A new television advertisement produced by the nonprofit Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine that singles out McDonald’s for obesity-related deaths is causing quite the stir.
McDonald’s responded with the following: “This commercial is outrageous, misleading and unfair to all consumers. McDonald’s trusts our customers to put such outlandish propaganda in perspective, and to make food and lifestyle choices that are right for them.”
Very few will get to see this ad on TV, as it’s currently only set to air on cable TV in the Washington D.C. area, but you can all enjoy it here.
The ad was created by the nonprofit Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM), which also created a report back in 2007, showing how US food subsidies create a food system that churns out unhealthy foods at your expense.
Clearly, if you value your health, you would do well to avoid fast food restaurants at all costs. Even many salads come loaded with excess calories and unhealthy fat. As this ad claims, high cholesterol, hypertension and heart attacks are hallmark diseases associated with a fast food diet. Not to mention obesity and diabetes.
That said, I do not agree with PCRM’s message to just “make it vegetarian.”
While it will certainly move many people in a healthier direction, as most of us would benefit from eating more vegetables, avoiding all animal protein is not the answer for many other people. In my experience, strict vegetarianism may be suitable for about one-third of the population, but may harm the health of the one-third…
Vegetarianism is Not the Answer
My health journey has helped me to appreciate that we are all unique and require diets that are best suited for our individual genetics and biochemistry.
I eventually adopted a program called Nutritional Typing, which is a central part of my health plan and is available for free on my site. We used to charge $30 for this test but decided to offer it at no charge, so please take advantage of this free offer.
Nutritional Typing categorizes people into three different groups:
- Protein: High amounts of healthy fats and protein and lower amounts of vegetables
- Carb: High amounts of vegetables and lower amounts of protein and fat
- Mixed: Somewhere between the above options
The population is divided equally between the groups, with about one third of the population of the US in each group. (Certain countries tend to have higher percentages in one or two groups, but the US tends to have widespread heterogeneity.)
HOW to Tell if Your Diet is Right for You
Once I began implementing Nutritional Typing in my practice I noticed a remarkable decrease in those that did not respond favorably to dietary changes. Nearly everyone seemed to notice improvement, and for many it was quite dramatic.
One of the underlying principles of the program is to "Listen to Your Body" and adjust your foods based on how you feel mentally and physically after consuming them. This is an essential aspect of the nutritional typing plan. You have to actively assess how you feel while you experiment according to the guidelines for each type.
Many who claim to have tried nutritional typing and report feeling worse, have clearly missed this most essential point.
For example, if you feel sluggish, tired, nauseous, or depressed, your recent meal was not ideal. If you are indeed following the nutritional typing program, this will be a giant clue that you need to modify your diet.
If your current diet allows you to function at the highest level of energy and fitness and you rarely feel hungry or crave sweets, then that is a fairly good sign that you are eating food appropriate for your nutritional type.
So please understand that you make a great mistake if you simply take the test once and strictly follow the food choices recommended for that type – you must continuously check in with yourself and keep modifying your food choices until you find the right balance of fats, healthy carbs and protein for you.
Nutritional typing is a way to determine what YOUR customized diet is, and it is not even a one-size-fits-all within each nutritional grouping. If you take nutritional typing seriously, its guidelines will help you modify your food intake until you find the right balance.
For more information about why vegetarianism is not the best option for most people, please review my recent article on this topic.
Why You Must Differentiate Between “Bad Meat” and “Healthful Meat”
The people who fare the worst on a vegetarian diet are those who are naturally protein types, as they're depriving their bodies of essential fuel. Some of my views on eating animal protein were directly influenced by the work of Dr. Weston Price but although his contribution was great, since then countless peer-reviewed studies have been published that support these views.
However, I do NOT promote eating just any kind of meat.
There’s a vast difference between the conventional, grain-fed beef you find in your local grocery store and organic, grass-fed beef.
Most commercially-raised, factory farmed meats are loaded with antibiotics, concentrated toxins, and disease-causing bacteria and are not going to produce good health.
