November 5th, 2010 – When Food Leaves a Bad Taste

Food is killing us.

We are killing ourselves and the instruments are a knife…and a fork.  Bite by bite, with each mouthful, we are slowly dying.

OBESITY

  • Obesity rates increased dramatically over the past 10 years.  And percentages are high among people of color. 
  • Results from the 2007-2008 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), using measured heights and weights, indicate that an estimated 17 percent of children and adolescents ages 2-19 years are obese.
  • Among pre-school age children 2-5 years of age, obesity increased from 5 to 10.4% between 1976-1980 and 2007-2008 and from 6.5 to 19.6% among 6-11 year olds.  Among adolescents aged 12-19, obesity increased from 5 to 18.1% during the same period.

EATING DISORDERS

  • It is estimated that 8 million Americans have an eating disorder – seven million women and one million men
  • One in 200 American women suffers from anorexia
  • Two to three in 100 American women suffers from bulimia
  • Nearly half of all Americans personally know someone with an eating disorder (Note: One in five Americans suffers from mental illnesses.)
  • An estimated 10 – 15% of people with anorexia or bulimia are males

(statistics taken from the Center of Disease Control and South Carolina Department of Mental Health)

Disney star Demi Lovato

Just this week, teen Disney star Demi Lovato was admitted to a facility for emotional and mental distress.  She has allegedly talked about an eating disorder and issues with cutting in the past.  And actress Portia DeGeneres has been on several talk shows discussing her efforts to overcome her eating disorder. 

Actress Portia

As rates increase for heart disease, diabetes, and other physical ailments, the CDC has identified poor choices and options with energy intake as part of the problem.  Food is our energy.  With proper eating and exercise habits, we could live happier and longer lives.  But our lifestyle has changed over the past 50 years, we have become more sedentary.  And we make poor food choices. 

We all love good food.  We love comfort food, southern soul food, desserts…we just love foods that excite our taste buds.   The tongue has four sensors: 

Guess which section we like the most? The answer is on the tip of the tongue.

We love the sweet and salty.  High sodium can be a contributor to hypertension.  Sugar turns into fat and fat increases the potential for heart problems. 

I like that the CDC uses the term “energy intake”.  Food is the fuel our bodies need to run properly.  We don’t consume enough of the proper fuel so our bodies rebel.  One of the things I’m very conscious of is my sugar intake because of my high potential for diabetes.  My body signals me when I’ve put too much sugar in my gas tank.  For example, not long after I’ve had a meal of General Tso’s chicken, my body gets sluggish to the point that I become very sleepy.  The combination of sweet sauce and high sodium is negative energy intake for my body. 

What it comes down to is this:  BALANCE.  We need to aim for balance in the foods we eat.  But we also need balance in our bodies.  If the mind and spirit are in proper alignment, the body should follow.  If we educate ourselves concerning food issues, apply careful thought to our food choices, and combine that with a healthy appreciation of our selves, the body will respond by allowing us greater movement and response. 

Food pyramid based on a Mediterranean based diet

 

Resources:

http://www.cdc.gov/

http://www.mediterraneanbook.com/

http://www.mypyramid.gov/

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