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Whenever guns are in the news, the headlines elicit a major emotional response of anger and fear—fear because of the potential damage someone can do with a gun, and anger for those who own firearms and fight to uphold the second amendment. For most people, guns are synonymous with fatality.

While that is often the result of irresponsible gun use, current statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show that deaths from the abusive and irresponsible use of firearms is roughly 11,778 annually. While this number is alarming and tragic, it pales in comparison to statistics of other causes of mortality. Here are some gruesome—and tragic—annual figures:

  • Deaths due to smoking-related disease: 480,000
  • Deaths due to Alzheimer’s disease: 83,494
  • Deaths from sudden heart attacks: 597,689
  • Deaths from breast cancer: 40,676
  • Deaths from diabetes: 69,071
  • Deaths due to Medical errors exceed 400,000!!

Research is showing that chronic diseases, including heart disease, Alzheimer’s disease, cancer, and diabetes, are caused by the consumption of nutrient-deprived, toxic, processed foods.

Yet very little, if any, attention is paid to that fact. There are no billboards; no headline news spots; no bumper stickers; no news flashes, and no congressional hearings on the disease-causing and chronic destructive effects of Twinkies, Gatorade, and other processed foods.

On the other hand, owning a handgun is serious business. You need a permit to carry one; in order to get that permit, you are investigated and dissected by the FBI.

However, although processed food has been proven to be the major driving force in all chronic disease and mortality, there is processed food on every block, in every gas station, every convenience store, school, and grocery store, … even worse, in all the hospitals.

Why are there no restrictions for the sale and purchase of toxic, disease-causing food-like stuff? Yeah, I get it: guns cause immediate injury, suffering, and fatality.

But, processed foods like Gatorade, Twinkies, donuts, potato chips, and others, contribute to slow and chronic, needless suffering and death. Furthermore, medical intervention and crisis care associated with chronic disease cost billions of dollars each year.

Since the government creates and enforces laws regarding gun ownership, should it not set up laws restricting the manufacture, advertising and sale of processed foods?

After all, valid scientific research shows that the effect of eating processed foods is the leading cause of death in this country. 

Where are the Federal Drug and Food Administration (FDA) and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), whose job it is to identify and monitor harmful products marketed by deceitful advertising?

Do you remember Vioxx, the once-popular anti-inflammatory drug that killed 106,000 people? It was taken off the market immediately.

Yet companies create synthetic and highly addictive food additives, and advertise them in deceitful and manipulative ways as being “good for you” or “part of a healthy diet.” After all, where did we get the slogan “You can’t eat just one.”?

Where is the agency to stop that?

The number of deaths associated with the consumption of processed foods far exceeds fatalities caused by irresponsible gun use.

It’s time to “take up arms” against the processed-food industry, their manipulative advertising, and their influential lobbyists. By eating a diet of whole foods, not only can we prevent many chronic diseases, we can also impact—and eliminate—the processed-food industry.

If we don’t buy it, they won’t make it.