Editorial: You Are What You Eat

By Jennifer Rodriguez

As children, we were taught about the nutrition pyramid and how a balanced diet is a healthy diet. So, what if you found out that almost everything you’ve learned about the food you eat was a lie? Well, a recent documentary has made that claim.

“What the Health” is a documentary released in March of this year that digs deeper into the food we consume on a daily basis. In this documentary, filmmaker Kip Andersen takes a look at the effects of diet and the role of major health organizations.

Joel Kahn, a cardiologist from the Kahn Center for Cardiac Longevity, is featured in the film and he describes disease as the cause of majority of deaths.

“The diabetes, the arthritis, the heart disease, the dementia, the obesity, the cancers are affecting about 70 percent of deaths. All the data says that those 70 percent of deaths and morbidity are largely lifestyle related and preventable,” he said in the film.

So if these diseases and deaths are preventable, then how do we prevent them? What is the big secret that nobody knows?

According to the film, the World Health Organization has research studies proving that processed meat is linked to an increase in cancer. Processed meat includes hot dogs, bacon, sausage, salami, ham, pepperoni, cold cuts and deli slices.

If this is the case, why isn’t it stressed to the public not to eat these foods? On the contrary, it is encouraged.

During the making of the film, the American Cancer Society’s website had a page designated to be a “healthy diet.” This page featured recipes including processed meats, such as turkey ham and canned meats. Since the release of this film, however, some of these recipes have been removed. Interesting.

This raises the question: why encourage people to eat these foods if they are bad for us?

Diabetes is also directly linked to the foods we eat. Since this is the case, you may not expect to see certain food recipes featured on the American Diabetes Association website, foods like bacon-wrapped shrimp or oven pork stew. Well, think again, these are just two of the unhealthy recipes featured on their site.

Red meat isn’t the only meat that is unhealthy. According to Michael Greger, the leading source of sodium in the American diet is chicken. Chicken is regularly injected with salt water, containing up to 800 mg of sodium.

Maybe it seems like a stretch to imply that these organizations want us to keep eating unhealthy in order to gain. However, this theory goes beyond the recipes they promote.

Organizations such as the American Cancer Society and the American Diabetes Association are both sponsored by major food brands which sell foods directly linked to disease. Companies such as Tyson and Yum! Brands the owner of Pizza Hut, KFC and Taco Bell, are sponsors of the American Cancer Society. The American Diabetes Association is sponsored by Dannon, Kraft (Oscar Mayer and Lunchables) and Bumble Bee Foods.

The sponsors of the American Heart Association may be the most surprising. It is sponsored by companies such as Texas Beef Council, Tyson, Nebraska Beef Council, Dominoes, Subway and many more.

Why would these organizations take money from the very companies contributing the diseases they are trying to prevent?

As Americans, as human beings, it is time we take our health into our own hands.