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Health Myth: Since They Sell It in Stores, It Must Be Good For Me

Again and again, well-meaning consumers go to the store thinking they are feeding their families fresh, wholesome foods, only to bring home nutritionally deficient products. You can call them "make-believe" or "fake" foods. They do not meet the needs of your cells. In fact, 90 percent of the typical American food budget is spent on make-believe foods. Most people invest a lot of money and quite a bit of time shopping for and preparing meals that are killing their cells, creating disease and shortening their lives.

An experiment at the University of California, Irvine was done using healthy rats. They were fed foods that an average American would purchase in a supermarket: white bread, sugar, eggs, milk, ground beef, cabbage, potatoes, tomatoes, oranges, apples, bananas and coffee. The rats developed a variety of diseases. The conclusion was that if the average human diet could not support the health of rats, then it probably would not do much better for humans.

The food companies and grocery stores that market unhealthful foods rely on misinformation, burying negative data, and confusing the public with conflicting evidence. The food industry continues to insist there is no such thing as an unhealthy food. They say that any food, no matter what ingredients are in it, can be part of a healthful diet. They also tend to blame lack of exercise, rather than their foods, for causing obesity.

The position of the U.S. food industry is quite interesting, to say the least. To suggest that there's no such thing as an unhealthy food makes you wonder about logic and common sense. Clearly, there are some foods that promote obesity, diabetes, cancer, and other chronic diseases. At the same time, there are other foods that even prevent those diseases.

The introduction of fast, processed, and frozen foods in the 1950s forever changed our dietary habits. Frozen dinners, prepackaged meals, and processed foods in-a-box are now standard meals for many people.

Consequently, people are consuming more calories, preservatives, and sugar than ever in history - while reducing their intake of fresh whole fruits and vegetables. It's no mystery that these changes have led to overwhelming increases in obesity, Type II diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease among Americans. About one in three Americans is overweight, and obesity is now at epidemic levels in the United States. The Surgeon General has determined that two out of every three premature deaths is related to diet.

Grocery stores, it seems, put more emphasis on visual appearance than nutritional value. This isn't surprising, since consumers typically select food based almost entirely on taste and appearance. Healthy food has limited shelf life. And that makes it expensive for consumers and unprofitable for food producers.

Most people won't buy food that's good for them for the simple reason that sometimes it costs more for healthy food. So they'll save fifty cents right now by buying the cheap, processed food - and they'll spend thousands of dollars on hospital bills years later as a result. Of course, few people make the connection. And many people just don't know any better. That's why education efforts are so critical to helping consumers make healthier food choices.