Big Appetites & Processed Foods
According to the US Department of Agriculture, Americans just eat more food than they used to. From 1976 to 2010, the average American ate 484 more calories per day than they did in 1975. (1)
What’s worse is that these calories didn’t come from nutritious foods. 92 percent of them came from grains, added fats and added sugars. To be precise, 237 of these added calories came from fats and 209 of them came from sugar and carbs. (1)
The sad part is that both the added fats and sugars ingested came mostly from processed foods. Most of the fats consumed were in the form of cooked oils, which become rancid and are rendered indigestible by the liver. The sugars consumed were mostly in the form of hidden corn products or other refined sweeteners like agave or refined sugar, which also congest the liver.
If the liver cannot process the excess fats and sugars, it just stores them in those unwanted places!
Some Tips on How to Eat Less
1. Eat until you feel 3/4 of the way full.
2. Relax and dine, don’t rush through your meals.
3. Slow down and chew, chew, chew.
4. Avoid snacking. Aim for three good meals a day.
5. Aim for 50 percent of each meal to be veggies—they take much longer to chew, are filling, and deliver fewer calories.
According to the US Department of Health’s new exercise guidelines, Americans should get at least 150 minutes per week of moderate exercise and 75 minutes per week of vigorous exercise, with two days per week of strength training. (2)
Sounds like a lot right? Well, it is for most Americans. More than seven out of 10 Americans are considered underactive and do not meet these standards.
While I do not disagree with these guidelines and find them to be a helpful nudge towards more activity, I have in the past reported on the benefits of a 12-minute workout that is a great start and doable for most of us. Just 12 minutes a day can make a huge difference. Please check out my article, “Too Wiped Out to Work Out?”.
A Shift in Global Statistics
The United States no longer has the highest rate of obesity in the world, as Mexico just surpassed the U.S. However, seven out of 10 Americans need to lose weight according to the National Center for Health Statistics. (3)
1. Schiller JS, Lucas JW, Ward BW, Peregoy JA. Summary of health statistics for U.S. adults: National Health Interview Survey, 2010. National Center for Health Statistics. Vital Health Stat, 2012;10(252):100
2. National Center for Health Statistics, Op Cit; Table 67, p. 215
3. National Center for Health Statistics: health, United States, 2012: With Special feature on Emergency Care. Hyattsville, MD, 2013;table 68, p. 220
Love elephant and want to go steady?
Editor: Catherine Monkman
Photo: Author’s Own