Today is World Health Day. In comparison to much of the world, Americans consume far more fat, sugar, and meat. We are a nation of diabetes, heart disease, and obesity. Since 1950, our nation's rates of these diseases have skyrocketed! When comparing 1950 levels to 2010 levels, stats show Americans now consume: (source US Department of Agriculture)
- 67% more fat
- 39% more sugar
- 41% more meat
- 24.5% more calories
What does this mean for us? It means 1 in 3 adults have some form of heart disease, and 69% of the US adult population is overweight, with 37% of that obese. The cost to health care for heart disease alone was $250 billion 2007, reaching $444 billion in 2010, and accounts for 34% of deaths (Source: CDC 2015). 29 million of US population has diabetes, with 86 million pre-diabetics (1 in 3 will be diagnosed), with costs to public health care $245 BILLION in 2012, up $175 billion in 2007 (Source: CDC). Hispanics, African Americans, and Native Americans are two times more likely to have diabetes than Caucasian populations.
A recent study, published March 2014 in the journal Science, showed a 75% increase in rates of death and 4-fold increase in cancer death (over an 18 year study) in people who consumed a high animal-based protein diet. As well as a 400% increase diabetes when consuming the same diet. The study was based on those who got 20% or more of their calories from animal protein, which is where most Americans obtain their protein from. What's the bright side? The same study showed completely the opposite with plant-based proteins.
There are reasons to feel positive. Our nation, at this crossroads, is turning its attention to its dietary habits. Just released are the 2015 Scientific Guidelines of the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee. In it the panel suggests that Americans should eat less meat and dairy, and more plant-based proteins like legumes and soy. The panel also takes into account the huge impact that meat and dairy play in our environmental impact. For more info on the advisory committee's guidelines visit: http://www.health.gov/dietaryguidelines/2015-scientific-report/07-chapter-2/
These new guidelines are not well received by the meat and dairy industry. As people who share a desire for health and wellness, we must speak up and for standards that seek to improve the health and wellness of people and the planet. The standards set the guidelines for what food is served in schools, hospitals, and nursing care. Plants heal. They are anti-inflammatory and help detoxify the body. They lower our risk of many diseases, helping us to live longer, healthier lives. On this World Health Day-help spread the message of plant-based foods. Turn friends and family members on to new dishes and ingredients. We can all help make this world a better place, one spoonful at a time!
For a gluten free, vegan recipe on Springtime Quinoa click here