One thing is very clear, in our present time obesity has been an issue that many people are really not paying attention to, but it is of great concern. It is like a little bug in your windshield that we know is there but in reality, it doesn’t bother many of us as we drive; but the more and more that hit your windshield, at some point, you have to stop and clear the windshield. Obesity has escalated to epidemic proportions everywhere. I remember the times whereas a child gaining weight was a sign of getting healthy. Now with information surrounding us, we have learned that excessive caloric intake has been related to high-fat foods, increased portion sizes, and diets high in simple sugars such as sucrose and high-fructose corn syrup(HFCS).[footnoteRef:0]. Studies have shown that HFCS has become a favorite substitute for sucrose in carbonated beverages, baked goods, canned fruits, jams and jellies, and dairy products. The greatest consumers of HFCS are the people in the United States. [0: ]
We can not deny that sweets are available to us at any moment in life. Sometimes is so much easier to buy a fifty-cent soda than two-dollar water. HFCS accounts for as much as 40% of caloric sweeteners used in the United States[footnoteRef:1]. HFCS is found in practically all the foods we eat. What people need to be aware of is that HFCS is hurting us. Despite all the research showing the dangers of HFCS including its links to obesity, high cholesterol, and diabetes, little has been done to regulate its use. HFCS is only part of the US problem, other issues are not helping to the obesity and health issues in America. For example trans fats, trans fats are solid fats produce artificially, such as margarine. Like many foods consumed with HFCS, many foods also contain trans fats. Fast food restaurants use it all the time and people are not aware of the health issues that trans fats have on individuals. Trans fatty acids might have contributed to the 20th century epidemic of coronary heart disease[footnoteRef:2]. Studies have shown that trans fats have adverse effects on blood lipid levels, increasing LDL (“bad”) cholesterol while decreasing HDL (“good”) cholesterol. Although we have seen a decline in fatty foods due to the increase of knowledge in the nutritional facts of the food we consume. People still are ignoring the health risks, over the last two decades the widespread presence of obesity in the United States has significantly increased, in South Texas, in particular, already has one of the highest rates in the country for type 2 diabetes mellitus in adults and mortality from cardiovascular causes.
Learning and researching about this topic of health and food, has really placed me in two roads of life dilemma. I can either take this knowledge and continue with my bad eating habits or change it completely and live a long and healthy life. The article “Adolescent Obesity in Low-Income Mexican American District in South Texas” really made me understand the health and obesity issue through my lens. I have not been raised in the United States all my life. My family and I moved to the US from Mexico during elementary school. I still remember that in my years in Mexico, my family would make fun of me because of my weight. I was real skinny to the point of getting the nickname of “trip lavada” skinny intestine or tripe. I don’t remember ever eating sugary foods or drinks, we didn’t have a cafeteria. Parents had the responsibility to bring lunch to the elementary. When we moved to the US, one of the things that I will never forget about my first day of school is the smell of cafeteria food as you walk up to the lunch lady. I receive a faded compartmentalized green platter served with a square sausage pizza, fried french fries, brownies, and chocolate milk. Talk about sugar overload. In the upcoming years, my consumption of these foods leads to weight gain. It is not until recently that I realized that due to my family being low income. Free cafeteria food was our only choice for nutrition but to what effect. As an adult, I was diagnosed with prediabetic. The healthy eating project made me realize that there has to be a change in my eating habits. It is often easier to grab something cheap and fast as a college student, but it is clear enough that if in three days I was able to feel better and lose a couple of pounds, can you imagine 3 or more months?
In conclusion, some long-term changes that I would like to make, even though I think it may be difficult, would be eating three meals a day. I learned that I would eat less, during meals, by eating three times a day. When eating one meal and skipping another, which I was used to, it would result in eating more during the next meal. The second change I want to make it, adding exercise to my life. I have not been motivated much about exercise, but I am not talking about drastic weight lifting, run a 10k exercise. I would like to add walking or a sport, something simple. The last change I want to make is completely cutting sodas. I have found myself craving them all the time and with the knowledge, I have received, I will be kissing sodas goodbye. Naval Ravikant said these “Doctors won’t make you healthy. Nutritionists won’t make you slim. Teachers won’t make you smart. Gurus won’t make you calm. Mentors won’t make you rich. Trainers won’t make you fit. Ultimately, you have to take responsibility. Save yourself.” It is the responsibility of each individual to live a healthy life not just for yourself but those that you love. I guess I see it this way, the longer I live the longer I have with those I care for.
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