Why is American-Grown Food Unhealthy?

Why is American-Grown Food Unhealthy?

High levels of added sugar

Is consuming more than 25 grams of sugar per day too much?

Consuming more than the recommended amount of sugar for women, which is 25 grams per day, is considered too much. An info from the American Heart Association, in 2020 American adults consumed an average of 77 grams of sugar per day. Added sugars make up nearly 16 percent of total daily calories consumed by Americans.

What is the best way to maintain heart health?

Reducing added sugar intake is the best way to maintain heart health, according to Harvard Health. On harvardhealth.harvard.edu, the article "The Sweet Danger of Sugar" encourages readers to read food labels and make conscious decisions when it comes to added sugar consumption. Studies have shown that eating too much added sugar can increase the risk of cardiovascular diseases.

Does added sugar contribute to health issues?

Overall, the evidence that added sugar directly causes health issues such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease, obesity or cancer is not conclusive. Via a study by the University of Lausanne published on BBC Future in 2018, athletes often have higher sugar consumption but are still healthy.

High levels of fat

Can unhealthy food and drinks increase cancer risk?

Eating unhealthy American food and drinks can increase one's risk of developing cancer and other chronic conditions, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). This is due to the availability of unhealthy food and drinks, as well as the consumption of red and processed meats. Research has shown that consuming a healthy diet can help reduce the risk of developing cancer.

Why is fat important for good health?

Fat is essential for the functioning of cells, blood clotting, muscle movement and inflammation and is necessary for long-term health. Attributed to Harvard Health Publishing, fats are needed to build cell membranes, the vital exterior of each cell, and the sheaths surrounding nerves. A diet rich in monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats can reduce cholesterol levels and reduce the risk of heart disease.

What are some small changes you can make to improve your diet?

The American diet is unbalanced and unhealthy, with high-fat foods and sodas being the main culprits, according to experts from HealthDay. Taking control of one's diet and making small changes can lead to big differences in health. Recent studies have shown that exercise is also an important factor in maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

high levels of sodium

How much sodium should adults consume daily?

The American Heart Association recommends no more than 1,500mg of sodium a day for most adults. This is significantly lower than the current average American intake of 2,300mg per day and could have a positive impact on blood pressure and heart health. According to the American Heart Association, reducing sodium intake by 1,000mg per day has been shown to have beneficial effects.

Do processed foods contain high levels of sodium?

The high sodium levels in fast food and processed foods is still a health concern, according to Dr. Delichatsios from Harvard Health. Bread, cold cuts and cured meats, pizza, poultry, and soups are the top five processed food sources of sodium. To maintain a healthy diet, Dr. Delichatsios recommends avoiding processed foods and opting for real food such as fruits, vegetables, legumes, and whole grains when dining out. People should ask for information on calories, fat, and sodium when eating out.

Do Americans consume too much sodium?

The excessive consumption of sodium can lead to high blood pressure, which is a major risk factor for heart disease and stroke. Attributed to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention "on cdc.gov", most Americans consume too much sodium, which mostly comes from salt. In order to maintain a healthy lifestyle, individuals should adhere to the recommended sodium intake guidelines as set forth by the CDC.

Fewer nutrient-dense foods

Is organic food more nutritious than conventionally-grown food?

Organic food is nutritionally superior to conventionally-grown food, according to a study conducted by Stanford University researchers in 2013. The study found that organic food contains significantly more vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients than conventionally-grown food. Organic food has lower levels of toxic chemicals such as pesticide residues.

What are nutrient-dense foods?

Nutrient-dense foods are key to making sure every calorie counts, as opposed to foods with few healthful nutrients, which are often referred to as empty calories. As stated by Mayo Clinic Health System, this includes things like potato chips, white bread and fruit snacks, versus a baked potato, whole-grain bread and fresh fruits. Eating nutrient-dense foods can help people meet their nutritional needs without consuming too many calories. Research shows that getting a variety of nutrients is important for overall health.

Has soil depletion led to decreased nutrition in fruits and vegetables?

A study published in the British Food Journal has concluded that calcium and iron content in 20 vegetables have declined significantly, by 19% and 22%, respectively, between 1930 and 1980. This suggests that soil depletion may lead to decreased nutrition in fruits and vegetables. A similar study of American nutrient data from 1950 to 1999 found that six key nutrients had declined, on average, by between 6% and 38%.

Reduced fiber content

What is a low-fiber diet?

A low-fiber diet is recommended for those who need to limit their fiber intake. According to Mayo Clinic, when following a low-fiber diet one should read food labels to ensure that no more than 1-2 grams of fiber are present in one serving. It is suggested to avoid nuts, seeds, dried fruit, and coconut. Lastly, it is important to note that some foods such as yogurt, ice cream, and cereal may have added fiber.

What nutrients are most strongly associated with diet-related health risks?

The increasing concern of diet-related health risks has led to the implementation of front-of-package rating systems and symbols to help consumers make more nutritious food choices. Attributed to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), this focus is based on nutrients and food components most strongly associated with these risks (2020). In addition, research has shown that unhealthy diet contributes to four of the leading causes of death in the United States.

A low-fiber diet can be dangerous and can lead to a variety of health issues, including colon cancer, unhealthy cholesterol levels, and diverticulosis. Via a study published in 2019 by Harvard Medical School, consuming more fiber-rich foods, such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes, is essential for optimal digestive health. Eating a sufficient amount of fiber can also reduce the risk of certain chronic diseases.

