Who has the worst eating habits?

When I think about bad eating habits the following immediately come to mind:

  1. Skipping Breakfast
  2. Fast Food and, in particular, supersizing
  3. Fried Food
  4. Soda
  5. Unbalanced emphasis on simply carbohydrates
  6. Snacking late at night, especially on sweets
  7. Lack of fruits and vegetables
  8. Eating to relieve stress
  9. Overeating

Poor eating habits often are influenced by one’s access to quality food, as suggested by USDA reports to congress.

In the U.S., this is really not an excuse for an unhealthy lifestyle but does mean we have to work a little harder to improve our health through the right nutritional choices.  Only a small percentage of Americans are actually constrained to the point that they cannot obtain healthy and nutritious food.

And, it is poor eating habits – our choices – that are leading to obesity and related health problems, such as Type 2 Diabetes, stroke, cancer and coronary artery disease.   The overall spending related to our choices is quoted in the $147 billion range.

The nutritional portion could be measured by the amount of soda, fast food and sweets consumed, which is exactly what a recent report did last month that lists the 10 states with the worst eating habits.

10. New Mexico

Amount Spent on Fast Food Per Capita: $737 (8th most)

Gallons of Soft Drinks Purchased Per Capita: 58 (12th least)

Pounds of Sweet Snacks Purchased Per Capita: 111 (13th least)

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Adding Alcohol Reduces Diabetes Risk

The age old question of alcohol consumption, diabetes, risk factors, insulin resistance and complications.  I personally enjoy a beer – once every couple of months – but don’t make alcohol part of my normal routine.  However, researchers have completed a massive study involving 38,000 men over a four years period and found that those increased their alcohol consumption had a lower incidence of Diabetes:

RESULTS A total of 1,905 cases of type 2 diabetes occurred during 428,497 person-years of follow-up. A 7.5 g/day (approximately half a glass) increase in alcohol consumption over 4 years was associated with lower diabetes risk among initial nondrinkers (multivariable hazard ratio [HR] 0.78; 95% CI: 0.60–1.00) and drinkers initially consuming <15 g/day (HR 0.89; 95% CI: 0.83–0.96), but not among men initially drinking ≥15 g/day (HR 0.99; 95% CI: 0.95–1.02; Pinteraction < 0.01). A similar pattern was observed for levels of total adiponectin and hemoglobin A1c, with a better metabolic profile among abstainers and light drinkers who modestly increased their alcohol intake, compared with men who either drank less or among men who were already moderate drinkers and increased their intake. Likewise, compared with stable light drinkers (0–4.9 g/day), light drinkers who increased their intake to moderate levels (5.0–29.9 g/day) had a significantly lower risk of type 2 diabetes (HR 0.75; 95% CI: 0.62–0.90).

CONCLUSIONS Increases in alcohol consumption over time were associated with lower risk of type 2 diabetes among initially rare and light drinkers. This lower risk was evident within a 4-year period following increased alcohol intake.

The results does seem consistent with what we’ve seen in the past with the exception that an increase rather than absolute consumption was studied. I don’t know that this should motivate a change in dietary habits for those who are undiagnosed or have pre-diabetes but it certainly will be used by some to justify their chosen lifestyle.