A Western diet is a set of eating habits that includes a large intake of red meats, high-fat foods, sugars, and refined grains. This sort of unhealthy diet is being adopted by many people living in urbanized areas, and is usually paired with little to no exercise. Professor David Tilman, who works in Ecology at the University of Minnesota, studied trends in terms of diet and health.
Tilman’s findings were that, “people around the world, as incomes go up, choose more calories and meat in their diet.” It is not hard to see why these choices can be detrimental, especially when paired with a sedentary lifestyle. The higher intake of processed foods means more food entering the body that lacks nutritional value and fails to benefit us in any way. It is not surprising that a diet trend such as this can lead to many increased health factors.
Ian Myles, reporting from the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, believes that food containing palmitic acid and fructose are especially detrimental to our immune system, and palmitic acid can be mistaken as E.Coli by our bodies. These things confuse the body and make it less able to fend off real infections when they arise, because it it too busy fending off something it has mistaken for a disease.
A high intake of processed foods also has the ability to change the amount of good bacteria in the gut — bacteria that impacts your overall health — where bad bacteria pushes good ones out.
Not surprisingly, this pattern of diet has unrelenting side effects on obesity and diabetes. According to the World Health Organization, in 2014, more than 600 million adults were obese. Obesity itself opens up the doors to a plethora of diseases, both internally and externally, such as increased cancer risks and joints wearing out faster due to extra strain.
When it comes to diet and nutrition, choices are dependent upon the individual. People need to invest in their health and their bodies the same way they invest in any other possession that is important to them. When consuming food, there needs to be an emphasis on targeting all of the essential food groups, and limiting useless foods like red meat, processed foods, and added sugars.
When making educated decisions regarding food, refer to the following food pyramid. It is clear with the Western diet that our bodies needs are not being met.