America today is in the middle of a nutritional crisis. Throughout the country, the obesity epidemic has struck every population demographic. According to recent projections made by the United States Government, 63.
9 percent of Americans are either overweight or obese. That is over half of the population! What exactly is the culprit behind this crisis? How can someone fix this issue? The answers lie in the average American Diet. The diet consumed by Americans is one of, if not the worst diet in terms of saturated fat, trans fats, lack of carbohydrates, over consumption of protein, and overall malnutrition.
Recommended Dietary Allowances adopted by nutritionists around the globe and countries such as the United States, Canada, and Australia tell us that the American diet fails to come even close to proper nutritional consumption. However, the problem with the American diet is actually easily fixable if people start making smart, informed choices about their food. By properly educating the general public about nutrition and health, the obesity epidemic can be controlled and cured, leaving America with happier, healthier citizens.
In order to understand why obesity is so prevalent in America today, the average diet of American citizens must be taken into account. According to data provided by The United States Department of Agriculture, Americans today consume too much red meat and sugar and too little vegetables and carbohydrates (grains). Because we consume so much red meat, which is high in saturated fat, calories and cholesterol, our diets are inherently riddled with fat and calories. Our sugar consumption also is a glaring issue.
By consuming far more simple carbohydrates than we need from sugar, Americans are providing themselves with empty calories that spike blood glucose. This is compounded with the fact that the average American diet lacks proper consumption of complex carbohydrates, which come from whole grains and wheat products. That is a lot of information to digest (no pun intended), but what does it all mean.
Well, according to the panel of nutrition specialists who set the Recommended Dietary Allowances (RDA) for the U. S. nd Canada, the over consumption of red meat and sweets along with the under consumption of complex carbohydrates and fruits and vegetables has cause an increase in numerous diseases for the average American. These diseases include: Coronary Heat Disease, Diabetes, Obesity, Heart Attack, Stroke, and numerous forms of cancer, among other things. The most obvious of these in the American public is obesity and diabetes. However, increases in the previously mentioned diseases have been connected with American’s poor dietary habits as well. So how does one correct their eating habits?
Instead of consuming red meats and foods rich in sugar and simple carbohydrates, Americans should make alternative choices that will provide them with adequate nutrition and energy. For example, instead of having a burger for dinner, which judging by the average American diet is probably loaded with red meat, cheese, and other products high in saturated fat and cholesterol, a person should go instead with chicken breast or fish as their meat source for dinner. Chicken breast provides just as much protein, if not more than red meat, contains little to no saturated fat, and is a good source of other essential vitamins and minerals.
Fish shares all the good qualities of chicken breast and contains many essential oils such as Omega-3 and Omega-6, which have been shown to reduce cholesterol and lower body fat content. Instead of choosing soda to go along with a meal, people should choose water or non-fat milk instead. And for goodness sake, people need to put their sandwiches on wheat bread. White bread has lower levels of protein, iron, fiber, and complex carbohydrates and has higher levels of sugar and simple carbohydrates than wheat bread. Another issue is our consumption of vegetables and fruits.
The average American should obtain around 3 cups of vegetables and 2 cups of fruits every day. Most Americans don’t bother to take in half of this recommended amount, which is clearly an issue. Again, the solution to this is fairly simple and easily obtainable. Instead of having fries with a meal, a salad or a side of broccoli and carrots is a simple alternative. For dessert, cake can be replaced with a banana or an apple. These small differences in the diet really do make a large difference in the long run. Vegetables provide us vitamins, antioxidants, enzymes, minerals, and fiber.
While fruits also provide the body with minerals, vitamins and antioxidants, they also provide the body fructose, which is later converted to glucose for energy. Changing the average American diet is not as difficult as it sounds. Providing the public with proper information about food and what is actually in it, along with making healthy food choices readily available to the average citizen will go a long way to curbing and preventing the obesity epidemic. The benefits of eating healthy are monumental. A longer, more active, healthier future is in store for those who change their eating habits.