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You Truly Are What You Eat

Submitted by Jon Lewis on January 15, 2012 – 7:43 pm

Why is the U.S. obesity level growing each year? Is it just poor eating habits? Is it fast food? Is it lack of exercise? Lack of education?

If you grouped all of these factors together and (most likely) mix in a bit of genetics, you will inevitably discover one common denominator: lifestyle. The old adage, “You are what you eat,” could not be truer today. 

Here’s a breakdown of some of the most fattening — yet easily accessible — foods we regularly consume.

Ice Cream – It’s not good for you. It’s high in fat, sugar and calories, not to mention the artificial flavors and preservatives. One cup has approximately 350 calories and 20 grams of mostly saturated fat — and that’s just vanilla!

Fried Foods – Fried foods come in so many different varieties: chicken, French fries, chips, doughnuts, etc. Additionally, many fast foods are fried, and with today’s on-the-go lifestyle, this is the easy, quick way out. But if you want to try to stay healthy, this is not the way to go. There are too many saturated fats and calories in fried foods, not to mention the potential for chemically altered trans fatty acids and other items that may be in that fat fryer.

Soda – A Coke here. A Pepsi there. A Sprite here. A Dr. Pepper there. Not good. Why? It’s simple: sugar. Sodas are loaded with sugar; not to mention the extra calories. This doesn’t even include fructose corn syrup, which is horrible with a capital “H.” The worst thing about these drinks is the fact that we not only drink these high sugary drinks, but we also eat our meals with them (fried meals, in the case of fast food), which is a double whammy. Don’t be confused by non-carbonated fruit drinks, either. They pack a lot of sugar, too. If you drink a lot of sodas, sweet tea and fruit drinks, try drinking only water for a month and see what it does for your weight.

White Bread – Seems healthy, right? After all, it’s made of grains, isn’t it? Wrong! There is very little
nutritional value in white bread. It’s added carbohydrates. The body treats white bread as it does sugar.
Whole grain breads can be good for you, but most people don’t go that route, especially children. In addition, we eat pretzels, cereals and pizza — all made from this same white flour. Choose whole wheat or rye next time.

Pastas and Rice – Once again, these starches are filled with carbs. Pastas and rice add excess fat. Add a white alfredo sauce or gravy and you are really in for it. If you are going to eat pasta or rice, at least choose the colored kind – whole wheat or brown. Cutting down on these foods may not only help you reduce weight, but they will make you feel better, and when you feel better, you feel like getting out and
exercising more. It all works together.

— Jon Lewis is an attorney with Lewis, Feldman & Lehane, LLC in Birmingham, Alabama.