Americans today are "over fed and under nourished," meaning that we are getting more than enough calories per day but we are nowhere near the RDA for vitamins, minerals, and omega-3s. With the obesity epidemic growing it is essential that we start to choose foods that support our bodies functions rather than impeding them. Being overweight and obese has so many health risks: heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and stroke (just to name a few). Being overweight essentially increases your chances of a shortened life.
You also need to look at the long term effects of consuming foods filled with preservatives, pesticides, and sodium. One point that I stress to family and friends when purchasing food from outside the US is that there aren't always the same regulations on pesticide use when foods are coming in from other countries. This means that pesticides that are limited or banned in the US for use on foods can sometimes still be used by other countries, so make sure to always wash all of your fruits and veggies (even if it says prewashed!). As for preservatives and sodium research is starting to show a link connecting them to increased rates of cancer. This may be one of the contributing factors to the US's #36 rank in life expectancy (see previous blog from last week).
So what should you take away from this blog?, eat fresh fruits and veggies instead of highly preserved and processed foods and whenever possible buy organic, grass fed and local. By doing this you can help ensure that your foods have less preservatives and pesticides in them and at the same time you help your body fight its own personal battle against weight gain (and the many health risks that accompany it). You may end up spending more at the market today, but think of all the medical expenses you will be saving on in the future (ie. medications like insulin and costly hospital visits).