What Went Wrong With the Average American Diet Plan in the 21st Century?
People use the terms ‘low carb diet’ and ‘classic American diet’ a lot, thus making it essential to know what went wrong with the average American diet plan. The modern diet we have worked ourselves around is more calorie-rich, supports more enormous portion sizes, and has enhanced the frequency of meals. Let’s analyze the following highlights of the current standard American diet plan to know where most of us go wrong with our diet plans.
Higher Intake of Refined Sugar
Refined sugars are in every canned or processed food with some sweet taste to it. Unlike unprocessed sugar, refined sugar has very little nutritional value. Plus, they have all those added calories that easily spill water on any diet plan. The trick with refined sugar is that they are part of our everyday food. For instance, white bread, processed meat, sugary cereals, etc. Consciously or unconsciously, there’s an increase in our refined sugar intake.
More Frequent Intake of Fast Foods
Fast food restaurants are raking in more money than ever. The reason for it is simple – people are eating more fast food than ever. Fast food familiarity has ripened across the years to turn into fast food addiction. Families dining out at fast-food restaurants is also on the rise. There’s a drastic increase in the size of french fries, hamburgers, and fried chicken nuggets over the years. There is a steady rise in the consumption of these foods. So much so, that a popular fast-food chain had to eliminate a low-fat hamburger from their menu considering meager sales.
Larger-Than-Ever Portion Sizes
The ever-swelling portion sizes have to be one of the most pertinent problems in the American diet. If the figures of the USDA are anything to go by, a typical cookie will exceed the recommended size by 700 percent. A single pasta serving by 480 percent and the average muffin by 333 percent. The rise in portion size is a phenomenon that typically set off in the 1970s.
There was a dramatic growth in the 80s. This continues to rise in tandem with the bodyweight of the average American. Several studies have shown that people do not consider portion sizes, even when they are attempting to follow a diet. As a result, they make the most of all that is on the plate.
Greater Calorie Intake
A combination of these factors causes a greater-than-ever calorie intake, especially in the 21st century. Every single person is consuming several hundred more calories per day than their ancestors did in the 1950s. About half of these increased calories stem out from higher levels of refined carbohydrates. Thus increasing the intake of processed sugars and grains. Some 37 percent comes from direct consumption of fats and the rest from vegetables, fruits, eggs, dairy products, meat, and vegetables.
Fewer Fruits, Vegetables, and Whole Grains
While the awakening around the food we eat has seen a higher consumption of vegetables and fruits, we are still far below the recommended levels. Not more than a decade back, only one out of ten persons ate the recommended five vegetables and fruits a day. Back in the 90s, pizzas jolted into popularity.
While canned tomatoes saw an increase in consumption, other canned vegetables fell below expected consumption levels. French fries made frozen potato consumption dart up by an astounding 63 percent.
Lower Consumption of Whole Grains
Coming to whole grains, the situation appears no different. With the turn of the millennium, individual consumption of cereal products and flour went up. Unfortunately, much of this was from refined flour and not directly from whole grains. Refined flour and products can quickly destabilize blood sugar levels. Nutritionists recommend including a minimum of three (if not more) servings of whole grains in a day. However, only 7 in 100 Americans eat these three servings of whole food grains.
Diets that are high on carbs include carb grams over 250 grams. This is the norm for people who are physically active and have healthy body weight. The thumb rule here is simple – irrespective of the number of carbohydrates you take in each day, the primary sources should be legumes, vegetables, whole grains, and pasta. You should also restrict sugar consumption to a minimum. If you want to work your diet plan around your lifestyle, consult a nutritionist. However, do not rely too much on the infomercials and change your diet plan based on that. Most Americans make this costly mistake.
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