The Standard American Diet, or SAD, often comes under harsh criticism for its high carbohydrate, low protein and moderate fat ratios. As a result of the high carb content, many of the dishes enjoyed on this diet are overflowing with sugar. A lack of regular dietary protein can have a negative impact on muscle growth, especially while consuming a caloric deficit. This diet is also blamed for high incidences of heart and inflammatory diseases. Since the negative effects of the diet are usually linked back to poor food choices, you can use healthier ingredients to offset the drawbacks. Here are four ways to make a SAD eating plan work for you.
Consume Whole Grains
Baked products made with refined grains are loaded in sugar and lack the fiber and other nutrients found in whole grain choices. The inclusion of the entire grain, from germ to bran, ups the protein and fiber content of baked goods considerably. Furthermore, these two areas contain a large percentage of your daily iron requirements. Look for baked goods made with whole wheat, oats and rye. Also, skip the traditional pasta in favor of whole wheat varieties or, even better, quinoa, brown rice or barley.
Fill Up On Vegetables
Although fruits are highly praised as a nutritious snack, many contain a ton of sugar that can spike insulin and inhibit feelings of satiation. Instead of constantly filling up with fruit, try to work fresh and cooked vegetables into every meal and snack. Vegetables, like broccoli, zucchini, bell pepper, okra and collard greens, all contain more vitamin C than fruits normally applauded for providing this nutrient. Vegetables also contain high amounts of fiber that can keep you full for hours. Add a little bit of fat in the form of butter or sauce to decrease recurrences of hunger after eating a veggie snack.
Limit Sauce Consumption
Sauces frequently contain a lot of sugar to boost the herb and spice flavors contained within. Furthermore, many sauces are extremely high in calories for each one to two tablespoon serving. You can enjoy sauce in moderation by carefully weighing each serving before pouring it over the pan. Resist the urge to simply dump a small amount in from the bottle. Most people dramatically underestimate added ingredient amounts when cooking on the fly. Try to choose sauces that offer low sugar, low calorie contents.
Pick Lean Meats
Many of the studies linking the SAD diet to health problems note red meat as one of the main culprits. Although fatty meats can help people lose weight on an extremely low sugar diet, adding in carbohydrates tends to reverse that effect. When eating a standard American diet, you should focus on getting most of your protein from lean meats, like chicken, turkey and fish.
If you constantly make adjustments to your SAD meal plans, you may be able to avoid the negative health effects associated with this way of eating. Work with your doctor to establish meal plans that offer your full range of nutrients without exceeding daily calorie limits.