Diet Derailers

03.08.2017 |

Episode #5 of the course How to adopt a flexitarian lifestyle by Alyce Eyster


American palates love cookies, cake, and sodas. And while they supply energy, unfortunately, they hold no nutritional value. Sugar, sodium, and processed foods are sickening most Americans. Today we’ll discuss why, then touch on the concept of moderation.



Roughly half of all adult Americans have a preventable chronic disease like cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, some cancers, and poor bone health, many related to poor eating habits and physical inactivity, according to the U.S. government’s 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. Perhaps it is because the average American eats 6 cups of sugar per week. That’s more than three times the recommendation of 13.3 teaspoons per day. The calories from sugar supply energy but are nutrient-lacking. The natural sugars in fruit are better because fruit also supplies healthy nutrients like vitamins, minerals, and fiber that your body craves to work its best.

Solution: Try subbing fruit for cookies or cakes. Or save dessert for one meal per week.



Per Time magazine, 90 percent of Americans eat too much salt. Of course, the issue with salt is that it can lead to cardiovascular disease, specifically high blood pressure. Most salt intake can be traced to increased consumption of restaurant and processed food. Processed foods, especially bacon, deli meats, bread, pizza, and cheese, are typically loaded with sodium. When you cook at home, you can better control the salt in your meals. Limiting dining out to once a week can help lower salt intake, as can removing salt from the table at meal time. Recommended salt intake is pegged at less than 2300 mg per day, according to BistroMD.


The Problem With Processed

Processed food is a raw product that has been cooked, milled, canned, frozen, or dehydrated, typically in a factory setting. It is the complete opposite of whole foods that are cooked at home. Processed foods tend to be high in sodium, sugar, fat, and can contain additives and preservatives. It is important to read labels to understand whether a food is healthy. Most folks would be healthier to limit or avoid processed foods altogether.


Moderation Is Key

Really, most people just eat too much of everything, but especially carbs, sugar, and processed food. If they did not, we would not have epidemic levels of type 2 diabetes, rampant cardiovascular disease, and more. It is important to listen to your body. When eating, slow down to allow your body to register its level of satiety. Eat until you are satisfied not uncomfortably full.

Read labels, keep a food journal, and learn more about nutrition at sites like Learn proper serving sizes. In addition to eating more vegetables, simply eat less sugar, salt, fat, and processed foods.

It’s okay to have the occasional splurge, just make your splurge worth it. For example, I’ve cut way back on bread and pasta, but if I am dining at a restaurant known for amazing bread or homemade pasta, you can bet I am going to partake. I just won’t (or will try really hard not to) overindulge. I am going to really enjoy it in the moment and savor it. I really love great food, so to miss out on something I love so much would be downright depressing for me, not to mention NOT living life to the fullest. So dive in and make those splurges count, just don’t go too crazy.

Tomorrow: we discuss drinking. Cheers!


Recommended book

The Case Against Sugar by Gary Taubes


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