Four ways the food industry is making us sick that government is ignoring
Dr Elaina George is a Board Certified Otolaryngologist and host of Medicine on Call is highlighting the role of the food industry and health care reform. George says there is a direct correlation between obesity and chronic illnesses that stem from the food we eat that is being ignored by the government.
Obesity rates have more than doubled since 1980. Chronic diseases linked to obesity include breast cancer, heart disease, fatty liver disease, musckuloskeletal problems, diabetes and more.
According to the NationalCenter for Health Statistics, 67 percent of Americans are either overweight or obese, placing a burden on our health care system. Obesity is linked to a shorten life span from all causes of mortality.
What the food industry is doing to make us sick
Dr. George said in a press release that more needs to be done besides raising obesity awareness and educating the public about increasing fruits and vegetables in the diet.
"...This effort doesn’t go far enough because it is window dressing designed to make us feel like something is being done. Unfortunately, it does not address the elephant in the room that no one is talking about….the food industry," George says.
She contends that the government empowers the food industry by:
Subsidizing the production of corn
Corn that is fed to animals and made into high fructose corn syrup has been under scrutiny. Dr. George, along with other experts, understands how fructose added to our foods leads to insulin resistance and more hunger, which in turn leads to weight gain, obesity and chronic illnesses.
Allowing farm practices that bring unhealthy meat to our tables.
George points out that cows are fed corn instead of grass, making the fat content of beef higher. The resultant ill health effect for the public is higher rates of heart disease.
Chickens given growth hormones have been implicated for contributing to early puberty and breast cancer.
Ignoring certain factory farming practices
Another concern is factory farming practices that allows for fast production of meat. Animals crammed into cages often lay in their own excrement that can transmit infections like Salmonella and E. coli to humans.
The food industry contributes to sickness and the government allows antibiotics to be fed to cows and chickens, which has contributed to antibiotic resistance in humans. Antibiotics are given to animals to reduce infections such as mastitis, but the practice is believed to create resistant strains of bacteria that affect humans, including salmonella that occurred in 2013.
The root cause of spiraling health care costs is not being addressed, Dr. George says. "There is something intrinsically wrong about government policies that make it cheaper for us to buy junk food than it is to buy fresh fruit and vegetables. We will only be able to limit our costs by promoting prevention and wellness. Neither can exist until something is done about an industry that is given free reign to pursue profit over our health."
You can listen to Dr. George here.