How Healthy Are We Really?
I got a really good response on my post regarding motivation to improve your life, both physically and mentally. I'd like to write another article that is in a similar approach (this time more directly related to nutrition), simply looking at something that everyone can relate to. And I mean everyone!
We all eat. This is something that I don't really need to point out. What I should point out though is that most of us, do not eat properly. Our views of food, generally speaking are not healthy. We have people who try to follow guidelines set by our government, yet never see any really improvement in their body composition and overall health. Obese people who eat excessive calories, generally in any form. People who are the opposite and restrict their diets absurdly to the barest of minimums, often with next to no nutritional value. And finally, the people who believe that as long as the macronutrients are accounted for, the diet is good to go.
Of course this is a generalised statement, there surely are more variations to this template. But what I'm trying to get at here is this:
For most of us, we have a misguided view of our food
Its surprising to see, when asking various people their opinion on their diet, most people will either feel that they have a relatively healthy diet. OR. They will outright admit that their diet is terrible.
According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics,
"In 2011-12 55.6% of all Australians aged 15 years and over considered themselves to be in very good or excellent health, while 4.0% rated their health as poor."
That is more than half of our population who feel that they are healthy (that particular article doesn't discuss the remaining 40.4% of the population, so for the moment we have to disregard that part of the study. It doesn't quite impact the point I'm making). HALF! That explains why, between 2004 and 2005, 3.5 million(18%) Australians reported to have long term heart conditions. And between 2007 and 2008 we saw Type 1 and 2 diabetes rise to affect 3.3% of Australians. So because we are so healthy we also see that,
"Prevalence of overweight and obesity in adults aged 18 years and over has continued to rise to 63.4% in 2011-12 from 61.2% in 2007-08 and 56.3% in 1995."
Obviously, our view of what we eat and our lifestyle in general is incorrect. Of course take away and fast foods account for a large portion of our crisis, but we should start from the base and work our way up. What do we eat throughout majority of the day? We are marketed to by companies, convincing us that low fat is a great choice and zero calorie products will help us maintain a healthy life. That a 'superfood' is going to make us healthy and promises longevity. We sometimes buy into this marketing and feel like we can balance out our poor food choices with something to redeem us. I can promise you this,
There is no silver bullet to an unhealthy life
What we as a nation need to do, is take a step back and look at what we know for a fact is not working for us. What is doing us more damage than good. The structure of the current dietary guidelines is not working for sedentary life, which is becoming the norm for Australians. Modern science is showing us that what was previously thought about certain foods is actually incorrect, for example, coconut oil as a saturated fat being bad for our health. I recognise that the guidelines must be broad enough for a large population to understand and follow, but if the guidelines are wrong, what's the point?
A quote most commonly known as one from Einstein, but may be debated, summarises all this perfectly.
"Insanity: Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results"
It may sound like this final idea might sell myself out of a future job, but this concept may help a lot of people. And that's my goal. So, consider this. Learn about what you are eating, understand where it comes from and who produces it. What chemicals are involved, what studies have been done on these chemicals and their adverse side effects. Instead of take away, learn how to make a healthy alternative at home. Don't use the excuse, you haven't the time to cook. If its going in your body, you should have all the time in the world for it.