If there is only one thing that you do for your health, it would be to eat well. We truly are what we eat. Think about it — we eat at least three times a day, everyday of our life, so what we eat has a greater impact on our health status than anything else.

Americans have the benefit (or detriment) of having access to a wide variety of food types (protein, carbohydrates and fat), and our eating habits have evolved into a diet created by fast-food merchants and misguided bureaucrats. The result is not only an obesity epidemic, but also a burgeoning healthcare crisis, which could be significantly impacted in a positive way if we ate better.

It is now estimated that every other American is obese, and obesity is now neck-and-neck with smoking as the leading cause of preventable disease. Furthermore, the leading causes of chronic disease and death in the U.S. virtually all increase in obese individuals.

The food pyramid, developed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture in 1990 and taught to all 2nd graders today, is one of the primary culprits. In a nutshell, the bottom layer of the pyramid, of which we are all advised to eat 6-11 servings per day, is composed of carbohydrates that most of us don’t have the genetic make-up to metabolize normally. These “high glycemic index” carbs are converted to glucose, absorbed, and driven into your cells by insulin where they are stored as fat.

The other big culprit is fast food, which is generally high in bad carbohydrate and fat. These bad carbs and fat taste good, and we have become addicted to the fast food lifestyle for its convenience and high satisfaction rating.

At Charleston HealthSpan Institute, we are advocates of a “Zone-type” diet which emphasizes a balance of macro-nutrients at every meal and the use of “low-glycemic index” carbohydrates. Other diets which utilize the glycemic index as a guide to carbohydrate consumption have also proven to be effective. We have had some particularly dramatic, life-changing turnarounds on the Zone, find it most functional and easy to grasp.

Because we feel so strongly that nutrition is of paramount importance to your health, we have extensive counseling available as well as on-going tips from experts on cooking and staying in the Zone. Ultimately, it is up to the individual about what they eat, but our goal is to assist our patients in every way possible to achieve their nutrition goals.

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