standard American diet
Super size it! Give me a size large! I will take a Big Mac, or a Whooper! Just listen to some of the things that are stated as the norm in our society when it comes to food now. All of these statements suggest an increase in the portion size of the food consumed. The more there is the better, correct? Not likely. Along with this increase in food portion size has also been an increase in waist size. Needless to say, if we are going to talk about weight loss, we are not going to be talking about the standard American diet unless we are referring to what not to do.
The Problems with the Standard American Diet
There are so many problems with the standard American diet that it is almost difficult to find a starting point. Foremost, let’s take a look at what we call food. Food should have sufficient nutrient content and health promoting qualities. This makes sense. We consume food to nourish our bodies. Most of what the average American diet is made up of does not meet these criteria. Foods that are refined, boxed and packaged do not have life sustaining qualities about them. Rather, they have been stripped of these qualities. Therefore, if you are eating a substance that does not provide you with nutrients and health promoting qualities, how can you expect to promote health? You cannot. In short, this food is taking the life from you to help process and metabolize it. You are literally losing more nutrients to try to process this food in your body than you are deriving from it.
The Correlation between the Standard American Diet and Weight Gain
Weight gain does not happen without explanation. It is a culmination of things that collide to create a state of dysfunction in the body. Weight gain is the symptom. The dysfunction is the problem that needs to be addressed. To do so, means that you have to start with the standard American diet. If this is not the central focus, weight loss will not take place. The standard American diet promotes weight gain because we are literally starving ourselves of the nutrients that we need to create an optimal metabolism to burn fat. Fat burning does not happen with the standard American diet due to the fact that the foods included as a part of it create hormone dysfunction, highlighted by blood sugar problems, result in multiple nutrient deficiencies that often go uncorrected, and lead to a severe state of inflammation that is at the root of nearly every chronic disease.
How to Accelerate Weight Loss
Just as weight gain does not happen by accident, weight loss only takes place with the right actions. Most importantly this means dumping your dietary habits that are part of the standard American diet and following a primal caveman diet as part of the paleo lifestyle. The primal caveman diet, what many think of as the paleo diet, is almost the opposite of the average American diet. It is full of high quality nutrients that help charge our metabolism and reduce inflammation. This reduction in inflammation coupled with the inherent hormone balancing effects that the primal caveman diet offers makes it the optimal choice to promote weight loss.
The protocol to weight loss is simple. It begins and ends with abandoning the ideas that have become commonly accepted as to what makes up a reasonable diet (and I use the term reasonable very loosely here!) and transitioning into the paleo diet as the foundation of a healthy lifestyle, aka, the Paleo lifestyle.
Just the name, the standard American diet, sounds monotonous and boring. Think about it. The word standard used in this context implies uniformity. It suggests that everything is consistent and there is lack of variation. The underlying tone is that individuals are eating the same thing throughout the population. In this case, that is detrimental for the population. Let’s just talk bluntly for a moment. The standard American diet lacks a lot regarding supporting health. It is in need of a significant overhaul. The consistent way that the population is eating is putting us on a fast track to a society of chronic disease ridden individuals.
The Standard American diet is the Wrong Path
On the surface you might not consider the standard American diet inherently problematic to our health. This was likely the case 100 years ago. However, over the last century, we have come to consume food in a much different way than our ancestors did. They enjoyed a more primal diet that some today call the Paleo Diet or caveman diet. The difference between this pattern of eating and the style of food we consume today is drastically different. We no longer eat like our ancestors and we are paying the price for it. Instead, we eat foods that are adulterated and a combination of food-like products that should leave you wondering exactly what you are putting in your mouth.
Should we even call it food?
Take a walk through the grocery store. Walk down each aisle and look at what the standard American diet has become. It is a buffet of boxed and canned items that look drastically different from what they did prior to being refined and damaged by manufacturing. They have lost their inherent qualities that make them a food we should consume. It is hard to believe that we even call some of the things in the grocery stores food any more. The standard American diet, a different far different than the Paleo diet lends, is made up of foods that have only vague characteristics of the food that we should be consuming.
The Problem with the Standard American Diet
To understand what is wrong with the standard American diet, we need to compare it to the Paleo diet. This primal diet has some unique characteristics that are no longer seen with what is commonly consumed today. Let us start by looking at a few of the most pronounced differences.
The standard American diet is heavy in grains. Grains are high in carbohydrates and lack the balance and nutrients compared to other food groups. Add to this that most grains are among the highest dietary allergens and are linked to numerous ailments and you quickly realize they have some inherent problems. Moreover, if you are consuming grains, you are likely consuming a genetically modified food. I can say with confidence that none of our ancestor eating a Paleo diet with all of its primal characteristics was consuming genetically modified foods.
Our bodies need fat, but the right kind. Fats found in the standard American diet promote inflammation, a trait of almost every chronic disease. You actually have to seek out non-inflammatory fats in the grocery store and even when you do, you are not likely to find those that are most beneficial to suppressing inflammation in significant quantities.
There are many other problems with the standard American diet that I will detail in subsequent articles, but for now, knowing that this dietary pattern can destroy your health is the most important thing that you can take away. It is crucial for us to recognize that our ancestors had it right without even knowing it. They ate a Paleo diet that gave them the nutrition they needed.