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The Most Common Nutritional Deficiency in America

Focusing on fiber intake

Dr Padma Garvey/Plant-Based Doctor Mom

The Most Common Nutritional Deficiency in America

Pictured above is some food at a recent office party, smoked brisket and macaroni and cheese (keep in mind I work in a doctors' office).  It served as the inspiration for this post.

Promoting a healthy lifestyle needs a simpler, catchier phrase than ‘low oil, unprocessed, whole grain, plant-based diet’.  This is too bulky, too wordy.  Moreover, bogus advertising ploys from the food industry promote misconceptions like "protein deficiency" or "inadequate fat intake" are real things any of us should even be worried about.  In reality, protein deficiency is next to impossible unless you are in a famine or have some severe illness that prevents you from eating.  That's because almost all foods have protein in them, even rice and potatoes. 

Since the inception of the United Nations in the 1950s, we have all seen images in the media of people in war zones, civil unrest, or poor governance where the cultivation and distribution of food has been wrecked.  Situations of starvation and true protein deficiency have resulted not because people were eating a nutritionally deficient, native diet.  Rather, starvation and true protein deficiency happen because people are NOT able to eat their healthy, native diets.  These people were protein deficient because they were calorie deficient. 

Pictured above: Vietnamese-style bahn mi sandwich with whole wheat roll, red cabbage slaw, and tofu.  Find recipe on my website

Potatoes, cabbage, rice, wheat, and other plant-based foods have been the staples that have prevented famine and protein deficiency, NOT the causes of it.  This erroneous thinking was partly responsible for the push to increase protein consumption in third world countries.  Scientists saw nutritional deficiencies in these regions and attributed it to what they perceived as a low protein, low oil, plant-based diet indigenous to many of these countries.  However, what they failed to take into account was that many of these third world countries were experiencing nutritional deficiencies because they were unable to provide their people with their native, traditional foods. 

Today, in America, we are facing our own nutritional crisis.  We are being misled by claims that our obesity problem is because we are not getting enough protein or fat in our diets even though the consumption of both of these have increased steadily as obesity has increased.  The real nutritional deficiency in America is fiber.  If we changed the focus to eat more fiber than invariably people would have to increase the consumption of plant-based foods. 

Pictured above is my daughter who made a plant-based chocolate mousse and fruit pie. Find recipe on my website.

We all know the ads for milk that show us how easy it is to get all the protein we apparently are lacking from dairy, cheese included.  Now imagine if that same ad showed you that a baked potato has just as much protein as a glass of milk, but no saturated fat and cholesterol, and had the tagline ‘got fiber?.  Suddenly the dairy looks pretty inadequate.  If we could convince Americans that their real nutritional deficiency is fiber then people might have an easier time navigating food choices.

 Baked potato over milk, whole wheat flour over all-purpose flour, apples over apple juice, spinach salad over chicken salad, hummus over cream cheese, lentils over ground turkey, dates over sugar, olives over olive oil.

If people were instructed to simply eat more fiber per calorie then they would naturally eat a low oil, unprocessed, whole grain, plant-based diet.  So with that I ask you:


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