In Morgan Spurlock’s 2004 documentary, “Super Size Me,” unhealthy dieting was taken to the extreme by eating McDonald’s everyday for one month. Breakfast, lunch and dinner were solely McDonald’s, one of the largest fast food chains in the world. He was investigating the “epidemic” of obesity throughout the U.S. and how what we eat can truly affect us not only physically, but mentally and emotionally.
Another documentary on Netflix, “What the Health” by Kip Anderson, reveals theories in regards to alleged connections between consuming meat, dairy and certain pharmaceutical medications and serious health issues. Lisa Rapaport from Reuters Health wrote a short piece on links to eating unhealthy and health issues.
“Heavily processed foods are often high in sugar, fat and empty calories. Consuming lots of these foods has long been linked to an increased risk of a wide variety of health problems that can lead to heart disease or an early grave, such as obesity, high blood pressure, elevated cholesterol, cancer and depression,” said Mark Lawrence, a public health and nutrition professor at Deakin University in Geelong, Australia and author of an editorial accompanying the studies.
The prevalence of obesity was 39.8 percent and affected about 93.3 million U.S. adults between 2015-16, according to a data brief released by the Center for Disease Control.
I believe everything, whether good or bad foods, within moderation and exercise is always important; no fad diet or quick fix to lose weight is better than old fashioned exercise.
And, for two SPU students, they’re making sure they don’t become part of the statistic.
Parker Jordan Mitchell, a senior majoring in health and physical education said it’s his goal to use his degree to get a healthy mind and spread it to others.
“It is great we are a huge and diverse population. In terms of overall health, our country can do better,” Mitchell said.
Mitchell said, while on campus, he tries to include enough vegetables and fruits in his food intake and make some time for exercising.
But for Natalia I. Torres, a healthy mindset is achieved by being mindful of the food she purchases and the time put into exercising.
“It can get really hard, and I feel like I don't have enough time to take out for myself. It really all depends on how much you wanna make yourself better, and if you're willing to put in the work to do so,” said the junior sociology major and psychology minor.
“Always lean towards the healthier foods, especially if you don't have time to make it to the gym as often. No improvement will show with a bad diet. It's actually not surprising that America is the biggest country in the world.”
We have all known for years that processed foods have had negative effect on animals and humans all combined.
People are more aware of what they put into their bodies with all the new trends of dieting and exercise and social media influencers who have hands-on knowledge of obesity rates and health issues. But it’s still a hard habit to stop, the public health and nutrition professor said.
“It is difficult for anyone to avoid these social pressures to consume ultra-processed foods,” Lawrence said by email.
Neither study was designed to determine whether or how ultra-processed foods might directly cause health problems or premature death. It’s possible, however, that chemical additives and industrial processing that alters the cellular structure of foods both play a role, Lawrence said.
“In other words, it’s not just about the presence in these foods of so-called ‘risk’ nutrients such as sodium and saturated fat,” Lawrence said.
As young adults, we may feel invincible when were are binging on sweets or unhealthy foods, but it will later catch on to us and that is why we need to be aware of what we put into our body. As the saying goes, “you are what you eat.”
Be mindful everyone. Start making the best, most healthiest choices you can make.