Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Eating Poorly, Why?

Why do we still eat this way?


We know we shouldn't. We hate ourselves when we do. And yet, with all the information available about proper nutrition and the dangers of obesity, we still eat things like Red Robin's "A.1. Peppercorn burger with bacon,Bottomless Steak Fries and a Monster Salted Caramel Milkshake." That combo captured one of nine "Xtreme Eating" awards from the Center for Science in the Public Interest last week, clocking in with 3,540 calories (nearly two days' worth for an average person ), 69 grams of saturated fat (3.5 days' worth ), and 6,280 milligrams of sodium (about four days' worth). And it contains 38 teaspoons of sugar.
I read the center's report, and Justin Moyer's eye-0pening post on it, a day after returning home from two weeks in Japan, where, you're probably aware,life expectancy is greater than in every nation except tiny Monaco and the Chinese territory of Macau, according to the CIA's World Factbook, which lists the United States 42nd. And where the obesity rate runs at a little over 3 percent, compared with about 35 percent in the United States.
I understand that life expectancy is a complex mix of genetics, lifestyle and other factors, but the contrast in eating habits in the two nations is jolting (as is the knowledge that today's U.S. children may be the first generation in 200 years to live shorter life spans than their parents). I traveled most of Japan without seeing anything remotely like the Red Robin burger or the Cheesecake Factory's slab of "Peanut Butter Chocolate Cake Cheesecake” (1,500 calories, 43 grams of saturated fat, 21 teaspoons of sugar), another Xtreme Eating award winner. The Japanese diet, as many know, is based heavily on rice and noodles, with plenty of vegetables and small bits of fish, chicken, pork or beef. Desserts are small by our standards and often consist of fruit. All of it is served in what Americans would consider tiny portions, on small plates or in small bowls, instead of heaped on one large plate. On the Japanese island of Okinawa, home to a greater proportion of centenarians than anywhere in the world, many follow the practice of pushing away from a meal when they are 80 percent full.
According to this 2006 study from the University of Minnesota, Americans consume an average of 230 more calories each day than the Japanese (2,168 vs. 1,930), and exercise much less -- mainly because Japanese adults walk so much more as part of everyday life.
All of which raises the question: Why do so many of us still eat so poorly?
#eating #portioneating #badeatinghabits #obesity #mealplanner

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