Tuesday, July 17, 2012

The Cost of Not Eating Healthy

We have all heard “you are what you eat”.  What you eat to a great extent affects your health. Numerous scientific studies have shown that eating healthy foods can reduce the high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease, cancer, and other ailments.

The rate of disease in the United States is 2 – 5 times that of other countries.  Many Americans eat processed foods, carbohydrates and fats.  When you are overweight or eat an unhealthy diet this also causes an increase in medical costs and insurance rates.

According to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, approximately 100 million Americans are overweight or obese.  Being overweight also increases the chance or getting diseases such as heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, stroke, cancer and respiratory problems. 

The leading cause of death in America is heart disease.  The World Heart Federation suggests eating a diet of fresh fruits and vegetables and avoiding foods high in saturated fats, salt and carbohydrates to reduce the chance of heart disease.

Many people are confused about the meaning of the word “diet” and confuse the word “diet” with “fad”.  Many advertisers also use the word diet incorrectly which leads to more confusion.  Diet does not mean taking a pill for 30 days to lose weight or changing your eating habits for 30 days to lose weight.  Diet as defined by Webster’s dictionary is:  “a particular selection of food, especially as designed or prescribed to improve a person's physical condition or to prevent or treat a disease”.   Taking a weight loss pill cannot prevent disease but eating a healthy diet and exercising can.

If you are unsure of what to eat you can start with the USDA’s Healthy Eating Index to provide a guide to healthy eating.  Following this guide will lower your chance of disease and improve your overall health. Although I am not overweight, I have changed my diet.  I decided I did not want to take multiple prescriptions and wake up with aches and pains when I get older so I am now a vegetarian.  Everyone teases my about my strict diet but it works for me.  I don’t look my age, I don’t take any medications, I don’t have high blood pressure, diabetes or cancer, I don’t wake up with aches and pains and I don’t have heart disease.

Approximately 64% of Americans are overweight or obese.  According to Think Progress 75% will be overweight by 2020.  Additional studies indicate that your diet plays a role in brain and psychological health including memory and blood flow. 

Registered dietitian Elizabeth Somer, author of the 2010 book Eat Your Way to Happiness states. "But the link between what you eat and your mood, your energy, how you sleep, and how well you think is much more immediate. What you eat or don't eat for breakfast will have at least a subtle effect by mid-afternoon, and what you're eating all day will have a huge impact today and down the road." 
What cost are you paying by not eating healthy?


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I eat really healthy when I am at work and placement but when I am at college I eat unhealthy food. I think this is due to the temptations being all around and that my friends all eat it around me. I always take my lunch with me which usually includes crackers as I don't eat bread but I always end up buying something such as chocolate, fizzy or crisps. What can I do to stop the temptation?? Anyone help

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