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Often a phrase is repeated so much that it loses its meaning. Lately, there has been a lot of talk about the increase in obesity, unhealthy habits, and the risks of inadequate nutrition. It’s a message that no longer surprises us, it doesn’t capture our attention. But, what if we collected the data? Official figures are alarming. And, if we talk about obesity which is just a few steps beyond being overweight, we see that it is directly linked to the worsening of diseases such as the coronavirus.
Scientists at the University of New York have placed obesity as the number one factor after age for hospitalization of Covid-19 patients. In other countries, such as in the United Kingdom or France, those responsible for the coronavirus have claimed that there is a high prevalence among obese patients. Also in Spain, the Spanish Society of Internal Medicine has warned that obesity is the main risk factor for the young and adult population infected with Covid-19. The Ministry of Health recently published a study where it states that “obesity plays an important role in Covid-19 infections”. Infection and risks are greater among this sector of the population.
Overweight & Obesity Statistics
Data from the latest national health survey shows that obesity affects more than 17% of the adult population. Obesity, as it relates to children, raises a percentage point resulting in 18% of the population being obese. If we talk just about being overweight the statistics are even bleaker: more than half of adults are considered overweight: as shown in the latest OCDE study.
With obesity comes a higher increase in diabetes, hypertension, and high cholesterol. Data from the National Institute of Statistics (in Spain) gives us insight into why. Almost half of the population consume on a daily basis some kind of sweets and/or soft drinks that contain refined sugars; and more than 35% of the population does little to no physical activity. If something isn’t changed, the “Hospital del Mar” Institute of research estimates that by 2030, 80% of men and 55% of women will be overweight.
We should first note that a healthy diet shouldn’t be based on an obsession of losing weight, constantly counting calories, or any excessive concern regarding your physical appearance causing you to be hyper-focused with numbers on a scale. It’s a more global, cross-cutting issue that has nothing to do with “miracle” diets or starving yourself. What it’s really about is reprogramming ourselves to enjoy a good meal, a good dessert, or an appetizer without harming our health. It’s also about finding the right balance between eating healthy and working out so that we feel good, have lots of energy, and keep ourselves in a good mood.
Are you aware of your own bad habits?
As we’ve seen eating and being overweight go hand in hand. In general, our diets have become full of ultra-processed foods. Industrial soft drinks and sweets are the norm in many people’s diets. However, the most dangerous thing about these products is the fact that people are consuming them without being fully aware of what they’re made of:
Store-bought Tomato Sauce
Industrial Vegetable Soups/Purees
Fruit Yogurts, marmalades, and Fruit Juices
Mayonnaise and other pre-made sauces
These are just a few items from a loooong list. If you’d like to know a little bit more about this topic you can find more information here in Hidden sugars in your daily diet. In short, bad processed foods are everywhere: ones that contain industrial amounts of salts and sugars along with other artificial additives. Besides that, the overconsumption of carbohydrates in our diets is ever-present. Especially when we have a traditional food pyramid with pasta, and rice at its base which are not good for our health. This is also linked to our desire to look for easy-to-do meals where everything comes pre-made and ready to eat. However, we’re here to say it is possible to have both a healthy and simple diet for our busy day to day lives.
SMALL, SIMPLE CHANGES FOR YOUR DAILY DIET
In addition to exercising daily, the change to living a healthy life, and avoiding the dangers of obesity starts in our kitchens. Whether you love cooking or not, try to enjoy the journey as it’s easier than you think. Once you know what foods to avoid, it’s time to start discovering new ways to prepare your daily meals. Sugar can be substituted for natural sweeteners that also have a rich and fulfilling flavor. Refined carbohydrates such as pasta and rice are no longer necessary, so you should reduce these as much as possible or better yet eliminate them completely, including bread!
So, what is left to eat? The flours we have at home have perfect, natural substitutes like quinoa flour, coconut flour, oatmeal flour, and tapioca flour. With all those options and natural sweeteners like raw honey and natural unrefined cane sugar, you can surely make some delicious desserts. You can also make pizza or bread dough. And if your problem is that you usually turn to foods like pasta for an extra boost of energy, well this same sensation can be reached by eating the fats from meat, fish, nuts, and seeds. What’s more, the energy from those foods is longer lasting and you won’t feel the urge to eat so soon after, as these foods are more filling.
Those foods with hidden sugars that are directly responsible for causing people to be overweight are also easily replaced with simple alternatives. Tomato sauce or bread can be made at home. Fruit juices can be easily switched out for smoothies which will help you avoid the presence of fructose. So, in case you are interested in changing your habits, here is a list below of some healthy recipes that have no refined flour nor a gram of sugar:
Homemade Tomato Sauce
Reese’s like cookies made with oats (yes, those ones from the photo above!)
The latest culinary trend: Zoodles
Gluten-Free Sandwich bread
Chocolate with nuts and seeds
Asian Style Cauliflower Rice
Fig and Papaya Smoothie