The American Diet


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By the s, untold millions suffered and died from malnutrition and nutritional diseases such as pellagra, beriberi, scurvy, rickets, and goiter. In the 21 st century, animals rarely eat humans and the American food supply is safer and more nutritious than at any point in history. Despite this, millions of Americans still fear the safety of their food.


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In the s, the U. But nutritional deficiencies were not the only thing about to be forgotten. During this period, U. Senator George McGovern was becoming politically irrelevant. In , he suffered a humiliating loss to Richard M. Nixon in the Presidential election, and in the Democratic party sidelined him in favor of a peanut farmer named Jimmy Carter. Yet as the consummate politician, Senator McGovern found a way to re-establish his relevancy. His plan was simple: he declared war on the American diet.

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Mark Hegsted of Harvard. These government reports were significant because it demonstrated that both politicians and researchers were willing to ignore rigorous evidence to the contrary and indirectly regulate the U. Despite the obvious fact that people lie when asked about how much or what they ate, these methods were exactly what the unscrupulous researchers ordered. Teenage girls are close behind.


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Perhaps not surprisingly, studies show that childhood obesity has hit epidemic proportions over the last few decades. The main culprits, according to experts: high-fat foods, sodas, and too little exercise. Fatty, unbalanced, and oversized: That, in a nutshell, is the American diet. But it doesn't have to be your diet. It's called taking charge. If you eat more than four meals away from home each week, you can start by making healthy choices as you dine. Order foods that have been baked, steamed, or grilled instead of deep-fried. Have your salad dressing or other fatty toppings served on the side, and if mayonnaise isn't low-fat, skip it entirely.

Consider ordering a salad and an appetizer instead of an entree.

The Standard American Diet (SAD) – Dr Galland

If you do order an entree, plan to take at least half of it home with you. No matter where you eat, try to stick to a few basic guidelines. The amount you should eat depends on your age and activity level -- teenage boys and men need to eat more than young children, for example.

Aim for three to eight ounces of bread, cereal, rice, or pasta each day, the more whole grains the better. This isn't quite as daunting as it sounds -- one cup of rice counts as two ounces, and a single slice of bread counts as one ounce. Two to five cups of fruits and vegetables each day will give you fiber and vital nutrients; if you're using a plate, try to cover half of it in produce.

One serving is a medium piece of fruit, a half cup of chopped fruit, a half cup of chopped vegetables, or a cup of fresh greens. Taken together, fruits, vegetables, and grains can satisfy your hunger and fuel your body without blowing your calorie budget.

Standard American Diet

Meat isn't forbidden, but try to think of it as a complement to your meals, not the main attraction. According to the U. Department of Agriculture USDA food pyramid, you only need two servings up to six and a half ounces from the "meat group" each day.

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The group includes meat, poultry, fish, dry beans, eggs, and nuts. It goes without saying that six ounces of salmon, pinto beans, or chicken breast is preferable to six ounces of marbled steak a serving of meat, by the way, should be about the size of a deck of cards. Much of the advice can be boiled down to one word: moderation.

By eating different foods from every part of the pyramid and watching your portion size, you can make your own personal American diet healthy and nutritious. We have more choices and more temptations than ever before, but ultimately, we also have the final say over what we eat.

The Sad Consequences of the Standard American Diet

Take control, and enjoy. For an in-depth review of a wholesome diet, read the U. Department of Agriculture's Dietary Guidelines for Americans. Flegal, KM et al. Interviews with Melanie Polk, registered dietitian and director of nutrition education for the American Institute of Cancer Research. Interview with Barbara Gollman, registered dietitian and spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association. No content on this site, regardless of date, should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinician.

What Americans Eat: Top 10 sources of calories in the U. E-mail Address.

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