The Impact of Unhealthy Food: Doctor Exposes the Diet-Disease Connection

Why do hospitals still serve Jell-O? Functional medicine doctor exposes the mindblowing connection between your overall health and unhealthy food (aka poor diet). Learn the shockingly simple steps you can take to reclaim your health — read now!

Image of an overhead shot of a mix of unhealthy food, poor nutrition, and healthy food, all plated on speckled white plates on a white marble surface. Waffles, oatmeal, berries, and a jar of honey with Organic Authority Wellness Expert seal, demonstrating the link between diet and disease.
Eating unhealthy food and having poor nutrition may have in impact beyond clogged arteries and an expanding waistband, functional medicine expert shares a connection between everything we put in our bodies and our very biology.Credit: Image courtesy of Brooke Lark

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We’ve been repeating “You are what you eat” since we were kids – so why are doctors still so cagey about discouraging unhealthy foods and poor diet? 

Research has proven time and time again the impact diet has on our health1, yet our current medical system is still basing recommendations on antiquated science. I am here to tell you that what (and how) you eat, is a vital component to your health, and can go so far as influencing the expression of your genes.

Of course, eating healthy doesn’t look the way we’ve often been told it does. It involves so much more than calorie-counting and reducing sugar; you need to  understand your unique dietary needs, in order to empower yourself with knowledge about how our food affects our biology.

That is why my work as an integrative functional medicine physician is to start with the gut and what we put in our bodies. For a crash course on what’s what in the wellness supplement space, we nutrition nerds at Organic Authority have a TON of well-researched guides with expert recommendations. We cover the top greens powders, dive deep into collagen powders claims, explore marine collagen peptides (clinically proven to be more bioavailable), and even have a guide to vegan collagen

**This is not a substitute for professional medical advice. See your primary care physician when making changes to your lifestyle.

The Ramifications of Unhealthy Food and Poor Nutrition

image of a plate of "healthy" food, riced cauliflower, salmon, sliced cherry tomatoes and green beans on a round wooden cutting board next to a speckled blue bowl of sliced cherry tomatoes and a small white bowl of pesto with a silver spoon. Pine nuts and microgreens are sprinkled over the plate and the tablecloth. Even when eating healthy, if there is shame involved it can be just as toxic to our bodies as dieting culture.
Credit: Image courtesy of Ella Olsen

We are part of the laws that govern nature. What we become and how we heal depends on what we eat and digest – and I can’t emphasize enough that this is both physical food and “food for thought,” aka the feelings and emotions we allow in. Functional medicine (and, bit by bit, other branches of medicine) has proven the impact our gut has, not only on our brain, but our entire body’s health. (To learn more, I recommend The Second Brain, written by neuroimmunologist Dr. Michael Gershon). 

The reality is that over 70 percent of our immune cells are made in our gut, and over 90 percent of our serotonin is made in our gut as well.

For Bruce Lipton, stem cell biologist, and author of The Biology of Beliefs, nutrition is the number one culture medium for physical health. (A “culture medium” is what things grow from – it’s your biologic soil). Without proper nutrition, the brain and mind cannot align in health. If we choose to ignore the very foundations from which our body’s function, how can we expect to live a healthy life full of vitality and joy?

The first physical step to optimal health, then, is simple: to heal our gut and optimize its role in keeping us healthy. You can do this by starting with an organic and clean diet.

But what does that mean?

Whether you are vegan, paleo, or keto, etc., you have to understand that organic is vital. The entire job of our immune system is to recognize what is foreign and mount an immune response to protect us from what is sees as non-self, and thus a threat to the body. The chemicals in nonorganic foods, along with the chemicals in processed foods, will be seen by our immune system as foreign. This creates inflammation, a pervasive problem leading to disease, leaky gut, and impairments in brain function like anxiety, insomnia, and ADD.

How Food (Healthy and Unhealthy) Affects Your Gene Expression

Dean Ornish, MD, illustrated the impact a healthy diet has on gene expression. In a study2 he conducted on prostate cancer, he found that with nutritional changes and meditation, more than 500 genes changed expression in just 90 days. In layman’s terms, this means that healthy eating habits literally silenced harmful genetics.

The most surprising part? This impactful research was done over 20 years ago. 

So why are hospitals still serving Jell-O and macaroni and cheese instead of wheatgrass, chlorella, or spirulina powders and whole foods?

Rather than focus on the problems in today’s healthcare, we are here to offer science-based effective solutions. That’s where you come in! The way you live and the knowledge you possess will have a great impact on your health, as well as influence your family, friends, and medical providers.

Our medical system is slow to change, and typically, standards of care are roughly 10 years (and up to 17 years, according to some experts3) behind what is being shown in research. Many of my patients bring their family members to me in hopes that they will heal in the way they did, however, with a medical system that is not up to date with diet and toxins, people question this “new” science… which isn’t all that new at all!

Leveraging Nutrition to Control Gene Expression and Promote Optimal Health

We believe you have all the ingredients needed to heal. We believe that you are committed to empowering yourself to be part of a movement towards great change in our healthcare system and the health and vitality of our species.

Together we can move this mountain and help more people take charge of their health, so that as a species we can not only survive but thrive!

We are so excited to share this journey with you. 

Ora Organic Trust Your Gut Probiotic & Prebiotic Powder

Image Trust your Gut probiotic and prebiotic powder by Ora Organic on plain white background with orange Organic Authority Approved Seal. It supports collagen production with a healthy gut and make it easy to leave your poor diet behind.
The absolute easiest (and tastiest) way to get your pre and probiotics. Credit: Image courtesy of Ora Organic + OA Studios

Ora Organic Trust Your Gut – Apple Raspberry makes it super easy to diversify the good stuff in your gut with both pre and probiotics. Prebiotics (think fiber) feed the good bacteria and probiotics help maintain the balance, and this formula packs a whopping 20 billion per serving.

This certified organic powder tastes insanely delicious and takes about 30 seconds to stir in water, fresh pressed juice, or a smoothie. We love it so much we gave it our seal of approval and added it to the Organic Authority shop.

*Note! This article contains affiliate links that are independently sourced and vetted by our editorial team which we may earn a commission on. This helps us reduce the number of ads we serve on Organic Authority and help deliver you a better user experience. We are here to help you navigate the overwhelming world of consumer products to source and uncover thoughtfully made, conscious clean products.

**Note! The opinions and views expressed by the authors at Organic Authority in blogs and on social media and more, are theirs alone and do not necessarily reflect the views, opinions or position of Organic Authority, Inc and do not necessarily represent the views of Organic Authority sponsors and/or partners. Organic Authority content is for informational and entertainment purposes, and any views expressed should not be accepted as a substitute for qualified expertise. Any highlighted alternative studies are intended to spark conversation and are for information purposes only. We are not here to diagnose or treat any health or medical conditions, nor should this be relied upon as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment, even if it features the advice of medical practitioners and physicians. When making any lifestyle or health changes, consult your primary care physician.

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Image of a white bowl of cubed pineapple with cilantro on gray and white marble surface with bright radishes and a slice of lime showing how to overcome eating unhealthy food and change your health.
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Dr. Dawn DeSylvia is a nationally recognized family medicine doctor and founder of The Center For Whole Health, an... More about Dr. Dawn Desylvia