American Citizens: Overfed and Undernourished

“We are the most overfed – undernourished country in the history of the world. The average person in the US consumes 3,393 calories per day...”  USA Today

These days, grocery shelves are filled with brightly colored, packaged foods.  To stay on the shelves for any length of time however, many of these “foods” are stuffed full of chemical preservatives.  In addition, processing often adds calories and depletes nutrition.

Demand for cheap food from consumers and a growing hoard of fast-food providers have negatively affected the American food market.  Whenever food is produced to maximize profit the nutritional needs of the consumer are threatened.

The Standard American Diet (SAD) is out of balance compared to the diets of people in other parts of the world.  The SAD is high in sodium and fattening foods and low in healthy enzymes, minerals and vitamins.  It contains roughly 37% fat, 24% refined sugar and 27% carbohydrates.

Here are some other alarming statistics:  Only 32% of American adults report engaging in regular weekly exercise, and a shocking 36% of American adults report no weekly exercise at all.  When this is combined with over consumption of nutritionally depleted food, it’s no wonder that more than two thirds of Americans over the age of 20 are overweight or obese.

The US government has attempted to deal with the problem of undernourished obesity by reorganizing the carbohydrate-rich Food Pyramid into My Plate.  This is a far better visual device for adults and children, separating daily calories into appropriate amounts of vegetables, fruits, proteins and grains.  The problem is this visual doesn’t account for mineral depletion, over-farming and pesticides that strip nutrients from much of the produce that we purchase.

Sadly, overabundance of foods lacking in nutrition doesn’t just lead to obesity.  There are other diseases attributed to poor nutrition:  anemia, certain cancers, diabetes, heart and inflammatory disease and osteoporosis.

Here are some ways that you can be proactive when it comes to daily nutrition:

  • Purchase local and organic fruits, vegetables, poultry and beef.
  • Eat whole (rather than processed) grains.
  • Purchase wild-caught fish and seafood.
  • Steer clear of foods that contain high fructose corn syrup, preservatives and chemicals.
  • If you have sensitivity to cow’s milk or gluten, try foods that are better tolerated like soy or almond milk and rice or quinoa products.
  • Take a high-quality daily multi-vitamin and mineral supplement.

Humans have made amazing strides in the last fifty years, across all areas of life. We can communicate and travel faster than our predecessors would ever have deemed possible, but when it comes to farming and food production, the latest advances can affect our health.  Following the suggestions above can ensure that your diet is rich in daily nutrients.

Sources:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/08/14/AR2008081402463.html

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