Modern Diet Fuels Diseases

Our modern diet, comprising mostly of processed cereals, sugars and sweeteners, fried food, fruits and juices, fast food etc., is increasingly being blamed for the so called modern diseases. With increasing exposure to these foods right from early childhood, the modern diseases also seem to be striking the young.

The Evidence

  • Western Diet Promotes Metabolic Syndrome: Yet another study has shown that consumption of Western diet (higher intakes of fast food, meat and poultry, pizza, and snacks) and diet beverage is associated with higher risk of metabolic syndrome when compared with a prudent diet. [Duffey KJ, Steffen LM, Horn LV, Jacobs Jr DR, Popkin BM. Dietary patterns matter: diet beverages and cardiometabolic risks in the longitudinal Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults (CARDIA) Study. Am J Clin Nutr. April 2012 ajcn.026682. Abstract]
  • White rice and risk of type 2 diabetes: A Meta-analysis of prospective cohort studies has revealed that Asian (Chinese and Japanese) populations had much higher white rice consumption levels than did Western populations and that higher consumption of white rice is associated with a significantly increased risk of type 2 diabetes in Asian populations. [Hu EA, Pan A, Malik V, Sun Q. White rice consumption and risk of type 2 diabetes: meta-analysis and systematic review. BMJ 2012;344:e2021 doi: 10.1136/bmj.e1454 Full Text |Editorial | Report]
  • Western Style Diets Linked to Kidney Dysfunction: According to a study published in the American Journal of Kidney Diseases, Western diet is associated with a greater likelihood of the development of microalbuminuria (excretion of small amounts of albumin to the urine) and rapid decrease in kidney function, whereas diets similar to the Dietary Approach to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet may be protective against rapid decline of estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR). [Abstract from American Journal of Kidney Diseases February 2011;57(2):245-254 | Report]
  • Processed Food Diet in Early Childhood may Lower IQ: The Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children, which tracks the long term health and wellbeing of around 14,000 children born in 1991 and 1992, has found that a predominantly processed food diet at the age of 3 was associated with a lower IQ at the age of 8.5, whereas a healthy diet was associated with a higher IQ at the age of 8.5. Press Release | Report]
  • Modern day food causes all the ills: The highly processed, calorie-dense, nutrient-depleted diet frequently leads to exaggerated supraphysiological post-prandial spikes in blood glucose and lipids. This post-prandial dysmetabolism induces immediate oxidant stress, which increases in direct proportion to the increases in glucose and triglycerides after a meal. The transient increase in free radicals acutely triggers atherogenic changes including inflammation, endothelial dysfunction, hypercoagulability, and sympathetic hyperactivity. To attenuate the increase in glucose, triglycerides, and inflammation after a meal,  a diet rich in minimally processed, high-fiber, plant-based foods, including vegetables and fruits, whole grains, legumes, and nuts is recommended. Other dietary interventions that can significantly ameliorate postprandial dysmetabolism include intake of lean protein, vinegar, fish oil, tea, and cinnamon. Additional benefits may result from calorie restriction, weight loss and exercise.
    See O’Keefe JH, Gheewala NM, O’Keefe JO. Dietary Strategies for Improving Post-Prandial Glucose, Lipids, Inflammation, and Cardiovascular Health. J Am Coll Cardiol 2008; 51:249-255 Abstract at | Anti-Inflammatory” Diet May Improve Postprandial Glucose, Cardiovascular Health
  • Imbalanced diet and inadequate exercise may underlie asthma in children: Metabolic syndrome markers correlate with asthma, new study reveals. [See Report]
  • Metabolic disorders striking the young: Should the stress be on ‘Stress’ or on Food? Many reports emerging from India reveal increasing incidence of metabolic syndrome disorders in young children and many things such as stress at school, sedentary life style, computers, TV, genes and junk food have been blamed. Some have even advised the kids to stop schooling and do yoga for relaxation! Is it not ironical that the so called experts who sought changes in our school education, so as to make it less stressful, now blame the changed methodology for increasing stress? In blaming many things, the strongest reason is bound to be missed: and that reason is the FOOD! See The Young Are Ageing. Outlook Sep 13, 2010 Full Text | Delhi kids suffer from adult ailments! Wonder Woman Sep 8, 2010 [Full Text]
  • Ancient Egyptians Too Had Atherosclerotic Vascular Disease  Abstract of Allam AH et al., JAMA, November 18, 2009;302(19)Medpage Today ReportPhys Org Report
  • Globalization of Food Patterns and Cardiovascular Disease Risk [See] | Globalization and the epidemiology of obesity [See]
  • Dietary Patterns and Risk of Mortality From Cardiovascular Disease, Cancer, and All Causes: See Mediterranean Diet and Incidence of and Mortality From Coronary Heart Disease and Stroke in Women – Circulation, Feb 2009 | A Prospective Cohort of Women; Circulation, 2008;118:230-237 | Dietary Patterns and the Risk of Acute Myocardial Infarction in 52 Countries]
  • Origins and evolution of the Western diet: health implications for the 21st century [See]
  • Canine and Feline Diabetes Mellitus: Nature or Nurture? Rand JS et al. J. Nutr. 2004;134:2072S-2080S [See]
  • Diabetes mellitus in urban and rural communities in Papua New Guinea. Martin FIR et al. Diabetologia. 1980;18(5) [See]
  • Origins and evolution of the Western diet: health implications for the 21st century. Cordain L. Am J Clin Nutr. 2005;81(2):341-354. [See]
  • Putting the wrong fuel in the tank. Burkitt DP, Eaton SB. Nutrition. 1989; 5(3): 189-91. [See]
  • Changes in childhood food consumption patterns: a cause for concern in light of increasing body weights. St-Onge MP, Keller KL, Heymsfield SB. Am J Clin Nutr. 2003;78(6):1068-1073. [See]
  • Fast food restaurant use among adolescents: associations with nutrient intake, food choices and behavioral and psychosocial variables. French SA et al. Int J Obesity. December 2001;25(12):1823-1833. [See]
  • Do We Fatten Our Children at the Television Set? Obesity and Television Viewing in Children and Adolescents. Dietz WH, Gortmaker SL. Pediatrics 1985;75(5):807-812. [See]
  • Epidemic obesity in the United States: are fast foods and television viewing contributing?  Jeffery RW, French SA. Am J Pub Health 1998;88(2):277-280. [See]
  • Imbalanced diet and inadequate exercise may underlie asthma in children: Metabolic syndrome markers correlate with asthma, new study reveals. [See Report]
  • Antibiotic Use May Fuel Modern Day Diseases: Increase in modern day diseases such as obesity, diabetes, allergies and asthma correlate with increasing use of antibiotics, that may be changing the gut milieu. [Blaser M. Antibiotic overuse: Stop the killing of beneficial bacteria. Nature 25 August 2011;476:393–394. Link | Report]

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