The Seven Habits of a Highly Ineffective Diet

There is plenty of information criticizing the downfalls of the Standard American Diet (SAD). The following is my assessment of the core principles that fuel the destructiveness of the way we eat. I do not pretend to know it all; however, my opinions are based on years of experimentation with a diverse range of diets.

1. Acquired Tastes: Excessive sweeteners, artificial flavors, high fructose corn syrup, and overly processed foods have a way of stunting the collective palate. Grow up eating this way and vegetables become inedible without a storm of salad dressing while spiked blood sugar levels feel normal. Repeated years of enduring this abuse can lead to diabetes.

2. Second-Hand Nutrition: Cereals, bars, juices, and cookies are being fortified with fiber, vitamins, omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidants, etc. Supplementation helps, but why not aim to get nutrients from their primary sources (fruits, vegetables, proteins) instead of extracting and manufacturing them in a lab of sorts? Especially when there are unnecessary sugars involved (which is related to the previous habit of acquired tastes).

3. Nutritional Displacement: Saturated fat and cholesterol have been given a bad reputation (while unnecessary/harmful foods are somehow labeled as paramount by our trusty government). Cholesterol has been wrongly linked with heart disease and, within the context of a nutrient-dense diet, consuming saturated fat does not cause obesity and heart disease. There are several counterproductive cons to a low-fat diet. Lastly, our bodies need fat and cholesterol.

4. Externalization: Equating health with appearance, namely thinness, is an unfortunate cultural paradigm. While eating well and exercising often does lead to things like clearer skin and a slimmer figure, it is possible to be what is generally considered to be attractive and to be in a poor state of health. Furthermore, weight loss and muscle building are not the only reasons why people should exercise; exercise improves circulation, immunity, mood, etc. Lastly, one can pursue thinness using unhealthy means (e.g. eating disorders, plastic surgery, excessive exercising).

5. Obliteration: Agents like pesticides, pasteurization, and chlorine are essentially used to kill the germs. Unfortunately, these agents also kill both the good germs, decrease nutritional value, or pose toxic threats to humans.

6. Indigestion: Being in a rush, large portions, improper food combining, downing cold liquids while eating, and emotional overeating are all factors that can impair digestion, cause malabsorption, and weight gain. Not to mention the fact that unstable blood sugar can be quite taxing to one’s system.

7. Cruelty: While there is overwhelming evidence supporting the benefits of eating animals, factory farming is an atrocity, and using hormones and other toxins to increase meat output at a lower cost is detrimental to the consumer. This is unfortunate for both the mistreated animals and for humans, who are supposedly at the top of the food chain. One could easily say that it is downright sad.

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