Despite the long-standing impression that Americans are a well-nourished people, they are actually overfed but undernourished.
While food has always been relatively plentiful in the United States (as compared to other nations), the American diet has never been truly nutritionally sound.
Even when the country was predominately agricultural, Americans still ate what would be considered a “constipating” diet of mainly meats and starches.
Despite this fact, Americans historically did not suffer from chronic illnesses like Americans do today. What has changed?
Industrialization in the nineteenth century changed the way that Americans ate food.
In the late nineteenth century, Americans (especially upper and middle class Americans) began to exchange home-preserved and home-grown foods for factory preserved and processed foods.
Home-preserved foods were often fermented, pickled, brined, and salted, which are processes that use “good” bacteria (the kind necessary for good gastrointestinal health) to preserve food, where as factory processed foods eliminate all microbes through heat processing or other modalities.
Furthermore, grain-refining technologies developed in the nineteenth century stripped grains of their nutritive value in order to produce lighter, whiter flours that were desirable for breads, cakes, cookies and other baked foods.
Essentially, Americans began to exchange foods that were digestively beneficial (such as fermented vegetables and whole grains) for foods that were less-nutritive and potentially damaging to the gastrointestinal system.
Typically, it was upper and middle class Americans that had access to these types of processed foods.
Interestingly, America’s very first chronic inflammatory illnesses (allergy and allergic-type diseases) suddenly appeared during the late nineteenth century, and mainly among upper and middle class Americans.
Diet changes, in conjunction with newly introduced industrial toxins, may have contributed to allergies in nineteenth century Americans.
These changes in diet were accelerated further, during the twentieth century with modern advances in food processing and manufacturing.
Over the course of the last forty or fifty years, the food chemical and additive industry has grown exponentially.
There are now thousands upon thousands of additives added to everyday foods, and most them have not been studied extensively in humans.
Unfortunately, the vast majority of Americans eat mainly processed foods.
The American diet today is one that contributes to poor gastrointestinal health and the increased likelihood of developing gut dysbiosis and immune dysregulation.
A diet that is high in sugars and simple carbohydrates, and low in fiber and lactofermented foods creates an environment in the gastrointestinal system that is ripe for the overgrowth of pathogenic microbes.
Overgrowth of these microbes can lead to gut dysbiosis.
The average American consumes over 140 pounds of sugar annually, up from 10 pounds in 1821.
In addition, Americans are not getting the micronutrients (e.g., zinc, calcium, iron, magnesium, iodine, etc.) necessary for good gastrointestinal or general health, because most processed foods lack readily absorbable versions of these nutrients.
Without these essential life-giving nutrients, the immune system will not function properly.
Unfortunately, children in this country are notoriously bad eaters, subsisting on a diet of macaroni and cheese, processed chicken nuggets, French fries, pizza, soda, candy, and other sweets.
Their diet, in conjunction with other environmental factors, leaves them susceptible to the development of chronic illnesses.
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This document is not a substitute for medical advice, treatment, diagnosis, or consultation with a medical professional. It is intended for general informational purposes only and should not be relied on to make determinations related to treatment of a medical condition. Epidemic Answers has not verified and does not guaranty the accuracy of the information provided in this document.