The “Standard American Diet” The “Standard American diet is made up of: 50% carbohydrates (simple, refined carbohydrates—less healthy) 15% protein (over the recommended amount) 35% fat (high in saturated fat)
Carbohydrates Carbohydrates are fine for you in moderation, but the American diet has a disproportionately high amount of them. Additionally, the majority of the carbohydrates are simple, like sugar, rather than complex. Simple carbohydrates are worse for you than complex carbohydrates.
Protein Protein is a component of food which helps give you sustained energy. The Standard American diet is quite high in protein, which can come from many sources. In the American diet, protein largely comes from meat, specifically red meat. Excessive consumption of red meat has serious health consequences.
Fat The Standard American diet is made up of 35% fat, which is about 5% too high. A significant portion of the fat is saturated fat, which is bad for your health in excessive quantities.
Portion Sizes Portion sizes have increased steadily through the years with the advent of fast food, where more food is associated with a better value.
Portion Sizes Food portion sizes have increased significantly in the past few decades and are quite large when compared with serving sizes in different parts of the world.
Portion Sizes and Culture American food is cheaper and larger than that of other countries. Larger portions are often seen as a better deal.
Results of the Standard American Diet Carbohydrates: Excessive consumption of simple carbohydrates, like sugar, is linked to weight gain. Fat: Excessive consumption of unhealthy (saturated) fats is linked to coronary heart disease. It is thought that for every 1% of saturated fat energy replaced with polyunsaturated fat (such as that found in olive oil, there would be a 2-3% decrease in the risk of coronary heart disease.
Results of the Standard American Diet A diet that does not follow healthy guidelines can cause heart disease and obesity:
“Super-Size Me” “Super-Size Me” is a documentary about a man who spends a month eating only at fast food restaurants, which make up 75% of the restaurants in America. Following this diet had serious repercussions on his health.
A Clip from “Super-Size Me” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N2diPZOtty 0
It is possible to eat healthily, no matter where you are
Making Good Choices at Fast Food Restaurants Make careful menu selections – pay attention to the descriptions on the menu. Dishes labeled deep-fried, pan-fried, basted, batter-dipped, breaded, creamy, crispy, scalloped, Alfredo, au gratin, or in cream sauce are usually high in calories, unhealthy fats, or sodium. Order items with more vegetables and choose leaner meats. Drink water with your meal. Soda is a huge source of hidden calories. One 32-oz Big Gulp of regular cola packs about 425 calories, which can quickly gulp up a big portion of your daily calorie intake. Try adding a little lemon to your water or ordering unsweetened iced tea. “Undress” your food. When choosing items, be aware of calorie- and fat-packed salad dressings, spreads, cheese, sour cream, etc. For example, ask for a grilled chicken sandwich without the mayonnaise. You can ask for a packet of ketchup or mustard and add it yourself, controlling how much you put on your sandwich. Special order. Many menu items would be healthy if it weren't for the way they were prepared. Ask for your vegetables and main dishes to be served without the sauces. Ask for olive oil and vinegar for your salads or order the dressing "on the side" and spoon only a small amount on at a time. If your food is fried or cooked in oil or butter, ask to have it broiled or steamed. Eat mindfully. Pay attention to what you eat and savor each bite. Chew your food more thoroughly and avoid eating on the run. Being mindful also means stopping before you are full. It takes time for your body to register that you have eaten. Mindful eating relaxes you, so you digest better, and makes you feel more satisfied.