Diet this, sodium free that... Sounds like a good idea, right?
Your best friend's husband's cousin went to the doctor lately and their doctor told them to try reducing their body fat or else they will die. I guess we should stop eating fat since that's what makes us fat, right?
Unfortunately, millions of us eat the wrong foods, the wrong macros and focus on the wrong things in our diets.
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A diet low in whole grains, fruits, and healthy fats but higher salt increases our risk of early death. Fast food, highly-processed box stuff, and those microwave frozen burritos are great... But it is killing us.
Going over some papers on life expectancy from all over the world, ages average 75.3 years for women and 69.8 for men.
Poor diet is the second highest risk factor for an early grave next to smoking. Other high risks include high blood sugar that can lead to diabetes, high blood pressure, and a high BMI. Funny enough, all of these could be related to eating the wrong foods.
Why Are Bad Diets So Common?
It's no secret that foods that are terrible for your health are cheap. Super cheap. The dollar-to-calorie ratio is unrivaled when looking at a burger from a fast food joint compared to what you can buy in fresh meat and vegetables.
Not only is it cheap, but it tastes good. It's convenient, cheap, and ruins many cheat days.
Fruit, for example, is consumed by wealthy people. They eat a lot of fruit because of the health benefits and they can afford it.
Professor John Newton, Director of Health Improvement at Public Health England mentions how studies are showing how quickly diet and obesity-related diseases are spreading throughout the world.
So What Should We Eat?
I'm obviously no nutritionist, but I personally know the ins and outs of eating poorly versus eating nutritious foods and it's simple: prepare your own meals. You can eat the steak, the bacon, the rice, and the potatoes. Buy them fresh from the store and prepare the meals yourself. This saves time and money in the long run.
Shop the perimeter of the store. If you notice, the fresh meats, vegetables, and fruits all are located on the outside of the store. The box foods, frozen garbage, and other foods that need to be eaten in extreme moderation are located in the center of the store.
How many calories you eat impacts your weight, the types of food you eat determine your health. Sure, eating fast food and other "bad foods" are okay in moderation... But we are going overboard.
The misconception that salads are the only way to lose weight is bogus. While I am writing this article, I've not had a fridge for 4 months eating Panda Express and other fast food choices... And I'm still losing weight. The answer is moderation and planning.
What Can We Do to Get Healthier?
Exercise and utilizing an 80/20 rule makes for a healthier lifestyle. The 80/20 rule basically means 80% of your food should come from healthy sources. Fresh chicken, beef, turkey, vegetables, rice, etc. This is where good old-fashioned meat and potato diets come from.
The remaining 20% can be the foods you love, the taquitos, the gas station burrito, chips, and cookies. You don't need to completely deprive yourself of a pleasurable meal, just eat it in moderation.
For exercise, putting together at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise a few times per week will help. This can be things like dancing, hiking, playing a sport. Hell, piecing together three 10 minute aerobic exercise sessions in a day counts as 30 minutes of exercise.
Don't limit yourself to the gym mentality.
Can Lifting Weights Help Reduce Health Risks?
The short answer is yes. Lifting weights will get you in shape, build more muscle mass, and help burn off body fat.
Not only this, but it will positively affect your blood pressure, blood sugar levels, and can even act as a highly-effective anti-depressant.
Improving cardiovascular health, circulation, and arterial stiffness are all benefits to lifting weights. Resistance training also leads to a longer-lasting drop in blood pressure after exercise compared to aerobic exercise.
Matching cardio with resistance training and a reasonably healthy diet is what it takes to hit your fitness goals. There will be rough patches and slip-ups, but don't let those hold you back.
Wrapping It Up
Look, we are living longer, but we are spending more years in ill health. We spend millions of dollars in the healthcare system to help treat preventable diseases.
If we don't take drastic changes in the way we eat, how much we eat, and what we eat... The statistics are there.
When shopping at the grocery store for food, spend the majority of your time on the perimeter of the store. Try out some new foods you've never had before.
Grab your favorites, but be sure to moderate how much you eat. A few cookies a day won't kill you, but a box every two days can... Literally.