The Unholy Trinity of Food: Sugar, Fat, and Sodium Cause Obesity, Heart Disease, Cancer, Depression, Inactivity, and Hyperactivity

Sugar, fat, and sodium.  The three most rare food elements found in nature are the same three that have caused a national epidemic of obesity, heart disease, cancer, as well as allergies, depression, inactivity, and hyperactivity.

Given that these health problems have been steadily increasing since World War II, it only makes sense to return to the way people lived before the 1940’s.  In order to do that, we must take matters into our own hands and fight the Unholy Trinity, by simply avoiding this enemy as much as possible.  The members of the Unholy Trinity are none other than sugar, fat, and sodium.

Sugar:

Consider a time in history when food couldn’t be bought in boxes or bags.  A time when people cooked their own food based on ingredients they either grew themselves or traded at the local market.  Most likely, the people simply ate fruits, vegetables, whole grain bread, oats, and lastly, meat, as they could afford it.  And they drank water, wine, and beer.

foods high in sugar

Did they eat ice cream, cookies, and cakes?  Did they eat Nutrigrain cereal bars which are also loaded with sugar?  No.  While they could get their hands on sugar, which wasn’t necessarily easily obtainable, they mainly only cooked with sugar in very rare occasions.

Cavities were much rarer in those days.  A person’s intake of added sugar directly affects his or her ability to fight off cancer and disease.

Sugar is a drug that is so easy to get a hold of these days.  But it hasn’t always been that way.

Fat:

In order to eat foods high in fat, a person must have access to an animal that is either milked or killed for its meat.  We do, we just forget about how much trouble that is.  We just buy it from a store or restaurant.  Because we’re so far removed from livestock and farms, we don’t realize how easily we’re consuming animal products on a daily basis.

foods high in fat, obviously

There is such an awareness of women’s breast cancer and finding a cure for it.  But my question is this:  For all the money we’ve already donated to research, what have we learned?  While it’s important to find a cure, what have we learned about prevention?  After all, it’s better to avoid getting breast cancer all together than to ever have to fight it.

 

Until theres’s a cure, which I hope we find as soon as possible, there’s prevention.

The smartest thing to do is to look to the women who are not getting breast cancer:  Asian women living in Asian countries.  Specifically Japanese women. They are the least likely to get breast cancer.  Why?

Very low fat content in their diets. http://www.cancerproject.org/survival/cancer_facts/breast.php

Very high intake of chlorella, which is found in seaweed, which they eat regularly (namely in sushi). http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m0NAH/is_1_29/ai_54062648/

Research over the decades has shown us that the #1 reason women get breast cancer is from a high fat content in their diet.  Unsurprisingly, American has the highest rate of breast cancer in the world.  Breast cancer is the 2nd most common cancer in America, and the 2nd most common cause of cancerous deaths.

Just in case we need more evidence of how to avoid breast cancer, when Japanese women move to America and adopt an American lifestyle and American diet, their immunity to breast cancer disappears.

So it’s a little ironic that from time to time M&M’s does a campaign where they donate a portion of the profit from their pink M&M’s to breast cancer research. The more M&M’s we buy (and eat), the more money that is spent to learn what we already know:  That the more fat in a diet a person has, the more likely a person is to get breast cancer.  And the more M&M’s a person eats, the more fat they are adding into their diet.

That actually makes me angry.

Sodium:

Let me ask myself a question:  In real life, how many times have I seen salt on its own in nature?  The answer:  Never.

Yet salt is everywhere and in everything.  Especially in appetizers at restaurants, frozen foods, canned soups, and all meat.

My boss got an app on his iPhone called My Fitness Pal.  It counts all his calories based on sugar, fat, and sodium to help him make sure he’s eating right.  He was eating perfectly.  Only lean, organic meats along with whole grains, fruits, and veggies.  Yet he kept going over his sodium.

foods high in sodium

I told him, “It’s from the meat.  Only eat meat in one of your three basic meals every day and see if that works.”

