In his latest book, Fast Food Genocide, Dr. Fuhrman details the shocking role diet has played in derailing the American dream for large segments of our population. He explains how these foods destroy not only our physical health, leading to cancer, diabetes, obesity, and heart disease — he also explores the previously overlooked association of diet’s influence on behavior, emotional health and intellect. The fast and processed food industries keep people hooked on their unhealthy, highly addictive products and that has led to a national health crisis.
This tragic and far-reaching epidemic of inferior nutrition can be turned around, and Dr. Fuhrman offers hope, explaining the powerful way a Nutritarian Diet can solve what has become a national health crisis. It is an eye-opening book all of us need to read and share with our friends.
Below, Dr. Fuhrman answers what motivated him to write this book and some of the questions surrounding it.
How Can Fast Food Be Genocide?
Genocide — the deliberate destruction of a population — is the most accurate way to describe fast food’s devastating effects on our society. Processed, nutrient-barren products are designed by the food industry to be highly addictive, cheap to produce, and highly profitable. These products do not contain the nutrients humans need to thrive, and in those using them as a primary food source, it has created an explosion of disease and led to much suffering and death. Fast food and processed foods also damage our genes, which we pass on to our children and grandchildren, and we are seeing dangerous increases in autism, learning disabilities, allergies, autoimmune disease and childhood cancer. This must be stopped.
Which Foods Are The Most Dangerous?
I define fast food in two ways: First, it is the food served at commercial chain restaurants, where processed meats, pizza, burgers, French fries, pretzels, soft drinks, and rich desserts are made in an assembly-line process, with commercial ingredients that are duplicated and dispersed all over the world. Second, it is any commercially made convenience food that includes artificial ingredients, processed grains, sweeteners, salt, and oil, all with high-caloric concentration and minimal nutrient content. These foods have now become the majority of calories consumed in America.
Why Are These Foods So Damaging to Our Health?
A person who eats fast food, fried food and processed food has an increased risk of cancer, obesity, diabetes, autoimmune disease, depression, and mental illness. Even moderate use of fast food is dangerous. For example, one serving of commercial French fries per week is linked to an over 25 percent increase in risk of developing breast cancer. The World Health Organization has declared that processed meats are a class 1 carcinogen in humans, which places them in the same category as asbestos and cigarette smoking. Fake food produces cancer-promoting signals, negatively affects blood vessel function and builds plaque in arteries, and those are just three examples. The food is often high calorie, and coupled with a sedentary lifestyle, promotes weight gain. Weight gain has its own consequences. Body fat produces pro-inflammatory signals, raises blood pressure, and drives insulin resistance.
How Does Fast Food Contribute to Depression and Mental Illness?
The scope of the effects of fast food on the brain is not yet known, but based on what we know so far, we as a society underestimate these effects, especially the effects on the brains of children. A single episode of elevated blood sugar has been shown to have negative effects on attention and memory. Eating commercial baked goods is linked to higher rates of major depression, and brain imaging studies have suggested that elevated blood sugar impairs the brain’s ability to process emotion. For young children, soda consumption is linked to behavior and attention problems, and depression in teens. Mental illness now affects one in five in America, and our poor diet is at the foundation of this epidemic.
Why Isn’t This Information More Widely Known?
I think there are three main reasons why we are ignoring the devastating health crisis that is right before our eyes: We believe food industry propaganda; we are addicted to these toxic foods; and we believe in the power of modern medical care to save us from the nutritional insults we inflict on our bodies.
Food companies have discovered how to feed the most people in the most efficient and cost-effective manner, which is how they can maximize their profits. The marketing spin they use is designed to make products like processed convenience foods (such as cold cereal, deli meats, or meal starters) seem healthy and nutritious. The message for junk food such as candy, chips, baked goods, soda, ice cream, you name it, ignores health considerations and emphasizes that these are treats you deserve. Presumably, this will allow you to consume “responsible” amounts of their sugary treats and beverages. Moderation is seen as safe, and encouraged by social norms, when consuming dangerous substances; the scientific studies demonstrate otherwise.
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