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Americans Suffer When Dining Out

From eNewsletter 2/5/2020

DID YOU KNOW that leaders of the American Nutrition Association (ANA), a nonprofit professional association for the science and practice of personalized nutrition, in which Bonnie is a member, announced that they have published a proposed definition of personalized nutrition?


The ANA notes that the association recognizes personalized nutrition as core to human health and as key to turning the tide on the chronic disease epidemic. ANA defines personalized nutrition as:


A field that leverages human individuality to drive nutrition strategies that prevent, manage, and treat disease and optimize health, and be delineated by three synergistic elements: personalized nutrition science and data, personalized nutrition professional education and training, and personalized nutrition guidance and therapeutics.


CORONAVIRUS UPDATE

The first case of a person with no symptoms transmitting it to another person has occurred. Beyond that, there are no notable developments. Please stick to our initial recommendations. Here's the link if you missed it.


This virus is transmitted like many other cold and flu viruses, so proper preventive hygiene is imperative. The CDC has an informative FAQ page, which includes a link to preventive tips.


AMERICANS SUFFER WHEN DINING OUT

Steve & Bonnie: The typical American adult gets one of every five calories from a restaurant. Unfortunately, the restaurant calories are almost always of poor nutritional quality.


According to a new study in this month's The Journal of Nutrition, researchers analyzed the dietary selections of more than 35,000 adults from 2003-2016 who dined at full-service (those with wait staff) or fast-food restaurants.


At fast-food restaurants, 70 percent of the meals Americans consumed were of poor dietary quality. At full-service restaurants, about 50 percent were of poor nutritional quality.

Notably, the authors found that less than 0.1 percent, almost none, of all the restaurant meals consumed over the study period were of ideal quality. Keep in mind these data were tabulated using the American Heart Association diet score, which is far more lenient than how we would score.


The researchers identified priorities for improvement by adding more whole grains, nuts and legumes, fish, and fruits and vegetables to meals while reducing salt. While the restaurant industry promised years ago to reduce the amount of sodium, data showed no improvement in sodium levels in fast-food meals and worsening levels in full-service dishes.


"Our food is the number one cause of poor health in the country, representing a tremendous opportunity to reduce diet-related illness and associated healthcare spending," the lead author said. "At restaurants, two forces are at play: what's available on the menu, and what Americans are actually selecting. Efforts from the restaurant industry, consumers, advocacy groups, and governments should focus on both these areas."


The restaurant industry are no dummies. They know what sells: saturated fat, sugar, and salt. They know these three substances activate pleasure and craving brain neurotransmitters. They know they are also cheap ingredients, which means profit.


The only thing the restaurant industry will respond to is the almighty dollar. Spend your dollars on healthy fare and they will adjust. When they don't offer healthy fare, demand it.


Sometimes, it is difficult to find healthy fare. For these occasions, we created a self-help action plan, How to Eat Healthy While Dining Out, to help pinpoint foods that are passable when in less-than-ideal restaurants.


Note: there is no difference between dine out or delivery. The food is the same.


DEEP DIVE: DYSPEPSIA (INDIGESTION)

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