To sum it up in one word: Overeating. The biggest nutrition
problem is obesity. Americans spend billions of dollars yearly
trying to lose weight. The United States is now trying to put a
larger emphasis on preventative care (such as nutrition) to cut
back on the medical costs caused by diseases related to obesity and
poor nutrition (such as some cancers, heart disease, diabetes,
etc.). Most people in the U.S. also have one or more risk factors
that predict premature death and illness:
1/3 have elevated cholesterol
1/3 have hypertension
More than 30% are obese
More than 65% are overweight
10% are diabetic
Diseases of affluence are epidemic among people who eat
the standard American diet:
1/2 die prematurely of heart disease
1/2 of men develop life-threatening cancer
1/3 of women develop life-threatening cancer
Over age 60, 30% have gallbladder disease
One in seven suffers with serious arthritis
60% complain of bad breath (halitosis)
Most have gastrointestinal troubles (indigestion to
Americans consume too many macronutrients (carbohydrates, fats,
and protein) and too few micronutrients (vitamins, minerals, and
phytochemicals like antioxidants).
Much of the food Americans consume has been over-processed and
stripped of nutrients. Some nutrients are are added back in
to some foods, but those don't necessarily make the food as healthy
as a whole, unprocessed food. There is an overabundance of refined
and processed carbohydrates and fat in our diets, which not only
leads to dangerous weight gain, but also contributes to diabetes,
which is at epidemic proportions in the US, even among children.
Burgers, rolls, pizza, sodas, french fries, etc., have unhealthy
levels of processed carbohydrates or fat. And with the elimination
of most physical activity by both adults and children, our bodies
do not need the extra calories or the extra carbohydrates. Eating
junk food, including refined or processed carbohydrates, fats, and
chemical preservatives, does not fill our nutritional needs, so we
crave more food and we keep eating. We become addicted to refined
or processed carbohydrates, often without being aware of it.
Over-consumption of pre-prepared and junk foods are the biggest
nutrition problem. The problem is that they bring us an excess of
sugar and fat and artificial colors, flavors, additives, etc., and
a lack of vitamins minerals.
The standard American diet is deficient in calcium, iodine,
vitamin C, vitamin E, fiber, folate, magnesium, zinc, and
potassium. In fact:
98% of Americans eat potassium-deficient diets because they
don't eat enough plants
95% of Americans don't get enough fiber
Over 92% of Americans are deficient in one or more vitamins.
That doesn't mean they are receiving less than the amount they need
for optimal health. That means they receive less than the MINIMUM
amount necessary to prevent deficiency diseases.
Up to 80% of Americans are deficient in magnesium.
Almost 75% don't get enough zinc
70% don't get enough vitamin E
50% don't get enough vitamin D
40% don't get enough iron
Up to 40% don't get enough vitamin B12
37% don't get enough vitamin C
Much of the food Americans consume is packaged so that
it can be shipped long distances and not spoil on the shelf.
Besides the fact that all that packaging and shipping hurts the
environment, the food is often less healthy than fresh food.
Most Americans do not eat enough fresh fruits and
vegetables, leading to deficiencies in vitamins, minerals, and
We haven't been taught good habits. Consider the virtue of
moderation, smaller meal sizes, as well as keeping meals
well balanced. Meals with moderate amounts of healthy food and good
helpings of vegetables are not the norm for the average American.
They may have never learned to cook or how to make good food
choices. Going out to eat, eating ice cream, doughnuts, chips,
meat, sweets, candy, and junk food of all kinds is a problem. Go to
the store and buy some oatmeal, broccoli, bananas, apples, lettuce,
carrots, potato, rice, and lentils and other basic simple
Our food is making us sick. Too much cholesterol,
saturated fat, dairy products, and sugar contribute to obesity,
heart disease, diabetes, and cancer. Half of men, ages to 65 to 74,
and 39% of women, ages 75 and older, must take expensive statin
drugs just to stay alive on the standard American diet.
The more we know, the more we can fix the general
nutrient-deficient diets we eat in America.