11. Create healthy diets, even if your family is against it.
Even with all the differences between cultures and eating habits, people are just born with different metabolisms. What can cause one person to gain weight can cause another person not to. It’s all about genetics than anything else since metabolisms are passed down in a family. So even if someone is trying their hardest to change their habits and lose weight, it might end up being more difficult than they realize.
PYTN shares the story about their family and their struggles to lose weight. It’s not even so much that it’s hard to lose weight, but they also gain scrutiny from their family for it as well: “My entire family falls into the overweight to obese category. I can attest that we don’t have the world’s greatest metabolism, but the entire family also eats terribly. I’ve got about 30 pounds to go to my goal weight, and anytime I’m below 200 pounds, I start getting the “are you sick, you’re too skinny” comments.”
It’s easy to be met with resistance when it comes to changing one’s eating habits. It’s comfortable, and people rarely want to make the changes they need, even if it’s going to end up helping them in the end. Thankfully, there are those who decide to make the change for the better when they end up seeing how much happier and healthier one family member ends up being.
Even with American diets as their staple, OPdopy was able to make the change after they saw how much weight their own brother lost. “My brother told me about this crazy keto diet, and he quit drinking beer. Beer was/is my favorite beverage. I even brewed my own, so I basically told him to pound sand, and I wasn’t giving up beer. Then I saw him after two months of him doing keto. He had lost almost 30-40 lbs! So off I went on my keto journey. Started at 300 and got down to 208. Put some back on, but I lift constantly. Here is the cool thing, all of my immediate family started to lose the weight.”
9. American diets vary from the east coast to the west.
America is such a large country that there is no one diet that everyone eats. Each state has its own mini-culture with different foods that they eat on a regular basis. Some foods are available to some states while others are not. So it can’t really be said all American diets and foods are terrible. It makes more sense to examine each state on their own and to look at what makes some states more obese than others. And as stated earlier, eating habits are usually passed down in generations, too, so that also contributes to what kind of diets people are eating.
Adult_Reasoning is aware of this and details out what makes some areas different from others: “I think it depends on what part of America you’re talking about. I had the good fortune of living on both coasts for extended periods of time and also traveling around the country. I’ve noticed people living in metropolitan cities by the coasts have varied diets, and I would say it quite well and are nutrition/health conscientious. Small town / Midwest America not so much. Greasy/fried foods are more plentiful in these parts of America. Things are made with lots of dairy products. Sometimes you would even be hard-pressed to find a place that services unsweetened iced tea.”
8. Importing foods can give American diets a bad name.
Maybe you have an international section in your local grocery store. It’s a great way to try some foods you wouldn’t otherwise have access to. But these foods aren’t completely representative of what that country’s diet is like. These foods are the ones that are the most shelf-stable and do the best under international travel conditions. Healthier foods like fruits and vegetables would not be able to handle being transported that well. And by the time they get to the store, they would have a limited amount of time before they start to go bad, making the import even more costly.
Raspberrywafer understands this well in their Reddit post: “I would be cautious when judging by imported foods. Generally, those just tend to be more of the cookies and junk variety. The EU section of my local grocery store has lots of those Dutch Waffle Cookies, Digestive biscuits, Cadbury’s, and frozen meatballs. Not exactly healthy stuff. Even if you were getting produce imported from the US, it’s doubtful that it would be heavily marketed as being from the US. So you’ll associate Oreo with America, but not Brussels sprouts, even though we produce both.”
7. Junk food is easier to ship around the world, and has a longer shelf life than other diet meals.
As stated earlier, it’s the food that’s easy to package in boxes and is the most processed that are easiest to import and export from international countries. They don’t require refrigeration or any special treatment for them to get to their destination in one piece. That’s why it can be difficult to judge another country’s diet without traveling there since you’re only able to see the food that is likely the unhealthiest. That’s why doomrabbit says: “Junk foods are made to have a long shelf life. This is an important trait for the long journey imported foods must take.”
Of course, the Internet now makes it much easier for us to discover what another country’s actual diet is like, and there are even plenty of online recipe blogs that can help you to recreate what that country’s cuisine is like. Many ingredients may be difficult to come by, but a venture into your local international grocery store may help you find exactly what you need. Keep reading to discover more differences between diets depending on the country!
6. American food is less healthy than European alternatives.
“I’d say we do have, in general, a fairly bad diet. Especially compared to Europeans. There’s a handful of reasons: Americans are typically in a rush or busy, causing them to eat quickly or conveniently. Usually, that means unhealthy fast food. There’s a culture of “eat and go.” Even when we leisurely eat. It also means fewer home-cooked meals. Availability of fast-food restaurants and unhealthy food. It’s always within reach. Even healthy food isn’t always healthy. It can be difficult and expensive to eat wholesome, healthy food.
The corn industry is absolutely huge here, and they put high fructose syrup in everything. If they could, they’d put it in toothpaste. A lot of our communities just aren’t active. Every kid has a computer, PS4, etc. I rarely see kids playing outside, but then again, that’s anecdotal. There are probably more reasons, but that’s the bulk of it. That all being said, a ton of Americans are focused on eating right and exercising. Probably more than most realize,” explains ToTheRescues.
