Are Your Food Choices Putting You at Risk?

A fast-food meal can set off an outsized “inflammatory response” to deal with the unhealthy aspects of the meal. This can be bad news, because it can accelerate the development of vascular diseases and type 2 diabetes.

Western diet: Researchers at the University of Bonn discovered that mice placed for one month on a “Western diet”—high in unhealthy fat, high in sugar, and low in fiber—developed a strong inflammatory response throughout the body, just like when faced with a dangerous bacterial infection.

Key takeaway: Only after four weeks of returning to a healthy diet did that acute inflammation disappear. However, many of the genes that had “turned on” during the fast-food phase were still active in a state of alarm, according to the study published in the journal Cell.

“After an infection, the body’s defenses remain in a kind of alarm state, so that they can respond more quickly to a new attack,” explained Dr. Eicke Latz, the university’s Director of the Institute for Innate Immunity. In the mice, this process of “innate immune training” was triggered by an unhealthy diet, and not by a bacterium.

The fear: The researchers worry that poor nutritional choices have broken the centuries-long trend in steadily increasing average life expectancy.

  • Individuals born today will live on average shorter lives than their parents, they said, and unhealthy diets and too little exercise are playing a decisive role.
  • The foundations of a healthy diet need to become a much more prominent part of education than they are at present,” said Latz. “Only in this way can we immunize children at an early stage against the temptations of the food industry. Children have a choice of what they eat every day. We should enable them to make conscious decisions regarding their dietary habits.”

Are you making the best choices for you and your family?

While the convenience of fast food is appealing, consider these practical ways for getting more of the healthy fats, proteins, fruits, and vegetables into your diet:

  • Plan your meals and shop for groceries ahead of time so you have all the ingredients handy.
  • Prep or cook several meals on the weekend and refrigerate or freeze them so they’re immediately ready after a long day’s work.
  • Increase the quantity of your dinners so you have enough leftovers for lunch. Before taking a second helping at dinner, remind yourself to save it for the next day.
  • Cook hard-boiled eggs the night before for a quick breakfast and skip the morning drive-through window of convenience.
  • Keep healthy snacks on hand to quell the hunger pangs until you can prepare your next meal.
  • Find out what’s really in your favorite fast foods. The nutritional content may shock you and affirm your new choices.

Every time you choose a positive healthy action, you experience an inner reward. Accumulating these small wins, day after day, reinforces your choices and builds belief in your ability to eat healthfully.

Once your brain starts expecting the reward—craving the endorphins or sense of accomplishment, instead of the fast-food burger and fries—it becomes automatic to make choices that support your health and highest good.

To strengthen your commitment to healthy eating, listen to the New Action Generator Paraliminal the MINDTRX app. Session A helps you draw on internal resources to clarify your desired outcome. Session B helps you act consistently to achieve it.

Simply push play, close your eyes, relax, and listen. This closed-eye process activates your "whole mind" with a precise blend of music and words to help you get the most out of every minute.

Habits, Mental & Emotional Health, Physical Health

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