlation with the nutritional value of food with yield. The more yield a certain type of vegetable or fruit has the less nutritional value it offers.
In laboratories around the world, scientists are genetically modifying seeds and not so that they can be of more value nutritionally. Millions of dollars are spent on designing seeds that grow faster, produce higher yields, and numerous other features. According to the World Health Organization, over 3 billion of the world's population, are experiencing malnutrition or micronutrient deficiencies. This problem is in both developed and developing countries.
“Humans require at least 49 nutrients to meet their metabolic needs. Inadequate consumption of even one of these nutrients will result in adverse metabolic disturbances leading to sickness, poor health, impaired development in children, and large economic costs to society.” -Dr. Welch
In major cities around the world, there are what are known as 'food deserts', meaning that there is no place to buy healthy fruit and vegetables and the few convenience stores that do sell them are expensive. Living in a major city you are often faced with a cost/time vs health dilemma when deciding what to eat. It is so much cheaper to eat toxic processed food with poor nutrition. It is also the most readily available.
Basically, all food that is processed contains GMOs. GMOs are found in almost 90% of the food in the United States and about 12% around the world. Despite the food industry's insistence that GMOs are safe for human consumption, we simply do not know enough about them to conclude that. On the contrary, studies are emerging all the time that prove that GMOs negatively impact human health. In 2012, The Journal of Food and Chemical Toxicology published a study linking GMO to tumors in rats. The Journal Reproductive Toxicology found toxins used for GM crops in the wombs of women. On top of that, we know that eating genetically modified food literally changes our DNA.
Out of the thousands of additives that are added to our food you would be surprised to know how relatively little research has been done on them. To make matters worse, large amounts of resources are allocated into researching how to make junk food products addictive. You would be surprised by the number of scientists and high-tech facilities these major corporations employ to make us unable to resist their toxic food. Why are they not forced to examine the health effects of the hundreds of questionable ingredients they use? Are governments simply unable to cope with the efficient oversight of our food supply? Or is there something more sinister going on?
We give up a certain amount of freedom and power, not to mention money paid in the form of taxes to our governments in exchange for certain protections. We must understand that Big Farming, Big Pharma, and Big Food actually have a lot more resources than our governing bodies have at their disposal to fight back. We must finally let go of the illusion that our governments can protect us. Multinational corporations, while not all powerful, impact policy much more than we can possibly imagine. A great example is NAFTAs Chapter 11, which allows countries to be sued by corporations in free trade tribunals. In their quest to protect their countries from harmful practices, Canada and Mexico have paid over 200 million dollars in compensation due to lawsuits filed against them by corporate giants.
Almost every single country in the world is in debt. When we finally give up on the fantasy that somebody out there is looking out for our interests, and we start to take matters into our own hands through social activism, then maybe things will start to change. Spread awareness. Take action. When possible, buy local products. Avoid all processed food with poor nutrition, Whether this is all some conspiracy against humanity or simply major negligence in favor of money; we must take a stand.