Whenever I go to the grocery store, I always have my eyes open, watching to see what everyone else is buying. Boxed foods and instant dinner packets, soda, lemonade… it’s not always a picture of nutritional bounty.
As a professional health care provider, I am fascinated with how people make their food choices and what motivates them to do so. And how I can help by getting the right information out there.
I have also come to understand just how important decision-making is in the development of diseases like obesity, heart disease and diabetes. Throughout the United States, these remain our largest health challenges. The statistics regarding the impact upon the health of Americans is disturbing to say the least.
To blame others for our current health is equally disturbing and needs to be circumvented if we are going to truly be able to move forward in the fight against the effects of chronic disease in this country.
Here is a good example of what I mean in practical terms.
The next time you happen to venture out to your local grocery store, why don`t you do what I frequently do? Look at what other folks are placing in their carts.
And take a good, hard look at what you are placing inside your own cart!
Here is a typical list of some of the commonly available food items I frequently see others choose from store shelves:
Soda, white bread, cereal, white bread products, crackers, snacks like chips, frozen entrees, canned foods, pasta, bacon, cold-cuts, fruit drinks, milk, eggs, ice cream, butter, margarine, peanut butter, salt, flour, cookies, desserts, red meat, sausages.
Now, of course, this is my own observations and highly unscientific. Although eggs, milk, peanut butter and red meat could be considered reasonably healthy, I think that this list indicates that most of these food items would not be considered healthy food choices.
If you would like a better indication of what Americans really buy at the supermarket, here are the three most common foods purchased by American shoppers as compiled by market researchers—three that are certainly not doing your body any favors.
Also Read Hidden Secrets of Processed Food
Soda: This item tops the list of the most frequently purchased food in a food store. Soda is full of sugar and causes an influx of empty calories into your diet that increase fat storage, and drive up your blood sugar, blood pressure and insulin levels, pushing you ever closer to developing metabolic syndrome. And you don’t want that: Metabolic syndrome is the name for a group of risk factors that raises your risk for heart disease and other problems like diabetes and stroke. Try sugar-free sparkling water with a slice of lime instead, or H20 from a pitcher in your fridge with added citrus or cucumber for wonderful flavor.
Breakfast Cereals: This is one of the most sugar-packed foods that you can possibly buy for yourself or your kids. These products are all refined carbohydrates and are very high on the glycemic scale capable of raising blood sugar rapidly. This is just a sugar-fix first thing in the morning without any real nutritional value whatsoever. Even the granola is sugar-laden. Stick with plain whole-grain shredded wheat or oatmeal.
Frozen Entrees: Frozen dinners or entrees are not only full of fat, preservatives and sodium but can also be high in calories. They are easy to prepare and convenient but are they a good food choice? Not a chance! If you need something fast, try a take-out barbecue chicken with a side couscous or quinoa salad.
The next time you go grocery shopping, pay attention to your food choices and look for some healthier alternatives. Yes, your body will thank you.
Dove, L.L., “Top 10 Groceries Americans Buy,” How Stuff Works website, February 15, 2011; http://money.howstuffworks.com/personal-finance/budgeting/10-groceries-americans-buy.htm#page=0, last accessed July 7, 2014.