Symptoms of the Western diet when transported around the world
The key problems and symptoms of the American diet
Anywhere that Western dietary habits go, they leave a wave of predictable symptoms in their wake. And each one of them causes a cascade of other problems.
The American diet, or more broadly, the "Western" diet, has been deteriorating for years with results to prove it. CDC statistics year over year show that currently 42% of Americans are obese. This is not to be confused with simply overweight which encompasses 75% plus.
For anyone that follows these statistics longitudinally these numbers are staggering and they are continuing to increase every single year and have for decades.
Many things can be blamed for this and the issue has even been made political with things like genetics and race blamed for the rising obesity. However this science does not stick because the answer is simple and nutritionists know it.
Its the food. Its always been the food. Sure, lack of exercise and more "convenient" lifestyles can be blamed partially. But there is not denying that it is the toxic and nutrient-devoid foods that are the primary culprit.
There are symptoms that follow this type of diet which is highlighted by excesses of refined and nutrient-depleted sugars, vegetable oils, preservatives and other unnatural dyes and chemicals as well as a conspicuous lack of dietary fiber. The symptoms are seen in other countries that are "westernized" and an example is The China Study. While the book and its studies is somewhat flawed due to the vegetarian nature of the writer, it still brings up some good ideas and food for thought, no pun intended.
A hallmark of the Western diet is constipation, headaches and "brain fog" (a term denoting lack of focus and energy that seems to permeate). All of these to the astute nutritionist and researcher lead back to the digestive tract. One issues with these types of problems is that it is easy to dismiss cranial issues like headaches with the digestive tract, but the two systems are critically connected to each other via the vagus nerve which is the communication line between the gut and the brain.
Few people are aware that there is a massive network of neurons in the digestive tract. These types of cells were thought only to occur in the brain as we are taught in school.
In fact, the digestive tract is recently being touted as the second brain. This is the breadth of connection between mind and gut. When the digestive tract is disrupted, as is the case with many, if not most people, then there will be problems in the brain such as the before-mentioned headaches, brainfog, and even other neurodegenerative issues.
As the China Study and others note constipation and headaches are the first symptoms to arise with introduction of the western diet.
We can also look at the vast array of digestive issues that seem to plague the majority of people in the U.S. Crohn's Disease, Diverticulitis, Irritable Bowel Syndrome...and many, many more. All of these are different characterizations of the same problem, although different in their direct symptoms.
If you go to European countries and other places where obesity and disease are notably less prevalent you will find different and healthier diets and far less digestive problems. This is a key correlation to make and we should look to these countries to guide us in our nutritional habits.
Obesity and Overweight
Let's get one thing straight: The U.S. is not only the least healthy country in the world it is arguably the least healthy country in the history of humanity, and I don't mean that hyperbolically.
The problem is that when everyone is overweight, toxic and unhealthy, then it becomes normalized and so it seems like its not a big deal.
The problems that cause overweight and obesity are not quite as cut and dry as one might think and so I want to bring some light to other factors in the foods supply that can cause us to hold inordinate amounts of body fat and even worse visceral fat which is the fat that surrounds, and eventually begins to suffocate, your vital organs including the liver, kidneys, and even the heart.
Many people are now aware that blaming fat alone for obesity is just plain wrong. Sure, there are bad fats (excessive omega-6s which can be inflammatory) and a reduction in the essential and healthy fats in our diets (omega-3s of various kinds).
But the main culprit are carbohydrates and specifically refined and fiber-lacking sugars like glucose, fructose and others. These types of sugars, consumed in high quantities, cause massive spikes in insulin. This insulin in turn tells the body to store nutrients in general, and the sugars are converted in the liver to triglycerides and then transported into different cells. Even muscle cells will absorb these, which can be beneficial in certain circumstances (glycogen replenishment). But once the muscle glycogen and liver glycogen levels are capped off, the rest generally goes into adipose tissue aka fat cells.
While insulin levels are high it is essentially impossible to burn fat solely because this hormone is a storage hormone. So even if you perform physical activity, fat cells can be insulin resistant and are unable to open up and transport the internal nutrients (fat) into the bloodstream to be used as fuel.
But there is another use for fat cells and that is to store various type of toxins known as fat soluble molecules. These types of harmful molecules such as heavy metals, pesticides, plastics and other environmental toxins (there are tens of thousands of them) are very harmful when free-floating in the bloodstream, where they can bind to different tissues and cause misshapen proteins and free radical damage aka oxidative damage.
So for a short term solution these molecules can be stored in fat cells which essentially act like jail cells. But these types of environmental toxins don't break down easily and can stay active and damaging for long periods of time even years, and they can even migrate in the brain (mostly fat cells) and cause long term problems like dementia and possibly even Alzheimer's. In fact the latter has been coined type 3 diabetes because it functions as an abnormality of insulin tolerance. Could this be why this terrible disease is also on the rise in the west? My gut instinct says yes.
And just look at the garbage that most nursing homes feed their residents, many of which are already declining down the unfortunate path of dementia and mental decline. The connection is fairly straight forward.
One of the things that people notice when they clean up their diet and even start adding enhancers like antioxidants and other chelation agents is rapid weight loss. This is partly due to the fact that as the body gains the functions to break down and remove the environmental toxins, the fat cells that they were confined to are no longer needed and that fat is "burned" in a way.
This disease is also on the rise and is also known as "syndrome x" or "metabolic syndrome" and is directly related to the same ideas as above namely massive sugar increases causing insulin spikes and eventually insulin resistance.
Obesity and type two diabetes are intricately linked and never does one come where the other is not present.
This is not only a symptom but also a primary cause in the problems of the western diet, and it doesn't only mean that people aren't drinking enough water (which they certainly aren't).
Hydration is more than just drinking water because when we throw things like electrolytes into the equation and also massive sugar ingestion we get what's called cellular gradients where water is unable to get into the cells and this is a secondary dehydration. It doesn't matter how much water you drink if it doesn't get into your cells.
All this sugar in the diet reduces the percentage of water in the blood naturally and so it can suck water out of cells, actually dehydrating them in the process, in order to elicit homeostasis. If there is not enough salt in the diet and other electrolytes the same thing can occur. And many people in the U.S. are actually salt deficient (despite the constant media hyping about lowering salt intake) and so they become chronically dehydrated.
The solution here is to use different types of salts whether it be sodium chloride (table salt), Himalayan, Celtic or iodized salts. Not only do they contain specific and essential nutrients but they aid in hydration and more.
Going against the grain
The solutions to these problems lie in several areas. Unfortunately in the West propaganda is rampant and there is little taught about health and nutrition, if anything, in school. One should seek out nutritionists and trainers that are knowledgeable about what types of foods and nutrients you should add to your diet.
If we want to escape the epidemic of obesity, diabetes, digestive issues and more, then we have to avoid what most people are doing because what most people are doing is wrong.
This takes willpower, knowledge and discipline and it also takes thick skin as societal pressures naturally surround those that wish to break the mold and take their health into their own hands.
Some simple tips for changing these habits are to do food journals, learn to read nutrition labels on food, and to see what works for you. Adding supplements to fill in nutritional gaps is also a great way to enhance health and vitality, and all of these tools are available to us if we just learn to discern and sift through the health matrix that we are engulfed in where sickness and mental decline are considered normal parts of life.
Have the courage to go against the grain and surround yourself with likeminded people and communities that can help and you will find that you are definitely not alone in this venture and there are many of us out there, scattered throughout this great nation and even the world, that are trying to do the same things that you are.