With all of the wonderfully healthy, organic fruits, vegetables, legumes and other foods available to us, plus the rise in popularity of superfoods, one would assume that dietary quality in the U.S. would be slowly improving. Not the case, unfortunately, according to a new dietary analysis published in The Lancet Global Health.
As the senior author of the analysis, Dr. Dariush Mozaffarian, summarizes, “poor diet quality is now the number one cause of poor health in the U.S. and the world, causing enormous suffering and costing trillions of dollars.”
The analysis looked not only at the United States, but also at diet quality in multiple countries around the world. On their method of gathering and sorting data, the study authors wrote:
“In this systematic assessment, we evaluated global consumption of key dietary items (foods and nutrients) by region, nation, age, and sex in 1990 and 2010. Consumption data were evaluated from 325 surveys (71·7% nationally representative) covering 88·7% of the global adult population. Two types of dietary pattern were assessed: one reflecting greater consumption of ten healthy dietary items and the other based on lesser consumption of seven unhealthy dietary items.”
On their results, the authors detailed:
“On average, better diets were seen in older adults compared with younger adults, and in women compared with men. Compared with low-income nations, high-income nations had better diets based on healthy items, but substantially poorer diets based on unhealthy items… Middle-income countries showed the largest improvement in dietary patterns based on healthy items, but the largest deterioration in dietary patterns based on unhealthy items.”
So, as far as the US, we’re basically eating more healthy foods, but also filling ourselves with a lot more junk. This is so backwards, because the whole point of eating healthy foods is to, obviously, nourish and preserve our health. When we just add more unhealthy foods into the mix, it negates all of the efforts we are making to get healthy.
What do we do, then, if we want to start to turn the tables on our nation’s dietary habits? It starts with each of us deciding to take full responsibility for our meal choices. If you’re unsure where to start, here are a few tips:
- Steer clear of processed foods. If it has more than five ingredients – or ingredients you can’t pronounce – don’t buy it.
- Just say no to refined sugar… it’s poison.
- Shop primarily on the outskirts of the grocery store, where the fresh produce is often located.
- Stick to whole, preferably organic foods that you can cook at home.
- Ditch unhealthy, processed cooking oils, and cook with healthy fats such as organic, extra-virgin coconut oil, organic olive oil and grass-fed butter.
- When it comes to meat and dairy, choose organic and grass-fed, to avoid exposure to growth hormones or byproducts from GMO feed.
If each one of us makes these changes, and teaches our children about the importance of REAL foods and eating for nourishment, we will hopefully see different – more encouraging – statistics the next time such an analysis is performed.
-The Alternative Daily