5. However, American diets are an amalgamation of different cultures from various parts around the world.
Plenty of people from different countries have immigrated to America, such as people from China and Italy. They brought their cuisines with them and have integrated them into American diets without many people taking notice. This has led to a mish-mash of what American cuisine is actually like since it takes from so many other cultures. To pinpoint one dish and that it’s authentically American is a next-to-impossible thing to do.
[deleted] ’s post reflects this exact sentiment, too: “It’s really difficult to pin down a single American diet. We have an abundance of various ethnicities that play into things. “Italian-American” cuisine is really popular, as is “Chinese-American” cuisine, as is Spanish cuisine, as is German cuisine, as is Polish cuisine, and some distinct American foods. Some families eat a lot of Irish-style food like Shepherd’s Pie, others a lot of Sicilian dishes, my family was mostly Indian food on weekdays and then Chinese or Italian food on weekends.”
4. The food you eat in America depends on your income, too.
There’s more than genetics and geographic location that determines what kind of diets you have. The American lifestyle has made it much easier and affordable for people to eat fast food than to buy healthy food at the store. That makes it easy for people above the poverty line to buy fresh fruit and vegetables, while those who are struggling financially are more likely to resort to fast food. That’s why there’s such an obesity epidemic within the lower social class as well.
As Eudaimonics said in their post: “Really depends on your social class. The poorer you are, the more likely you’ll be eating fast food or highly processed food (all those crappy microwavable meals in the frozen food section). The wealthier you are, the more likely you’ll have a diet of fruits, vegetables, and freshly prepared foods (fewer preservatives and sugar). The wealthier you are, the higher the chance that you can afford to join a gym, have a personal trainer, dietician, etc. So the average American probably has mostly home-cooked meals with the occasional fast food trip or frozen microwavable lunch.”
3. Location also determines your meals — and exercise habits.
Living in a city means that you’re more likely to walk to your destination or at least take public transportation than driving. Some geographic locations just make it easier for people to get around with the proximity of everything that they need. Exercise is important to a healthy lifestyle, even if you don’t have access to healthy foods, because it gets your body to burn off the extra calories that you’re eating. But not everyone has the access to or the time for exercise, which makes their lifestyle more unhealthy.
Shadow_banned_man shares in their Reddit post that they live somewhere where it’s pretty easy to be a bit healthier: “I think it depends on where you live more than anything else. For instance, in Seattle, I walk to and from work, and on the weekends, I do a lot of hiking. I only occasionally work out (I’ll do cardio but rarely lift). Nutrition-wise, we have a farmer’s market every Sunday where we buy fresh veggies and sometimes fruit (seasonally). I do eat out for lunch some days during the week, but for the most part, I bring in leftovers. Most of the meals we cook are fairly healthy.”
2. American diets are known for soda and fast food.
Soda is an easy beverage to grab; it’s fast, it’s easy, and the sugar content keeps us addicted and coming back for more. It’s prevalent almost everywhere you go, which is a real problem. Soda has unhealthy levels of sugar that make it difficult to be healthy if it’s the only thing you drink. And because it’s very cheap to get half a gallon of soda, people resort to buying it in order to “save money.” What they don’t know is that the money they’re saving will come back to bite them when their health starts to go downhill.
CactusInaHat remarks in their Reddit post that sugar content and the quantities provided at such a cheap cost make up a big part of American diets: “If I had to choose two main true stereotypes, it would be soda (and other sugar drinks) and fast food. While the majority of Americans may not consume either of these as a majority of their diet, there is a sizable percentage, largely poor, of people who consume these on a weekly and even daily basis. I’m personally friends with someone who will outright not drink water. It’s either soda, juice, or Gatorade.” If you must go through the drive-thru at a fast-food place, avoid these unhealthy drinks!
1. In Europe, less temptation of junk food means more motivation to work out, too.
Motivation can come from having the access to being healthy. If people see that there are no other options available to them, then they’re not likely to try and be healthy with their diet. So although there are some European countries that eat just as poorly as the American diet, they have better access to being healthy. There is more accessibility to walking around as well as to cooking meals at home. That’s because they have the options available to them with how small some of the European countries are.
According to boyscanbecute: “It’s just more natural to be more active here in Europe, and they’re just isn’t really as much binging on junk food. People DO eat out, of course, and binge sometimes. My point isn’t that the people are like…. super motivated about their weight or watching it, but just that the lifestyle itself here naturally allows people to be more healthy. Also, what I see is what the European people cook for themselves at home, in university.”
Boiling down a country’s diet to just one thing can be a difficult thing to do, and that doesn’t automatically mean that it’s bad just because people in that country tend to be more obese. There are plenty of factors that come into play as to why people choose certain foods and why they don’t take better care of their bodies. Eating habits and food choices are a tricky thing to pin down without taking other external factors into account as well, so the quintessential “American Diet” isn’t something that’s easy to figure out.