We humans love to eat. And our country’s abundantly rich lifestyle has provided us with endless opportunities to eat non-stop throughout the day and night. As a species that once hunted and gathered its food, we now don’t even have to go out to get it or cook it ourselves. We can have anything we want delivered to our door in minutes. Or we can hop in our car and drive minutes away to order up a fast-food meal or dine in any number of restaurants.
Ask many younger Americans “Where does food come from?” and the answer will often be “From the grocery store or from restaurants.” In 1940, the occupation of most of our people was “farmer” – with modern equipment (and with “modern agriculture,” which has many worrisome issues!), very few farmers are needed to feed all of us today.
It’s no wonder that we have more obese children with diabetes and heart disease. It’s no wonder that heart disease, diabetes, dementia, and other “lifestyle” diseases are responsible for increased healthcare costs, not to mention untimely deaths.
Our Brains Are Hurting
We are a nation addicted to sitting around on our behinds and eating until we are literally sick. But the focus here is on the brain and how the foods most Americans are eating is doing a number on their brains.
Studies have shown that people with high intakes of trans fats in their diet have a higher risk of developing dementia. If you don’t know what trans fats are, heres’ a brief explanation. Trans fats are those that occur in hydrogenated vegetable oils. Trans fats can be found in processed foods throughout almost every shelf in every supermarket. Spreads and icings, pastries, breads, cookies, chips, fried foods, ad infinitum. You’ll find trans fats in all ultra-processed foods.
Even though the FDA banned trans fats in commercially produced food, the FDA is lenient in allowing manufacturers wide berth in what they are allowed to declare on their labels about the presence of trans fats. Make no mistake: In no way have trans fats been eliminated from processed foods.
Use Your Brain Or Lose It
Dr. Christopher Weber, Director of Global Science initiatives at the Alzheimer’s Association has stated that “Research looking at the relationship between diet and cognition is well-established. There is strong evidence to suggest that what is good for the heart is good for the head, and we know a healthy diet is good for the heart.” https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/dementia-and-diet-is-there-a-link#The-MIND-diet
A study conducted by the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition has linked processed meat products, such as sausages, salami, and bacon, with dementia. The study shows that “Regular consumption of processed meat increased the relative risk of all dementias by 44% and Alzheimer’s disease by 52%.” https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/dementia-and-diet-is-there-a-link#Processed-food-may-increase-risk
Other research has focused on how poor gut health might affect the brain. Diets that are high in ultra-processed foods are typically low in fiber, which is mostly found in plant-based foods like whole grains, fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds. Fiber helps feed the good bacteria in the gut. Fiber is also necessary for the production of short-chain fatty acids, (including butyric acid), the substances produced when it breaks down in the digestive system, and which play an important role in brain function.
You can’t expect your mainstream medical doctor to help you by giving you a prescription for the latest weight loss drug. In the words of C. Everett Koop, M.D., Surgeon General of the United States, in 1988, “You cannot medicate yourself out of a disease that you ate yourself into.” He steadfastly offered that “Your choice of diet can influence your long-term health prospects more than any other action you might take.”
No matter how you look at it, what you put into your mouth is either helping or hurting your brain and the rest of your body. Lifestyle changes are without question, difficult. But once you commit to eating to live instead of living to eat, it gets easier and more delicious. If you’re ready to start treating your brain right, give me a call. I’ve been helping my patients turn their diets around and turn their lives around for the better. Since 1983, I’ve developed a number of dietary approaches to help most everyone to lead a more vibrant, joyful, enthusiastic life. Is it time for your to look forward to a brighter future?