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Diet and Health, By Ron Seidman

Last updated 2 years ago

One of the most striking observations on my trip to China 10 years ago, was the few if any overweight people. This doesn't seem to be the case in the United States. Obesity, especially in children, has been a major topic in news stories for several years. Local governments in places like San Francisco and New York are seeking to legislate the amount of fast food, sugary soft drinks, salt, trans-fats, and other foods that can be served to consumers in the hope that our habits can be changed. While I personally am not in favor of government forcing me to do anything, I do favor any attempt to educate consumers on the benefits of healthier diets.

I may resist the studies that show how bad these things are as someone who likes my junk food, the occasional soda, chips and fries, steak and even a Jr. Cheeseburger at Wendy's. I do believe in moderation and also enjoy and eat fruits and vegetables. Fish is not my favorite entrée but I manage to fit it into my diet as well. As the father of a teenager, I know how hard it is to get our children to moderate their eating habits and with a busy schedule it is hard to resist the temptation for a fast pick up on the way to one activity or another. However the breath of ignorance among some parents is staggering. My older daughter, currently a pediatric resident in a hospital in Palm Beach, Florida, told me of a toddler sucking on a nipple from a bottle filled with Coke. There are 10 teaspoons of sugar in one can of Coke. 

There are children and adults drinking multiple cans, bottles, and containers of soft drinks daily, not to mention the processed chips, cake, fries, etc… along with it. The health ramifications in terms of obesity, heart disease and diabetes are staggering. I was recently advised by my doctor to read a book called the China Study. It studied the diets of close to a half a million people in rural and urban areas of China. It is the most comprehensive study on diet and health ever done. The findings are hard to ignore. Basically, in a nutshell, people who eat a plant based diet of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains live longer, healthier lives, free of heart disease, diabetes, and cancer. Those who eat animal based protein diets will suffer prolonged health issues and die of those diseases. The study also showed remarkable findings that eating a plant based diet can actually reverse these diseases. If nothing else it sure is food for thought.


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