The following is the first part in a series of articles that will focus attention on the food industry’s success in making people believe that processed and packaged products can pass as food. In this article, I will attempt to bring attention to the definitions of food we know and start unmasking the pesky ingredients that are present in our ‘food’ even though they don’t qualify as such.
First, let’s review the definition of food as it should be understood. Then, we will review what most people understand as food.
According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, one of the definitions of food is “something that nourishes, sustains, or supplies“. The question then is what is it that nourishes, sustains, or supplies our bodies with the nutrients we need to stay alive and healthy? Remember that our definition of food – rice, beans, meat, vegetables – may not be the type of sources of nutrients that our body needs to achieve a healthy state. In fact, the items that we understand as food are in many cases sources of malnourishment. So just to be clear, food should be something we intake to nourish, sustain and supply our body with the nutrients it needs to function.
This takes us to the second definition of food, which is the one most people use as their guide. The same Merriam-Webster dictionary says that food is also “material consisting essentially of protein, carbohydrate, and fat used in the body of an organism to sustain growth, repair, and vital processes and to furnish energy.” The question in this case is, is it important where do protein, carbohydrates, and fats come from when deciding what to use as a source of nourishment? The answer of course is YES. Not all protein, cabs and fats are created equal. The key in the case of nutrition and our Chemical Reality is that none other but nature has the ability to create food that has the proper protein, carbohydrates, fats and other ingredients to nourish, sustain and supply our body.
Despite great advances in science and technology, there isn’t a single industrialized product that meets nature’s ability to provide what we need to ingest in order to remain alive and healthy. In fact, most industrialized products are unsuitable for human consumption. Products created in a lab through food engineering should be seen as substitutes of food only to be used as emergency supplies, not as day to day providers of nutrition. Why? Because they do not have the power to provide nourishment to our bodies. Most food products are made in mass amounts and with the cheapest possible ingredients with the only aim to supply a food market.
Put simply, humans are not getting what they think they are paying for when grocery shopping. The definition of food that our body recognizes is far from being the same than the definition we have been led to believe. Unfortunately for our body, the second definition is what dictates what we use to supposedly nurture our body. There are probably very few people who haven’t fallen for the ‘miraculous weight losing shake’ and ‘belly flab burning pill’ propaganda only to realize that they were just flat out lies.
What is in our food that should not be there?
It is extremely important to know what ingredients are present in the food products that we are led to believe can be called food. Learning how and why the food we eat impacts our health and well-being is the second step towards living and enjoying a healthy life.
Recently, the Environmental Working Group (EWG) issued its “Dirty Dozen List of Endocrine Disruptors”. According to the National Institute of Environmental Sciences (NIEHS) of the United States, an endocrine disruptor is a substance, a chemical “that may interfere with the body’s endocrine system and produce adverse developmental, reproductive, neurological, and immune effects in both humans and wildlife.” Endocrine disruptors not only directly affect our health, but also that of the plants and animals we turn into food.
It is also important to understand what is the Endocrine System and how this system relates to an overall state of well-being. The Endocrine System is the one that regulates the functions of organs in the body, helping to maintain the body in perfect balance and free of disease. Among the functions that are included in this balance are: cellular metabolism, reproduction, sexual development, sugar and mineral homeostasis, heart rate, and digestion. The Endo part of it means INSIDE while the Crene part means SECRETE.
The answer to the question posed on the subheading is that endocrine disruptors should not be in our food essentially because they do not provide nourishment to our bodies, but also because they negatively impact our health. Chemicals in the food products that most people eat deliver a double punch: they malnourish and disrupt the human body.
As you may already know, there is a long list of chemicals, many of them well-known endocrine disruptors present in food products. Despite knowing that these chemicals cause our bodies to become ill, the food industry put them in the food products most people eat and government agencies in charge of checking that those substances stay out of the food products allow food companies to use them. The common excuses for the use of chemicals in food products is that they are necessary to preserve the products and that the amounts used are minimal.
According to the NIEHS, some of the most common substances that cause endocrine disruption which are found in food products are: pharmaceuticals, dioxin, dioxin-like compounds, polychlorinated biphenyls, DDT, pesticides, bisphenol A. These and other endocrine disruptors are found in everyday products like plastic bottles, metal food cans, detergents, flame retardants, food, toys, cosmetics, and pesticides. The NIEHS says that “research shows that endocrine disruptors may pose the greatest risk during prenatal and early postnatal development when organ and neural systems are forming.” Despite this warning, people continue to consume food products laden with chemicals throughout their lives. More often than not, chemicals substances such as the ones cited before and many others are fed to fetuses in the womb, new borns, toddlers and small kids through their daily diets.
To close this section of the article let’s conclude that most people, unless they grow their own food organically and on clean soil, feed themselves and their families food products — not food — which contain a deadly mixture of chemical substances, many of which have been proven to cause drastic disruptions in endocrine function, which in turn causes disease.
Perhaps, this chemical reality should be the origin of any research that looks into why people are sicker than at any other time in history. It should be the starting point for researchers and scientists who seek to answer why more and more people are malnourished, obese, sick with cancer, diabetes, heart disease, Alzheimer’s disease and a long list of ailments that lots of people talk about but that few truly understand. The truth is that we are growing sick mostly because of what we put in our bodies.
In case you have not gotten the idea yet, our body does not see it as normal to ingest food products that are manufactured in massive amounts and with the cheapest ingredients to satisfy a growing food product market.
If you are interested in the scientific side of things regarding how the endocrine system and hormones work in our bodies, please watch a documentary by the BBC titled “World of Hormones“. If you are interested more in how the food industry makes people believe that food products are food, watch the documentary titled “The Truth about Food“.
In our next article I will begin unmasking the nastiest of the nasty chemicals that are present in food products — not food — even though they should not be. Future articles will attempt to explain the dangers that these chemicals pose to our health, why people should rethink and reform their eating habits and why is not a crazy idea to grow your own food.
It is very important to remember this: “Every time you eat or drink anything, your are either feeding disease or fighting it.”