Why the American Diet is Failing
With over two-thirds of the U.S. population either overweight or obese, it's no secret that the American diet is failing. Learn why, and how you can avoid potential nutritional pitfalls in your diet with these exclusive tips from one of our lead dietitians.
It’s no secret that Americans aren’t really known for our great eating habits. This is probably why over two-thirds of our population is either obese or overweight.
No matter what the excuse may be, even those who try to eat healthy sometimes fail to meet needed nutritional standards. Why is this?
To sum it up in one word, the Standard American Diet, (also known as SAD), is...well, sad.
Why such a failing grade for the American Diet? Well, for one, we simply don't eat enough fruits and vegetables.
Even with the new “My Plate” initiative, Americans still seem to be putting the fruits and vegetables to the side and reaching for unhealthy choices instead. Why? Simply because changing your eating habits is very, very hard.
“Changing your eating habits is one of the biggest reasons why people seem to quit their diet before they ever really get started,” says Carrie Wissemeier, a Registered Dietitian and one of the lead dietitians for BistroMD. “This is mostly due to our dependence and addiction to processed food. Plus, a lot of our food supply has lost its nutrition over the years, further fueling our addiction.”
A lack in nutritional quality can also be blamed for the steadfast growth of the fast food industry. In fact, over 25% of the population consumes fast food for at least one meal each day.
With all of this fast food consumption, most of us are just eating empty calories without any nutritional value.
Vitamins and supplements could be the answer for some, but they should be taken with a proper diet and with the approval of your physician.
“It is really difficult to get all of the nutrition you need from just diet alone,” says Carrie. “Vitamins and supplements could be a good option, but they should be taken with the proper diet and in the right combinations. It's important that you seek the advice of a medical professional before taking any type of vitamin or supplement. They can make the best suggestions to suit your nutritional needs."
Without the advice of a medical professional, you could be getting too much, or not enough of one thing.
For example, too much vitamin A can lead to liver toxicity, and too much vitamin D can make your calcium levels surge too high.
Even if the Standard American Diet is lacking, you can make sure you get the proper nutrition you need.
For starters, everyone could use a good multivitamin.
“Most multivitamins are safe and don’t contain too much or too little of one vitamin or the other,” says Carrie. “In order to assess your individual vitamin and supplement needs, you will still need to consult with an expert.”
If you are on a balanced nutritional meal plan like BistroMD, you still may have those occasional nights off where you need to cook for yourself or for others.
“You can still keep meal prep simple in the kitchen, and still eat healthy,” says Carrie. “Meals that contain things like pork tenderloin can be extremely healthy. Pair this with some sort of high-fiber vegetable, like broccoli, and a side of rice, and you’ve got an easy, healthy meal that the whole family will love.”
Another healthy eating tip: always make sure that half of your plate is fruits and vegetables.