Nutrition, Keep it Simple Smarty
By: Laurence T. Gayao MD
A few years ago, my daughter and her two little girls went to New York City to visit her older sister’s family. A family friend met them at the airport using the family’s car. Before the friend reached the airport she had stopped at a filling station for gas. After meeting my daughter and girls at the terminal, they went to the car, loaded the luggage and settled down for the trip home; however, the car would not start after several attempts. They called my son-in-law , who then had the car towed to a shop. The following day, the mechanic called and told my son-in-law that the car had diesel in it’s engine and it would would have to be flushed out at the cost of about $1,000.
This indeed was an unfortunate incident, a careless act causing needless expense. If you think about it, how many times do we do this to our bodies? We eat and/or drink unhealthily and the result is needless illnesses that could have been easily avoided.
For many years now, numerous collaborative researches have given us a large amount of information on proper nutrition, yet this has not had much of an impact on the way we eat. Unlike the industries that produce processed foods and fast food chains spend billions of dollars in advertisements to promote their products, but it seems information on good nutrition has not been disseminated and actively promoted because no profits would be generated from doing so and the mas media don’t like to upset their advertisers. In other words as the old saying says, “Money talks.” The money the food industry spends of advertising is just staggering.
The CDC (Center for Disease Control and Prevention) has good information on proper nutrition in their website titled “Nutrition for Everyone” (click to go to the site), which very few people know about. They have created a Healthy Eating Plate Chart that has been modified by the Harvard School of Public Health. This shows in terms of proportions, our ideal food intake and is simpler than the old food pyramid that dietitians previously used.
I would highly recommend the CDC website for presenting information in layman’s terms as it is comprehensive, but not complicated. The Harvard School of Public Health website is another good source of information. There are also the United State Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) that jointly releases Dietary Guidelines for Americans every five years, check out this site: Choose My Plate (click to link)
Note the simplicity of the USDA & HHS released Dietary Guidelines for Americans below & the food chart above:
Avoid oversized/super-sized portions, keep in mind if you eat too much even healthy foods you may end up dying from obesity and its many complications.
FOODS TO INCREASE
Make half of your plate fruits and vegetables
Make at least half of your grains whole grains
Switch to fat free or low fat (1%) milk
FOOD TO REDUCE
Compare sodium (salt) in foods like soups, bread and frozen meals, opting for the foods with lower sodium content:
o Most Americans should limit their sodium intake to less than 2,300 mg/day (1 tsp.).
o All persons over 51 years, all African Americans at any age, as well as people with diabetes, high blood pressure and kidney disease, should limit their sodium intake to 1,500 mg/day (just under ¾ tsp).
o Limit red meats & cheese and avoid bacon, cold cuts, and other processed meats.
o Drink water instead of sugary drinks, it’s more healthy and definitely cheaper.
Nutrition is defined as the study of what we eat, what it does to the body and what it does for the body; however, what influences what we eat is determined by multiple factors such as personal preference, familiarity, social reasons, values and beliefs, convenience, economy and whatever makes us feel good rather than good nutrition. Unfortunately, healthy eating is often only considered when one is sick after a life time nutritional abuse.
We owe it to ourselves and to our families learn as much as we can about proper nutrition, make it part of our lifestyle and pass it on to the next generation. We need to stop this unhealthy cascade into obesity that is affecting two-thirds of our population and this is double what it was since 1970. Let us not wait for a physician to tell us to make a change in our diet because our lives are in danger because then it maybe too late.
It may sound trite, but it is true that “an ounce of prevention is better than a pound of cure.” For nutrition remember KISS, keep it simple smarty.
Your Fitness Doc
For my advice to keep you well it’s free, but for the professional consultation when you’re sick well I will have to charge.