Saturday, October 09, 2010

Toxic Food and Advertisement

Ever since I have been diagnosed with cancer, I have been reading books on food, and watched a close eye on the food I am consuming and the food advertisement on TV. I am amazed by how much advertisements the fast-food industry have invested in and the images they portray. Take for instance, to satisfy their customers, one of them has come up with "double-the-size" burger.

According to Dr. Susan Brown and Larry Triveri who did a comprehensive study on how food affects the pH levels in our body, almost all fast foods are acid-producing food. That means if you eat a fried fish sandwich, it will cause your body pH level to be more acidic. The body then has to make extra effort to restore the pH balance and leads to a depletion of alkali mineral reserves in the body. If this takes place over a period of time, the body will be more prone to various symptoms such as accelerated aging, increased production of free radicals, increased risk of kidney stone formation, more fertile breeding ground for many viruses (including cancer according to Andreas Moritz in his Cancer Is Not A Disease - It's A Survival Mechanism), etc. Dr. Brown and Triveri compiled many pages of guide to acidic/alkaline-producing food. Generally, most people suffer from overdose of acidosis-related problem and I just want to highlight the food that I used to indulge in fast-food restaurant below:

Dr. Susan E. Brown and Larry Trivieri, Jr., The Acid Alkaline Food Guide: A Quick Reference to Foods & Their Effect on pH Levels (Garden City Park, NY: Squareone Publishers, 2006). pp. 162-3.

When I saw "double-the-size" burgers on TV, they no longer appeal to me. In fact, chicken/fish/beef sandwiches as listed by Dr. Brown and Trivieri are very acidic-producing food. I do not know how many burgers I had consumed in the past, particularly during the last three years I was in Boston. My cancer has forced me to re-examine my diet and to change my diet completely. The relation between food and health is affirmed by Colin Campbell's The China Study: The Most Comprehensive Study of Nutrition Ever Conducted. John Robbins, author of Diet for a New America, Reclaiming our Health and The Food Revolution said this in the foreword of Campbell's The China Study,
You pick up an issue of National Geographic Kids, a magazine published by the National Geographic Society "for ages six and up," expecting to find wholesome reading for youngsters. The pages, however, are filled with ads for Twinkies, M&Ms, Frosted Flakes, Froot Loops, Hostess Cup Cakes and Xtreme Jell-O Pudding Sticks.

This is what scientists and food activists at Yale University call a toxic food environment. It is the environment in which most of us live today.

The inescapable fact is that certain people are making an awful lot of money today selling foods that are unhealthy. They want you to keep eating the foods they sell, even though doing so makes you fat, depletes your vitality and shortens and degrades your life. They want you docile, compliant and ignorant. They do not want you informed, active and passionately alive, and they are quite willing to spend billions of dollars annually to accomplish their goals.

-John Robbins, Foreword in The China Study: The Most Comprehensive Study of Nutrition Ever Conducted by T. Colin Campbell and Thomas M. Campbell II.

No wonder many people are confused about food nutrition and health. Most food industry have portrayed a healthy image associated with their food. This also leads me to ponder on the ethic of food industry and advertisement. Does it mean that so long as the fast-food industry has the ability to buy an advertisement slot and so long as their food is not on the prohibited list of the local health authority, they are entitled to air their product, even if the product might lead to disease in the long run? Yes, I acknowledge that in the market economy, economic profit is the guideline for making economic decision. But what if economic profit comes at the expense of the consumers' health?

I am not here to challenge the local health authority, but at least I can raise the awareness (but whose awareness, I am wondering) between food nutrition and health through my blog and to speak from the ground of morality. The books I read and the studies I quoted by experts so far all testify the unhealthiness of fried food, and in my outline above, I pointed out the fast-food in particular. In the market economy, I suppose the consumers have to find out for ourselves what are really good for us through education and access to information despite the professional advertisements hitting us everyday.

No comments: