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Sunday, November 8, 2009

Bridging "The Diet Divide" - The Need for "Diet Literacy" - MacDonald Cheeseburgers vs. Subway Veggie Delite Sandwiches?

We hear a lot about the "Digital Divide," the gap between those who are computer literate and those who missed out on computer learning. I made up the term "The Diet Divide" to refer to the divide or gap between seniors who are "diet literate" and health conscious and those who continue to eat a diet that can have fatal consequences.

One group is for those who feel one of life's dearest rewards is eating MacDonald Cheeseburgers, plus other high fat, high carb, or high sugar foods, often in giant servings.

The other is the health conscious group, who is over at Subway eating Veggie Delites and turkey sandwiches.

During the 1970's,1980's and 90's awareness of the health problems caused by diets high in fat, simple carbs, and sugar grew. But old habits from childhood are hard to fight.

Today, almost 2010, many seniors with cardiovascular health problems continue to heap plates high with unhealthy amounts of fats, sugars, starches and simple carbs.

Even recovery from open heart surgery for multiple bypasses is not enough to deter some of those who look forward to a breakfast of eggs with melted cheese, bacon, sausage, biscuits and gravy. Others feel one of the best rewards of the day is a marbled steak big enough to feed a small family. Habits are hard to break.

Yet there is also a growing group of health conscious eaters who are focusing more on eating vegetables, choosing fresh food instead of processed food, buying bread with whole grain, choosing low sodium diets, and making other healthy choices.

MacDonald Cheeseburgers or low-fat Subway Sandwiches? The choice can make a big difference in health, a sense of well-being, and longevity.

Last winter I lost one of my dearest friends, who had already had one 5 way heart bypass. Even after the first heart bypass this friend continued "eating like a farmhand" despite living a current sedentary lifestyle.

Result: obesity, heart blockages, and the need for a second heart bypass, this time a 3 way. Some of my friend's favorite meals: MacDonald's Big Mac, eggs and bacon, biscuits and gravy, fat marbled red meat, regular (not lowfat) cottage cheese (in huge quantities). During the second heart bypass operation my friend died.

How can we bridge "The Great Diet Divide" and get everybody on board to eat a healthier diet?

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