Modern Foods: The Sabotage of Earth's Food Supply
For thousands of years, humans subsisted on a diet of plants and, only occasionally, animals. With the progress of the 20th century, however, came enormous changes in food production, marketing and consumption. The process of eating hasn't changed, but what's being eaten has - and not necessarily for the better. Many of these changes have occurred due to technological advances, which also isn't necessarily a good thing. Giant corporations now control how most of the food is manufactured and packaged in the United States. Meanwhile, chemicals, genetic engineering, additives and preservatives have made it so that while we can produce vast quantities of food - enough to feed hundreds of millions (if not billions) of people - the quality of food being produced is far less than it was only a century ago.
In a nutshell, that's the premise of Modern Foods: The Sabotage of Earth's Food Supply, written by Thomas Stone, a naturopath and certified nutritionist, and David Casper, a health researcher and writer. The book isn't that challenging to get through - it's only 178 pages, including the index - and it contains a wealth of information, including some startling facts about food and the food industry.
Modern Foods is divided into 11 chapters and three parts. Part one, "Gathering Perspective," provides some background information on the food industry in the United States, and draws some rather eerie similarities between the food industry of today and the Standard Oil Corporation of the early 20th century. (Standard Oil was eventually broken up into several smaller companies after it was found to have violated the Sherman Antitrust Act.)
Part two, "The Problems," details how different parts of the food supply have been altered, how chemical pollutants and toxins have had a dramatic impact on the quality and makeup of most foods, and how these changes have affected the health and lifespan of the average person. Individual chapters discuss additives (intentional and unintentional); processed foods; food-borne pathogens in poultry, swine, cattle and seafood; physical and technological contaminants; and the impact of chemicals, pathogens, fluoride, chlorine and other substances on the earth's water supply.
Fortunately, part three, "The Solutions," does offer some options for people who not only understand the impact the food industry has had on diet and lifestyle in the U.S. and elsewhere, but are willing to actually do something about it. Casper and Stone list several natural alternatives to sweeteners, ways of obtaining and consuming naturally processed or organic foods, and different supplements people can take to strengthen their immune systems and fight off infections.
One of the best features of Modern Foods is that the authors back up their assertions with lots of facts. Almost all of their claims are supported by studies or published works, many of them written by esteemed scientists and noted industry leaders. In addition, each chapter contains links to various Web sites and organizations; if the references in the book aren't enough, readers can access these other sources.
Modern Foods is an extremely interesting book. It's easy to read, contains some fascinating information about the impact food and the food industry are having on our lives, and is thoroughly thought-provoking. It should be read by health care providers and patients alike.
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