In 2010, the National Cancer Institute published some startling statistics they found on the status of the American diet. Three out of four Americans don’t eat a single piece of fruit in a given day, and nearly nine out of ten don’t reach the minimum recommended daily intake of vegetables. What’s even more concerning is that a dietary quality index was developed reflecting the percentage of calories people derive from nutrient-rich, unprocessed plant foods on a scale of 0 to 100. The higher people score, the lower their BMI and the lower their risk appears to be of abdominal obesity, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and high triglycerides. Sadly, most Americans hardly make it past a score of ten. It appears that the acronym for the Standard American Diet is really quite fitting. The bottom line is that our nation’s diet is S.A.D.
Luckily, we have power and control over the types of foods that we put into our mouth. The standard American diet is generally characterized by high intakes of red meat, processed meat, pre-packaged foods, butter, fried foods, dairy products, eggs, refined grains, potatoes, corn (and High- fructose corn syrup) and high-sugar drinks. However, every nutrient-rich, unprocessed plant food pushes us further up the dietary quality index and reduces our risk of obesity and disease significantly. With the standard American diet being the norm, it might not be so easy knowing just how to transition into a healthier diet. For this reason and others, I have compiled a list of SIMPLE SWAPS.