4 Common Mistakes of the Modern Diet
As food products gained longer shelf lives, confusion spread, and our habits accelerated, our diet started to change – and not for the better from a nutritional perspective. This can be seen in the global decline in health and the rise in lifestyle disorders such as obesity, diabetes, and heart disease.
Dietary errors like those mentioned in today’s article are so common that they’ve become the new normal.
Mistake #1: Imbalance of Macronutrients
In the western diet, protein, carbohydrates, and fats are often consumed in incorrect proportions. Since the body requires each of these for particular functions, imbalances in their proportions may cause health issues.
The recommended sum of each food group in our daily diet is –
0.8-1.2 g protein per kg of body weight per day
The range is determined by a person’s level of physical activity. If a sedentary individual weighs 50kg, they should try to eat (0.8 x 50 =) 40g of protein per day. If they exercise regularly, they should increase their protein intake to (1.2 x 50 =) 60g per day. Filling at least quarter of our plate with protein rich sources like meats, paneer, legumes, beans etc. is a simple way to try and achieve this.
Fats: The good kind of fats can account for 20 to 35 percent of our daily calories.
To maintain a healthy weight, someone weighing 50 kg and standing 5 feet 5 inches tall will need to eat around 1200 calories per day (based on a typical BMR calculation).
That means they’d need 2–3 tablespoons of healthy fats per day.
It’s also critical to get a good balance of these good fats from a variety of food sources, especially (as you’ll see) when it comes to the ratio of omega 6 to omega 3 fatty acids. And don’t forget the cheese, butter, and coconuts all count!
Carbs: For a decent amount of fiber in our diet, the majority of our calories can come from fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.
Making sure that half of every meal’s plate is filled with these food sources is a simple way to accomplish this.
Mistake #2: Using the Wrong Fats
When it comes to fats, it’s important to not only distinguish between the good and the poor, but also to eat them in the proper proportions.
Both of these problems are exemplified by two of the most famous mistakes:
A] Cooking with the wrong fats: Since saturated fats have such a bad reputation, most people prefer to cook with refined vegetable oils. Saturated fats, contrary to common opinion, are not related to an increased risk of heart failure and stroke. The increased disease risk is due to the trans-fats created when these processed vegetable oils (high in heat-unstable fats) are heated.
B] Imbalance of Omega-6 and Omega-3 fatty acids:
Both omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids have many health benefits. They function like a seesaw in our immune system, with omega-6 fatty acids causing inflammation and omega-3 fatty acids reducing it. Most people today consume much more omega-6 fatty acids than omega-3 fatty acids, which can lead to chronic inflammation, which is one of the leading causes of lifestyle diseases. As a result, foods high in omega-3 fatty acids, such as flaxseeds, walnuts, avocadoes, and fatty fish, should be included in our diet.
Mistake #3: Overlooking Dietary Fibre
Fibre is notoriously lacking in today’s diet, which doctors say has led to lifestyle issues such as high cholesterol and obesity.
In the case of high cholesterol, for example, dietary fiber is essential in two ways:
A] It forms a dense gel within the digestive tract, preventing cholesterol from being reabsorbed, lowering cholesterol levels.
B] In a similar way, fiber decreases the volume of bile, a digestive liquid. The body then uses LDL (the form of cholesterol that causes complications when consumed in excess) to produce more bile, lowering LDL levels in the blood.
Dietary fibre’s ability to shape gels can also help with weight loss because:
A] It delays digestion, making us feel fuller faster and preventing overeating.
B] It encourages the growth of beneficial gut bacteria, which is thought to minimize the amount of energy we need from food while also aiding in the prevention of obesity.
These are only a couple of the advantages of raising dietary fiber.
Mistake #4: The Abundance of Sugar
Sugar, in all of its forms, creates feel-good hormones in our brains, which is one of the reasons it is so common. However, it causes a slew of problems in our bodies, including addiction.
There’s more – and it has to do with the healthy gut bacteria we discussed in #3.
The scientific community is just beginning to grasp the complexity of the give-and-take relationship between our gut bacteria and our bodies: they control a variety of functions, including our energy levels, vitamin absorption, and even our mood.
Serotonin is one of the feel-good hormones produced by high intensity sweetness. Our gut contains cells that produce this hormone. When our gut bacteria communicate with these cells, serotonin production is triggered as well.
This, along with other bacteria-secreted compounds, is thought to be the connection between our gut and our brain. It also explains why disturbance of our intestinal flora (less healthy bacteria, more harmful bacteria) is thought to play a role in anxiety and depression.
Sweet foods cause an overgrowth of bad gut bacteria, which reduces the number of healthy gut bacteria. Artificial sweeteners in low-calorie foods disturb the bacteria’s equilibrium, leading to an increase in sweet cravings.
Other metabolic processes involving them are also impaired when this equilibrium is broken. It’s no surprise that dietary influences have been shown to affect the bacterial composition of the gut in lean and obese people.
Unsweetening our diet (and replacing sugar with fiber-rich carbs) will provide us with enough serotonin without the risks of excessive sugar intake.
The errors we’ve mentioned in this article is simple to correct; all we have to do is pay more attention to what we eat. Given how subtle improvements in our eating habits can have such a significant impact on our health and well-being, it’s time to put these errors behind us and look forward to a healthy and happier lifestyle.