It did.  We eat too much meat.  And it’s giving us too much sodium, which leads to hardening of the arteries and heart disease.  But that’s a different post, and I haven’t finished it yet…

I have found that the best way to avoid fat and sodium is to avoid sugar.  Sugar is the easiest unholy member to get a hold of.  Because it’s even in wheat bread (unless it’s Ezekiel Bread).  To find food without added sugar, in most cases, means it’s a food with low fat and low sodium.  And a food without added sugar most likely means it’s not a processed food.

So ultimately, the bottom line is this: The best way to avoid the Unholy Trinity is to avoid processed foods– 1) anything that comes in a box or bag, 2) anything that has more than 6 ingredients (because more than that means those ingredients probably include either chemicals or one of the Unholy Trinity), and 3) anything that can last a long time in your pantry or fridge before it goes bad.

It’s a lot of trouble though.  To avoid sugar, fat, sodium, and processed foods.  To have to plan and prepare healthy meals ahead of time to avoid being tempted by convenience foods.

Is it worth it?  Is it worth the trouble to be healthy and avoid cancer and disease?

For a lot of people, it’s not.

Advertisements

Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution

Ten years ago when reality shows first starting becoming popular, I was the first to say they were lame.  But in the past decade, there have been a few that I have really taken interest in.  The Biggest Loser is one.  Because it doesn’t necessarily feature a bunch of type A personalities trapped in a house just for the sake of making people annoy each other.  I guess it’s that I like my reality shows to have somewhat of a meaningful people that somehow helps people.

Something I’ve learned about reality shows since 2000 is this.  Some of the best ones feature a British person.  The clever producers found a smart way invent a show that carries over the ideals of The Biggest Loser with the editing feel of Super Nanny (a show that truly annoys me) with a charming British host.

Jamie Oliver’s Food Nation wins my approval.

He goes to Huntington, West Virginia, the “most unhealthiest town” in the country, where 50% of the people are obese.  Not overweight, but obese.  Its status of unhealthiest town is based on government statistics on death.  Clearly the people of this town are doing something wrong.

The most entertaining part of this show is where we see the bass ackwards ways that the people of the town eat and what they deem as normal and acceptable.  Clearly not eating for nutrition, only for convenience and pleasure.

As Jamie visits Central City Elementary School, he discovers that pizza is being served for breakfast, along with sugary cereals that turn the milk pink.  The “mashed potatoes” are actually dehydrated potato flakes and they count as a vegetable serving.  (Potatoes are a starch, like corn.)

Jamie then takes a look in the freezer.  Mainly boxes full of processed foods that none of the lunch ladies can pronounce the ingredients.  To give them credit though, most people went being able to.  Because the ingredients are chemicals, not food.

Next Jamie visits for lunch.  Processed chicken nuggets it is.  He takes a look at the food the kids are throwing out as they leave: The vegetables and fruit.

Interestingly, it seems the only understanding Jamie receives comes from the pastor of First Baptist Church, Steve Willis.  In a clip of one of his sermons called “Culture Shock”, he tells his congregation:  “It should bother us that we’re the worst city in the worst state in the worst country.”  (For diet, that is.)

Jamie decides to check out the average home situation to see how a child’s eating habits are affecting by the parents.  He visits the Edwards family, who are all overweight to obese.  Perhaps most notable is the 12 year-old son who appears to be well in the latter 200’s.  And a 4 year-old daughter who, based on her size, I thought was 6 or 7.

Not surprisingly, the mother makes them fried doughnuts with chocolate icing every morning for breakfast.  When Jamie confronts her about this, she laughs.  He tells her that by laughing off her enablement she is using a defense mechanism.

Their freezer is full of frozen pizzas.  Or as they call them: snacks.

Jamie convinces the family they all the food they eat is the same color- golden brown.  Therefore, they bury their deep fryer in the backyard and has the mother pray over it, like a funeral.