Increased use of preservatives

Are preservatives in food safe?

Food preservatives can make food safer, but it is important to be aware of how much of them are consumed as too much can be harmful. Mentioned in Food & Nutrition Magazine , eating small amounts of preservatives in food is generally safe, but large amounts can cause health problems. Research suggests that preservatives used in processed foods can contain dangerous chemicals such as nitrates and nitrites.

Can nitrates in food cause cancer?

Nitrates in food are unlikely to directly cause cancer, according to BBC Future in 2019. Nitrates themselves are fairly inert and unlikely to get involved in chemical reactions in the body, but nitrites and chemicals formed from them can become carcinogenic. It is important to watch your consumption of foods high in nitrates and nitrites as they can be toxic in high doses.

Have Americans changed their consumption of beef and dairy?

Americans have shifted away from beef and dairy consumption and towards chicken over the decades, according to Pew Research Center's analysis of U.S. Department of Agriculture data. Whole milk consumption has dropped significantly, while chicken consumption has risen significantly. Americans are eating less ice cream, but more sugary drinks than ever before.

Excessive reliance on processed foods

What are the environmental impacts of consuming ultra-processed foods?

Ultra-processed food such as chips and cake account for a majority of the calories we consume, according to BBC Future, 2021. This can have a negative environmental impact due to increased packaging and transport of these foods. Research suggests that diets high in processed foods are linked to an increased risk of chronic diseases.

What has been the increase in ultra-processed food consumption in the US?

Ultra-processed food consumption has significantly increased in the US, with 57 percent of calories being derived from these foods in 2017-2018, according to a study from New York University (NYU) published in 2021. The greatest increase was seen in the consumption of ready-to-eat or heat meals, such as frozen dinners, while the intake of some sugary foods and drinks declined. Interestingly, the consumption of whole foods remained fairly unchanged.

Consumption of ultra-processed foods has significantly increased in the United States over the past two decades, according to a new study from the University of Michigan, published on ScienceDaily in 2021. This trend was seen across nearly all segments of the population, with an average increase of 12% per capita from 1999 to 2018.

High levels of artificial flavoring

What are food additives?

Food additives are substances intentionally added to food to improve its safety and appeal, derived from plants, animals, minerals or synthetically manufactured, and there are several thousand of them. WHO, together with other international organizations, regulate the use of food additives to ensure their safety for human consumption. Research has shown that certain food additives can contribute to increased levels of inflammation in the body.

What are the potential risks of eating foods with high levels of arsenic?

The FDA warns that arsenic is toxic to humans and can affect people of any age or health status, especially in certain foods and in areas with higher levels of arsenic. As reported by the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) website, on fda.gov in 2021, it is important to be aware of where your food is sourced from when it comes to arsenic contamination. Studies have found that long-term exposure to low levels of arsenic can cause a range of health problems.

What are the risks of eating processed foods?

Processed foods can significantly increase health risks, such as weight gain. As mentioned in Medical News Today, other research indicates that eating highly processed foods can lead to weight gain, and there are seven reasons why these foods can be detrimental to a person's health. Studies have shown that diets high in ultra-processed foods are associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease.

Use of synthetic fertilizers and pesticides

Are pesticides safe to use on food crops?

Pesticides are potentially dangerous chemicals that can have negative effects on human health and the environment, however, when used correctly, they can help to increase crop yields. Cited from the United States Environmental Protection Agency, when used as instructed, modern pesticides can be safe to use on food crops. Exposure to pesticides can occur through food and water consumption and inhalation of particles. It is important to keep in mind that organic produce can also be exposed to a small amount of naturally-occurring pesticides.

Is organic produce subject to fewer pesticides than conventional agriculture?

Organic produce is subject to fewer and less toxic pesticides than conventional agriculture, according to the National Organic Program in the US Department of Agriculture. On washingtonpost.com, they reported in 2018 that only 25 synthetic pesticides are approved for organic use, compared to over 900 synthetic pesticides used in conventional agriculture. Organic farming is also subject to more stringent safety requirements than its conventional counterpart.

What impact has industrial crop production had on the environment and local communities?

Industrial crop production has been detrimental to the environment and local communities due to its use of synthetic fertilizers, pesticides, and irrigation, despite its promise to feed the world. As mentioned in FoodPrint, 2021, industrial agriculture has come at a cost to the environment and local communities. Research has shown that organic farming practices are more sustainable and can produce enough food to meet global needs.

Lack of organic options

Is organic food more nutritious than conventionally grown food?

Organic food is not more nutritious than conventionally grown food, according to a 2012 Harvard Health Blog post. The researchers found few differences in nutritional content, apart from slightly higher phosphorous levels in organic foods and higher omega-3 fatty acid content in organic milk and chicken. Pesticide residues were 30% lower in organic produce.

Organic food may not be healthier than regular food, according to an AP report in 2012. Despite the appeal of avoiding synthetic pesticides and fertilizers, there is no clear evidence that organic food has more health benefits than regular food. A 2018 study found that organic produce may have higher levels of pesticide residue than conventionally grown produce.

What are the benefits of organic farming?

Organic farming is a more sustainable and environmentally friendly alternative to traditional farming methods, as it reduces the use of pesticides and increases biodiversity. Sourced from a study conducted by Columbia University in 2019, organic farming is associated with higher levels of soil fertility and improved water quality. Organic farming can help reduce greenhouse gas emissions by up to 25%.


Author Photo
Reviewed & Published by Albert
Submitted by our contributor
General Category