Unfortunately, the United Nations Sub-Committee on Nutrition (SCN) reported alarming societal repercussions due to this incredible growth. They actually linked the drastic population growth to having a negative influence on the quality of people's nutritional status!
To feed this ever-expanding population, we have over-fertilized and over-farmed our fields to the point that the soil is depleted and the foods produced from it are severely deficient in nutrients. In the spirit of “helping,” changes to our food chain have occurred including the addition of pesticides and the creation of genetically modified plants. Meat sources like cattle and chicken are being pumped with antibiotics, and mass amounts of chemicals and preservatives are produced on a weekly basis to extend the shelf life of processed foods.
A North American eating a typical North American diet will receive 93% of their dioxin exposure from meat and dairy products (23% is from milk and dairy alone; other large sources of exposure are beef, fish, pork, poultry and eggs). Dioxins have the distinction of belonging to the “dirty dozen” - a group of dangerous chemicals known as persistent organic pollutants. Dioxins are highly toxic and can cause reproductive and developmental problems, damage the immune system, interfere with hormones and also cause cancer. In fish, these toxins bio-accumulate up the food chain so that dioxin levels in fish are 100,000 times that of the surrounding environment.
From mere observation, it's no wonder that global health is declining. Less nutrients + more chemicals = poor health.
The obesity epidemic is the perfect example of this. Shockingly, worldwide obesity has more than DOUBLED since 1980. The World Health Organization states: “…modernization, urbanization and globalization of food markets are thought to underlie the epidemic.” Basically what they're telling us is the quality of our food supply, or lack thereof, is making us fat!
There's no doubt the increased consumption of high-calorie, low-nutrient food in the past 30 years is making its marks around people's waistlines. But what many people do not seem to be aware of is the impact chemicals in our food have on people's weight. The Fourth National Report on Human Exposure to Environmental Chemicals conducted a thorough survey in 2,400 people and documented that the average person stored away 212 chemicals internally. In addition, EPA biopsies of human fat show an accumulation of PCBs, dioxins, and many other types of chemicals stored in fat tissue. Our bodies are not pre-designed to effectively metabolize the vast array of chemicals we consume and are exposed to on a daily basis. As a defense mechanism, the human body creates new fat cells to isolate and store chemicals in an effort to protect its vital systems. What's not stored in fat cells, the body attempts to eliminate, often creating problems for digestion and clogging up the works.
Where do we go from here? We all have high hopes to live long healthy, happy, and productive lives. And we want to feel we have somewhat control over our lives, and to some level control over our health by the choices we make.
Many leading health professionals say we need to look no further than within ourselves – literally.
There is an age-old saying: “Disease enters through the mouth.” Indeed, we are only as healthy as the nutrients we take in and are able to digest, process and assimilate. Many doctors have been saying for years that the key to good health begins in the digestive system. It's the point of entry for nutrients and the point of elimination for waste and harmful chemicals. If the digestive system is not working optimally, nothing else will – it is impossible. Its how we feed every cell in the body.
According to one of the most comprehensive nutrition industry reports (Wellness Trends 2010) by the Hartman Group, leading-edge consumers are now zoning in on digestive health. In the report they predict: “what's coming in future years is that mainstream consumers will see digestion as a foundation of health and the place where illness can take root. [Consumers] …will begin using digestive enzymes and continue their use of probiotics with the belief that if digestion is taken care of, other aspects of their health will be taken care of as well.”
As the trend report states, the masses are beginning to understand where their ailments are taking root. It seems obvious now that digestive health is the cornerstone of good health.
So, we've identified the problem with our nutrition and the point at which it influences our health - the point of absorption and elimination. But what is the solution when the earth's resources are not keeping up with the growing population?