The next day back at the school, Jamie Oliver begins his experiment. He has a week to improve the diet of what is being served in the lunchroom but at the same time staying under budget.

He learns that the lunchroom ladies are required to serve two “grain servings” each meal.  In this twisted world of reality, they serve pizza as a grain serving.  But since they have no true grains to serve, they serve two carbs in place of it.  Which both consists of white bread.

My favorite (and the most disturbing) part of the episode was when Jamie took several kids aside in a classroom to teach them what is in their beloved chicken nuggets, which they told him they often eat for dinner when they get home.

He takes a baked chicken and removes the edible parts, including the breasts and the wings.  He takes what is left and places it into a blender: the bloody leftovers and bones.  After letting the chicken’s leftovers run in the blender for a few seconds, it becomes a pink, blobby substance that he molds in to patties, sprinkles with breadcrumbs, and deep fries them.

Definitely was as disgusting as it sounded.  After he cooks the Frankenstein patties, Jamie asks the children who would like to try one.  Without much hesitation, most of the kids eagerly raise their hands.  And eat the homemade nuggets.

Jamie Oliver then explains to the camera that this was the first time anyone has ever wanted to eat the nuggets.

Another funny, yet sad, part of the episode was when he went into a classroom full of 6 year-olds to make sure they could identify fruits and vegetables in their whole form.  That didn’t go too well.  One kid thought a potato as a tomato and that was about as close as any student go to being correct.

As the episode starting winding down, Jamie took the Edwards family to the doctor for a check-up.  The father admitted that they only go to the doctor once “something gets broken”.  Surprisingly, the 12 year-old son mentioned earlier does not yet have Diabetes, but the doctor indeed classified him as “morbidly obese”, telling his parents that if he remains this way his condition will take off at least 30 years of his life.

Back at the school again the next day, Jamie decides to do an experiment for some of the parents of the schoolchildren, since his chicken nugget experience didn’t pan out so well.  Having the children hold a giant tarp, a loaded dump truck emptied a month’s worth of lard into it.  Along with hundreds of gallons of chocolate milk.

Interestingly, Jamie informed them (and us) that chocolate milk has more sugar in it than soda.  Yikes.

Jamie now has to prove he can make a healthy meal to serve that day for lunch that the children will actually eat, and still come in under budget.  He learns that the school does not have forks or knives.  The kids are so used to eating nothing but processed foods that spoons are all they need.

Along with the principal of the school, Jamie teaches the children how to use a knife and fork.  The kids don’t really like his healthy meal that much, and Jamie doubles the expenses of the budget, but because this is a contracted series, the superindendent and head nutritious agreed to give Jamie more time to change the eating habits of the school.

I have a feeling that Jamie Oliver’s Food Nation has the potential to become more than just a 6 episode mini-series.  Hopefully it will replace The Super Nanny.  Please?

Favorite Quotes:

“It sets like concrete?”  -Jamie Oliver, repeating the words of one of the lunch ladies as she described to him how they make the “mashed potatoes”

“The milk’s got crap in it.  The cereal’s got crap in it.”  -Jamie, explaining the lack of nutrition in the breakfast served at the school

“What’s right with that?”  -Jamie, answering a lunch lady who asked him, “What’s wrong with that?”, referring to a frozen solid chicken nugget Jamie took out of the freezer

“I’m here for the money, but you gotta love the kids too.”  -Alice, the head lunch lady

healthnutshell: A Tablespoon of Sugar or a Cigarette?

A new way to view the worth of the happiness that sugar brings us.



I have never understood the addiction a person encounters who is dependant on alcohol or nicotine. Half-jokingly I have even said that I should take up smoking to prove that I have the will-power to stop. And while my body knows no enticement to the addictive qualities of alcohol or nicotine, I have been fighting a physical addiction my own life.

