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The Top 5 Myths Promoted By The Food Industry To Keep Us From The Truth


The food industry is ramping up their disinformation campaign to vehemently oppose all those who dare question conventional wisdom about nutrition and our food supply. By promulgating half truths, and utilizing deceptive tactics, the public has been easily swayed by such campaigns. However conscious eaters are now consistently exposing food industry deception. Here are the top 5 myths they promote about nutrition and eating habits.

Myth #1: Don't self-diagnose your food intolerance and reactions to food. This leads to self-misdiagnosis and may be far worse than food allergies or intolerances themselves. Less than 2 percent of people have food intolerances.

The Facts: There is only one person who can truly diagnose your food intolerance and reactions to food, and that's YOU! There is no better judge of how you feel and react to a certain food than your own body, and leaving this in the hands of another person (no matter how qualified) is illogical.

Keep a journal and take notes of what you eat, removing any unnecessary patterns and supplement ingredients until you get to the raw ingredients. Once you've figured out what it is, try organic versions of the same food. If there are no organic versions, or if organic versions do not make symptoms subside, it's time to remove that food from your diet.

Food intolerance exceeds 25 percent of the world's population. Gone are the days when 1 or 2 percent of people were intolerant to foods. For every four people you meet in any part of the developed world, one person will be intolerant to some kind of food whether they know it or not.

With the increase in genetically modified foods, dangerous additives and preservatives, this was inevitable and most food scientists admit they expected food intolerance today to be far worse than what it is. What does that tell you about where we're headed?

When it comes to food, instinct overrides everything. Don't ever go against your own body's advice, especially based on another person's expertise or opinion. You can't self-misdiagnose when it comes to your food tolerance, you're the expert!

Myth #2: Restricting certain foods or food groups will lead to social implications leaving you unable to eat food at restaurants or other social functions.

The Facts: This is a common disinformation tool deeply rooted in social psychology since it affects a person's ability to interact with others. The reality is, you will eventually stop eating at restaurants that don't meet your standards.

That's why you have organic, vegetarian and other varieties of restaurants popping up all over the place. People everywhere are refusing to eat foods laden with chemicals and if a restaurant has those foods, we're are just saying no and eating elsewhere. It is a change in mindset which is revolutionizing the restaurant industry.

You will also attract those people with similar likes, especially during social functions. If you have relatives and other close friends who continue on the path of unhealthy eating patterns, you will serve as an example to them. You can bring your own foods while politely explaining your reasoning. You will soon find they will start to slowly convert themselves.

Remember that a change in mindset is contagious, especially when it comes to a change that advances our health. So don't worry about social implications. It's not an issue, and if it is, you're making it one.

Myth #3: Cutting meats from your diet deprives you of quality protein for building muscle, not to mention you'll be deficient in vitamin B12 and hearthealthy omega-3 oils in fatty fish.

The Facts: This one really makes me laugh. Perhaps we should ask a horse how they obtained so much muscle without so much as a microgram of meat in their diet. This is a complete fallacy.

First of all, you don't need meat to build muscle. If that was so, you would not have such heavily muscled herbivores. Even vegetarians including many vegan bodybuilders (who are chemical-free) are showing us first hand that you don't need meat to build muscle.

Second, both high quality protein and vitamin B12 are available in eggs and dairy products.

As far as omega-3 goes, there are plenty of plant-based varieties as well as flax seed. Granted, the quality is inferior to omega-3 sources derived from the sea, but they are adequate for health benefits.

When it comes to preventing disease, there is emerging evidence suggesting that plant-based diets are superior to any type of meat diet. This is mostly due to the nature of how we feed and kill animals and how we process their meat.

That doesn't mean you should give up meat right away. Just know that you have a choice and don't let anybody ever convince you that you need meat to stay healthy.

Ever wonder how humans consumed meat before the age of refrigeration? Most didn't. If they did, it was from a fresh kill....remember that!

Myth #4: If you truly have an allergic reaction, many antibodies will be produced that cause rashes, swelling or breathing difficulties. Avoiding certain foods because of minor reactions will have long-term health implications.

The Facts: There is no such thing as a minor reaction to food. If you are reacting to the food you are eating, there is a problem that you need to address. Whether it be excessive gas, bloating, energy drain, diarrhea, constipation, or simply feeling too cold or hot after a meal, they're issues that could be related to your diet and you shouldn't ignore them despite how you interpret their severity.

Only very serious allergic reactions come in the form of rashes and swelling. Unfortunately, those are the only reactions that are typically addressed by most. The majority of the population experiences other allergic reactions which they simply ignore. The health implications come from those reactions we ignore, not the ones we address. People go through their whole lives not understanding that they have an intolerance or allergy to wheat and gluten. They feel bloated and gassy their whole lives and think it's normal. This is more common than the medical community is even aware of (or ever admit they're aware of).

A Minnesota study using frozen blood samples taken from Air Force recruits 50 years ago found that intolerance of wheat gluten is four times more common today than it was in the 1950s.

Given that modern wheat is a grass species containing three distinct sets of chromosomes capable of producing well over 23,000 unique proteins, it is not surprising that the complexities of wheat have been radically transformed in the last 50 years leading to more allergies and intolerance than we've ever seen before.

Wheat is just one example. Avoiding foods such as wheat, that are harmful to your health may indeed have long-term health implications, but they are positive ones and not negative.

Myth #5: Cutting out milk and dairy makes it harder for children to get adequate amounts of protein and calcium. The alternatives are not child-friendly.

The Facts: So eggs and fish are not child friendly? Perhaps this one should be explained to me because I have never shared this perspective nor have my colleagues. I don't see why children could not substitute milk with superior forms of protein such as eggs and fish.

The more milk that kids drink, the fatter they grow -- and skim milk is a worse culprit than whole milk. A survey of more than 12,000 children aged 9 to 14 showed that those who drank more milk weighed more than those who drank less.

Milk and dairy products may play a major role in the development of disease including allergies, asthma, migraine headaches, ovarian cancer, parkinson's, atherosclerosis, arthritis, kidney stones and the list goes on and on.

Cutting out pasteurized milk will only make a child healthier in the long-term. The human body is not designed to assimilate pasteurized cow milk, period! Alternative protein sources are not only superior but recommended by the most reputable pediatric nutritionists in the world.
And guess what? They are as child-friendly as milk or any other dairy product.

Natasha Longo has a master's degree in nutrition and is a certified fitness and nutritional counselor. She has consulted on public health policy and procurement in Canada, Australia, Spain, Ireland, England and Germany.
February 11, 2010
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