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American diet statistics

5 Freaky Facts About the American Diet

Do you know the true state of American eating?

By Elizabeth Lipski, PhD, CCN, CHN


American diet statisticsPhotograph By Thinkstock

Adapted from Digestion Connection, by Elizabeth Lipski, PhD, CCN, CHN, Rodale, 2013.

Food is our most intimate contact with our external environment. What we eat, digest, absorb, assimilate, and excrete becomes us. You may already be eating a whole-foods, organic diet. If so, then the information in this chapter may be old news. But if you are like the bulk of the American population, you are probably overfed and undernourished. We eat more than we need to and are getting fatter and fatter. We also eat nearly half of our meals at restaurants or as takeout meals. If you are average, you eat more than half of your calories every day in highly processed, poor-quality, nutrient-poor foods. It's like fixing your home with the poorest materials possible. No wonder we are getting sicker and sicker as a nation.

More from Rodale News: 9 Weird Things Killing Your Gut

Fact Facts About the Average American Diet
#1: Flour and cereal products comprise 23 percent of our calories every day, nearly all of which (89 percent) are refined, which means that they've lost most of their vitamins, minerals, essential fatty acids, and antioxidants. Refining of grains can affect blood sugar levels and lead to inflammation throughout the body.

#2: We eat 17 percent of our calories from refined table sugar and high-fructose corn syrup. The current estimate is about 496 calories a day and more than 22 teaspoons. Of course, it takes B vitamins, magnesium, chromium, zinc, and other nutrients to metabolize and use these sugars, but there aren't any of these nutrients present in refined sugars, so your body has to steal them from somewhere else.

#3: Twenty-four percent of our calories come from fats and oils, most of which have been highly processed and stripped of antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. These are "junky fats" that have been denatured, oxidized, and structurally damaged. They're found in nearly all of our packaged and processed foods and in most of the vegetable oils that we buy.

On the other hand...

#4: We eat only 5 percent of calories from fruits and vegetables. Fewer than one person in four eats at least five servings of fruits and vegetables a day (about 2 ½), even though they protect us against heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and most other illnesses.

#5: The average American also eats a dearth of nuts each year, only 15 ounces, and mainly on pastries. Nuts have been reported to support heart and brain health and generally be terrific for us. (Nuts are also linked to a lower risk of pancreatic cancer, and act as a natural weapon to protect your health in these five other ways.)

Filed Under: DIGESTIVE HEALTH, NUTRITION, OBESITY

Published on: July 14, 2014



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