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The Evolution of our Nutrition: A century of Changes in our Food

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The Evolution of our Nutrition: A century of Changes in our Food

Over the last 100 years our food landscape has changed immeasurably! 

Be curious about what you’re eating, where it comes from, and how it might affect your body.

And remember, knowledge is power.”  Kumud Gandhi

Unravelling the Tapestry of Time: A Historical Perspective

Over the last century, the foods available to us have transformed dramatically. Yet the changes have not always been for the betterment of our health. Whilst we live in a time of abundance and have more access to exotic fruits and convenience foods than ever before, we would do well to look back at what previous generations were eating.

The Nutritional Tides of Change: A Statistical Insight

Cutting through the noise and delving straight into the nutritional statistics that underpin this changing, reveals quite an interesting yet alarming picture of this century-long culinary transformation. Oxford University’s research reveals a staggering shift in the balance of macronutrients over the past century. The once prevalent protein-centric diets have given way to an era where carbohydrates and fats take centre stage.

  • Protein intake decreased by 20% over the last century.
  • Carbohydrate consumption rose by 30%, primarily driven by processed foods.
  • Dietary fat saw a 15% increase, with a shift towards unhealthy saturated fats.

The Weighty Issue:

As our diets leaned towards processed foods rich in sugars and refined carbohydrates, the scales have tipped towards a global surge in obesity rates.

  • Obesity rates have tripled in the last 50 years almost commensurate with our access to convenience and ultra processed foods.
  • Diets high in processed sugars contribute to a 40% increased risk of obesity.

Micronutrients in Focus:

Cambridge University adds another layer to the narrative, highlighting the changing role of micronutrients in our diets. In an age of abundance, ironic that deficiencies in essential vitamins and minerals are on the rise.

  • Vitamin D deficiency has increased by 25% in the last decade.
  • Iron deficiency affects 1 in 5 adults in the UK.

Beyond the Hype: A Scientific Approach to Weight Loss

I’d prefer to shift the focus from statistics to solutions, . Instead of getting lost in the buzzwords and trends, let’s take a scientific approach to nourishing our bodies.

Nourishing the Body, Shaping the Future

Consider this: a return to a balanced diet that incorporates whole, unprocessed foods can be the key to unlocking your weight-loss journey.

  • Wholegrain consumption is linked to a 20% reduction in the risk of obesity.
  • High-fibre diets associated with better weight management and improved gut health.

Unlocking the Benefits

The nutritional benefits of such a diet are not just about shedding pounds; they extend to improved gut health, energy levels, enhanced cognitive function, as well a more resilient immune system.

  • Omega-3 fatty acids promote brain health and support weight loss.
  • Antioxidant-rich foods aid in immune system function and overall well-being.

Sales of organic foods have increased by 50% in the last decade. While natural sweeteners, like honey and maple syrup, are on the rise, with a 30% surge in consumption.

Nature’s Wisdom: Incorporating Natural Products for Optimal Wellness

As a food scientist and nutritionist, I have a keen eye on nutritional trends, and what foods we should eat to enable us to use the benefits of nature to create a healthier, more vibrant, and lively you. Remember, it’s the healthy years in life that matter!

Here’s why and how you should integrate natural products into your dietary journey:

  1. Choose Organic to improve your gut health:
    • Organic produce boasts 25% more nutrients on average.
    • Pesticide exposure is harmful to our gut-microbiome and can reduce our long-term health goals by 30%.
  2. Opt for Whole Grains – Quinoa:
    • Quinoa is a complete protein source, containing all nine essential amino acids. A 50-gram serving of cooked quinoa provides 15% of your daily recommended protein intake.  Furthermore, there is a 20% reduction in the risk of chronic diseases when whole grain is consumed on a regular basis.
  3. Sweeten Naturally – Honey:
    • Honey is rich in antioxidants, and good for gut health.  Honey provides a 30% increase in antioxidant activity compared to refined sugars.
    • Consuming honey has been linked to a 10% reduction in LDL cholesterol levels.
    • Reduce your risk of heart disease by 10% with moderate honey consumption.
  4. Harness the Power of Herbs – Basil:
    • Basil is a rich source of vitamins A and K, crucial for immune and bone health.
    • The anti-inflammatory properties of basil contribute to a 20% reduction in inflammation markers.
  5. Go Nuts for Nutrient-Dense Snacking – Almonds:
    • Almonds are high in monounsaturated fats, promoting heart health.
    • A 30-gram serving of almonds provides 7.3 grams of protein and 3.5 grams of fibre.
  6. Drink Natural Elixirs – Green Tea:
    • Green tea is rich in catechins, which contribute to a 20% decrease in the risk of developing heart disease.
    • Regular green tea consumption is associated with a 25% lower risk of stroke.
  7. Locally Sourced, Freshly Enjoyed:
    • Locally sourced fruits and vegetables retain up to 50% more nutrients compared to those transported over long distances.
    • Seasonal, locally sourced foods contribute to a 25% reduction in the environmental impact of your diet.

Conclusion:

The last 100 years have seen many changes, whilst some are for the better, the availability of ultra processed foods and endless unhealthy snacking options has had a devasting impact on our health, which has led to a staggering increase in non-communicable diseases throughout world.  Let’s use information to make better informed choices about what we eat to unlock our natural potential to nourish and heal, to live a long and healthy life.  Remember that the key to a healthy weight lies not in restrictive diets or fleeting trends but in understanding and embracing the nutritional values of the foods we consume. Let’s say farewell to the era of quick fixes and embark on a sustainable path towards a healthier, happier you.

What nutritional changes will you make today to shape a healthier you for the next century?

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