In high school, when I was “using” the most, I quickly became aware that I had symptoms of an unhealthy person. I had a lot of difficulty breathing, to the point it took hours to fall asleep at night. Not to mention my abundant allergies. So what was my addiction? Refined Sugar. (Sugar that is added to a food or processed in any way.)

Back in those days I ate a king size Little Debbie fudge round for breakfast every morning and another for an afternoon snack. And that was just the tip of the iceberg lettuce.

Evidently, men aren’t supposed to admit to loving sugary things. But I openly acknowledge my love and addiction. Chocolate. Ice cream. Cookies. Milk shakes. Peanut butter brittle. Candy. Sweet tea. Dr. Pepper.

Since childhood, I could never finish a meal without having some kind of sweets. My worst vice was Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups. I even overdosed on them one time back in 2003, eating 36 of them in a 16 hour period. From that day I developed a rash that lasted 6 years. Six years, not days.

In October 2008, I “hit rock candy bottom” after my hand eczema (dyshidrosis) got “out of hand”. Take a look at the pictures on this Wikipedia entry to see what I was suffering from: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dyshidrosis.

I stopped eating shellfish and realized that it helped tremendously, because I learned by wearing my metal wedding ring that my hand eczema is triggered half by contact with heavy metals, which shellfish are full of. The other 50% is the consumption of refined sugar.

It has taken me since October 2008 to get to the point where I am now.  Which is basically a 0% tolerance policy on refined sugar. I couldn’t quit cold turkey. I needed my sugar too much.  Like any threatening drug, I was addicted.  Mentally and physically.

It’s been a long process. The only sugar I eat now comes from 100% fruit juice, fruit, and whole grain bread. Sweets are out of my life.

Aside from the hell that resided on both of my hands for most of last decade, something else helped inspired me to stop my sugar addiction. A realization. A new mindset:

Consuming a tablespoon of sugar is equal to smoking one cigarette.


That may seem like a broad claim since I am not a doctor nor has there ever been a clinical study to prove it. All we really have to go on is the following research I have done, along with the fact my hand eczema is currently 95% cured (thank God).

But consider this: It wasn’t until people began adding sugar into their diets that they began getting cavities. Toothbrushes and toothpaste came about because people starting eating sugar.

Even today, people from tribes in the world that do not have access to Coca-Cola and do not have a concept of adding sugar to their diet coincidently do not suffer from tooth decay. Nor do they suffer from the rate of cancers and diseases that the rest of us do.

I’m not the first to say it: There is a definite link between the health of a person’s teeth and how prone they are to developing health problems in the rest of their body:
http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/hl-vs/pubs/oral-bucco/2009-smile-sourire/index-eng.php

No one needs to be told of all the horrific things smoking does to the human body. Just in case, here’s an overview:
http://quitsmoking.about.com/od/tobaccorelateddiseases/a/smokingrisks.htm

However, most of us truly don’t realize that arguably, the presence of sugar in our diets causes all kinds of cancers and diseases as well.  Most notably, the consumption of refined sugar leads to diabetes, obesity, and tooth decay.  Plus:
http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20060818171925AA5czDQ
http://www.rheumatic.org/sugar.htm

This isn’t to say that consumption of refined sugar causes lung cancer and the same exact health problems that tobacco causes. But eating foods that are processed with refined sugar leads to just as many health problems.

I am confident that a person who smokes a pack of cigarettes a day (20 cigarettes), compared to a person who consumes 20 tablespoons of sugar a day, will be just as affected with an unhealthy body. Whether it’s for 5 years or 30 years.

The more sugar in a person’s daily diet now, the unhealthier they will be later in life. Like cigarettes, the damage isn’t instantly obvious. It can take decades before the person’s body begins to scream for help, like mine did.

To find out how much sugar is in a product, take a look at the nutrition facts. Look under “Total Carbohydrate”. Then scroll down to “sugars”. Divide that number by 12. That is how many tablespoons (not teaspoons) of sugar is in one serving of that product.

