Now before I tell you the statistic, we need to keep an important fact in mind... according to well renowned nutrition author Michael Pollan (whose work I really love) in his book, In Defense of Food, humankind has historically consumed approximately 80,000 different species of edible plants, animals, and fungi, and approximately 3,000 of those have been widespread foods of the human diet.
Now get ready for a shocking and
Currently, the average adult eating a typical modern western diet in countries such as the US, Canada, Australia, etc. consumes approximately 67% of their total caloric intake from only 3 foods -- CORN, SOY, AND WHEAT (and their derivatives).
Based on hundreds of thousands of years of human history, and what the natural diet of our ancestors was (indicating what our digestive systems are still programmed to digest most effectively), this would probably be in the range of about 1% to 4% MAX of our total calories from corn, soy, and wheat.
Considering that modern humans are eating 67% of their total calories from corn, soy, wheat... you can see why we have massive problems in our health, and our weight! It's not a surprise that we have so many intolerances and allergies, specifically to soy and wheat (and gluten intolerance) ... the human digestive system was simply never meant to consume these substances in such MASSIVE quantities.
Keep in mind that these massively high levels of corn, soy, and wheat in our modern human diet is a relatively new phenomenon that originated from the economics of the multi-billion dollar corn, soy, and wheat industries. It really HAS been all about the money... NOT about our health! Hmm.. aren't these the same groups pushing the pro-GMO agenda - what an amazing coincidence!
I should explain here that by "derivatives" of corn, soy, and wheat, I mean the food additives such as:
- high fructose corn syrup (HFCS)
- corn oil
- soybean oil (hydrogenated or plain refined)
- soy protein
- refined wheat flour
- hundreds of other food additives such as maltodextrin, corn or wheat starch, soy lecithin, mono and diglycerides, etc, etc
This doesn't surprise me... consider how much soda or other sweetened drinks (with loads of HFCS) that the average person drinks daily... this is a LOT of calories from just 1 sole corn derivative. Even marinades, salad dressings, ketchup, breads, and 100's of other foods contain loads of belly-fattening HFCS!
Also, think about how many processed foods we have that are either fried in soybean or corn oil... and even if the foods are not fried in these oils, these oils are additives to almost every processed food... chips, candies, cakes, salad dressings, tomato sauces, burrito wraps, corn chips, breaded chicken, etc, etc. This is a LOT of calories from these 2 other corn and soy derivatives... both of them EXTREMELY UNHEALTHY!
On top of that, think about how much breads, cereals, pastas, muffins, and other highly processed wheat products people consume each day. The numbers are staggering! Again, this is LOADS of unhealthy, blood-sugar spiking, nutrient-poor calories, that more than half of the population has some degree of intolerance to anyway.
It gets even worse!
Not only are we (as a society) eating 67% of our total calories from corn, soy, and wheat... but because of the economics involved (specifically with cheap corn and soy) we are also feeding most of our farm animals corn and soy now too... again amplifying the amount of corn and soy that passes through the food chain and (from a biochemical standpoint) ends up in our bodies.
Probably the 2 worst examples of this blatant mismanagement of our food supply is how our factory farmed chickens and cows are fed.
- Cows are fed mostly corn in factory feedlot farms, even though their digestive systems are only meant to eat grass and other forage. This makes the cows sick (hmm... E-coli anyone?), alters the omega-6 to omega-3 ratio of the fats to unhealthy levels, and also diminishes the healthy CLA fats that would occur naturally in grass-fed beef. All of these problems go away if our cows are fed what they were made to eat naturally - grass and other green forage!
- Our chickens are also fed a diet of mostly corn and soy and crowded in tight pens in horrendous conditions... when the fact is that a chicken was meant to roam around the outdoors eating a mixture of greens, insects, worms, seeds, etc. When chickens are kept inside in tight quarters and fed only grains, it leads to an unhealthy meat for you to eat, and less healthy eggs compared to free-roaming chickens allowed to eat an outdoors diet.
Our food supply has gotten so screwed up that we're even feeding our salmon and other farmed fish corn and soy...again because of the economics involved. How ludicrous is this, considering that fish are meant to eat a diverse diet of smaller fish, worms, bugs, etc. Again this makes farm raised fish unhealthy in terms of nutrition compared to their wild counterparts.
So even when you're eating chicken, beef, and fish, you're still essentially getting even MORE corn and soy into your body (from a biochemical standpoint) ...considering that the cows, chickens, and farmed fish ate mostly soy and corn.
Why is it so unhealthy to consume 67% of our calories
from corn, soy, and wheat?
Well, this section could encompass an entire book, and perhaps one day soon it will, so to keep this short, I'll just throw out a few random reasons...
- Skews the ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fats in our diet to as high as 30:1, when a natural ratio of 1:1 to 2:1 in our ancestral human diet is considered healthy. This imbalance causes massive inflammation in your body, which is a leading cause of many diseases, cancer, and even weight gain.
- Increasing problems with gluten intolerance -- related to heavy wheat consumption that is rampant these days, combined with foreign gluten proteins that have been formed from hybridization of wheat crops.
- Problems with weight gain, blood-sugar swings, and reduced insulin sensitivity (and progression of diabetes) due to excessive refined corn and wheat flours, as well as excess HFCS in the average person's diet. Important Note: the starch in wheat (yes, even so-called "whole wheat") is a unique and problematic type of carbohydrate called Amylopectin-A which has been shown in blood sugar testing to skyrocket your blood sugar even HIGHER than pure table sugar... and this can cause hormone imbalances, cravings, prediabetes, and weight gain... Yikes!
- Soy and corn are the most genetically modified crops (which also allows more pesticides and herbicides to be used, which act as "xenoestrogens", causing hormone disruption in women, man boobs in some cases in men, and what's been termed "stubborn belly fat" in both sexes
- Soy products and soy derivatives contain a double-whammy of xenoestrogens as well as phytoestrogens... again creating an environment in your body for fat storage, carcinogenic effects, and even "man boobs" for some men in very severe cases.
- and the list could go on and on and on...
My concern over this is a big part of why I created the Phytonutrient Blog, why I wrote the Phytonutrient Gardening series of books and the other books I have written. Because, I have decided that one of the most important things I can do is get information out to you! Information leads to knowledge, and…
Knowledge is power!