Look, I know that when it comes to eating healthy, the cards are stacked against you. Most of the items in your local grocery store offer little to no nutritional value, the restaurants available in your town offer big servings of sugar and fat, and choosing healthy options can be expensive and confusing.
Combine all of that with conflicting, hard-to-understand information about what’s healthy and what’s not, and it’s no wonder Americans are eating themselves into an early grave.
What always gets me, though, and maybe you can relate, is how much we know about food and how much we ignore it. For example, we know that added sugars found in soda and processed foods are messing with our metabolism, leading to type 2 diabetes and heart disease, but these products are still top sellers. It seems like the more we learn, the more we ignore.
Study: Those Recovering from Cancer Eat Just as Poorly as Average Americans
I found a survey the other day showing how Americans recovering from cancer have worse diets than the general population. Not by much, I might add, but you’d figure that with all we’ve learned about nutrition, they might be a little more careful when it comes to diet. But it’s just not so. The survey of 1,500 showed that cancer survivors score 47 out of 100 on adherences to U.S. Dietary Guidelines, while the general population scored 48.
Nutritional choices have been linked to cancer and cancer recovery. I found it extremely strange that this segment of the population was even less inclined to follow healthy eating habits.
I know that the big budgets of junk food manufacturers and its accessibility make it impossible to ignore, but the truth is that every time you leave it on the shelf, you’re making a decision that will give real benefits to your health.
Improve Your Calorie Quality: 5 Healthy Eating Tips
Whether or not you have cancer, I strongly urge you to improve the quality of calories you consume. Here are a few cornerstones of a healthy diet that can help you improve your health, stave off disease, or recover from illness:
Healthy Eating Tip #1: Don’t Drink Your Calories
Sugar-laden sodas and fruit juices can damage your body faster than you’d likely believe. A 16-ounce Coke, for example, has 200 calories of pure sugar. That’s 54 grams, or 13 teaspoons—the recommended daily intake for sugar before you’ve eaten anything at all. And don’t think a glass of orange or apple juice can be trusted to be low in sugar, either! The best choice: stick to black coffee, tea, water, and various milk options (except for flavored ones), which are all much lower in calories.
Healthy Eating Tip #2: Eat More Fat (the good kinds)
Surprised? Most fats are good for you. In fact, the hoopla about saturated fats is largely unfounded. The only fats you should be avoiding are trans fats, which are identifiable by terms like “hydrogenated oils” or “partially hydrogenated oils.”
Healthy Eating Tip #3: Stick to Naturally Occurring Sugars
If you have a diet high in fruit, vegetables, and whole grains, you’ll be getting enough sugar, but all in its natural form. This is highly beneficial because when it’s derived from natural sources, often in whole form, it is digested with fiber, which eliminates the negative metabolic consequences of added sugars. Natural sugars from dairy are also safe.
Healthy Eating Tip #4: Swap Sugar-Laden Sauces for Spices and Seasonings
BBQ sauces, steak sauce, and ketchup are all packed with sugars, while most hot sauces and seasonings are sugar-free. Read the label to know what you’re getting.
Healthy Eating Tip #5: Eat More Foods with Natural, Vibrant Colors
Berries, citrus fruits, leafy greens, tomatoes, and peppers all offer numerous health benefits that go far beyond your waistline to fight and defeat disease. For the best health effects, eat a variety of colorful vegetables, as they’ll each contain their own health benefits to complement those of the other vegetables and fruits you’re eating.
Sources for Today’s Article:
Dotinga, R., “Many Cancer Survivors Eat Poorly, Study Finds,” Healthday web site, last updated October 13, 2015; http://consumer.healthday.com/cancer-information-5/mis-cancer-news-102/many-cancer-survivors-eat-poorly-study-finds-704141.html.
Brody, J. E., “The More We Learn on Nutrition, the More We Ignore,” New York Times web site, October 12, 2015; http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2015/10/12/the-more-we-learn-on-nutrition-the-more-we-ignore/?src=me&_r=1.