As we barrel toward the terrifying statistic of 3 out of 4 people categorized as overweight by 2020, a heaping helping has been written about obesity and food addiction. But where exactly did this epidemic come from? The answer just might surprise you; it did me when I first read it.
In 1977, the dietary goals for the U.S. were handed down by members of the Senate staff on the Select Committee on Nutrition and Human Needs. Their prime directive? Reduce overall fat consumption by 30-40%.
The primary offenders, I like to call them ‘Big Food’, were faced with the conundrum of how to keep their products highly palatable so we would continue to buy. They found the answer by injecting new fat-free foods with sugar, sugar, and more sugar.
The long-term results are seen in a scary number of people faced with Metabolic Syndrome: type II diabetes, hypertension, lipid problems, heart disease, cancer, and dementia. So many so, that in 2011 the United Nations declared this phenomenon a global pandemic, estimating that ‘lifestyle illnesses’ makeup 75% of world health care costs and kill some 36 million people per year.
What is a consumer to do? In order to undo what has been done, we need to retrain the reward system in our brain, to break free of these highly addictive foods that hijack our impulse control and urge us to continue to consume despite what we know.
Step One: Incorporate more whole foods into our diets that fill us up without filling us out. Choose whole foods that are as close to their original state as possible.
Step Two: Dust off those sneakers and give them a whirl. Inject your brain with delicious endorphins, the natural way to stimulate your body.
It may sound tough, but an early death is worth the effort to avoid. I’m speaking from experience after decades of abusing my body with drugs (bad food and otherwise). I’m living proof that you CAN make a change that will radicalize your life.