If you think of food as medicine, experts warn that a lot of Americans need a new prescription. According to the CDC, adults who follow a healthy diet are much less likely to live longer, have a lower risk of obesity, heart disease, diabetes and even some types of cancer. But most Americans aren’t eating enough of the good stuff they need in their diet.
“Nutrition is thought to dictate about 80% of one’s health, and obesity irrefutably shaves nearly 10 years off a person’s life,” explains neurosurgeon Dr. Brett Osborn. “You can extend your ‘health span’ — or the time that you remain fully functional and free of disease — by simply following some basic nutritional principles.”
Osborn says these are the 10 most critical nutrition mistakes Americans are making:
- Consuming excessive sugars - Osborn calls this “the root of all evil.” Eating sugar causes a rapid rise in blood sugar, damages arterial walls - which causes inflammation. Plus, he says “eating simple carbohydrates shuts off fat burning by spiking insulin levels and at the same time turns on fat production.”
- Neglecting portion control - In the U.S., people like things super-sized, but that’s not great when it means large portions of food, even the healthy stuff.
- Not getting enough protein - “If you don’t consume enough protein during the day, you will likely shed metabolically precious muscle,” Osborn explains. “Muscle is responsible for burning fat. It is your horsepower.”
- Avoiding fat altogether - Fat, especially omega-3 and omega-9, helps reduce inflammation.
- Not eating enough vegetables - We need the vitamins, minerals and fiber they contain, so aim to get five servings of veggies a day.
- Not getting enough fiber - It lowers the risk of bowel cancer and slows the rate that sugar is absorbed into the bloodstream.
- Drinking too much alcohol - It’s not just the empty calories, but also the negative effects alcohol has on the liver.
- Not drinking enough water, eating late at night and doing extreme dieting are the other top mistakes people make with their diets, according to Osborn.
Source: NY Post