Plant Based Whole Food Diet
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    The Good the Bad the Ugly

    Note: this post has been updated in October 2019.

    The Average American Doesn’t Get Enough Nutrients

    That is the good, the bad and the ugly of the America diet. Wondering if you get enough nutrients in your diet? If you tend to go along and eat whatever your friends are eating, then you probably don’t. Check out this recent study on American diets and consider if any small changes in your eating habits could make a big difference in your health! Good nutrition means getting the right amount of nutrients from healthy foods in the right combinations to the body. Here is a rundown on the good, the bad, and the ugly of American diets:

    We already know Americans have trouble keeping their diets in check, but a new study pinpoints another problem in the way we eat: Most U.S. adults don’t meet their recommended daily levels of 10 essential nutrients.

    The study, completed at the University of Illinois, also discovered that Americans with disabilities especially lacked these nutrients. The researchers found that many American adults fell short of consuming enough vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin D, calcium, and iron. In addition, Americans have a tendency to eat far more saturated fats, cholesterol, and sodium than is normal or recommended.

    In the study, researchers used self-reported food and supplement data from 11,811 adults, 4,200 of whom were disabled. They used information from the 2007-2008 and 2009-2010 National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys. “We conducted statistical analyses to compare people with and without disabilities in terms of nutrient intake,” Ruopeng An, a kinesiology and community health professor at the University of Illinois, said in the press release. “We found that American people consume much lower amounts of nutrients than are recommended. For example, only 11.3 percent of people meet the daily recommended intake of fiber. Only 4.7 percent of adults consume recommended amounts of potassium.”
    – via Medical Daily

    What Happens When You Eat Too Much Sugar?

    Do you get too much sugar on a weekly basis? Most Americans are taking in way too much sugar if they are following the typical American diet. Consider these guidelines for moderating your sugar, and watch out for the chilling outcomes of eating too much sugar for years on end.

    the good the bad the ugly

    A teaspoon of sugar in your coffee or a half cup of ice cream won’t kill you — all things in moderation — but the average sugar intake in the U.S. is 22 teaspoons per person per day. That’s almost four times as much as the WHO’s new guidelines suggest is healthy.

    So what happens if you eat too much sugar? Here’s a depressing rundown.

    Insatiable Hunger

    Leptin is a hormone that lets your body know when you’ve had enough to eat. In people who develop leptin resistance, this “I’m full” signal is never received, presenting a major obstacle for weight control.

    Some studies have raised the possibility that leptin resistance may be a side effect of obesity, not a contributing cause. But research in rats suggests that overconsumption of fructose can directly lead to higher-than-normal levels of leptin, which can reduce your body’s sensitivity to the hormone. Removing fructose from the rats’ diets generally reversed those effects.

    “Our data indicate that chronic fructose consumption induces leptin resistance prior to body weight … increases, and this fructose-induced leptin resistance accelerates high-fat induced obesity,” concluded one 2008 study in rats. Still, more research is needed to test whether these effects hold true in humans as well.

    Weight gain

    Other than adopting a completely sedentary lifestyle, there are few routes to packing on the pounds that work as swiftly and assuredly as making large amounts of added sugars a staple of your daily diet. Sugary foods are full of calories but will do little to satiate your hunger. A 2013 review of 68 different studies found “consistent evidence that increasing or decreasing intake of dietary sugars from current levels of intake is associated with corresponding changes in body weight in adults.” Want to lose weight? Cutting your sugar intake is a good place to start.

    – via Business Insider

    Eating Out or Eating at Home

    One of the big concerns for us all is when spring and summer roll around we may consider eating out more often.  We generally eat pretty healthily at home, but it can be a bit trickier when eating out.

    A great article which makes the case for eating at home is linked here and I think it is right on because we can control what we put into the food and be sure that we eat healthily!

    While many restaurants and fast food outlets offer us convincing marketing statements that they offer healthy and nutritional food, studies frequently find that this isn’t the case. The sugar and sodium content of most processed foods cause them to be serious threats to our health. These are also the same qualities which allow these foods to become addictive.

    It’s not just fast food, either. The restaurant industry encourages overconsumption and indulgence in foods that we know to be unhealthy for our bodies. Nor is restaurant food as healthy for us as what we would make at home. At the same time, the cost of eating out puts a large strain on many of our food budgets.

    Cooking at home is the best choice for having a consistently healthy, budget-friendly diet. Many find it to be a rewarding exercise, whether you’re cooking alone or with your loved ones. Eating at Home vs. Eating Out

    Time to Take Action

    The science confirms that a diet rich in whole, plant-based foods can help you live to the fullest. In fact, a growing number of physicians advocate a completely plant-based diet for many of their patients who suffer from diabetes, heart disease, and cancer. Two great sources Plant-Based Nutrition, 2E (Idiot’s Guides) and Nutrition Facts: The Truth About Food

    The Forks Over Knives Plan shows you how to put this life-saving, delicious diet into practice in your own life. This easy-to-follow, meal-by-meal makeover is the approach Doctors Alona Pulde and Matthew Lederman (featured in the documentary) use every day in their nutritional health practice—a simple plan that focuses on hearty comfort foods and does not involve portion control or worrying about obtaining single nutrients like protein and calcium.

    Start Your Journey to Health

    Join the Physicians Committee’s 21-Day Vegan Kickstart to receive meal plans, recipes, and advice from nutrition experts. This service is free and will help you take control of your health with a vegan diet

    The 21-Day Vegan Kickstart is supported by decades of research showing that a plant-based diet can help you reach a healthy weight and lower your risk for heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and other chronic diseases. Our low-fat plant-based recipes, developed by chefs, dietitians, and experts in vegan cuisine, provide nutritious meals that are both healthy and delicious. Within 21 days you will start to see results and won’t look back! via – 21-Day Vegan Kickstart

    Express your opinion

    ​Is being healthy important to you? Are you getting the nutrition you need as a part of your lifestyle?

    If I can answer any questions or if you an opinion that you would like to express, please let me know your thoughts by leaving a comment below.

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