Skyrocketing rates of obesity and diabetes in the U.S. raise questions about what we’re eating, whether today’s food acts more like a drug and how Big Pharma benefits from our industrial food diet, according to investigative podcaster James Li.
“Is there something about nutrition — the food that we are eating — that is severely impacting our health and causing us to be fatter and sicker than we’ve ever been in history?”
Li discussed research conducted by Denis Burkitt, an Irish surgeon (1911-1993) who — by studying the differences in the feces and overall health of people in Africa compared with people in Europe and North America — hypothesized that people in high-income countries generally have “severely fiber-deficient diets” and related health problems mainly due to the over-processing of natural foods in those regions.
Since Burkitt’s death in 1993, Li said, Burkitt’s hypothesis has been verified and extended by large-scale epidemiological studies showing that fiber deficiency increases the risk of colon, liver and breast cancer and increases all cancer mortality and death from diabetes, cardiovascular, infectious and respiratory diseases, and all non-cardiovascular, non-cancer causes.
“We sure have talked an awful lot about science over the past several years,” Li said. “This, however, is probably some of the most fascinating research I’ve come across.”
“But for some reason,” he added, “it gets almost no coverage and we have to wonder — why?”
Li pointed out that grains — such as rice and wheat — naturally have fiber in them, but this fiber is typically removed by industrial food companies when they process the grains to make consumer products.
“It’s profitable to sell food that is fatty and sugary and salty and addictive,” Li said, adding that it’s “much less profitable to sell food that is wholesome — high in fiber — and minimally processed.”
“Is it not extremely frustrating that so many solvable problems in our society stem from the fact that solving that problem would necessarily disrupt a very profitable financial scheme?”
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