Every year in America tens of thousands of people make the decision to get fit, get in shape or get healthier. Every year gyms are primed to sell you memberships and great deals on personal trainers. While this is all well and good, there is a darker more dubious monster lurking within the confines of the bigger, stronger, faster you market.
We live in a privileged time. Our movies and shows are on-demand. Our coffee comes custom made through a window, foods prepackaged and ready to eat. Never before has it been easier to be…picky. The same goes for the Health Industry in this country. From catchy, clever marketing to overhyped flavors and benefits. Walk into any store and you’ll no doubt see entire sections no smaller than 4 feet all the way to 15+ feet dedicated to making you a healthier you. Right?
Why, in our advanced time, are obesity rates so high? The prevalence of obesity was 35.7% among young adults aged 20 to 39 years, 42.8% among middle-aged adults aged 40 to 59 years, and 41.0% among older adults aged 60 and older. – CDC
Truth is, the health industry is just that, an industry. With profit margins and quarterly projections. Is that necessarily bad though? No. What is bad however is that the products their selling you are just as overly processed as the cereals and packaged foods one more aisle over that your not supposed to eat.
Obviously not all products produced under this category are this way but when you get packaged goods, your buying long shelf life, enhanced flavors and colors, thickening agents and “natural flavors.”
Things to look for to avoid:
•Sugar and/or High fructose corn syrup. Aside from adding extra unnecessary calories, they also affect blood sugars and creates cravings.
•Artificial sweeteners. While they might seem like a slam dunk for a lower calorie option, studies are starting to link artificial sweeteners to obesity and diabetes.
•Soy. I know your thinking, soy isn’t that bad. The majority of soy used in processed products is highly genetically modified and contains large amounts of pesticides. Not to mention it’s an allergy for a growing number of people.
•Casein and/or Whey. Just because it’s not soy-based doesn’t make it good. Low-quality over-processed dairy can be just as bad.
•Chemical and artificial additives to enhance flavors, textures and shelf life. Your liver is trying to process these and your body is absorbing them.
Fun fact: clean label project did a piece on the levels of heavy metals in protein powders. Most plant-based products, including organics ones, tested high in heavy metals, BPA’s and other chemical additives. Higher than normal.
The same goes for food bars. A quick trip into any “health food” section has the big names: Luna bar, thinkthin, Larabar, cliff bar and more. Most of these are packed with preservatives and the ones that don’t, scarcely have the nutritional properties to warrant the money for them. I use these brands as examples but they alone don’t shoulder the weight. These are items designed and marketed to health aficionados, but what about the everyday person whose life doesn’t revolve around BCAA’s, Casein vs Whey and pre-workouts?
The term “natural” is so abused that it’s made its way into the category of words so generic that I abhor hearing them. Words like “value” “wholesome” “nourishing” and the like. Truth is it’s just catchy marketing. Let’s take granola bars for example. Most of the time the level of sugar is nearly half your RDA if you follow those. If your smart you know your RDA of sugar does not include highly processed ultra-refined sugars. Cereals, preflavored oatmeal, watered down sugar rich yogurts. All this designed to make you feel like you eating right, but your not. It’s the Whole Foods version of McDonald’s.
The average consumer is being sold synthetic garbage at premium prices with flashy labels with slogans like “protein-packed” “high in vitamin C” or “fat-free.” Truth is, chemicals, artificial coloring, and flavors take a toll on your body. Studies show a connection between artificial sweeteners and obesity/diabetes. For the sake of keeping this article from being epically long, I’ll say this: all these are designed to stimulate your dopamine receptors.
Supplements then? Honestly, most supplements also fall into this category. BCAA’s, Proteins, vitamins. It’s meant to supplement when you can’t rightly get what you need, no to replace. Which is my Segway into what you should be doing and my challenge for you.
Source ALL your body’s needs from food. Why food? This is 2019 after all. Shouldn’t we be more advanced? The short of it is, fake foods are often so highly processed or downright synthetic that your body scarcely recognizes it. From heavy metals that flow to your brain to food coloring that is a known carcinogen, real is always better. The enemy of eating truly natural is a lack of variety. We can be so dogmatic that we eat the same foods week after week. This is why I advocate for seasonal eating. Your body was designed to operate certain ways during certain times of the year. Feed it what it needs based on your genetics and the season.
Not to mention that the average health impacted individuals, whether, from obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes or any other ailments from poor diet and lack of exercise more often than not choose a pill over effort. The health industry, which includes Big Pharma, seeks to make it “easier” when in fact they make it unhealthier. Eat your proteins, eat your eggs. Eat your vegetables and greens and non-GMO grains. Spend one week making every meal and see the difference.
I know this seems simple but it often beard repeating. So as an added bonus I’m going to present you with a challenge
Tell me how it goes and what you think. Thanks for reading