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Here are a few examples of what we were eating in 1970's compared to our diet today (information is taken from a recent U.S. Department of Agriculture survey):
- We are currently eating more grain products, but almost all of them are refined grains (white bread, etc.). Grain consumption has jumped 45 percent since 1970s, from 138 pounds of grains per person per year to 200 pounds! Only 2 percent of wheat flour is consumed as whole wheat.
- Our consumption of fruits and vegetables has increased, but only because U.S.D.A. includes French fries and potato chips as a vegetable. Potato products account for almost a third of our "produce" choices.
- We're drinking less milk, but we've more than doubled our cheese intake. Cheese now outranks meat as number one source of saturated fat in our diets.
- We've cut back on red meat, but have more than made up for loss by increasing our intake of chicken (battered and fried), so that overall, we're eating 13 pounds more meat today than we did back in 1970s.
- We're drinking three times more carbonated soft drinks than milk, compared to 1970's, when milk consumption was twice that of pop.
- We use 25 percent less butter, but pour twice as much vegetable oil on our food and salads, so our total added fat intake has increased 32 percent.
- Sugar consumption has been another cause of our expanding waistlines. Sugar intake is simply off charts. According to U.S. Department of Agriculture, people are consuming roughly twice amount of sugar they need each day, about 20 teaspoons on a 2000 calorie/day diet. The added sugar is found mostly in junk foods, such as pop, cake, and cookies.
- In 1978, government found that sugars constituted only 11 percent of average person's calories. Now, this number has ballooned to 16 percent for average American adult and as much as 20 percent for American teenagers.
The days of wholesome family dinners so near and dear to our hearts, where we all sat around kitchen table to discuss events of day, are now a part of our sentimental past. They have been replaced by our cravings for take-out and fast-food. We have gradually come to accept that it's "OK" to sacrifice healthy foods for sake of convenience and that larger serving portions mean better value.
And, since I have been throwing-out statistics, here's one more: Americans are consuming about 300 more calories each day than we did twenty years ago. We should actually be eating less because of our decreased activity level, but instead are doing opposite!
Decide TODAY that healthy eating and exercise habits will become a permanent part of your life!
Begin to explore your values and thoughts and other areas of your life where change may be required, and then take action. Just remember, it has taken a very long time to develop your habits, so it will take some time to undo them!
Joe Serpico is webmaster at aa-fitness-guide.com. For much more information regarding exercise, health, nutrition, and fitness, visit http://www.aa-fitness-guide.com