Over the last few decades, the giants of food industry have drastically changed the way we perceive food. It is no longer a combination of nutrients that gets us through the day until the next big forest hunt. Cleverly marketed modern processed foods, high in salt, sugar and chemical additives, make us eat for pass time and pleasure, displacing a large proportion of fresh nutritious foods such as fruit and veggies.
As a result, many people get trapped in extremely energy dense eating patterns (meaning they provide a lot of calories per weight), which are however not exactly nutrient dense. In other words, we tend to consume enough, or much more, energy to get us through the day – however, the said energy is derived from sources incapable of nourishing and vitalizing our bodies. This is a massive concern – and we are not even talking about obvious modern horrors, such as almost 70% of the adult population being overweight or obese due to poor nutrition choices.
There is much more to the problem than just risking to gain a few unwanted pounds. Appearance as such is not a perfect indicator of health, after all (not to mention we all have different body types and personal preferences). Speaking of health, however – there are many potential risks in paying too little attention to what goes in your mouth…
“You are what you eat” is not just a figure of speech - your body is literally built out of foods and drinks you consume. Everything that’s eaten becomes deconstructed and sorted in a variety of building blocks, such as proteins, fats, sugars, vitamins and minerals (and some indigestible components get excreted straight away, without further consideration).
Imagine, for instance, that you want to build a house using a certain combination of red and blue blocks. You calculate the needed quantities carefully and order a truck, which promptly delivers way more red blocks than you need for the project, only a couple of blue blocks (even though you need a hundred), and for some reason some green glass cubes which you’ll definitely never be able to incorporate. As new delivery won’t be available anytime soon, you might as well start… Voila: the green stuff goes straight to trash, a pathetic tiny bit of the blue part is ready, and the red part looks good and complete. But what to do with the excessive red blocks? Store for later, of course…
Essentially, the same happens inside our bodies when we eat! Even though you may be consuming enough in terms of total energy, you may be lacking some essential components, which may lead to health issues. Not enough protein? Weakness and muscle depletion. Too little carbohydrates? Fatigue and brain fog. On the other side, excessive macronutrients are likely to be stored…as fat. You get the idea.
Remember: highly processed foods do not provide enough of everything, but even a diet consisting only of healthy foods can be incomplete if it lacks variety. For instance, oranges, an amazing source of vitamin C, don’t have any vitamin B12, and so on. To make sure you get the most from your meals, make sure you eat a wide variety of foods from the core food groups: grains, vegetables, fruits, milk, meat and beans. These foods will help you build the healthiest, happiest you possible – as you are what you eat, indeed.