When I talk about the problems with today’s modern diets, the statement could be interpreted in any of 3 different ways.

1) I could be speaking about the type of diet that restricts in some way things that you eat with the goal of losing weight. UCLA did a meta-study though that proved the diets of this nature don’t work and I wrote a book explaining the problems with 25 of today’s top diets.

2) I could also be speaking about how the modern diet of today has changed and evolved from the way our ancestors ate a mere 60 or 70 years ago. In this discussion I could mention: the proliferation of the fast food industry, our ability to transport food over vast distances, the increase in sugar, soda and fruit juice consumption, the increase in daily caloric intake…. This wouldn’t be an article or blog post, it would be a book the size of War and Peace! Here’s an article with a terrific summary here: http://authoritynutrition.com/11-graphs-that-show-what-is-wrong-with-mod...

3) The problem people have who may think they are eating healthy, but in reality they are not.

In this article I want to address the third issue. In this regard the problem with today’s modern diet is that the majority of the food we consume is no longer grown for the purpose of providing nutrition. Rather it is produced for the purpose of making money.

Farmers and agriculture scientists don’t engineer food to be more nutritious. Rather, food is engineered to grow faster, grow bigger, be more resistant to pests, transport farther and last on the shelves longer. Unfortunately, all these “improvements” are generally to the detriment of nutrition.
What do people who want to “eat healthy” try and consume the most of? They want to eat as many fresh fruits and vegetables as possible. We’ve all heard the old adage that “an apple a day keeps the doctor away”.

But unfortunately many of today’s “fresh” fruits and vegetables give us a false sense of security. What could possibly be healthier than an unbruised, unblemished, bright red strawberry that is the size of your fist?

Well, let’s look at this particular strawberry in detail. First and foremost, where was it grown?

Now I live near Ottawa, Ontario, Canada and for 4 months of the year we are buried in snow. So our local growing season is about 3-4 months long depending on the season from July to September. For the rest of the year we get our strawberries (and most of our other fruit) from California, Mexico and Central America (hopefully as more and more of our produce is actually coming all the way from China!)
Now the southern western coast of North America is about 5000 miles from here. How is it possible for a ripe strawberry to be picked from a field in Mexico and make it the way here without a bruise or a mark on it?

First, these strawberries have been genetically engineered to be more resilient than their all natural ancestors. And second, they are picked long before they are ripe while they are still extremely solid and firm.

Unripened fruits are shipped to their destination and then exposed to calcium carbide which when exposed to moisture, creates acetylene gas which causes the fruit to ripen. Two of the problems associated with this process though is that much of the nutrition of a fruit is absorbed by the plant while ripening on the vine. And second, calcium carbide also contains traces of arsenic and phosphorus which are obviously health concerns to humans.

Prior to shipping though they need to be protected from insects, mold, fungus, etc. This means that these plants are regularly sprayed with pesticides, herbicides, fungicides, etc. Many of these chemicals were initially developed during World War 2 to be used against our enemies. Now we’re eating them!

Of course, these chemicals do a great job keeping our fruits and vegetables safe from the attacks from various pests, but what else are these chemicals doing?

Well they are also killing all the microorganisms in the ground. These microorganisms however are essential for converting inorganic elements into organic minerals that can be taken up and utilized by the plant. The soil our fruits and vegetables are being grown in is pretty much dead and nutritionally bankrupt. That’s not a problem for farmers though because all these plants need to grow is a standard fertilizer mix of nitrogen, potassium and phosphorus.

So people who want to eat healthy in today’s modern diet may think they are getting their minimum daily requirement of Vitamin C, potassium, folate, fiber and anti-oxidants from their strawberries and their daily dose of Vitamin K and C, selenium, copper, choline and manganese from their broccoli, but if these fruits and vegetables were picked in nutritionally bankrupt soil long before they are ripe, what are they really getting?

Well instead of vitamins and minerals, they are getting pesticides, toxins and potentially genetically modified bacteria! I’ll talk more about the solutions to this problem in upcoming articles, but your first line of defense is to follow the “100 mile diet” as much as possible. It doesn’t matter what you eat as long as it is grown within 100 miles of your house. That will solve a lot of the problems associated with long transport times.

Here is a great article with links to other articles that further explain the disaster which has happened to our growing soil:

You will also want to purchase food that is certified organic. Now the “organic industry” is still pretty much regulated in a patchwork fashion. Organic food may still be grown in nutritionally bankrupt soil and it may still be exposed to a variety of pesticides, but generally speaking organic food is more nutritious and less toxic than non-organic food.

Again, I’ll discuss more options in upcoming articles.

Author's Bio: 

Mike Caldwell is a retired firefighter and advanced care flight paramedic with a Bachelor's Degree in Biology and a Master's Degree in Management. Mike is the author of V.E.A.R. Toward Success, a motivational/inspirational book that using real life examples explains how to apply your Vision, Energy, Attitude and Resolve to achieve any of your goals. In 2012, Mike decided to get serious about his Ironman triathlon racing, but given his resistance to long hours of physical training, Mike turned to nutrition to facilitate his race improvement. Within 2 months both Mike and his wife Monique lost over 30 pounds of fat each. Mike has gone on to improve all his race time personal bests by an average of 20%! http://www.how-to-eat-healthy.com/