Monday, August 27, 2012

The Destruction of Our Food Supply and Rising Rates of Chronic Disease

Over 75 years ago, in 1936, the Department of Agriculture issued a warning to the Senate about our mineral depleted soils, and Linus Pauling, famous for discovering the benefits of Vitamin C, said, "all of our modern diseases can be attributed to a mineral deficiency." Yet, despite these warnings  our food supply has become not only mineral deficient, but altogether nutrient deficient.

Not even two decades later, in 1954, the U.S. government mandated that farmers use chemical fertilizers, rich in phosphates but very low in sulfur. These excess phosphates can interfere with sulfur absorption. Dr. Stephanie Seneff of MIT published an article “Could Sulfur Deficiency be a Contributing Factor to Obesity, Alzheimer’s, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome? ” So, it's no coincidence that, since that time, the rates of disease has increased 4,000%.
"Experts have recently become aware that sulfur depletion in the soil creates a serious deficiency for plants [Jez2008], brought about in part by improved efficiency in farming and in part, ironically, by successful attempts to clean up air pollution. Over the last two decades, the U.S. farming industry has steadily consolidated into highly technologized mega farms. The high yield per acre associated with these farms results in greater depletion of sulfur each year by the tall, densely planted crops. Plants require sulfur in the form of the sulfate radical (SO4-2). Bacteria in well aerated soil, similar to nitrogen fixing bacteria, can convert elemental sulfur into sulfate through an oxidation process. Coal contains a significant amount of sulfur, and factories that burn coal for energy release sulfur dioxide into the air. Over time, sun exposure converts the sulfur dioxide to sulfate, a significant contributor to acid rain. Acid rain is a serious pollutant, in that hydrogen sulfate, a potent acid, penetrates lakes, making them too acidic for lifeforms to thrive. The Clean Air Act, enacted by congress in 1980, has led to substantial decreases in the amount of acid rain released into the atmosphere. Factories have introduced highly effective scrubbing technologies to comply with the law, and, as a consequence, less sulfate makes its way back into the soil.

Modern farmers apply highly concentrated fertilizer to their soil, but this fertilizer is typically enriched in phosphates and often contains no sulfur. Excess phosphates interfere with sulfur absorption. In the past, organic matter and plant residues remained after the fruit and grain were harvested. Such accumulating organic matter used to be a major source of recyclable sulfur. However, many modern machinery-based methods remove a great deal more of the organic matter in addition to the edible portions of the plant. So the sulfur in the decaying organic matter is also lost.
Of course, it's not just sulfur that's important. All minerals are essential for a healthy diet, and since your body does not manufacture minerals, the food supply is one of the only ways to ensure your body is adequately supplied. The seven major minerals are: calcium, phosphorus, potassium, sulfur, sodium, chloride, and magnesium. The nine trace minerals are: iron, zinc, copper, iodide, selenium, potassium, manganese, fluorine, chromium, and molybdenum.  However, many of these minerals are no longer present because our food supply has been completely debased over the past five to six decades alone, more drastically than during any other time in history.

Human beings used to eat wild, fresh foods, mostly in their natural state with minimal processing, and most importantly, without synthetic chemicals. That all changed after the Industrial Revolution when our methods of farming shifted to mass production, and profit became the primary motivator.

From Modern Lifestyles and the Devolution of the Human Species
"The majority of food Americans spend their money on is processed food. It may resemble food, but it certainly is not real food. Food that has been overly processed and packaged into a container is not food for it is virtually devoid of nutrients. Food manufacturers oftentimes must add vitamins and minerals that have been lost during the processing back into the food. These synthetic vitamins and minerals, usually isolated from their natural forms, act more like anti-nutrients than nutrients in these foods, adding to the body’s chemical burden. Modern methods of food preparation and processing have effectively depleted many nutrients and co-factors necessary for the absorption and utilization of foods that in order for the body to process these modern foods, it must use its own store of nutrients. Consider the stress that your body undergoes, the vast amounts of energy that is required for digestion, only to be left short-changed and worse off than before you had that food in the first place."

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