It is no surprise that our diets have dramatically changed over the past 30-40 years. This dramatic change has caused such drastic health complications in our population such as obesity, heart disease, type two diabetes, cancer and many other chronic conditions. These complications ultimately causing premature death. We must do something to change this upward trend.
What kind of foods are we consuming?
In the 1980’s, 58% of the average diet in the UK came from fresh ingredients used to make home cooked meals. These fresh ingredients included fruit, vegetables, oil, salt, meat – ingredients used in cooking. Only 26% of the average person in the UK’s diet came from processed, convenient foods.
Of course, no percentage of the diet would be optimal when it comes to processed and ultra-processed foods. These foods are null of nutrients and filled with toxic chemicals. Below is an image from the documentary BBC created. This blog post in based on this!
In 2000, the proportion of fresh ingredients in our diets shrunk to 28%! The consumption of processed foods almost doubled to 44% of the average UK diet.
This equates to a 30% REDUCTION in fresh ingredients within our diets from the 1980’s to 2000 and almost double that of processed food.
This also suggests a drastic drop in home cooked, fresh meals. Why has the population stopped cooking? Is it due to the prevalence of ultra-processed foods and its impact on our minds and bodies – influencing our taste buds, hormones and brains to crave these highly processed foods? Have our lives gotten busier? Do we no longer have time to cook meals from fresh ingredients every day? Are there more fast-food restaurants? Is there a lack of health education and importance? Have processed foods gotten cheaper and fresh ingredients more expensive? Have our thoughts and opinions changed?
The answer to all these issues is yes. Our behaviour has changed dramatically in such a short period of time and we are paying the price.
This is a massive transformation in 20 years. We have gone from a majority fresh food diet to a diet rich in processed, convenient foods. A diet Mother Nature never anticipated.
In the 1980’s, 7% of the population were considered obese referring to the BMI scale. In 2000, 20% of adults were considered obese.
A tripling of obesity rates over the same time period as this drastic diet transformation. Do you think it’s a coincidence? I don’t think so.
Has this upward trend continued too today?
Today, 57% of the average diet in the UK is from ultra-processed foods. In children, 64% and in adolescents, 68% of the diet coming from ultra-processed foods. Below you can get a picture of what this looks like.
1 in 5 people in the UK eat an 80% ultra-processed food diet.
Studies show this increase in consumption of ultra-processed foods is a huge contributing factor to our obesity rates today. Our declining physical activity rates are a contributing factor. Although, an overwhelming amount of research suggests that diet alone, plays a fundamental role in our obesity epidemic.
These figures are ALARMING. What are we feeding the children of our nation? No wonder our chronic disease rates are beyond anything we could ever imagine.
Our health is vital in our overall mental, physical, spiritual, sexual, social wellbeing. Without our health we cannot survive. There is no doubt that what we consume plays a fundamental role in our health, happiness, disease risk and life expectancy. I urge you to take note of what you are consuming regularly. Start by drinking more water or eating more vegetables and fruit. I have a wonder of resources on this blog and my podcast that you can listen to to improve your diet and overall wellbeing.
This very informative documentary is very good and easily understood. I highly recommend you give it a watch.
If you liked this blog, you will definitely like this podcast >>
This week’s podcast with a very special guest!
Thank you so much for reading!