Updated: May 13
There's a reason the Standard American Diet is called SAD.
The Standard American Diet is high in meat, dairy, eggs, highly processed and refined foods, fried foods, and sugar. Not only does this diet lead to obesity and chronic illness, but some of the leading causes of death in Americans, like heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and kidney disease can be attributed to this SAD diet (and yes, I am saying both the acronym and the word). And sadly, studies show that most Americans are not eating enough fruits, greens, and grains to even reach the minimum recommended amounts.
There's a very interesting history behind how American society got to believing the more meat and dairy you have, the stronger and better off you'll be - and I can tell you very little science was involved. Because if you take a look at some very important nutrition studies, you'll see just how very bad this diet can be for you.
Science LITERALLY tells us to eat less animal products for health and environmental reasons. Yet marketing ads and biased studies backed by lobbyists profiting from the multi-billion dollar industry that is the meat industry, are consistently shoved down our throats. Historically, the meat industry has influenced the USDA's dietary advice $ignificantly (get it? with money?). The meat and dairy corporations have trade and front groups, disguised as the good guys telling us what we want to hear, but really they're just funded by corporations profiting from our SAD way of life. This is why being a smart consumer and checking sources is so important.
Long story short: corporate greed trumps science - people stay uneducated - people eat like shit - people stay sick, overweight, and unhealthy - people look for unhealthy fad diets - cycle repeats.
Before I bust out information based on nutritional studies, let me say that yes I completed my Plant Based Nutrition certification and am studying to become a Nutrition Consultant, but I am not a licensed medical professional and what I say is in no way medical advice. I've just done my research and am spreading the good word of our lord and savior, plants.
What's so sad about SAD?
Everything. But let's break it down.
Studies abound saying red meat takes a toll on heart health.
A recent study says chicken is no better than red meat when it comes to bad cholesterol.
Processed meats increase cancer risk, and lets face it - all meat is processed.
I count fish as meat and never understood those that don't. Fish contain contaminants from the shit we dump in our waters. They're also the middle man for omega-3s.
Many believe you can only get certain nutrients from meat, when the "meat" is getting these nutrients from plants and acting as the middle man.
What falls in this category? Most items in the grocery store.
These are packed with preservatives and are often high in sodium, which can cause inflammation and issues with blood pressure, leading to heart disease and stroke.
Includes the obvious foods like microwave meals, hot dogs, chips, pop, candy, ice cream, cereal, canned foods, frozen dinners, ham, bacon, cheese, milk, yogurt, etc.
And then there's things with hidden sugars and sodium that you want to avoid.
Most of these items have no nutritional value.
Studies show an increased risk of cancer, diabetes, heart disease with egg consumption.
Egg whites are a concentrated source of protein, which seems great to most, but many studies show too much protein, as is the SAD way, can actually be bad for you. Most Americans get way more than needed when compared to other healthy and plant heavy diets around the world.
Eggs are high in cholesterol. We've all heard that eggs are good for cholesterol, but a recent study shows that eggs can increase risk for cardiovascular disease.
I shouldn't have to explain why humans should not be consuming the milk of another species (gag).
Dairy is high in saturated fat and has been linked to so many issues - heart disease, cancers like prostate and breast, type 2 diabetes, etc.
Studies are finding that milk may not benefit bone health the way we were all lead to believe.
And those vitamins in milk? They're added.
Diseases are rampant when cows are forcefully impregnated for milk and living in trashy conditions on factory farms.
Cows are pumped with antibiotics and this can cause issues in humans, such as antibiotic resistant bacteria.
Cheese is high in fat and processed cheeses are packed with ingredients and preservatives to extend shelf life. This is the stuff that can lead to heart issues and high blood pressure. And no it isn't just Kraft singles - it's your bags of shredded cheeses and prepackaged slices you grab out of the cooler at the grocery store.
Many yogurts and other dairy items are loaded with sugars and highly processed.
Cavities, diabetes, depression, obesity, heart disease, blood pressure, inflammation, liver disease, cancer.
The problem with sugar is it can be hiding in many things under many names.
Always check your sugar content and ingredient list, and avoid processed sugars like high fructose corn syrup.
The Answer to SAD?
The answer is a plant based diet. People can no longer argue (even though they do, and to the absolute death) that the meat industry is destroying our bodies and planet. Mass meat production is contributing to global warming at an alarming rate. Studies show meat and dairy increase risk for so many diseases. Countless studies have shown that a plant based diet has reversed disease and chronic illness in many people. The answer is literally in vegetables, grains, legumes, nuts, and fruits.
Giving up the SAD doesn't mean you have to give up some of the staples of this diet, like a burger and fries. Meet this bad boy:
You can see my post about this burger here.
This is the Perfect Burger by Dr. Praeger.
20g of protein
230 Calories in one patty
8g of carbs
And here's the best part - you can actually read and understand the ingredients (taking away most of the argument against processed plant based foods):
Hydrated Pea Protein Blend (Water, Pea Protein), Sunflower Oil, Beets, Natural Flavors, Sweet Potato Puree, Butternut Squash Puree, Carrot Puree, Methyl Cellulose, Oat Fiber, Fruit And Vegetable Juice (For Color), Sea Salt, Onion Powder