The Modern American Diet is sweeping the nation leaving a trail of sugar, empty calories and increasingly common health problems in its wake. Trust me, there is nothing natural about this disaster. The M.A.D. diet is the current normal dietary behavior of those living in America. It is marginally made up of processed foods, unhealthy fats, refined sugar and genetically modified foods.
We know all the right answers for healthy eating but the majority of Americans have almost no success in implementing a healthy lifestyle. Only 1 in 10 adults get enough fruits and vegetables a day. American adults consume an average of 1,100 mg of sodium over the current federal guideline. And by 2030 it is projected that half of all American adults, nearly 115 million people, will be obese. Despite the healthy knowledge that has been ingrained in our minds, our actions do not seem to match. Why is it so hard to eat healthy?
Our symbiotic relationship with certain bacterias may have something to do with it. The bacteria in your gut actually communicates with your brain through hormones to drive your selection for different foods. To state it simply, eating a lot of bad food results in feeding the bad bacteria in your body. This helps them grow and outnumber the good bacteria which craves good food. On the flip side eating healthy food feeds good bacteria, helping it to grow and forcing bad bacteria to die. Thus a cycle, whether it be vicious or beneficial, continues depending on the food we eat. On that note, fast food companies have more than doubled since 1970. This has made processed food more available than ever before.
Despite there being a fast food option on every corner, more than 23 million Americans, including 6.5 million children live in food deserts. A food desert is an area where the closest supermarket is more than a mile away, limiting that individual’s access to healthy options. Having to go out of your way to get healthy food requires more effort, time, and money. This inaccessibility can cause people to turn to what is convenient and what they are accustomed to eating i.e. any fast food option. Habits may be hard to change but you can break the habits of you and your bacteria. Resist the processed foods and choose healthier options. You can start small, just start somewhere.