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State of US Health


State of US Health

High bar back squat
5 rounds:
200m run
7 hang squat snatches

Americans have purchased over 100 million diet books in the past 30 years. That's a lot of trees.

State of US Health.

Yesterday, Dizon sent us a recent 60 Minutes report titled Is Sugar Toxic?  The new research presented by Dr. Sanjay Gupta and Dr. Robert Lustig states that American research institutions have concluded that sugar is a toxin – a poisonous substance.

You can read the article here.

If sugar is a toxin, that would mean it is in the same category as alcohol, cigarettes, chewing tobacco, and cocaine, to name a few.  That’s exactly what researchers are trying to convey – in the same way your parents told you that smoking was bad, they should have also added sugar to the list.

Next Monday we release the details of the next food challenge.  As always, it will be based on a quality approach to food (with some added twists to look at quantity).  We thought we’d take the next few days to review the current state of health and wellness in the US as well as ways to avoid becoming a statistic.

Here is the Theoretical Hierarchy of the Development of an Athlete.  It’s CrossFit’s full view approach to the development of any athlete:

The Theoretical Hierarchy of the Development of an Athlete first appeared in the CrossFit Journal in October 2002.

What’s the base of the pyramid? – NUTRITION.

Many people start CrossFit to address the exercise component of their health and fitness but ignore the nutrition component. The fact is; however, that fueling habits play a massively underestimated role in how we feel, perform, and look.

Before we delve into our approach to nutrition and fueling let’s look first at the current state of health and wellness in America and how we got here.

In the 1950s a scientist named Ancel Keys published a study showing the relationship of fat consumption to heart disease. He collected data for his study from several different countries but could not draw a definitive correlation between the two. But you can’t publish a study that doesn’t draw a clear conclusion so he tossed out the data that didn’t agree with his hypothesis (really) and published data that showed that a diet high in fat was directly related to an increase in heart disease. No joke! This is not paleo paranoia or conspiracy theory, just bad science. Don’t take our word for it; check out the blog tomorrow where we’ll list a few great resources to learn more.

Keys was an influential figure at the time and marshaled support from various government agencies including the FDA and the American Heart Association. His recommendations eventually reached the public ear and molded the dietary beliefs and habits of an entire generation. In the late 70s and early 80s the United States began the low-fat, high-carb craze. The thought was that a diet low in fat and high in carbohydrates was not only good for you, but that it would also prevent heart disease. Then what happened?

In response to growing consumer demand and anticipated demand for low fat foods, US food makers began to crank out food products with little or no fat. Only, there was a problem; fat tastes good. When the fat was removed from products such as crackers, cookies, peanut butter, and ice cream; food makers found that they had to add exorbitant amounts of sugar to the product in order for it to taste good to the consumer. So not only did we decrease the amount of fat in the American diet, we drastically increased the amount of sugar. The addition of large quantities of sugar (real and fake sugars) in the American diet fueled the rise of Type II diabetes.

Check out these facts:

– 65% of adults in the US are overweight or obese;
– 30 million Americans take cholesterol lowering medication
– 50 million Americans have hypertension;
– 11 million Americans have Type II diabetes;
– Diet related chronic diseases are the single largest cause of mortality (death) and morbidity (severe illness) in America;
– Refined sugar consumption in the US has increased 30 pounds/person/year since 1970.

To further the problem, the Food Pyramid was introduced in 1991 recommending that the foundation of our diet be grains (high carb / low fat). The recommendation to eat large quantities of cereals, breads, crackers and other refined carbohydrates as the majority of our calories steered us solidly down the path of insulin response destruction and unexplainable fat storage. In fact, both obesity and diabetes began a sharp increase within a few years of the introduction of the Food Pyramid. Yikes!

It’s no secret that obesity is directly related to diabetes (Type II), as well as a host of other diseases; and that diabetes is directly related to heart disease. As a society, we are obsessed with how we look in the mirror. We define fitness as a six-pack of abs and the ability to wear small sizes of clothing. The problem with these gauges is that they overlook the long-term health effects of the way we eat. Being “thin” or working out to balance overeating does nothing to prevent the onset of heart disease, Type II diabetes, Alzheimer’s, cancer, or stroke. The food you put in your mouth does.

Since the incorporation of the food pyramid and the high carbohydrate/low fat recommendations our nation has become sicker, weaker, and largely pathetic. The deadly quartet – obesity, heart disease, hypertension, and hypertriglyceridemia – are all linked to Type II diabetes which results from the long term ingestion of a high carbohydrate / low fat diet.


– 70% of the American diet is made up of processed grains and sugar;
– Children today are the first generation to have a life expectancy SHORTER than their parents’ generation;
– 31% of children in the US are obese;
– Modern Americans live principally on three varieties of plant foods: corn, soy and wheat – of which all three convert to SUGAR once eaten;
– 57 million Americans are pre-diabetic;
– Americans have purchased over 100 million diet books in the last 30 years, but it hasn’t helped much…

5 Responses

  1. Ali

    WOD 1.0 skill today: hang squat snatch!  We’ve been drilling the oly lifts for the last few weeks – this will be a great skill to work on.

  2. Pingback : Proven Health News » Blog Archive » CrossFit Roots and the State of US Health | CrossFit Roots - Boulder …

  3. Hank

    I read in Good Calories, Bad Calories, that the average American now consumes 150 pounds of sugar a year.
    Sugar a toxin?  Sure.  But even worse, it’s an addictive toxin, just like the other examples Nicole cited (alcohol, tobacco, etc.).  As a parent, even in a place like Boulder, it’s hard to keep your kids away from the stuff.  Remarkably, it’s far, far easier in this town to accommodate a gluten-free diet for your child, than a sugar-free one.  Birthdays, Halloween, Easter, and Christmas are all celebrated with excessive sugar, much like New Years and alcohol.
    Elsie, my11-yr-old, was recently in an intensive childrens theater production.  After the final performance, what was waiting for the performers backstage?  Candy bars!  Yeah, there’s no better way to keep that performance high going than a Snickers bar after you take your final bow. 
    Most parents I see are completely oblivious to the harm we inflict on our children by enabling them to abuse sugar.  As we condone, even encourage, excessive sugar consumption as the appropriate way to celebrate life’s events, we teach our kids destructive patterns of abuse they carry into adulthood.
    Keeping our kids away from sugar is by far the toughest part of my family’s paleo journey.  To protect our kids when they are in someone elses cares, Dia and I have taken to claiming they suffer from a sugar allergy.  This proves to be much more palatable than telling another parent to keep that toxic-shit sugar away from my child.