It’s no wonder the Standard American Diet (SAD) goes by that acronym – no one should be too surprised that a person in America is typically consuming unhealthy amounts of fats, sugars and lacking lots of essential nutrients due to their diet.
Not only is it high in saturated and hydrogenated fats, it also contains very little fruits and vegetables as well as fiber. To top it all off, this diet is smothered in animal fat, giving you a triple layer of unhealthiness.
Many of us enjoy indulging in the Standard American Diet… but perhaps we should think again!
Although it definitely can satisfy our taste buds — when it comes to our health, we would be better off looking in another direction. So, If you’re hoping for an alternative to this SAD diet that’s right for you, look no further than making healthier choices and enjoying the benefits of a balanced diet.
Not that I’m suggesting you stop eating your favorite foods, like burgers and fries, (heaven forbid!)… just think “in moderation” (not to excess but reasonable) – for your own health!
So, how to eat healthier?
For the past six years, the Mediterranean Diet has been hailed as the world’s best diet – a distinction worthy of its deliciousness as well as its health benefits (more on that in a minute).
Compared to the typical SAD fare of processed foods, sugary treats and red meat, the Mediterranean diet focuses on fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, beans and nuts. A little red wine doesn’t hurt either! Who knew such an enjoyable diet would lead to improved heart health?
Is the Standard American Diet (SAD) Really Sad?
We have all heard of the Standard American Diet (SAD), and let’s be honest, it kind of sounds like it could be a bummer. But how does it stack up to the diets that are considered to be healthier? Let’s take a look.
The Standard American Diet, or SAD for short, can be aptly named for its lack of nutrition. It often includes processed foods with high levels of sodium, sugar, and unhealthy fats.
One might think that with all the “healthy” foods advertised these days, we’d all be getting plenty of fruits, veggies, and whole grains. However, recent estimates from the U.S. Department of Agriculture show that this is definitely not the case: only 11% of our calories come from these sources. Animal products fare higher at 32%, but unfortunately processed and ultra-processed foods lead the pack with a whopping 57%. (Trusted Source)
While convenience and taste may draw us to these foods initially, we need to do better if we intend to live long and healthy lives. It may take some extra effort now, but making smart food choices now can help us avoid the health issues down the road.
What exactly is the Standard American Diet?
The Standard American Diet, or S.A.D., has become an increasingly common term over the past few decades, but where did it come from?
Well, unlike most of our culinary customs and tasty dishes, this abbreviation was not derived from a specific cuisine or culture! Rather, it is actually a term coined by researchers to describe typical eating habits in the United States.
Eating habits that are both wellness-supportive and habitual undergo such scrutiny when they are compared to what is truly considered a “Standard” way of consuming food in America today!
SAD is an informal term for a diet that is high in processed and fast foods, red meat, trans fats, sugar, and salt. It’s low in fruits and vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats.
Studies have shown that this diet can lead to higher rates of obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and other health problems.
Those who follow the SAD typically fill their plates with large portions of fast food and empty carbs like potatoes, white rice and white bread. With limited servings of fish, chicken and fruits throughout the week, it’s no wonder that the diet has been deemed “standard” among Americans.
So what can you do?
Sadly enough, SAD has become majority opinion in the U.S., with our multi-decade decline in home cooking leading to an influx of unhealthy fast foods that dominate popular culture while contributing to a nation addicted to sugar. Not surprisingly, this alarming trend continues even if its effects have been so clearly linked to numerous health issues.
If you want to eat healthier but don’t know where to start – don’t worry! There are lots of simple steps you can take to improve your diet without having to completely overhaul your eating habits. Here are a few ideas:
- Add more fresh fruits and vegetables into your meals.
- Cut back on processed foods like chips and cookies.
- Choose lean proteins such as chicken or fish instead of red meat.
- Swap out white bread for whole-grain breads or wraps.
- Incorporate healthy fats like olive oil or avocados into your diet.
- Limit your intake of added sugars from sodas and other sugary drinks.
These small changes may seem insignificant at first but can make a big difference when it comes to improving your overall health in the long run!
Not only will these dietary changes help you feel better physically but they may also provide mental benefits as well by decreasing stress levels and improving mood.
What are some of the worst foods to eat?
When it comes to eating healthier, some foods are obvious no-nos: fried chicken, bacon double cheeseburgers, anything from a deep fryer. But what about some of the less obvious good-for-you impostors?
Soda may seem like an innocent enough way to quench your thirst, but regular and diet carbonated drinks alike contain empty calories and artificial sweeteners.
Processed meats such as hot dogs or sausages are often packed with sodium for flavor and preservation – hardly a healthful combo.
Doughnuts may evoke childhood nostalgia, but unfortunately, their high sugar and fat content makes them a serious nutritional sin.
While they may seem like a wholesome staple, there’s nothing good artery-wise about heavily processed chips.
So say “no” to these not-so-healthy dishes, and keep your diet clean!
The Standard American Diet (SAD) might not make us very happy, but it surely can get us on a ride to ill health. With its over-abundance of fats and sodium, minimal vegetable and fruit consumption, and love for processed food, SAD is notorious for causing obesity, diabetes, hypertension and other chronic diseases.
The Best Diet Six Years Running!
The Standard American Diet, commonly known as SAD, has been on the outs for quite some time. When it comes to matters of health, the Mediterranean Diet has been claiming top spot in the global diet rankings for the past six years.
What’s behind this craze?
Well, the Mediterranean Diet includes eating lots of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts and healthy fats such as olive oil – all of which are essential components for a healthy lifestyle.
On top of that, it omits red meat and emphasizes moderate fish consumption – two elements that certainly can’t be found in SAD!
Eating healthy doesn’t have to be complicated or overwhelming. Small changes in your daily diet can make a huge difference over time when it comes to improving your physical and mental well-being. By reducing your intake of processed foods and increasing the amount of fresh fruits & veggies you eat every day.
So if you want to maximize your well-being potential, my advice is to put an end to the SADness forever by giving the Mediterranean Diet a try.
Eating nutritious meals and snacks is one of the best ways to ensure longevity and lower your risk for chronic disease.
Superfoods are particularly beneficial because they contain a rich abundance of essential vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that are known to keep our bodies functioning optimally. From broccoli to blueberries, from salmon to spinach, exploring the incredible array of options available in the produce aisle can revolutionize how you think about dieting and make healthy eating an enjoyable lifestyle choice.
Taking charge of your diet not only ensures you’ll live longer but also helps protect you against serious health threats like obesity, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and some kinds of cancer.
With so much at stake, why should healthy eating be anything less than fun?