The Reductionist Attitude Towards Diet
Countless studies have been conducted to show how food affects health, yet the typical U.S. diet is still terrible.
It is no secret that the average person in the United States follows a relatively unhealthy diet. Sugary treats, canned soft drinks, fast food and anything meaty or fried gets the spotlight in the Western diet. You can’t drive down the street without passing billboards or bus stops plastered with unhealthy foods masquerading as a reasonable meal choice. To call the current typical U.S. diet an epidemic would be an understatement. And a big part of the reason this epidemic is taking place is due to the reductionist attitude towards food and health.
Countless studies have been conducted over decades to examine and explain why and how certain foods interact the way they do with the body. As our base of knowledge expands with each study, we better understand the effects of foods and keep coming back to the same conclusion – a diet that’s high in vegetables, fruits and whole grains while limiting meat, dairy and sugar consumption is one of the best behaviors we can adopt. But, the reductionists would have you believe that the only thing that matters is whether or not you get the normal recommended daily intake of nutrients. But we know that logic makes no sense. Eating a salad will not negate the fact that the cupcake you have after is loaded with ingredients that will wreak havoc on your digestive system.
What we need to do is spread awareness. More people need to be aware of how whole foods affect the entire body. It is not enough to say that one specific chemical in a food has A, B or C effect, because we do not realistically consume these chemicals on their own. They are combined with others in a whole food whose entire effect needs to be taken into account. Do not listen to the reductionist. Listen to the science. If you want optimal health, make sure you are eating your fill of fruits, vegetables and whole grains.