Organically-raised, grass-fed meat, however, is so nutritionally different from their factory farmed counter part as to be considered a completely different animal. If you’re not already convinced that grass-fed beef is healthier for you, I highly recommend you take a look at the evidence. There’s quite a bit of support in the scientific literature, a few of which can be found at this reference link. Additionally, since grass-fed beef has been raised sans unnecessary antibiotics and growth hormones, they also have other added health benefits.
How Government Farm Subsidies Have Created a Disease-Ridden Country
McDonald’s and other fast food restaurants are not necessarily the real problem. The US government has quite a bit to do with the malaise of this country as well.
As you can see below, the US food subsidies are grossly skewed, creating a diet excessively high in factory-farmed meats, grains and sugars, with very little fresh fruits and vegetables or healthy fats from nuts and seeds.
What do you end up with when you get paid to mass produce those ingredients?
A cheap fast food diet!
This chart was published by PCRM three years ago, and not much has changed since then. The fact that a hamburger can be had for less than an organic salad is a major contributing factor to why fast food is consumed as frequently as it is. The same goes for soda, loaded with cheap high fructose corn syrup (HFCS), compared to a bottle of plain water...
The food lobby is actually more powerful than even the pharmaceutical lobby, hard as that may be to believe, and thanks to their tireless efforts, Congress keeps subsidizing foods that we really should be eating LESS of – including factory farmed meats and corn (which ends up as HFCS, which is used in nearly every single processed food and sweet beverage on the market.)
I believe many of our society’s chronic health problems could be easily resolved if attention was paid, at the highest levels of government, to the root problem – our agricultural subsidies.
If growers of subsidized fresh vegetables were in a clear majority, you might start to see some fine advertising campaigns promoting the consumption of those veggies…
Unfortunately, the Department of Agriculture is deeply entrenched with the agri-business, and current legislations protect the profits of these large industries at the expense of public health.
Sadly, you also see this influence in nutrition science. It is actually not designed to help you make sound dietary choices but rather to allow food companies to make health claims to increase profits, and this is a primary reason why you cannot get sound dietary advice from your government.
Take the Food Pyramid, for example. Back in 2005, when the updated food pyramid was unveiled, nutritionist Luise Light, a former USDA insider and contributing architect of the original version of the Food Guide Pyramid, exposed how the US government bows to industry interests and plays a key role in the obesity epidemic.
Farm Subsidies Also Impact Nutrition of School Lunches and Programs for the Poor
Many do not realize that these farm subsidies affect not just the fare you see at restaurants, but the farm bill also has a direct impact on what your child gets fed in school, for example, and what food assistance programs will distribute to poorer households.
It’s quite clear that the farm bill creates a negative feedback loop that maintains the status quo of the standard American diet (SAD). Because by subsidizing the farming of corn and soy, the US government is also actively supporting a diet that consists of these grains in their processed form, namely high fructose corn syrup, soybean oil, and grain-fed cattle – all of which are known contributors to obesity and chronic diseases.
(In addition, let’s not forget that the vast majority of these two crops are also genetically modified, which in and of itself is a major health hazard!)
Even more so than factory farmed beef, high fructose corn syrup is perhaps the most potent health-destroying “food” of all.
With everything we now know about how HFCS and other sugars create obesity and chronic disease, it’s no wonder we have a health care crisis on our hands! Perhaps the ad above would have been even more accurate had it portrayed someone laying in the morgue gripping a super-sized Coca-Cola.
Either way, it’s quite clear that our federal food policy reaches to the very core of our everyday lives; the core of our health. And until the food policy is addressed and corrected, little progress will be made to improve the current health care crisis on a larger scale.
The links are clear: These food policies directly impact what and how we produce our food, which impacts disease rates, which in turn drive health care costs into the stratosphere.
The average American is now 10 pounds overweight, which translates into $250 billion in added yearly health care costs, not to mention a shorter lifespan.
However, you don’t have to be a victim. It starts by becoming aware. That’s the role I aim to fulfill through this newsletter, and my web site, which contains more than 10,000 health related articles.
Keep reading, keep learning. Take control of your health!