Blanco County News
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Health and Wellness
Why Are We So Unhealthy?
Wellness Consultant
Wednesday, January 11, 2012 • Posted January 12, 2012 2:45 PM

We are the wealthiest nation on earth… yet among the sickest people. Today I would like to focus on one of the factors behind this sad fact… so we can start on the road to recovery. We make poor food choices, eating too much of the “bad” food and not enough of the “good” food. There is also lack of exercise, stressful lifestyles, environmental factors and the “treatment” approach to medicine instead of “prevention”.

Hopefully, we are already trying to make health a priority for ourselves and our families. By now we have recognized the need to make plans and make a start. We have started the first step towards a healthier lifestyle, right?

Just what are some of these “bad” foods we are eating? According to a recent study by the USDA, every year the average American eats: 756 donuts, 60 pounds of cake and cookies, 23 gallons of ice cream, 7 pounds of potato chips, 200 sticks of gum, 365 servings of soda pop, 90 pounds of fat, and 134 pounds of refined sugar. Actually, last year the refined sugar was up to 156 pounds of which a child takes in three quarters of a pound per day.

Sugar, while it contains no nutrients, does cause health problems. When sugar consumption rises to about 30% of calories, there are elevations in blood pressure, triglycerides, total and LDL (bad) cholesterol, uric acid, glucose and insulin responses and suppression of the immune system. Most people believe that the real damage done by sugar is weight gain, but that’s only a small part of its destructive capability.

Americans get about 51% of their calories from carbohydrates, but not much of that comes from healthy sources. Yet, all carbohydrates are not created equal. Complex carbohydrates are found in whole grains, vegetables, nuts, seeds and legumes. Eat more of these because they fuel the body over a sustained period of time. Simple carbohydrates, or sugars, found in foods like fruit, honey, maple syrup, sugar beets and malt syrup are absorbed quickly into the blood stream and should be consumed more moderately. They fuel the body for a short period of time. Then there are the non-food simple carbohydrates such as refined sugar (found in packaged foods and listed under several names such as: sugar, dextrose, sucrose, fructose, corn syrup, brown sugar); and, refined flour found in packaged foods particularly breads, crackers, cookies, cereals and pastas.

Fat consumption is today’s worst dietary culprit for Americans... According to the National Cancer Institute, “fat is the dietary substance most strongly linked to cancer.” But dietary fat also contributes to heart disease by clogging arteries with cholesterol and fat and diabetes. Mayo Clinic and other reliable sources recommend that we change the ratio of “good” fats and “bad.” We need more omega 3 fatty acids in our diets from sources such as fish or flax seed and less omega 6’s from corn oil or fat fried foods.

Next week, we’ll look at the “good guys”…the healthy alternatives to include in our meals.

Disclaimer: Facts in these articles are obtained from medical and clinical journals, scientific publications, and published trade books. These articles have been written and published strictly for information purposes. Consult your health care provider for your specific medical needs. For any questions, comments or suggestions contact Maryella Vause at or

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