Friday, July 31, 2009

The Perils of the American Diet

I came across a blog to day called the No Impact Man by a man named Colin Beavan who talks about what each of us can do to end the environmental crisis. I am not sure if anyone follows that blog, but I put it on my reader list because this is an issue that’s important to me. Today I found it through a posting that was reproduced on the Huffington Post blog which talked about what the American diet has done to the health care crisis.

It seems to me that most people, me included, rarely think about what they eat. They eat for taste, convenience, and sometimes for cost. I read an article the other day that talked about the reason Americans overeat is that the food is filled with fat, salt, and sugar and these are triggers that prevent you from stopping. If you think about all the junk food out there, you realize that is so true. Think about all the fast food ads; they are hawking so much fatty foods that you can gain weight just viewing the commercial. No Impact Man’s blog talked about the increase of obesity over the last 30 years and the correlation of the popularity of the foods like hamburgers, French fries, milkshakes, and the like and you can definitely see there is no coincidence. I also read the Atkins Diet book and he said that the correlation of the food pyramid and obesity was striking. He claimed that the same percentages of the food groups are exactly the same as the way they feed the pigs to fatten them on the way to the slaughterhouse. If you listen to my mother, she swears the sugar industry has us by the short and curlies.

He also goes on to say that the Americans have also sabotaged themselves by drastically reducing the amount of exercise we get. Recently, there has been some realization of that as shown by the amount of gyms have sprung up and the attention that seems to be paid to doing various things to help move the body, even Nintendo helped. Seriously, look at the things we do; drive everywhere, sit on the couch for entertainment nightly, take moving stairs everywhere, and sit in an office cubicle all day typing away. Our brains and fingers are getting all the exercise! With obesity comes all manner of illness, and with illness comes the need for healthcare. It seems like a simple solution to me - one that will take a while, but simple in its execution.

I am really a fine one to talk as I had fallen into that same trap being no better than anyone else. But knowledge is a powerful thing. The more I read, the more I am able to control those cravings…well mostly.

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