Eating your way to an early grave


Eating your way to an early grave

Fuelling Your Body


Sunday, February 16, 2020

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A 20-year analysis published in 2019 revealed that one in five people who die every year dies as the direct result of what they continue to eat or poor food choices. These numbers include medical-related deaths and deaths as a result of old age, vehicular accidents, homicides, and more.

Nevertheless, there is one binding truth for most people — whether young, old, slim, or fat — they don't care how much pain, sickness, mutilation, or death their eating causes them or their children.

There is indeed great public interest in weight loss among the overweight, even among the slightly overweight. However, the great majority of this interest is vanity-related, leaving them susceptible to easy, extreme and quick fad diets. Naturally, because their mindset towards food, knowledge, behaviour patterns, and habituations have not changed, they soon regain all or more of the weight lost.

Many of us have heard of what has now been proven to improve quality of life and reduce the chances of illness, suffering and early death:

• Reduced calories;

• Fibre-based diet mainly consisting of vegetables, fruits, berries, seeds, legumes, nuts, spices;

• Minimised simple carbs, unhealthy fats, red meats, and processed foods;

• Reduced alcohol consumption;

• Elimination of tobacco consumption;

• Reduced stress;

• Increased stress management and meditation;

• Increased social relationships and hobbies;

• Improved time management;

• Increased physical and mental health awareness and support;

• Increased wellness, fact-based knowledge;

• Sleep management;

• Varied regular and consistent exercises and movements for strength, health and lifestyle reinforcement.

However, most people still do not care. We still clamour for cheap, low-quality, convenient food options, defending these choices with our very lives. Some food-involved ailments include: Stress, depression, acne, anxiety, dementia, fatigue, swellings and inflammation, back pains, joint pains, regular illnesses, chronic illnesses, headaches, gastrointestinal ailments, heart disease, liver disease, kidney disease, type 2 diabetes, cancers, blindness, stroke and more. And, of course, early death.

All these illnesses are being observed in increasing numbers among the young, slim and overweight.

By age group, the highest relative death rate increase — a jump of 29 per cent from 2010 to 2017 — is among people 25 to 34 years old.

People born in 1990 have twice the risk of colon cancer compared to a person born in 1950, and four times the risk of rectal cancer.

Of course, weight still matters. A 2018 study published in JAMA Oncology found that women in their 20s to 40s who were overweight had twice the risk of developing colorectal cancer before age 50.

Nevertheless, parents continue to feed their children foods which are commonly known to be damaging, often in the name of convenience.

Sadly, I cannot count the number of people who have told me that they are struggling with their life-improving weight loss diet because they have and must prepare unhealthier foods in their household for their children. Think about that for a moment.

Even after health threat, people refuse to change

We know that secondary prevention and lifestyle changes after life-threatening events or diagnoses can save lives, however, a recent peer-reviewed study (published in final, edited form as Health Rep 2012 Dec; 23(4): 49–53), revealed that “people rarely made positive changes in lifestyle behaviours after they had been diagnosed with a chronic condition”.

Another research paper showed “90 per cent of people with heart failure don't make lifestyle changes”. The four doctor-recommended changes examined in this study included:

1. Monitoring weight changes;

2. Exercising more;

3. Regulating fluids; and

4. Reducing salt intake.

You can change

It is a fact that people are willing to die to eat what they want, that people don't functionally care about the sickness. Most people fail to appreciate that it's not just fighting fat.

In fact, many people would love to figure out how to eat and not get fat, while they eat their way to an early death — spending their hard-earned money on damaging foods in deadly portions.

While it is true that you are affected by marketing, food availability, stressors, triggers, social pressures, work demands, cultural influences, inherited primitive behavioural patterns, cravings and habituations, there comes a point where the better-minded version of you must look objectively at the painful future, which the misguided choices you are making every day will bring to you and your loved ones.

Hopefully this will help you become aware of the need for change — don't waste time in contemplation. Change takes time, it is a process but it can only happen if you start. Do you want to change?

Fitz-George Rattray is the director of Intekai Academy, which is focused on helping people live a healthy lifestyle through nutrition and weight management. If you are interested in losing weight or living a healthier lifestyle, give them a call at 876-863- 5923, or visit their website at

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