A greater focus on disease rather than on health?
A reader by the name of Sekhar who lives in the United States sent me an interesting email recently, interesting enough for me to write about it here. The point he made was that there is more focus on disease rather than on health today. He writes that this is the wrong way to go about it:
The correct question to ask ourselves is:
What are the foods that give us good health? and not
What are the foods that cause disease?
…everything here, including health and health care, works according to a design, a system…when I was recently in India,I saw that almost all the medical texts we use in India and most of the other countries are written by professors, researchers in the USA/UK. But what most people don’t realize is that these researchers are funded by the large pharmaceutical companies or corporations, and are forced to create experiments that justify the need, and the efficacy of their drugs…
Sekhar makes the point the companies which manufacture cholesterol lowering drugs fund studies and experiments to prove that cholesterol is harmful and that their drug is effective in lowering cholesterol. Therefore, doctors and hospitals are bound to recommend drugs from pharmacies that fund them.
The idea is to generate a market, a demand, and then cash on it. When that demand has been met, generate a new one, and so on…
Health Food Fads don’t work
Sekhar is not saying that there is no focus on healthy foods today…but he does see an over-emphasis on disease. As a result food fads (soy for example) are generated, and there is less of an emphasis on a natural diet. Anti-oxidants and soy were all used by industry to generate new products. At any given time industry is thinking up ways to find “some new miracle food”. If this was working and was benefiting people, then why is the USA (despite consumption of saturated fats and foods rich in cholesterol being at an all-time low) the most obese country in the world? Sekhar writes:
Here are a few questions worth asking ourselves.
Why is disease so prevalent today ? Has this always been the case ? If not, who or what are the civilizations that achieved excellent health? And what were the foundations behind their good health ? How many people do you see everyday who have a perfect set of teeth ? Or, conversely, how many people do you know who have crowded teeth, buck teeth, cavities in their teeth etc? Is this normal? People (in the U.S.) have been consuming less and less saturated fats and cholesterol rich foods, and yet cancer rates, heart-attacks, degenerative diseases like arthritis, rheumatism etc. are increasing. Why? Is this normal?
Do we need the ‘healthy’ products?
There is a lot of hype today about going back a natural diet (whole grains, fruits, vegetables), but for some strange reason, people tend to drawn in to buy manufactured products, for which they can easily find substitutes at home. Anjali Mukherjee’s Health Total is a case in point. Her focus is on obesity, diabetes and other diseases and in turn she sells products which are the ‘right’ diet for these problems. Her products are made of whole grains and the fact is that such products (ready-made whole grain) are not widely available in India and are sold at a premium. For example most bakeries sell bread which calls itself ‘brown’ bread, misleading people into thinking that it is made of whole-wheat, but is actually made of maida (refined white flour). Even the so-called “healthy” products which talk about the goodness of “whole-wheat” are half maida! The actual percentage of whole wheat and maida in the products should be clearly displayed on the label.
It is far better to fall back on good old chappatis if one has to improve one’s diet! Paying a 25-30 percent premium for whole grain products doesn’t make sense when we have our traditional diet. Indian rotis are made from whole wheat (although the fineness of the flour varies)
Olive Oil is another big health fad being promoted today. While Olive Oil is healthy, it is not part of India’s natural diet and therefore very expensive. The other day at the American Dollar Shop I saw a reasonably priced product which advertised itself as a blend of Olive Oil and Soya Oil. Luckily it was an imported product and it had the composition of each type of oil on the label. Olive Oil was only 5 percent of the whole! I had put it in my shopping cart, thinking it was Olive but quickly put it back! Indian-made Soya Oil is much cheaper.
In any case, I doubt whether all healthy peoples consume Olive Oil! The important thing is to find out what the natural diets of healthy people are. Sadly, we have come such a long way from our natural diets that we have to specially manufacture ‘healthy’ products. And once people acquire diseases they fall back on these fad diets/products in a desperate bid to help their bodies heal.
Is our natural Indian diet a wholesome one?
Is our natural diet ideal enough to prevent various diseases? Is it a diet to make us strong, tall and healthy? Well, not all parts of India have the ideal diet and unfortunately detailed research into the different foods of different regions and it’s effect on health and disease is not available. But Sekhar did send me some amazing old research and it is about India! I will write about it next week in the second part of this article.
(The first photo is linked to the original and the second is by me)
Related Reading: Eleven reasons why Indians are not healthy
Kids demand advertised products
The chemicals we consume in our everyday food
The so-called “atta” noodles
Misleading advertising of “healthy” products
India and Trans Fats
Indians are comfortable with their weights
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