Friday, October 21, 2011

It’s Dangerous to Be Ignorant About Nutrition by Paula Stone

Science seems to be one of the school subjects no one wants to study.

But not knowing how to feed our selves and our children a healthy diet is a big problem.

Good health is dependent on good nutrition.

Poor eating habits are impacting public health and the health of all the people in this country. Even school lunch programs are unhealthy.

In the last 30 years obesity has doubled, diabetes has tripled and heart disease still is the biggest killer of Americans.

And these illnesses are showing up in young people, too.

These illnesses are not just an inconvenience or a minor problem. These health issues are deadly.

And the real tragedy about these problems is that they are in good part preventable through better nutrition.

If a child never gets fat in the first place it will prevent or at least delay the onset of many of these illnesses until old age.

The part nutrition plays is very important.

Many Americans, even people with the money to do better, live on a very poor diet. They typically eat lots of fast food, prepared foods and sweets. These foods have very few vitamins and minerals or fiber that should be present in a good healthy eating plan.

What they usually get is a lot of fat, salt and sugar but not much else. Salt and sugar are the things that give food a long shelf life. Along with some chemicals they are the food industry’s mainstays to make your food preparation time only involve opening a can or package and popping dinner in the microwave.

Healthy food plans include complex carbohydrates, whole grains, some protein and some fat. Notice they do not include refined flour or any form of sugar. Sugar is OK in an OCCASIONAL treat. That means not every day or even once a week.

Hunter/gatherer societies only got sweets when they found a beehive or some other sweet treasure in their travels. But Americans are eating sugar every day, and lots of it, too. And it is killing us, too.

Refined flour is flour with all the good stuff thrown away. It’s not worth eating.

Schools, even grammar schools, could make the study of nutrition a regular part of their standard curriculum.

But for those of us who are already out of school, we need to find the knowledge on our own. Not even the government seems to have a good fix on what constitutes healthy eating. The school lunch programs are making our kids fat and sick.

Our American military said last week that 27% of high school graduates are too fat to meet the military’s requirements for enlistment.

These 18 year olds are already facing some level of disability that is attributable to poor nutrition. It’s embarrassing and it’s a tragedy, too.

We all are facing deadly risks from poor nutrition. And where is the Food and Drug Administration in all this? It looks like they have abandoned their post.

But we can fix this if we try. Let’s get started NOW!