The average can of soda contains around 3 ½ to 4 tablespoons of sugar, or according to my analogy, has the same health dangers as smoking 3 ½ to 4 cigarettes.

Therefore, a person who drinks a 2 liter of soda (or the sugar equivalent of it through other sweets) a day will have the comparable health risks of a person who smokes one pack of cigarettes a day.

(For some great visuals, click here: http://www.sugarstacks.com/ )

But as we know, it doesn’t take smoking an entire pack of cigarettes day for a person’s health to be affected by it. So it’s important to check out those forgettable smaller amounts of sugars we consume as well.

Let’s a take a look at a classy favorite, Starbucks. Just a tall (the smallest size) Caramel Frappaccino has 53 grams of sugar, which is 4 ½ tablespoons of sugar, or 4 ½ cigarettes. A tall iced white mocha has 41 grams of sugar, which is 3 ½ tablespoons of sugar, or 3 ½ cigarettes. http://www.starbucks.com/retail/nutrition_info.asp

A Snickers bar has 28 grams, or nearly 2 ½ tablespoons of sugar, or cigarettes.

Ten years ago, the Atkins diet surged with popularity, and suddenly everyone was avoiding carbs. But we need carbs. It’s the sugar in them that’s bad.

Whole grain bread is an important part of our diet, since it contains a good amount of fiber that we need to our food to push through our intestines. But even whole grain, whole wheat fiber has some sugar in it. It’s a matter of finding bread with the most fiber and the least sugar. And dividing that sugar content by 12 to find out how many tablespoons of sugar it contains in a serving.

From all my research, it’s difficult to find a nutritionist who will give a solid number for the amount added sugar we are allowed in a day. Because many that I talked to said ideally, none. But for the ones would give me an answer: 37.5 grams of added sugar per day. About 3 tablespoons.

In other words, a king size Snickers bar or a Starbucks tall iced white mocha will meet this limit 100%. (Though a can of soda would be over the limit.) So we have a fun snack like that and think we’re okay. But, what about the rest of the added sugar we are going to eat that day too?

Like bread? Fruit juice? Whole grain cereal? Yogurt? Milk?

By simply eating the healthy foods we should be eating already, we are naturally going to get close to that those 37.5 grams (or 3 tablespoons) of sugar. So it leaves out room for any sugary snacks.

Because even if we eat completely healthy balanced meals, once we add a bag of M&M’s, we exceeding our daily allowance. And keeping in my unproven theory that a tablespoon of sugar is equal to a cigarette, just one sugary snack on top of an already healthy diet would be like smoking a few cigarettes.

But the truth is this: Most people don’t already eat healthy, balanced meals. So that’s even more “cigarettes” in a day.

The good new is, we don’t have to count all sugars against our 37.5 gram allowance:  Like whole foods such as bananas or blueberries. Or really any food that has not all been processed and has had some kind of sugar added to it.

Because even healthy bread and yogurt have added sugar, even if its organic evaporated cane juice. For example, I just finished a serving of Stonyfield strawberry yogurt which contained 34 grams of sugar. They added organic sugar and strawberry juice to sweeten the yogurt. That’s my full allowance of added sugar, and that was an attempt to be healthy. Not to mention the grape juice I drank earlier today. Lesson learned. Next time I’ll go with cottage cheese and strawberries I slice myself.

And even 100% fruit juice is processed- juice is only a part of the whole fruit. So it must count against the 37.5 gram allowance.

But somehow if the fruit is eaten whole, with the fruit flesh, it counteracts the negative elements of the sugar it contains.

