In today’s blog, Julian Omidi discusses the importance of eating a rich and varied diet.
Earlier this week, the Chicago-based Institute of Food Technologists hosted a summit called IFT15: Where Science Feeds Innovation. Chief scientific officer of MicroBiome Therapeutics, Mark Heiman, gave a particularly insightful speech that summarized his research regarding human diet over the latter half of this century.
Heiman claims that in both developed and undeveloped countries, a loss of “dietary diversity” has led to alarming increases in obesity rates, as well as Type II diabetes and gastrointestinal problems. For example, we’ve been consuming an inordinate amount of carbohydrates such as rice, maize, and wheat—which make up an average of 60 percent of our daily calories.
He also discourages “fad” diets in which certain nutrients are eliminated completely, limiting one’s nutritional intake. “Like any ecosystem,” Heiman said, “the one that is most diverse in species is the one that is going to be the healthiest.” Food that are high in carbs and fat are the cheapest to manufacture, and therefore cheaper for us to buy. Especially over the past 50 years, obesity rates have been rising most prevalently in countries that are consuming more junk food. But the facts cannot be ignored: human beings need variety in their diet to function more efficiently. The potential health benefits from doing so are enormous, the most obvious being greater life expectancy.
An easy-to-remember way to eat a more richly-varied diet is the more colors on your plate, the better. You don’t need to completely deprive yourself of fat and carbohydrates, but remember: all things in moderation. Avocados are a great example of foods rich in “good fat”, or unsaturated fatty acids, and their consumption can even help lower cholesterol levels.
Be good to each other,
Julian Omidi is concerned about the increasing rates of obesity in the United States and the most recent projections about that from a new study. Julian Omidi here discusses some of the common issues faced when fighting against obesity.
Recently the Trust for America’s Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation projects released research that projected about half of the adults in the United States could be obese by the year 2030, less than 20 years from now.
Currently about 35.7% of adults and 16.9% of children are obese in the U.S. Projections could see some states reaching obesity rates as high as 60% with all states seeing rates of at least 44%. Delaware, for example, could see obesity rates as high as 64.7% based on the rate of increase they have experienced since 1999, and that would make it only the third most obese state.
Unfortunately it seems that education and income have been linked to obesity directly. This most recent report found:
“About one-third of adults without a high school diploma were obese, compared with about one-fifth of those who graduated from college or technical college. And one-third of adults who earn less than $15,000 per year are obese, compared to one-quarter of those who earned $50,000 or more per year. The obesity-poverty connection reflects such facts that calorie-dense foods are cheap and that poor neighborhoods have fewer playgrounds, sidewalks and other amenities that encourage exercise.”
This study shows that as contradictory as it may seem, poverty and obesity can be directly related. These findings only further my resolve to assist the impoverished through the not-for-profit organization I founded with my brother Michael Omidi. Our charity No More Poverty works to assist the impoverished in all areas whether they be hungry, homeless, or unhealthy.
These are just projections and we can make change the tide in the fight against obesity through regular exercise and a healthy diet. Hopefully, as a nation, we can keep these projections from coming true.