America’s Food Supply; is it ruining our health?

Food-supply-and-consumer-choices

According to a recent study published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, it is! Farmers and food companies are churning out too much protein and sugar, and not enough vegetables and healthy whole grains.

In 1989, the US Department of Agriculture created the Healthy Eating Index (HEI) to measure the alignment of the food supply with federal dietary guidance. Over the last 40 years, the HEI has been very low – between 48 to 55 points out of a possible 100. This means that we have a serious problem.

The food industry – agriculture, food processing, grocery, and restaurants – comprises vast economic enterprises governed by financial considerations. Their decisions affect more than their bottom-line; they also directly impact the health of individuals and the environment as well as the economy. Think of the obesity epidemic in the US, for example. Responsibility for contributing to the cost of obesity-related diseases is denied by the food industry, and those diseases create a huge financial burden on individuals and our nation.

Government food subsidies provide incentives for crops such as corn and soy, which make them an ideal and cheap starting point for many of the unhealthy processed foods that lower the HEI.

What can be done? On an individual basis, each of us should strive to make healthier food choices. On a national level, public health policy, free of agriculture and food industry lobbying, could also help.

Read the full Fooducate article here.

Learn more about the Healthy Eating Index in this video: