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The Western Diet Pandemic

There is currently a pandemic beginning to have disastrous effects around the world. This pandemic is called the Western Diet.

As the developing world begins to embrace urbanization, many Western fast food companies have swooped in, ready to spike obesity and death rates worldwide. As has been proven time and again, but was proven yet again by David Tilman, an ecology professor at the University of Minnesota, the fast food diet, or the “Western Diet” is extremely bad for your health and should be eaten rarely, if at all.

More and more people are turning to high calorie foods that are typically filled with saturated fats, refined sugar and red meat, and ignores proper nutrition for the body. The Western diet not only features greasy cheeseburgers, but it also features minimal fiber and very little fruits and vegetables. Not having these basic and vital elements in your diet impacts your health immensely. Tilman points out quite clearly that “we have a whole new group of people who are malnourished because they eat foods that are no good for them, that have no nutritional benefit.”

This malnourishment also leads to the body being prone to infections, and weakening of the immune systems. And it does not take a scientists to figure out that being prone to infections while having a weak immune system is a recipe for disaster. Not only this, but the extremely high, yet empty, calories cause a higher rate of obesity, which is known for causing inflammation, making the body much more at risk for cancer, cardiac conditions, strokes, arthritis and diabetes.

Tilman recommends a diet that is balanced in calories and fiber, to ensure that the body is receiving adequate nutrition.

In my opinion, this is not breaking news. People have known for years that fast food and generally speaking, the habit that is the Western diet, is horrendous for you. But it is not only horrible for you, it is horrible for everyone. It wreaks havoc on people and the environment as a whole.

What is so terrifying about the Western Diet spreading to the developing world? Well, a lot. Not only are people’s health going to be in jeopardy, but it will also cause an increase of the damage to the environment and will most likely contribute to the Western fad of diets and dieting (attempts to lose weight) to become a global issue. It is obvious that the Western diet does not work in the West, so why let it spread even further to infect the rest of the world?

I will not argue as to which “styles” of eating are better. However I will agree with Tilman in saying that people need to eat food that is more balanced in calories and fiber. A nutritious diet is filled with fruits and vegetables and other whole foods loaded with fiber and other critical nutrients.

About Emily Hersey

Emily is an African Studies and History student who loves reading, the gym, hip hop and horses. If she's not working on her latest research project, she's definitely working towards her next trip to South Africa and doing her Master's degree there. Contact Emily: [email protected]