How the American Diet is Making You Sick

  • Chelsea Jones
How the American Diet is Making You Sick

Our country is facing an undeniable health crisis as a result of our food system. We live in a fast, highly processed food culture that focuses too much on convenience and too little on quality, and its effects are becoming more and more evident in global health epidemics like obesity, diabetes and chronic illness. Long story short, the standard American diet is making people sick, overweight and unhappy. 

Here are some frightening statistics:

  •     The US Spends $3.5 trillion on healthcare, yet 45% of Americans have a chronic disease
  •     93 million Americans are obese, which equates to $147 billion in healthcare costs
  •     114 million Americans have diabetes or prediabetes, which equates to $245 billion in healthcare costs
  •     28.2 million Americans have heart disease, which equates to $200 billion in healthcare costs
  •     1 in 3 American will develop cancer, which equates to $80.2 billion in healthcare costs
  •     40 million Americans have anxiety disorder, which equates to $42 billion in healthcare costs
  •     Half of America will be obese within 10 years
  •     Chronic diseases account for 7 out of every 10 deaths in America

The standard American diet, which promotes processed food and convenience over quality, has led to an epidemic of four major diseases of inflammation: diabetes, heart disease, cancer and dementia. These diseases are more often than not lifestyle-related, and therefore preventable! 

While the statistics are alarming, the great news is that you can both reverse and prevent the onset of chronic illness through healthy diet and lifestyle choices!

60% of the standard American diet consists of ultra-processed foods. The building blocks of processed foods are white flour, high fructose corn syrup, derivative corn products, and refined soybean oil. It’s important to know that you can make choices around this! Opt out of eating industrial foods, and focus on ingredients instead.

What is the best way to reduce processed foods in your diet?

Start by reading ingredient labels on any packaged foods you buy. Avoid the ingredients listed above, as well as any other chemical ingredients. Instead, look for real-food ingredients ­– words you understand and can pronounce. You can learn more about navigating nutrition labels here. When it comes to ingredient labels, less is more!

What foods should you be eating more of?

Whole foods – as many vegetables as possible, some fruits, high quality protein, whole grains, and legumes. Your best sources of nutrition come from foods without nutrition labels – the food is the ingredient!

Is medication the answer to chronic disease?

Not necessarily! While Western medicine is amazing and beneficial in many ways, it’s not always the answer to chronic illness. It’s also important to consider that most medications have undesirable side effects. If you’re suffering from chronic illness, would you do whatever it takes to feel better? Food is medicine!

As mentioned, many chronic illnesses are lifestyle and diet-related, and therefore preventable. Of course, you should always consult your doctor before changing or stopping any medication. In addition to medication, taking a dietary approach is likely to help reduce symptoms and can potentially cure certain illnesses. 

How can you be part of the solution to chronic illness?

You might be perfectly healthy, but it’s likely you know someone who suffers from chronic illness. As a consumer, you can be part of the solution by making different choices – demanding higher food standards, supporting organic and regenerative agriculture, and avoiding ultra-processed and fast foods.

In your next grocery haul, stock up on the following items:

  •     Fresh produce

o   4-5 different vegetables 

o   2-3 different fruits

  •     Organic protein

o   Grass-fed meats

o   Pasture-raised chicken

o   Wild-caught fish

o   Pasture-raised eggs

o   Beans and lentils

  •     Healthy fats

o   Olive oil

o   Avocado oil

o   Nuts and seeds

o   Salmon

o   Avocados

o   Coconut oil

o   Olives

  •     Whole grains

o   Rice

o   Quinoa

o   Millet

o   Oats

o   Amaranth 

  •     Organic dairy

o   Grass-fed butter

o   Cow’s milk or non-dairy nut milk

o   Cheese 

o   Yogurt 

  •     Packaged foods with clean ingredients (the fewer the better)

o   Lentil pasta

o   Millet Tots

o   Cauliflower Wings

o   Tortillas

o   Trail mix

o   Nut butter

o   Crackers


At RollinGreens we promise to deliver outstanding products using only the cleanest ingredients, organic when possible. For more cooking ideas, check out our catalog of delicious and healthy recipes your whole family will love!


Hyman, Mark. Food Fix. Little, Brown and Company, February 25, 2020.

Kroger, Boulder, CO, 2020.

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