A healthy diet not only improves one’s overall well-being, but it can help increase your health span. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention says adults who stick to a healthy diet are less likely to experience life-threatening inflictions such as obesity, heart disease, diabetes and some types of cancers. However, most Americans aren’t getting the proper nutrition they need and continue to eat excessive amounts of the wrong things.
"Nutrition is thought to dictate about 80% of one’s health, and obesity irrefutably shaves nearly 10 years off a person’s life," said Dr. Brett Osborn.
"You can extend your ‘health span’ — or the time that you remain fully functional and free of disease — by simply following some basic nutritional principles."
Dr. Osborn shared with Fox News the 10 most critical nutrition mistake people are making and what they should be doing instead to improve their diet and overall well-being.
Mistake 1: Consuming Excessive Sugars
Osborne calls excess sugar consumption “the root of all evil.” He explains how once sugar enters the body, it causes an immediate rise in blood sugar. In response, the pancreas secretes insulin, and the sugar is shuttled into cells and used for energy. However, the sugar molecules are released into the bloodstream too quickly and can damage the arterial walls, causing inflammation.
Mistake 2: Neglecting portion control
Osborn explains the importance of be conscientious of your food portions. Consuming excessive portions can result in overeating and a surplus of daily calories. Osborn advises to slow down your eating to allow your brain to have enough time to sense that your stomach is distended and generate a signal that you are fully satisfied.
Mistake 3: Not Eating Enough Protein
Low-protein intake will likely reduce the body’s muscle mass. Muscle is responsible for burning fat and during times of stress or illness, the body can take amino acids from the muscles and form antibodies to fight off infections. The amino acids produced can help assist with repairing injured tissues. Osborn recommends eating at least 0.75 grams of protein per pound of bodyweight daily-or 1 gram for those who participate in intense strength training.
Mistake 4: Avoiding Fat Altogether
Osborn says common misconception that “fat is bad” is not true. He clarified it is only when there are high insulin levels due to the consumption of simple carbohydrates that fat becomes detrimental to your health. Anti-inflammatory fats such as Omega-3 and omega-9 help combat damage to cell walls and decrease the aging process.
Mistake 5: Not Consuming Enough Vegetables
Vegetables are filled with vitamins and minerals that are necessary for their bodies to function. Osborn adds that vegetables can be an excellent source of fiber that promotes gastrointestinal health and induces satisfaction that reduces the chance of overeating. He recommends eating five servings of vegetables daily.
Mistake 6: Not Getting Enough Fiber
Most Americans are guilty of not consuming enough fiber. Fiber is essential for lowering the glycemic index of your food. It can also lower the risk of bowel cancer. Foods rich in fiber like lettuce, broccoli and spinach are great to add to your diet.
Mistake 7: Drinking Too Much Alcohol
Alcohol can be a source of excess “empty” calories. Alcohol can also impede with shedding body fat, making it harder to reduce your daily caloric burn. It can interfere with brain function and blood sugar regulation, resulting in negative effects on the liver.
Mistake 8 Not Drinking Enough Water
Dehydration can be very problematic and make one more susceptible to falls, which can result in serious brain injuries. Drinking one gallon of electrolyte-laden water daily can help prevent the dangerous effects of dehydration.
Mistake 9: Eating Late at Night
Eating at night can inevitably result in weight gain. Osborn explains that your fat-burning processes are shut down for the evening and turn all excess food intake as fat. He says a better option to avoid late night snacking is to have a big breakfast in the morning when the body’s metabolic rate is at its highest.
Mistake 10: Engaging in Extreme Dieting
Dieting is not the best solution for long-term results and can even ruin one’s metabolism. Osborn explains that fat loss should be slow and consist of every effort to preserve muscle. He says the best solution is not a "blind-faith protocol or diet, but an understanding of what nutritional signals drive fat loss and maintain muscle.