Americans seem to fall pretty neatly into two categories of eating: Western or prudent. The Western diet is what we’ve come to know (sadly) as the Standard American Diet. It consists of lots of red meat, fatty foods, saturated fat, processed foods, salt, and sugar. It is conspicuously short on fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.
Conversely, the prudent diet focuses on fish and poultry, whole grains, leafy greens and cruciferous veggies, tomatoes, beans, and fruit. It tends to eschew dairy, eggs, fast food, and most sugar.
Of the two, the prudent diet is clearly the better one. However, it is also the less common. In fact, even in the 1950s, meat and potatoes ruled the day. Yet people were significantly slimmer than now. Why?
Related: Fight Obesity with Portion Control
Portions and convenience are likely the reason. Look at a typical burger offering in 1950s. The only choice was equivalent to a “single” at a typical fast food restaurant and often included one slice of cheese. Today, that’s the kid-size, while adults are clamoring for doubles and triples with lots of cheese, bacon, and more.
And that’s just one example. Let’s not even discuss soda sizes, high fructose corn syrup, and genetically modified foods.
Convenience is also a factor. Back “in the day” you didn’t have vending machines in schools and in every office. Coffee shops with baked goods didn’t grace every street corner. There wasn’t a new fast food restaurant popping up every other day.
And we weren’t as stressed and overwhelmed as we are now, with most of us relying on a grab-and-go breakfast and lunch, and often even dinner.
Clearly the Western diet needs to go the way of the old time Western movie. Strive instead for a prudent diet most days of the week. Prepare snacks and easy meals ahead of time, like boiled eggs, oatmeal, and lettuce for salads. And take advantage of the convenience of powdered supplements that you can simply add to water then go about your day to help you fill in the gaps.