According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the number of Americans who follow federal nutrition recommendations when it comes to their daily diet amounts to a mere 10 percent. Most Americans consume too much sodium, sugar, and unhealthy fats; and too little fruits, vegetables, and fiber. Over time, eating this way can take a toll on the body. The number of health conditions and diseases caused by poor diet are many. Armed with a little knowledge, people can get back on the road to better health and more nutritious eating.
Health Conditions and Diseases Caused by Poor Diet
It's easy to ignore the consequences of eating unhealthy foods because they often taste so good. Unfortunately, if consumed regularly over time, they can wreak havoc on the body. The list of health conditions and diseases caused by poor diet includes:
- Certain cancers
- Eating disorders
- Heart disease
- High blood pressure
- High cholesterol
- Stomach ulcers
- Tooth decay
- Type-2 diabetes
Six Tips for Better Nutrition
A few tips help ensure better nutrition and reduce chances for developing diseases caused by poor diet:
1. Choose a variety of healthy foods from among the available food groups, which include fruits, vegetables, grains, proteins, and dairy products. Allow fruits and vegetables to fill half of the plate.
2. Substitute sugary drinks or fruit juices with stevia-sweetened beverages, herbal tea, or water.
3. Read labels to determine amounts of saturated or trans fats, sugar, and sodium in packaged products. Remember that sugar can be disguised as any type of corn syrup, molasses, honey, agave, or any ingredient ending with –ose or –ase.
4. Replace chips, candy, and baked products with healthy snack options. These might include plain Greek yogurt flavored with fresh fruit, hard-boiled eggs, whole-grain crackers and peanut butter, cut veggies and hummus, or a handful of nuts.
5. Find out what your calorie intake should be for your height, weight, age, and gender, and limit daily calories to that amount.
Related: Video Blog: What Causes Obesity?
6. Check out a few DVDs that bring added perspective to the importance of good nutrition. Fed Up is a documentary that explores the connection between high-sugar diets and poor health as evidenced by true and heart-breaking stories. Super-Size Me follows filmmaker Morgan Spurlock as he eats nothing but McDonald's fast food for 30 days. Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead chronicles a man's attempt to undo damage done to his body through an unhealthy diet. Hungry for Change investigates the food industry and unearths the secret ways it keeps people fat and unhealthy.
Even though it tastes good, the consequences of a poor diet can be devastating. Becoming better informed and making a few simple changes can help to ensure optimal nutrition and better mental and physical health.