No one can point to the exact moment when the phrase was first coined, but since the late 1970s when the Senate Select Committee on Human Nutrition was created people have been talking about the Standard American Diet, or SAD. However well intentioned, most people can agree that the American diet is, indeed, just SAD.
Malnutrition and Overconsumption
For nearly 100 years before the formation of that Senate Select Committee various federal government agencies had been offering dietary advice. However, that advice mainly addressed malnutrition among the poor.
On January 14, 1977, the Senate committee published a booklet titled Dietary Goals for the United States. The document was focused on the problems of overconsumption. Committee Chairman George McGovern wrote in the foreword:
This is the first comprehensive statement by any branch of the federal government on risk factors in the American diet.
The report went on to say that too much fat in the American diet was directly linked to heart disease, cancer, obesity, and stroke. It also stated that six out of the ten leading causes of death in the U.S. at the time—heart disease, cancer, vascular disease, diabetes, arteriosclerosis, and cirrhosis of the liver—were directly linked to diet.
The Committee’s solution? Americans should:
- Increase carbohydrate consumption to account for 55 to 60 percent of energy (caloric) intake.
- Reduce overall fat consumption from approximately 40 to 30 percent of energy intake.
- Reduce saturated fat consumption to account for about 10 percent of total energy intake.
- Reduce cholesterol consumption to about 300 mg a day.
And just like that the fad diet was born. While the Senators were not scientists or nutritionists, they did take their advice from them. Advice which proved to be controversial at best, and considered to be faulty, even at the time, by many.
The CATO Institute has put together an outline of what was going on behind the scenes. Regardless of the details, where we are today is the result of mainly bad science and special interest groups whose special interest was self-interest and whose motivation was greed.
Today, nutrition and food choices are still a topic of conversation, but mainly because the Standard American diet remains just SAD. It is seen by many as a pattern of eating that afflicts adults and children across the United States with long-term, damaging health consequences. According to a 2010 report from the National Cancer Institute, three out of four Americans don’t eat a single piece of fruit in a given day. The 2020 PBH Foundation’s State of the Plate report found that :
While 95% of individuals eat vegetables at least once during the week, vegetable eating occasions have declined in 5 out of 8 age groups between 2015 and 2020.
Eating and Dying
According to the Center for Science in the Public Interest:
Unhealthy diet contributes to approximately 678,000 deaths each year in the U.S., due to nutrition and obesity-related diseases, such as heart disease, cancer, and type 2 diabetes. In the last 30 years, obesity rates have doubled in adults, tripled in children, and quadrupled in adolescents.
What does “unhealthy diet” mean? Well, here are some of the contributing factors to an unhealthy diet:
- 1 in 4 Americans consume fast food daily.
- The average American eats approximately 3 pounds of sugar each week, or 130 pounds per year.
- The American daily diet is nearly 70% processed foods.
Change is Easy
This is all just SAD, and so unnecessary. There is plenty of information, guidance, and support available. If your diet, your weight, and your health aren’t what they should be, what are you waiting for? Changing your diet and increasing your nutrition is easy and delicious.
Eating well, giving your body the fuel that you need to do what you want to do everyday for 100 years or more, is essential. It’s the basis of your 100 Year Lifestyle. Stop the SAD, and you’ll be glad you did.
SAD to Glad
Start by getting your mouth-watering and creative cooking juices flowing by looking at the dozens of healthy recipes offered on the 100 Year Lifestyle website. Then find a 100 Year Lifestyle chiropractor near you. Regular chiropractic care and quality nutrition are the foundation for developing the habits that will keep you healthy and happy for a long life, your 100:100.
Lastly, keep reading. The more you learn the more motivated you will be to make the necessary changes!