A food processing pyramid designed by Udo Erasmus perfectly illustrates how processed foods rise in toxicity and potential health dangers as we move from the bottom, based on raw foods, to the top of the pyramid based on hydrogenated, superheated toxic foods which promote disease.
Approximately 70% of all calories in the western diet come from a combination of the following four foods: wheat, dairy, soy and corn - assuming, that is, we exclude calories from sugar. The problem is, they don’t do anything to advance our health.
Were it true that these four foods were health promoting, whole-wheat-bread-munching, soy-milk-guzzling, cheese-nibbling, corn-chip having populations would probably be experiencing exemplary health among the world’s nations. To the contrary, despite the massive amount of calories ingested from these purported “health foods,” we are perhaps the most malnourished and sickest people on the planet today. The average American adult is on 12 prescribed medications, demonstrating just how diseased, or for that matter, brainwashed and manipulated, we are.
How could this be? After all, doesn’t the USDA Food Pyramid emphasize whole grains like wheat above all other food categories. Soy is now a health food according to the USDA but it was not even mentioned over a decade ago. Then there’s dairy. Isn’t dairy so indispensible to our health that it is afforded a category all of its own?
All of these foods are poisonous to the human metabolism. According to Dr. William Davis, a cardiologist, author and leading expert on wheat, it is the perfect chronic poison. Soy is equally hazardous to our health. Actually, with the exception of sugar, soy and wheat are the two most destructive nutrients affecting weight and health in the entire world.
Conventional dairy also falls into the realm of poisonous foods to the human organism. Pasteurized milk is perhaps one of the most nutritionally deficient beverages misappropriately labeled as a “perfect food.” One study compared diet and cancer rates in 42 countries. It showed that milk and cheese consumption are strongly correlated to the incidence of testicular cancer among men ages 20 to 39. Rates were highest in places like Switzerland and Denmark, where cheese is a national food, and lowest in Algeria and other countries where dairy is not so widely consumed.
So why are we getting so sick from the food we eat? It has a lot to do with how processed all our food are. Generally speaking, the faster a food spoils, the higher the nutrient density it contains. Living foods will perish within days to weeks while processed foods can last months or even years due to the removal of all microorganisms, enzymes, oxygen, and moisture in food. As we move away from raw foods and progress to ultra processed foods, shelf life increases and so does disease.
Udo’s Choice Food Processing Pyramid
1st Level – RAW FOODS
The base of the FOOD PROCESSING PYRAMID consists of raw foods.
Ideally, these should be fresh, whole foods, locally grown in your own geographical area. Foods should be grown organically without herbicides, pesticides or chemical fertilizers; they should be sun-ripened and in-season.
Human beings are the end-result of millions of years of successful evolution in Nature. Since time immemorial, raw, vital foods have formed the basis of diets for all living organisms.
2nd Level – FROZEN FOODS
FREEZING FOOD is the next-best solution for retaining vitamins, enzymes, minerals and protein necessary for building health. Freezing foods that contain essential fats and other nutrients will slow down oxidation and delay for long periods the onset of rancidity.
Freezing is not a long-term solution. Frozen foods must be stored at consistently low temperatures and must be used up in a reasonable period of time.
3rd Level – DRIED FOODS
DRYING PROCESSES are commonly applied to foods such as grain, beans, fruit and vegetables. In this case, minerals and protein are often left intact, as well as some enzymes.
Advantages of drying foods includes longer shelf life and easier storage, but some nutrient loss will occur. This can be offset by proper supplementation.
PROCESSING METHODS least harmful for foods are BLANCHING, BOILING and STEAMING. Nutrient loss – enzymes, probiotics and some amino acids – takes place in all these processes.
All four BASE LEVELS of this pyramid (RAW, FROZEN, DRIED, COOKED foods…) help to support and promote health!
5th Level – REFINED WHEAT & SUGAR
REFINING & PROCESSING cane sugar and whole grains has had far-ranging detrimental effects on the health of the entire western civilization.
This has resulted in losses of minerals, vitamins, enzymes, fiber, antioxidants, probiotics, proteins, essential fats and phytonutrients. It renders the food into an “empty calorie” source with little or no nutritional value.
6th Level – BLEACHED, DEODERIZED FOODS
REFINING, BLEACHING & DEODERIZING processes applied to seeds, nuts and bean crops – usually to produce commercial cooking oils – are extremely harsh and render the final product almost void of any food value.
Besides a major loss of nutrients, food molecules are permanently damaged, rendering the foods toxic on a cellular body level, and increasing risks of cancer, inflammation and permanent degenerative changes.
7th Level – BROWNED or BAKED FOODS
BROWNING foods in the oven, over a grille or in a barbecue causes basic chemical changes to the food that pose dangers to health.
Only very recently, compounds called “acrylamides“ - formed in starches during high-temperature cooking have proven to increase cancer and inflammation, and damage to the central nervous system.
Damaged food molecules are toxic to humans.
8th Level – FRIED FOODS
FRIED FOODS are well-known to be a toxic health hazard. Research has proven that increases in rates of cardiovascular disease, cancer and other degenerative disorders were rising due to increases in consumption of fried foods and “fast foods”.
Dangers include toxicity from damaged molecules and increased cancer, inflammation, and degenerative changes, as well as increased cardiovascular disease.
9th Level – HYDROGENATED FOODS
Besides saturation it creates TRANS FATTY ACIDS which have been tied to increases in cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes and compromised immune and reproductive function.
Time has proven that the government-ordained food pyramids are inadequate as health guidelines. The more you inform yourself on GMO, processed foods, and food industry toxins, the more you will conclude that that YOUR food pyramid to advance YOUR health will be very different than that recommended by any government agency and any registered dieticians who parrot the same advice.
About the Author
Mae Chan holds degrees in both physiology and nutritional sciences. She is also blogger and and technology enthusiast with a passion for disseminating information about health.
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