Top 10 Sources of Calories in the American Diet

The American diet is talked about at home, in the media, at the gym, in classrooms, and during book club meetings every day.

American diet menuWhat is the health impact of the American diet, and how does this food we love to eat impact how we age, how our body heals itself, and how we contract lifestyle-created illnesses?

Based on the 2013 USDA analysis of American food choices, here is the Top Ten Food List of Primary Calories in the American Diet. How many of these items have you eaten today?

  1. Grain-based desserts
  2. Yeast bread
  3. Chicken and recipes including chicken
  4. Soda/Energy/Sports Drinks
  5. Pizza
  6. Alcoholic Beverages
  7. Pasta and Pasta Dishes
  8. Tortillas, burritos, tacos
  9. Beef and recipes including beef
  10. Dairy Desserts

These top 10 food choices in American households have a swift and long-lasting impact on the way we age as well as on how long we live. The We Are Women At Wellness community is passionate about spreading accurate info about wellness and good health practices. That’s why you are reading this blog today!

Here is what you can tell your friends and family this week about the standard American diet, perhaps as you share a nourishing meal at home:

  1. Our bodies are constantly growing, repairing, and maintaining themselves. The next time you think about your metabolic rate and how it seems to be slowing down, please remember that the metabolism requires a wide range of nutrients such as vitamins, minerals, enzymes, amino acids, healthy fats, and clean water. When we choose better food, our bodies are better equipped to do all of the general functions that help us age gracefully and live long, fulfilling lives.
  2. Refined sugar is present in many of the top 10 food choices list. The human body has not evolved to run on processed sugar, so having that as a primary source of calories is a handicap. Our bodies run on healthy fats, proteins, and complex carbs. Too much sugar in our blood is damaging to our healthy cells and tissues, especially to collagen, that lovely substance that our younger friends keep talking about. Eating a steady diet of refined sugars stresses the adrenal glands, reduces our energy, and disturbs our sleep. All of these things make us look and feel older than we are.
  3. Dehydration is aging because our body is made primarily of water and water is required for every single metabolic process. If our daily calories are primarily coming from beverages like soda, coffee, beer, wine, and fruit juices, we are likely not feeling thirsty for the cool, clean water our body wants. And besides, these unhealthy beverages contain empty calories, refined sugar, caffeine and other chemicals that dehydrate us. Filtered water, quality herbal tea, and coconut water with electrolytes are better choices for aging gracefully and living longer.
  4. Blood sugar spikes happen to many people who eat junk food on a regular basis. Our bodies want to maintain a consistent blood sugar level, and intense spikes in our blood sugar make our pancreas and entire body work overtime. Like all of my Solution Starter Prediabetes students know, human blood has to have just enough sugar so that the body has good energy, but not so much sugar that our organs are damaged. Many Americans spike their blood sugar without realizing it over decades or longer, and this has developed insulin resistance, prediabetes, or type 2 diabetes. This amount of stress causes huge cellular degeneration, oxidative damage, and can lead to accelerated aging.
  5. Trans Fat: The Junk Food Villain. Found in hydrogenated oil or partially hydrogenated oil, this widely known toxin is found in cookies, cakes, frozen food, crackers, and chips. According to the Harvard School of Public Health, trans fats cause about 50,000 premature heart attack deaths every year! Eating trans fats will also increase your risk for cancer, obesity, depression, asthma, and osteoporosis. It looks like the U.S. government is finally taking steps to eliminate the use of trans fats in our food supply, and I am happy to say those food manufacturers must label trans fats directly.

American diet choicesYou are one person and this list seems overwhelming. All you really want is a tasty meal and to feel good. Much of what I’ve talked about today isn’t new information for you. Good grief! What’s it going to take to help America get back on track with their food choices?

In my Food As Medicine training in 2014, this question was answered by some of the top experts in the health and wellness industry. The discussions about their answers have become the foundation of my work as a Holistic Health Coach and Prediabetes Educator! Here is what we were taught and what I want to teach you.

What will it take for the majority of Americans to release the unhealthy foods to which we are accustomed, and choose instead the healthy, whole, real foods that our bodies deserve?

“It will take concerted, bold actions on the part of individuals, families, communities, industries, and government to achieve and maintain the healthy diet patterns and the levels of physical activity needed to promote the health of the U.S. population. These actions will require a paradigm shift to an environment in which population health is a national priority and where individuals and organizations, private business, and communities work together to achieve a population-wide ‘culture of health’ in which healthy lifestyle choices are easy, accessible, affordable, and normative—both at home and away from home.” – Scientific Report of Dietary Guidelines Committee.

The American diet is evolving, and the top 10 food list is changing, too. While we all look forward to reading scientific research about positive changes happening on a national level in the past five years, I can tell you what I have observed as a health and wellness coach since 2013. I have observed women regaining their personal health, and everytime that they do this, the health of their loved ones also improves. That’s right! Women seeking wellness is the grassroots, patriotic, heroic behavior that will turn the tide on how Americans eat, age, and live during the longer lives of this generation. Let’s embrace our personal health and our power to help others today!