The diet of a modern person
The importance of good nutrition in maintaining optimum health cannot be overemphasized, considering the modern Western diet. As Dr. Alejandro Junger stated, “The problem is we are not eating food anymore, we are eating food-like products.” We are the descendants of hunter-gatherers, and our ancestors primarily ate vegetables, fruit, nuts, seeds, roots, fish, and meat. This diet was high in healthy fats and protein, but low in grain and sugar-derived carbohydrates. The average person’s diet today is not what we have evolved to live on and we now suffer more chronic and debilitating diseases than ever before. Particularly within Western society today, a large percentage of people are overfed and undernourished with large amounts of trans fat, refined sugar, cereal, bread, potatoes, or pasteurized milk products comprising their diet. Eating a diet that is high in trans fat can raise the level of cholesterol in the blood and increases the risk of cancer and heart disease. Although traditional medical advice, based on a decades-old, misconstrued study by Nathan Pritikin, led many of us to believe that saturated fat was the enemy of good health and a major cause of heart disease, it is now thought that saturated fat is essential for good health-especially of the brain, cells, liver and for effective absorption of vitamins and minerals as well as protection against disease. Modern studies show that in fact trans fats (unsaturated fats with trans-isomer fatty acids), excessive consumption of carbs and sugars, and a diet low in fat can be hazardous. The proliferation of processed food into our modern diets has caused many of the medical issues mentioned above, and the obsession with “low-fat” alternatives to fatty products means that sugars and carbs sneak into our diets under the guise of being healthy. A diverse diet based on unprocessed, whole foods with good quality fats and proteins, wholesome grains and pseudocereals, lots of fruit and vegetables, and limited amounts of sugar is your best bet for a healthy body–and hemp can be an important part of such a diet.
Obesity in the 20th century
It was not until the 20th century that obesity became a global health issue, and the World Health Organization recognized it as a worldwide epidemic. In 2008, the organization estimated that 1.5 billion adults were overweight, and of these, over 200 million men and nearly 300 million women were obese.3 Obesity is defined as an abnormal or excessive fat accumulation that may impair health; a body mass index (BMI) greater than or equal to 25 is classified as overweight, and a BMI greater than or equal to 30 is labeled obesity. Furthermore, in 2010, more than 40 million children under five were categorized as overweight. The American Institute for Cancer Research’s second expert report, Food, Nutrition, Physical Activity, and the Prevention of Cancer: a Global Perspective, confirmed the relationship between excess body fat and increased cancer risk. According to the scientific literature, there is convincing evidence that body fat increases the risk for cancers of the esophagus, pancreas, colon and rectum, endometrium, kidney, and breast cancer (in postmenopausal women).