Problems with western diets?

In recent years, the Western diet has become one known for overconsumption of refined carbohydrates (particularly sugar) and saturated fats while being low in fruits and vegetables. The Standard American Diet has even been abbreviated to ‘SAD’.

These diets tend to be devoid of nutrients but high in calories= a recipe for poor health.
A poor diet can affect everything from your immune system to your gut bacteria, while also increasing the risk of many chronic diseases.

This SAD diet (which is present in more Western countries than just America) may partially stem from increasing food availability- e.g. fast food is readily available, many people rely on Uber Eats or similar for their meals and too many people are time poor and the easiest, quickest and cheapest option is not usually the most nutritious.

Unfortunately, the diet of those in Eastern countries are also starting to mirror this with the number of fast foods restaurants and convenience foods increasing, and the wholefoods in the diet decreasing. 

What many Western & EASTERN diets are beginning to look like:

  • Carb heavy- particularly white flour and sugar
  • High in saturated fat- e.g., butter, trans fats
  • High in added salt
  • Lack of fruit and vegetables (and the fibre that comes along with this!)

What our diets should look like:

  • As much colour as possible- 5+ vegetables and 2+ fruits per day
  • A focus on wholegrain carbohydrates- e.g., brown rice, brown bread
  • Inclusion of heart healthy fats- avocado, olive oil, nuts and seeds
  • Limited added salt and sugar

Consider which of the above checklists your diet aligns with and consider how you could make it closer to the 2nd!

 

References

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5532387/ 
https://edition.cnn.com/2015/07/07/health/western-diet-health/index.html

About the author

Cheyenne Holman

Cheyenne Holman

Accredited Practicing Dietitian (APD)
Accredited Sports Dietitian
Certified Personal Trainer
Yoga Alliance Certified Yoga Teacher