I've been lucky enough to go abroad on just a few occasions, but what they say is true: People in most other countries just don't weigh as much as we do.
On a trip to Europe, where we got to visit three countries, it was evident in all those countries that people walk a little more, drive a little less, and eat foods that seem more healthful. In France, for instance, while there are places on the street to stop for food, they tend to be real food, fast -- instead of fast food. You might buy a mozzarella, basil and tomato sandwich on focaccia, or a sandwich on a croissant. There are apples, bananas and other fruits for sale everywhere. You might buy a crepe on the street, which is a satisfying enough treat that you'd never think of needing more. None of these are particularly low-fat foods, but they are satisfying, and I think that might be one major difference.
Because I find that when we traveled, I seem to eat better food, but less of it, and I seem to be less hungry even though I'm getting more exercise.
Have you ever noticed how fast food also disappears from your system fast? You can eat a burger and fries -- which is more food than the sandwich in the above paragraph -- and half an hour later, you're feeling the need to eat something. Highly processed foods have so many empty calories and are turned into fat so easily in our bodies that the more we eat it, the more we store.
A recent CDC study nailed down just how overweight our country has become in the last 20 years. Colorado is the only state where less than 20% of the population is obese. Thirty states have an obesity rate that is 25% of the population, and some states were even higher. Overall now, more than half of American adults are overweight.
Here's the CDC presentation:
It makes me wonder, with a lifestyle based on wide open spaces, long commutes, fast foods and convenience foods, and less time for exercise, if there's any way to turn this trend around? It's such a multi-faceted problem, and yet when you go to another country, it's easy to see that it doesn't have to be like this.
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