It’s no secret that obesity is on the rise in our country.
Right now, more than one-third of all adults in the U.S. are obese, totaling a whopping 78.6 million. But obesity isn’t just a problem; it’s downright dangerous to the population. Obesity raises the risk of a whole slew of unwanted health conditions, like heart disease, diabetes, stroke and even some kinds of cancer. In fact, it’s actually the leading cause of preventable death in our country.
Sadly, with the modern diet the way it is, it’s no surprise our society has this problem. In the last few decades, the types of food we eat – as well as the amounts of food – have changed dramatically. Foods are more processed, they’re fried into handy, to-go packages, and they’re served up in super-sized portions.
Let’s take a deeper look at the modern diet, and how it’s led our country’s health astray.
How the Modern Diet has Changed
Today’s diet is drastically different than that of Americans just 30 or 40 years ago. Then, most food was fresh, grown locally, and cooked at home. Now, almost everything you buy has been processed – even the stuff you plan to cook at home! It comes with additives, chemicals, colorings, sugars, trans fats and tons of other ingredients you wouldn’t have found just a generation or two ago.
Additionally, the consumption of sugar has risen dramatically over the past couple of decades, and the average American now consumes a shocking 22 teaspoons of sugar a day, or 25 percent of their daily caloric intake. That’s up 10 percent from just 10 years ago, and 20 percent since 1970.
The main culprit is processed fructose – which is often added to sweeten up sodas, juices, sauces, desserts and even so-called “healthy” meals and drinks. Even kids are consuming more sugar these days, setting them up for a lifetime of poor health and nutrition.
Changing up the fats we eat has caused a problem, too. For years, many have been made to believe that animal fats, coconut oil and other healthy saturated fats could cause heart problems. People substituted them for processed vegetable oils like canola and corn – oils that can actually cause hormonal imbalances and metabolic changes within your body. Over the years, repeated use of these oils has helped perpetuate the obesity problem, and more and more people have shied away from the important, healthy and naturally-occurring fats we once used.
Moreover, the increased consumption of vegetable and processed oils have flooded our bodies with omega-6 fats – throwing off the delicate balance of fatty acids. When fatty acids aren’t properly balanced, it can lead to heart disease, depression Alzheimer’s, arthritis, diabetes and, in some people, even certain types of cancer. Omega-3s (the fats that come from fish and fish oil) and omega-6s need to be in balance. That means 1 serving of one, for every 1 serving of the other. Today’s American eats about twice as many omega-6s as omega-3s.
Convenience foods have hurt the American health as well. As the speed of our society has quickened, more and more people are eating on the go. They’re picking up fried, fast food and eating it in the car, they’re grabbing pre-packaged snacks and drinks at the gas station, and they’re eating foods that aren’t made fresh or naturally. It’s a trend that, while easy, cheap and convenient, has caused much more hurt than good.
Getting Back to Basics
The real key to getting the modern diet back on track is to get back to basics. Centuries and centuries ago, cavemen didn’t have obesity problems. Why? Because they ate from the earth – fresh vegetables and fruits, grass-fed meats and other natural, unprocessed and untouched foods.
This diet needs to serve as inspiration for today’s society. Fresh produce should be a part of every meal, and instead of avoiding fats, we need to consume plenty of good, healthy fats for our bodies to thrive on.
The so-called “low fat” phase of the 80s and 90s has caused immense damage to our country’s health. Fats are vital to our body’s function. In fact, for optimal health, about 50 to 80 percent of your daily calories should come from good fats! That means nuts, fish, avocado, seeds, olive oil, coconut oil, eggs and beans – all things found in nature.
Take a Look at Your Diet
Examine your diet for a minute. What does your diet more closely resemble? That of the healthy, prehistoric man, or that of the disease-plagued modern American? If it’s the latter, you may want to make some changes – both for your health and your family.
To help jumpstart your healthy eating, check out my handy ebook Juice Your Way Thin. And start working more fresh produce into your daily meals easily, quickly and deliciously. Let me know your favorite recipes in the comments!