The developing world is seeing rapid urbanization, with more than half of the world’s population now living in cities and this figure expected to reach 70% by 2050.
But with this progression comes an urban lifestyle – often meaning less physical activity and the consumption of a “Western” diet.
It has been shown with people around the world, that as incomes go up, they choose more calories and meat in their diet. The result? Potentially disastrous consequences on health and an increased risk of disease.
What is a Western diet?
The biggest features of a Western diet are overconsumption of over-refined sugars, highly refined and saturated fats, animal protein and a reduced intake of plant-based fibers. This translates to a diet high in fat, red meat, salt and sugars, and low in fiber.
What impact can this diet have on your health? The effects of eating a Western diet includes chronic inflammation, obesity, diabetes, and cancer.
How can your diet cause chronic inflammation? When you consume foods containing fructose and palmitic acid (typically found in candy bars), you can kick-start an immune reaction that confuses the body. Palmitic acid can be confused by the body with bacteria like E.Coli. The body then starts an immune attack against the supposed bacteria, which results in a chronic, low level of inflammation.
Distracting the immune system in this way means immune cells won’t be as ready to attack when facing a real infection.
However, the effect is reversible.
Enjoying more fresh fruits and vegetables, while reducing refined sugars, saturated fats and animal protein will result in a reversal of many health challenges.