There is a body of research now that suggests the lipid hypothesis is faulty and that the addition of processed oils, refined flour, sugar, and chemical additives to the food supply is really what accounts for obesity and its related risks of heart disease, diabetes, cancer, and a host of other health problems. A study completed this year and reported in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that, “There is no significant evidence for concluding that dietary saturated fat is associated with an increased risk of coronary heart disease or coronary vascular disease.” And in the current issue of the Journal of the World Public Health Nutrition Association, there is a report attributing the rise in obesity and diabetes to the “ultra-processing” of foods rather than the food items themselves. The author, Professor Carlos Monteir, writes, “The most important factor now, when considering food, nutrition and public health, is not nutrients, and is not foods, so much as what is done to foodstuffs and the nutrients originally contained in them, before they are purchased and consumed. That is to say, the big issue is food processing—or, to be more precise, the nature, extent and purpose of processing, and what happens to food and to us as a result of processing.”
Prior to the 1900s, humans were not eating much of what is commonly eaten now simply because it didn’t exist. Human beings have never eaten the combination of refined carbohydrates, refined sugars, trans-fats, additives, chemicals, antibiotics or artificial bovine growth hormones that most Americans are eating today. And as for that Domino’s Pizza—it contains all of the above.
According to the Domino’s website, there are about 60 ingredients in a deep dish pepperoni and cheese pizza, including refined wheat flour, poor quality oils, trans-fats, sugar, preservatives, artificial flavors and a myriad of chemical additives. In addition to the listed ingredients, add the antibiotics and bovine growth hormones that are regularly administered to dairy cattle and end up in the cheese on your pizza. Artificial bovine growth hormones are known endocrine disruptors (which I wrote about two weeks ago on Civil Eats) and are being studied now for their role in contributing to obesity, diabetes, and other health problems. Mysterious ingredients like “natural flavor” or “artificial flavor” as well as “modified food starch” “butter flavor” and “carrageenan” are often sources of MSG—another known endocrine disruptor. One preservative listed, BHT, is a petrochemically derived substance with a wide range of toxic effects and is a suspected carcinogen.
To be sure, eating too much cheese (or too much of anything for that matter) will amount to weight gain, but this is only part of a larger, more troubling problem as Americans continue to eat large quantities of unnatural, processed ingredients, endocrine disrupting chemicals, and hormones. There are no studies to date that evaluate this combination of ingredients and what they do to our bodies when ingested on a daily basis. But there are statistics—and given that two-thirds of the U.S. population is obese or overweight, and that the leading causes of death are all correlated to poor diet—it’s not too hard to connect the dots. Unfortunately for the American people, the U.S. government is working in the interest of the dairy industry and corporations like Domino’s Pizza and sending a clear message that their welfare is far more important than the health of its citizens.
This article is part of a regular column by holistic nutrition expert Kristin Wartman, in which she examines food, nutrition, and the way the industrial food industry affects our food system and our health.
Like the story?
Join the conversation.