Curse of the Western Diet

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Hey, Dave here.

I have been inspired to write about the Curse of the Western Diet by a recent trip to Sesimbra, Portugal.

It was my second time to visit Sesimbra - a small fishing village about 30 minutes drive south of the Portugese capital, Lisbon. When you stay in a place like this, you really begin to notice how healthily people eat. It's not hard to stay healthy because the food is incredible, but these people don't view their diet as 'healthy'. It's not a phase or a 'Monday to Friday thing', for these people it is a way of life.

Healthy eating and self improvement has become popular in recent decades because of the gruesome effects that the Western diet has had on people's health. The focus of the Western diet has been quick, edible food rather than wholesome, real food. Convenience always comes at a price, and in this case the cost has been American's lives.

Diseases/Conditions That Have Been Aggravated by the Western Diet [1]
Breast Cancer
Colon Cancer
Prostate Cancer
Hypertension
Heart Disease
Type 2 Diabetes

The Western diet is so bad that at least half of Americans suffer from one or more conditions in the table. According to Dr. Ian Miles, MD, MPH, an assistant clinical investigator for one of the NIH institutes, the Western diet is high in refined sugars and saturated fats, and contain little to no fiber [2]. The curse of the Western diet is that it directly contributes to early death.

As people become more aware of the consequences of eating the Western diet, self improvement and health food stores have been growing in popularity. Alternatives to unhealthy foods are now readily available. These include organic foods, sweetners that replace sugar, gluten-free foods, trans-fat free foods, and more. So with health food becoming more and more popular, why is the disease rate still up?

One answer to this question is that people aren't looking at healthy food as lifestyle food. The Western diet is still their main diet and they simply insert the healthy foods where its convenient. Supplements are used to make up the lack of vitamins and minerals rather than completely abandoning the life-threatening diet. 

In order to truly get a handle on the health of Americans, people need to make healthy food their lifestyle food. Eating clean and healthy shouldn't be a "choice". It should be the norm. Many healthy foods can be made as quickly and as conveninetly as foods in the Western diet. Hopefully as the ill effects of the Western diet continue to be taught, more and more people will change their eating habits to save their lives.

Sources:
[1]https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/m/pubmed/2173856/

[2]https://www.everydayhealth.com/crohns-disease/diet/why-western-diet-making-us-sick/