Health – Then and Now Processed Foods

We take many things for granted in this day and age, including our breakfast cereal and other processed foods. The following is a little history that you might find interesting:

“Ready-to-eat breakfast cereals were invented because of religious beliefs. The first step in this direction was taken by the American clergyman Sylvester Graham, who advocated a vegetarian diet. He used unsifted, coarsely ground flour to invent the Graham cracker in 1829. Influenced by Graham, Seventh-day Adventists, who also believed in vegetarianism, founded the Western Health Reform Institute in Battle Creek, Michigan, in the 1860s. At this institute, later known as the Battle Creek Sanitarium, physician John Harvey Kellogg invented several grain-based meat substitutes.

“In 1876 or 1877, Kellogg invented a food he called granola from wheat, oats, and corn that had been mixed, baked, and coarsely ground. In 1894, Kellogg and his brother W. K. Kellogg invented the first precooked flaked cereal. They cooked ground wheat into a dough, then flattened it between metal rollers and scraped it off with a knife. The resulting flakes were then cooked again and allowed to stand for several hours. This product was sold by mail order as Granose for 15 cents per 10-ounce (284 g) package.

“Both W. K. Kellogg and C. W. Post, a patient at the sanitarium, founded businesses to sell such products as health foods. Their success led dozens of imitators to open factories in Battle Creek between 1900 and 1905. These businesses quickly failed, while Kellogg and Post still survive as thriving manufacturers of breakfast cereals.

“Their success can be partially attributed to advertising campaigns, which transformed the image of their products from health foods to quick, convenient, and tasty breakfast foods. Another factor was the fact that Kellogg and Post both manufactured corn flakes, which turned out to be much more popular than wheat flakes. Breakfast cereals have continued to increase in popularity in the twentieth century. Ready-to-eat breakfast cereals are served in nine out of 10 American households. …”

What about Now?

Many of the grains used in cereals are now finely ground, refined and stripped of fiber and other nutrients. They are then cooked at extremely high temperatures which basically destroys any nutrition that may be left. The essential nutrients have been lost.

Beyond just breakfast cereals, the standard diet followed by most people will damage the body and mind. Please read the following excerpt from the book, Health is a Choice—Learn How to Choose it, by Raymond Francis, M.Sc., 2002; published by Health Communications, Inc.

“Carl Pfeiffer, Ph.D., M.D., related in Mental and Elemental Nutrients an experiment at the University of California, Irvine. Healthy rats were fed foods that an average American would purchase in a supermarket: white bread, sugar, eggs, milk, ground beef, cabbage, potatoes, tomatoes, oranges, apples, bananas and coffee. The rats developed a variety of diseases. Dr. Pfeiffer concluded that if the average human diet could not support the health of rats, then it probably would not do much better for humans.

“In Diet for a Poisoned Plant, David Steinman describes an experiment in which four sets of rats were fed different diets. The first set ate natural foods and drank clean water. Throughout the three-month experiment, these rats remained alert, calm and social. The second set was fed the same food as the first, with the addition of hot dogs. These rats became violent and fought each other aggressively. The third set ate sugar-coated breakfast cereal and drank fruit punch. These rats became nervous, hyperactive and aimless. The fourth set was fed only sugar donuts and cola. These rats had trouble sleeping, became extremely fearful and were unable to function as a social unit. The poor nutrition of these foods (not to mention the toxic food additives) had a profound effect on the behavior of these animals. Many children today struggle with hyperactive, antisocial and even violent behaviors. The time has come to consider how their diet may be causing this behavior.” Pages 106, 107.

Certainly we are not rats, but it is good to notice how foods affected their actions. If we were observant, we could see many of those same characteristics in people around us.

“A study by Professor Suzanne Murphy at the University of California, Berkeley, published in the November 1992 issue of the Journal of the American Dietetic Association, measured the diets of 5,884 people for fifteen essential nutrients. The average person consistently measured below two-thirds of the recommended daily allowance (RDA) for three to six essential nutrients. A separate study, sponsored by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, examined ten essential nutrients in the diets of 21,500 people. In that study, not a single person was obtaining 100 percent of the RDA for all ten nutrients on a daily basis—not one person out of 21,500! …

“The most common deficiencies are calcium; zinc; magnesium; chromium; vitamins A, E, C and B6; and folic acid. What you must recognize is that you cannot miss even one member of the nutrition package and hope to be healthy. The way to assure you are getting what you need is to eat a wide range of real foods that are rich in nutrition …” Pages 110, 111.

We know there are many people whose diets consist mainly of processed foods. Because of this there is an increase in medical needs. The immune system is not being fed with nourishing foods. It would be a good idea to increase the amount of real, unprocessed foods into our diets and remove much of the over-processed foods which are not nourishing to our bodies.

Remember, our bodies are made up of what we put into them. Choose the good!