Health in the United States has reached a point where many health professionals are now calling our situation one of the biggest crises our nation has ever faced. With Dr. Mehmet Oz, the extremely popular host of the eponymous daytime show “Dr.Oz,” being hauled before the U.S. Congress to answer for promoting unproven weight loss “miracle supplements,” the question of Americans’ overall health has been brought back to the forefront. Americans are yet again having to answer the tough question, “are you healthy?” Depending on the answer, they are also having to make some serious life changes.
Diet: The Biggest Contributor To the Crisis
The average American looking for the cause for their ever-expanding waistline need only look in the pantry. The typical American pantry won’t contain an abundance of fruit, vegetables, and whole grains -- these so-called clean foods are widely considered to the be healthy alternatives to the over-processed items that line our supermarket shelves. Instead, corn chips, fruit packed in syrup, and corn syrup-laden granola bars fill up our cupboards. Because we eat more of these packaged, processed foods than anything else, the average American now consumes more than 56 pounds of pure, white sugar annually. For the sake of comparison, we consumed just about 44 grams of sugar every five days in 1820, or the amount of sugar in a 12 ounce can of soda. We consume that in a mere seven hours now, according to a study from Business Insider.
Our love for sugar speaks to an imbalance in our consumption of nutrients across the board. By and large, Americans consume too much solid fat, added sugar, and refined grain. Salt consumption is almost as bad as sugar, with 90% of Americans consuming far more than is recommended.
Too Many Turn to Supplements As A Panacea
Thinking that taking a few pills will solve their problem, Americans have spurred the supplement industry toward geometric growth over the last few decades. According to the 2007 National Health Review Survey, 17.7% of people said they’d taken supplements within the last 12 months, with an earlier survey pointing to 53% of Americans taking at least one supplement in hopes of ameliorating the effects of poor diet and a lack of adequate exercise.
What Can Be Done To Address the Issue?
As the U.S. Food & Drug Administration continues to be influenced by the deep pockets of our nation’s food industry, the increasingly unhealthy population can’t rely on sensible reforms to help take them cut back on sugar, fat, and sodium. In truth, we could all do with a bit of personal responsibility. For now, the best way to extend our lives, avoid chronic disease, and feel better is to take sensible steps for ourselves. Turning to minimally processed foods, everything from soft cheeses to whole apples, will reduce our sugar, fat, and sodium intake. Getting off the couch and simply heading out for a half-hour walk each day could also have noticeable effects.
To lose one pound of body fat, you need to consume 3,500 less calories than you need to maintain your body weight. Bumping up your weekly activity while tightening the reins on your nutritional lifestyle will help you reach that deficit week after week. It’s hard work, but when the alternative is wheezing every time you stand up, or a life where you have to stab yourself with an insulin pen twice a day, which would you prefer?
Gluten-free has been at the top of the list of health buzzwords for more than a year due to the widely held belief that it could be a helpful measure to facilitate weight loss. While it's true there are certain people who require a gluten-free diet for optimal health, for the vast majority of Americans, there really is not much of a benefit to these food restrictions. Those who need to maintain a gluten-free lifestyle are individuals who suffer from wheat allergies or a rare digestive condition that damages the intestinal tract, which prevents the body from absorbing nutrients effectively. If you have not been diagnosed with this disorder or wheat allergies, a gluten-free diet may actually rob you of a variety of healthy nutrients that can actually help you achieve your target weight.
Tags: Weight Management
When you go to the gym, chances are you'll encounter numerous individuals munching on protein bars or pounding down sports drinks after their workouts. The idea that you need to replenish your body's nutrient stores immediately following physical activities has become overwhelmingly popular over the past decade, and more fitness enthusiasts than ever before are engaging in post-fitness refueling. It is no secret that our muscles disperse a lot of energy during strenuous activities, but do these replenishment techniques actually allow the body to recover in less time than it normally would?
Normally, when an individual is dedicated to dropping extra weight around the thighs, hips and midsection, soda is one of the first elements cut out of their diets. Regardless of whether they like to enjoy regular or diet soda, the commonly held notion is that these sugary beverages can only hurt your chances of achieving significant weight loss results. Numerous studies over the years have espoused that even diet soda does not provide a benefit for those trying to shed some extra pounds. However, new research suggests that this idea may not be entirely accurate.
Joint comfort is something all aging Americans want to enjoy while still engaging in activities they love. But joint comfort extends well beyond just mobility and functionality. When a patient is confined to a sedentary lifestyle because of bodily ailments, it can rapidly affect their outlook on daily life. Someone who was full of vigor as a young adult can quickly become quite disenchanted when they aren't able to do the activities they once excelled at.
Physical activity has come a long way in the past few decades, and most would agree that new technological innovations are at the center of these changes. While in the 1980s and 90s, seven-minute abs and Thighmasters were the way to a slimmer figure, today the approach has changed quite a bit and beginning to look like something out of a Star Trek film. The latest gadget in the realm of fitness equipment is clothing that can actually track your movements and bodily functions. While this high-tech attire may not be as stylish as some of the star fleet uniforms worn by Captain Kirk and Mr. Spock, it potentially could help weight loss hopefuls keep better track of their efforts to foster greater reductions in body fat.
It is no secret that athletes - regardless of what level they compete at - are always seeking ways to enhance their performance on their respective playing fields. In the late 1990s and early 2000s, the preferred way to achieve these higher levels of play was through the use of steroids and a variety of human growth hormones designed to foster incredible muscle growth in far less time than traditional bodybuilding methods. From high school athletes to professional sports stars, athletes saw the appeal of these performance enhancers and went to any means necessary to utilize them to improve their strength and agility. It wasn't until the mid-2000s until sports commissioners and other governing bodies such as the NCAA sought to ban these substances from their respective leagues.
Most individuals who are serious about their weight loss usually turn to lifestyle changes focused on daily exercise. This helps the body burn off more of its collected fat stores, ultimately resulting in a slimmer body image. It also fosters greater overall energy levels, improved flexibility and can reduce the stress placed certain areas of the body. But are there other healthy effects that come out of regular fitness activities that we may not realize?