Having a proper diet is something that many people let fall by the wayside. The foods we eat play a huge role in our overall health. Our weight, mood, energy levels, heart health, and much more can be affected by our diet. 

According to hhs.gov, 33.8% of US adults are considered obese, and approximately 17% of children age 2-19 years are also considered obese. However, eating poorly affects everyone. Even people that are at a healthy body weight may have underlying health issues due to a bad diet. 

Some examples of health conditions caused by bad diet, even at a healthy body weight, consist of heart disease, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, and cancer. All of these side effects of eating poorly are at least partially preventable; you just have to choose the right foods to eat!

Eating healthy can be a truly difficult task. You may think it’s time consuming, expensive, and maybe just straight up unenjoyable since you won’t get to eat the foods you love. Starting a healthy diet can come with some challenges and maintaining a healthy diet does just the same, however, sticking with it and doing your becomes easier as you develop more healthy habits! 

First, let’s talk about sugar. Sugar is such a huge part of many people’s diets, and for the most part, many don’t realize how much sugar they eat on a daily basis. From coffee creamer in the mornings to a soda at lunch, many people consume well over 100 grams of sugar every day. Consuming high amounts of sugar can lead to obesity and heart disease. Try to avoid foods with added sugar such as soda, sugary cereal, pastries, and sweetened drinks. If you really want something flavorful to drink, try using a sugar free drink sweetener. It tastes great and is a much better alternative to sugar.

Next, let’s talk about protein. Of the macronutrients, protein is the most filling due to its effect on hunger and satiety hormones; therefore, adding adequate protein to your meals can help you not overeat. As stated by healthline.com, a recent study showed that increasing protein intake by 15% to 30% of calories made people eat about 440 fewer calories per day without actively restricting food intake. Protein has been called the king of nutrients and rightfully so. It helps you build muscle and feel fuller faster. Some good food sources of protein are eggs, lean beef, chicken, fish, nuts, and beans. Try adding some into each meal to get the most from your calorie intake.

Water is also vital to our health. Our bodies are made up of approximately 60% water, so it’s easy to see why drinking water is so important. Water is much more than just a vital necessity for life; it can play a huge role in creating a healthier diet. Simply drinking water can offer health benefits such as weight loss, managing a healthy weight, and even an increase in the amount of calories you burn. To sum it up, drink water when you’re thirsty. It can only benefit you!

Creating and sustaining a healthy diet can be difficult, but try one or more of these tips to begin making small, sustainable changes!

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