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Posted May 20, 2013: by Bill Sardi
An article in The New York Times asks why immigrants come to the United States and their health falls apart thereafter and they live shorter lives. The NY Times report says the longer immigrants live in the US the worse their rates of heart disease, high blood pressure and diabetes.
Why does life in the United States — despite its sophisticated health care system and high per capita wages — lead to worse health?
Smoking, drinking, high-calorie diets are blamed. But that doesn’t precisely identify what items in the food chain promote obesity and chronic disease.
One immigrant who subsequently developed diabetes said: “In Mexico, we ate healthily and didn’t even know it. Here, we know the food we eat is bad for us. We feel guilty. But we eat it anyway.”
First generation immigrants fare better than their children who grow up in the US. Foreign-born immigrants have already imprinted their genes with tradition foods like cactus, beans and other often home-grown foods instead of the plethora of processed foods abundant in America.
What comes across in the NY Times article is that immigrants want American success and they often work hard to achieve it, sometimes working two jobs, and they have little time to cook and frequently eat out at cheap fast food joints.
The café outside Costco stores are jammed for dinner every night in my area with immigrant families who eat pizza, nachos, hot dogs, hamburgers, soft ice cream– largely belly-fillers. There isn’t a vegetable in sight. White bread, lots of carbohydrates, lots of iron-rich protein (meat).
In my book, DOWNSIZING YOUR BODY, I identify the key factors that converged to produce the diabesity epidemic – white bread (no bran to control iron), hydrogenated fats and high-fructose corn syrup (that increase iron absorption), and the provision of highly-absorbable iron in flour for bread and breakfast cereals, along with a number of obese-ogens (bisphenol A, MSG) that alter hormones, that combined to create the American version of the diabesity epidemic.
The problem is — few Americans catch on that the food industry is designing foods to disengage appetite control so they can make more profit as Americans overeat. Bottom line, food producers intentionally design potato chips and cookies so it can be said: “Bet you can’t eat just one.” They want you to eat cookies or chips to the bottom of the bag.
The kicker in the NY Times article was at the bottom. A 73-year old immigrant woman who lives in Brownsville, Texas and immigrated to the United States in her 40s says her secret is raw garlic, cooked cactus and daily exercise, health habits she acquired from her father who died at age 98. © 2013 Bill Sardi, Knowledge of Health, Inc.
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