And of course, there’s no cheating the system. Artificial sweeteners are not a safe alternative, with links to potential cancer risks, negative effects on the liver, kidneys, and other organs, gastrointestinal problems, developmental problems in children and fetuses and headaches, to name a few:
http://www.truthaboutabs.com/artificial-sweeteners-natural-stevia.html

I think the most motivating element for me in all this is not so much a fear of getting cancer, but more about getting diabetes. Multiple sources continue to report that 1 out of 3 American children will become diabetics as adults if their current lifestyle continues:
http://www.truthaboutabs.com/artificial-sweeteners-natural-stevia.html

I have lived the first 28 years of my life in favor of becoming a diabetic. After seeing a few photographs of people who had to have their legs removed because of the disease, I decided that I don’t mind getting old, but I do mind getting old and unhealthy and account of my carefree lifestyle in my young adulthood.

So which is worse? A tablespoon of sugar or a cigarette?

At best, they’re the same. They both have enough potential to give us cancer and diseases. I’m not willing to risk my life for either one. I want to be the next Juice Man. Out of control eybrows and all.

Related posts by the same author:

Barley into Beer  http://wp.me/pxqBU-2L

1.2 Billion People Can’t Be Wrong  http://wp.me/pxqBU-43

 Beauty and Self-Worth aren’t the Real Issues  http://wp.me/pxqBU-2c

healthnutshell: Being Healthy Vs. Being Attractive

Beauty and self-worth aren’t the real issues. Lack of will power is.

As a kid I couldn’t understand why people have to experience physical pain. It seemed cruel that we were designed that way. Until it was explained to me like this: Pain is the body’s way of warning a person that something is wrong. Otherwise, a person could bite their own tongue off or continue walking on a broken foot, unaware they are even hurt.

In a less obvious sense, the human body was designed to give different warning signs other than just pain. As I teenager, I had the typical expected diet: Anything I wanted. Soda, snack cakes, pizza, burgers and fries, ice cream, there were no limits. Being overweight was not an issue for me, knowing that no matter what I ate I would still be noticeably skinny. I actually dreamed of a day when I could just have a normal body and not have to hear people say, “Man, you’re skinny.” By the time I was 20, that day came.

I realized that what I ate began to have an effect my stomach, which was no longer perfectly flat. Though I’ve always been in or under the right weight range for my age and height, the fact that my body finally started showing a poor diet spoke something clearly to me: Being overweight is a warning sign from the body. A warning for early onset diabetes, heart attack, cancer… the list goes on.

As we age, the body progressively displays its inability to naturally burn off fat like it did when we were younger. It’s not about looking good, it’s about being healthy. There is something that bothers me about the fact it is becoming taboo to talk about the need for people to be at a healthy body weight, as it is potentially easily offensive in our society- we are now living in a country where the majority is overweight. The rules of our culture teach us to see beauty in all sizes, to counter the rising number of unhealthy people.

Missing the point. Beauty is not at stake here. The quality and length of life are.


Noticeably this year, our country has lost several well known 50 year-old men, all for different health reasons. And not that it was their fault. But the truth is, to live as a modern day American, the only way to be healthy is to be weird. What our country calls a “health nut” is actually a person who is simply being healthy, not overly strict about their food and exercise. “Health nut” shouldn’t be a derogatory term. It should be the norm. But our culture ensures it stays that way. It sells more diet pills and programs because of it.

It’s not okay to drink soda. It’s not okay to eat fried food. It’s not okay to eat white bread instead of whole wheat. It’s not okay to eat to snacks that come in a big bag. I have to remind myself of those rules every day, living in the middle of a cleverly named Fast Food Nation.

It’s normal, but it’s not okay.

And though my teachings on pork and shellfish fascinate people, they ultimately fade into the categories of impracticality and irrelevance. It’s still not okay to eat pork and shellfish. I’m with the Jews, Muslims, and Rastafarians on their literal belief that when God told people not to eat pork and shellfish through Moses in the Old Testament, he meant it. And while Jesus changed so many laws when he came to earth, he did not change the science of how these animals function in the ecosystem. They were designed to clean up the earth by eating other dead animals, feces, and waste matter as their bodies have a high poison intake. And Peter’s dream of the animals coming down from the sky on a blanket in Acts was God’s way of getting Peter’s attention to convince him to preach to the non-Jews for the first time, not to literally start eating the unclean animals.

We are not supposed to eat the clean-up crew. Shrimp and shellfish may be low fat foods, but they’re extremely high in the bad kind of cholesterol. That means they’re full of low doses of poisons and heavy metals which weren’t designed for human consumption. Yesterday on the MSN home page there was an article listing the top 5 foods containing parasites. Unsurprisingly, pork was #1:
http://encarta.msn.com/encnet/Features/Lists/?article=MenuParasitesPork

My diet definitely has shown some offense and confusion in my office. We have had BBQ Pork Day, Pizza Day, and Hot Dog Day. The idea is that everyone in the office pitches in $6, then shares in the community meal. It’s not fun trying to explain why I won’t participate unless there is an alternative to pork available for me. I earned the title of “Picky Eater”, but ultimately know that I stood firm on my belief at the cost of looking like a whiny weirdo.

There are annoying “health nuts” out there. They go around judging the cuisine choices of others around them. That’s not my job. It’s a personal decision that people must decide for themselves. But it is my job to relay the message in a non-obnoxious, informative way, and then let the listener to decide from there.

America lives a double-standard: We put way too much emphasis on being thin and muscular and equating beauty with those things, yet our lifestyles and budgets are built for consuming unhealthy foods. So much focus on weight loss, such easy access of fast food to help keep America unhealthy. While on one extreme there are bulimia and anorexia which are credited to being mental diseases, on the other side there is the lack of willpower that allows people to feed themselves too much of the wrong things, consistently. Food is psychologically addictive.

I wonder which is easier: To quit smoking, or to convert from a fast food diet to one that is consistent in vegetables, lean meats, and fiber plus regular exercise. It seems when people stop smoking, it’s more permanent since a person has to make a conscience effort to go buy cigarettes. But the temptation of unhealthy food and not making an effort to exercise is all around. In other words, it’s not a black and white issue like smoking.

The intriguing documentary Super Size Me mentions the fact that in our society it is near acceptable to confront a smoker about the damage they are doing to their own body, while it extremely offensive to say the same about a person’s poor diet and exercise habits. What’s the difference? The quick answer is that cigarette smoking produces harmful second-hand smoke.

However, a person’s eating habits are learned by those around them. Food and family tradition go hand in hand. The danger to others resulting from a person’s poor diet and exercise? Second hand poor dietary habits. It’s not as obvious and instant as second hand smoke, but it’s just as dangerous in the long run.

On Sunday night’s episode of Shark Tank, the only 2 products the millionaires invested in out of all that were shown to them were both health enhancing products. The investors repeatedly explained that products that fall into the category of Health and Diet are a given success. Hundreds of millions of dollars are spent every year on diet programs and physical fitness. The products work, but we don’t.

I could save thousands of people from wasting millions of dollars every year by saying, “Don’t do a diet program. It’s a temporary fix. Don’t try a pill. It’s an illusion. There is no quick fix or substitute for the right sized portions of healthy food, and exercising almost every day.” It’s that simple and it’s that hard. No exceptions.

The 2nd leading preventable cause of death in America is inactivity and lack of exercise. (Tobacco use is #1.) It can be a struggle to make time for daily exercise and it makes it worse that most of us sit in a chair all day to make a living. Despite the millions of dollars spent on gym memberships and diet programs, the sad simple truth is that these memberships often go unused and that diet programs are only as effective as the person. There is no substitute for an actual healthy lifestyle.

Beauty and self-worth are associated with being fit in our culture. That’s why diet pills and programs continue to make millions. No one can put a price tag on will power, nor could it ever be bought. It’s all in the mind.

Leading causes of death in America http://drugwarfacts.org/cms/?q=node/30

Super Size Me clip http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V168xofxgu0