The Rise of Digestive Problems in America

Are you or a loved one experiencing chronic inflammation? Do you experience constipation, loose stools, or difficulty having a bowel movement?  Have you tried countless medication after medication, and nothing has worked? Trust me, you’re not alone. What needs to be addressed is the root cause. Modern day doctors are trained to address symptoms of disease or sickness, not source of the issue. And that is inflammation within the body.

A major downside to the healthcare system in America is that doctors are taught in medical school to treat symptoms rather than address the root cause of disease. This often results in the over-prescription of pharmaceuticals that are costly and come with significant side effects. My grandmother currently takes about 8 medications to manage her type II diabetes. Doctors keep prescribing her medications that manage symptoms, but yield side effects as well. To reduce side effects of one drug, another drug is prescribed. This is a very manipulative cycle that is incredibly detrimental towards one’s health and wallet. If the inflammation were to be identified and addressed right away, big corporations would not be able to make nearly as much money. When managed incorrectly, inflammation can spread throughout the body and manifests into other forms of modern-day disease.


What causes inflammation?
 
Inflammation is caused by what we put into our body. Whether it’s drugs, food, or other substances we ingest. Our bodies are a product of what we put in it. Some outward signs of inflammation can be in the form of acne, obesity, a compromised digestive system, among other autoimmune conditions. The human body is an incredible mechanism that give us signs when it comes to the long-term health of our body. That’s where Chinese face-mapping and other ancient practices can really be utilized in modern times.

  • Major Sources of Inflammation: 
    – Toxic diets
    – Insufficient omega-3 intake 
    – Excessive omega-6 intake
    – Insufficient sleep
    – Too much fiber
    – Lack of movement
    – Poor recovery
    – Chronic stress
    – Lack of Outdoor time
    – Poor gut health

Back then vs Now: When it comes to the health of the people, we need to look back at the history of medicine. It’s completely ignorant to think that modern day medicine is the only option to remedy sickness. Our ancestors faced disease and sickness too, but they handled it much differently. Natural medicine through food and fasting were the essentials to remedying sickness. In this day and age, we need to ask ourselves questions. What is different now that didn’t exist back then? For example, obesity and modern-day diseases were nowhere near as prevalent until the 1900s.

  • From the 20th century on, the following factors have highly contributed to the decline of American health: 
    – overconsumption of refined sugars
    – overconsumption of antibiotics
    – overconsumption of artificial ingredients
    – overconsumption of vegetable oils
    – overconsumption of insoluble fiber
    – unhealthy lifestyle choices (smoking, sedentary lifestyle, etc)

The Emergence of Refined Sugar and Processed Foods
What emerged in the 1900s to cause obesity and other forms of disease? Two main issues emerged: processed foods and the growing demand for shelf-stable foods.

  • Before the 1900s, food spoilage was a big issue many individuals faced. To counteract this problem, vegetable oils were emerging. Companies like Crisco and Procter & Gamble began marketing vegetable oils (like cottonseed oil) that were shelf-stable and could be cooked at high temperatures.

     

  • In 1910, synthetic trans fats were first introduced in the United States. In processed foods like Oreos, hot dogs, and mayonnaise; these fats are now known to lower good cholesterol, cause heart disease, and increase risk of type 2 diabetes.

     

  • In the 1920s, the electrical refrigerator was introduced to society along with canned and frozen foods. Before this innovation, foods were preserved in jars through fermentation. And you’ll see in modern day society that there is a growing demand for fermented foods because of the probiotic and digestive benefits from the good bacteria. In general, I’m sure you get the point. The level of convenience we have now is a lot different from the past.

     

  • In the 1930s, America was faced with the Great Depression. This meant less nutrition for most families. Due to their financial situation, families were consuming less animal foods and vegetables and more cheap processed food. For the first time ever, margarine consumption exceeded butter consumption. During this time, the farming of soybeans was becoming popular in China. Capitalizing on this opportunity, Henry Ford invested in a soybean research laboratory.

     

  • In the 1940s, MSG (monosodium glutamate) gets adopted into America from the Chinese. MSG is an additive in food that is known to make the food more flavorful. A few years later, foods are being fortified with synthetic vitamins to make up for nutritional deficiencies. In the late 1940s, obesity and disease is skyrocketing due to the shift toward vegetable oils.

     

  • In the 1950s, natural and artificial flavors are introduced into foods. These chemicals are known to trick your tongue into thinking its eating something nutritious, when in fact the food contains toxic ingredients. These flavors were very popular in cake mixes and other convenient food items. Meanwhile, a doctor named Dennis Burkitt is curious to why Americans are experiencing digestive distress. He travels to Africa and concludes that a high fiber diet is the answer to this American problem. The indigenous people of Africa seem to thrive off fiber, so why shouldn’t Americans?
  • In the 1960s, studies are being published and reveal bread and sugar as contributors toward obesity. Meanwhile, a top sugar industry executive named John Hickson, discussed a plan with others in the sugar industry to shift public opinion. At the time, studies were indicating a relationship between high-sugar diets and heart disease. Simultaneously, other scientists, including the Minnesota physiologist Ancel Keys, were investigating a competing theory that it was saturated fat and cholesterol that posed the biggest risk.  In 1965, Hickson paid Harvard doctors Mark Hegsted and Frederick Stare to write a review that would debunk the anti-sugar studies and instead, push the blame toward saturated fat and cholesterol. With all of the science pointing toward fat and cholesterol as the culprits of disease, sugar was off the hook. Additionally, pesticides, genetic engineering, and factory farming were introduced and used by American farmers. The purpose of these new farming methods was to double their yield in hopes of ending world hunger.
  • In the 1970s, Americans are growing sicker and more obese. But there is slight momentum toward dietary changes. Vegetarianism and the Atkin’s high fat diet are becoming more mainstream. While this is happening. the FDA rules hydrogenated soybean oil as “safe” for human consumption. At the time, soybean oil was the most popular vegetable oil in the United States.
  • In the 1980s, more momentum is swaying in favor of fatty animal foods. Small farms and restaurants begin serving foods like beef, elk, and buffalo on their menus.
  • In the 1990s, more attention and bad publicity is moving toward factory farms. Organic farms are becoming more popular throughout the states. More Americans want to know where their food is sourced. Obesity is continuing to rise. 20% of Americans are now classified as ‘obese.’
  • In the early 2000s, obesity has reached 30% of Americans. The FDA labels trans-fat and saturated fat as “bad fats.” In 2007, the American Institute for Cancer Research continues to correlate saturated fat with chronic disease and obesity. Also, the American Heart Association publishes more articles praising a low-fat, low cholesterol diet to remedy heart disease.

In retrospect, food now is different than it was before 1900s. While nutritional data was being manipulated, the pharmaceutical industry was gaining more and more traction. This was a huge money maker for the United States economy. From 1960 to 2015, retail prescription drug spending has more than tripled. In my opinion, it could not be more obvious the correlation between disease and nutrition. And the worst part is that big corporations have been capitalizing off of the sick. Luckily, modern day sickness can be addressed through simple measures. I remember I used to think that people were simply unlucky when they got sick. And it was all just random chance. That is absolutely not the case for the majority of people. The reality of life is that health is one of the most important factors of wellbeing. Logically, it makes sense that if we choose to eat unhealthily; you will feel unhealthy as a result. But if you live in America or other westernized countries, it can be hard to truly understand what is healthy and what is not. 

thick, overweight, obesity