Overweight but Undernourished?

"Obesity is extremely common and it is probably the most widespread form of malnutrition," said Health researcher Gary Taubes in 1967

"Americans are overfed and undernourished," says Functional medical pioneer Dr Mark Hyman today (ref 1)


How can such apparently opposite states co-exist? How can nutrient deficiency contribute to the growing global prevalence of being overweight and obese.  And why?

How Can We Be Overweight and Undernourished?

We totally agree with Dr Mark Hyman who explains it like this: “The mistake is to think that if you eat an abundance of calories, your diet automatically delivers all the nutrients your body needs. But the opposite is true. The more processed food you eat, the more vitamins you need.

That’s because vitamins and minerals lubricate the wheels of our metabolism, helping the chemical reactions in our bodies run properly. Among those biochemical processes greased by nutrients is the regulation of sugar and burning of fat. The problem is that the standard American diet (SAD) is energy dense (too many calories) but nutrient poor (not enough vitamins and minerals). Too many “empty calories” confuse the metabolism and pack on the pounds.”

Staggering Stats

Let’s look at the USA for example... more than of 30 % of American diets fall short of such common plant-derived nutrients as magnesium, vitamin C, vitamin E, and vitamin A. More than 80 % of Americans are running low on vitamin D And 9 out of 10 people are deficient in omega-3 fats, which are critical for staving off inflammation and controlling blood sugar levels (ref 2)

This is hardly surprising when we know that the top 9 foods consumed by Americans are (ref 3):

  1. Whole cow's milk         
  2. 2% milk          
  3. Processed American cheese    
  4. White bread    
  5. White flour
  6. White rolls    
  7. Refined sugars   
  8. Cola                    
  9. Ground beef

We might think that dairy foods are a good thing. Well, they can be when eaten raw and unprocessed. But pasteurised, homogenized and chemically, hormone laden dairy is a different matter entirely!

In fact, the Federal Trade Commission asked the USDA (ref 4) to look into the scientific basis of the claims made in the’ milk mustache’ ads about cow’s milk. Their panel of scientists stated the truth clearly: Cow’s milk does not enhance sports performance; there is no evidence that it is good for your bones or even that it prevents osteoporosis (and in fact, the animal protein in milk may cause bone loss); and it is linked to prostate cancer and heart disease, not to mention the digestive problems experienced by 75% of the population who are lactose intolerant.

After dairy, the most consumed foods all contain forms of refined sugar which fuel the epidemic of insulin resistance. Lastly, there is ground beef, very high in hormones, antibiotics and xenobiotics as well as the occasional toxigenic E. coli!

These foods have a very low NCR, or nutrient to calorie ratio. In other words, they are nutritionally empty calories.

Yet we gorge on them!

Indeed, according to a 2010 IASO/IOTF analysis (ref 5), I was staggered to discover that there are approximately 1.0 billion over weight adults globally (BMI 25-29.9 Kg/m²), and a further 475 million are obese. And the March 2012 Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA ref 6) describes how between 1984 and 1997, there was more than a 15% increase in the average daily calorie intake per person in the United States. Goodness knows how much that will have increased today!

Another startling fact: by 2000, Americans spent $110 billion on fast food. This exceeds the amount spent on higher education, computers or new cars. On any given day, about 25% of Americans visit a fast food outlet and the typical American eats three burgers a week from one of 30,000 fast food outlets.

If these figures don’t give you indigestion I don’t know what will! No wonder over 85% of Americans have one or more degenerative diseases by the time they turn 65.

Given that many of us are now part of nutritionally deficient culture where we eat too much, but are starving; when we’re always busy, yet we get nothing done; where we have access to innumerable communication tools, yet we’re longing for meaningful social connections. What can we do?

What can we do?

Listen to Hippocrates

“Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food”. We need to understand how nutrition can create health or disease; how a vital, well functioning body comes from eating vital food - food with life.

Despite the "conflicting" scientific studies and media reports designed to confound rather than enlighten, there is no confusion about what constitutes good nutrition.

If we want healthy bodies, we must put the right raw materials into our bodies: real, whole, local, fresh, unadulterated, unprocessed, and chemical, hormone, and antibiotic free foods. They come naturally ‘packaged’ with a vast array of nutrients that work synergistically to optimize  health. This means that they synergistically reduce inflammation, boost detoxification, balance hormones, provide powerful antioxidant protection while vanquishing malnutrition and repairing the underlying causes of disease.

Listen to your body

Perhaps the best barometer of what you need is how you feel. When you eat properly for your genetic constitution and metabolism your weight will normalise, your energy will improve and often many seemingly unrelated physical complaints will disappear. In short, you will feel great. If you don’t, you won’t!

Think about it: your body can only operate with the quality of food you provide it. In other words: "junk in, junk out. Vital, living food = vitality".

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