Americans Addicted to Bad Foods

Big surprise - Americans are as addicted to sugary, fat, fast foods today as we were to cigarettes 40 years ago. Since 1970 U.S. cigarette use has fallen by 57%. This is great news. But we're in big trouble with "bad" foods like soda, french fries, doughnuts and hyperprocessed snacks. This trouble is costing us hundreds of billions of dollars a year in obesity related illnesses.

Success story: I know a young man named Mike who has recently lost 75 pounds with a program called Take Shape for Life. (I don't sell it.)  One of his big (so to speak) problem non-foods  was soft drinks. He's far from alone - when you see folks walking down the street with a 64 oz. soda and a huge belly? There's a direct relationship.

Our current over-consumption of unhealthy foods is taking its toll with obesity, heart-disease, diabetes and other health issues. "The average American consumes 44.7 gallons of soft drinks annually." But that's only part of the sugar we consume if you look at your food labels, there's added sugar in lots of foods .

Mark Bittman, NY Times writer, suggests we tax bad or unhealthy foods like soda, french fries, and much of fast food,  as we've taxed cigarettes, and then use the money to subsidize healthy foods like vegetables and fruits. I love this idea. Currently we subsidize the bad food companies and they have a lot of lobbyists. But, so did the cigarette companies.

(NYTimes: "Bad Food - Tax It!"July24,2011

I happened to grow up in a family that ate very healthy (we had other issues, but not food) and have never been a soda drinker, but I was a smoker so I know what it takes to change a habit.

What can you do to break the addiction to soda? And, I don't believe "diet" soda is any better than full sugar soda. There's discussion and research about how anything sweet might trigger insulin over-production.  First step: Awareness is the first step of  change: Write down how many sodas you're drinking a day. Two: Rate your motivation to improve your health on a scale of 0-10 (10 most motivated) - be honest. Three: If motivation is 5 or below what can you do to raise it 1 point? Four: Take action with 1 small, significant step today and for next 30 days.