If I were putting together a public nutrition program, the three most important points that I would include would be; 1) The reduction of sugar and added sugar in our diet; 2) We are what we eat, the importance of eating whole foods and reducing processed foods; 3) Portion distortion, what healthy portions look like.

I feel that one of the biggest contributors to our current obesity and diabetes issues today is the use of sugars and added sugars hidden in just about every food you can buy in the grocery store, particularly soft drinks. The American Heart Association recommends limiting added sugars to 6 teaspoons a day for women, and 9 teaspoons a day for men (Added Sugars, 2009). This is hard to imagine being a possibility with today’s food supply. When you consider that a 12oz soda contains up to 19 teaspoons of sugar, and then you add in all the other sugars and carbohydrates that are consumed in one day, it’s no wonder that we are in the condition we are today.

The overly processed food supply in grocery stores today is laden with added sugars and contains very little nutrient per calorie, leaving many people malnourished, even though they may eat a lot. A calorie is not just a calorie. Foods must contain the nutrients that your body needs to develop, especially growing children in their crucial years of development (MyPlate | Choose MyPlate, 2016). Eating the right calories, and the right number of calories for your body and lifestyle is important.

Portion sizes have more than doubled over the years leading to an excess of calories being eaten then converted into fat because our bodies are unable to burn them all. Between the increase of calories and the decrease of exercise, we are heading into never seen before levels of obesity and its comorbidities. An average spaghetti and meatballs dinner 20 years ago, was approximately 500 calories, compared to the portion size of today’s meals coming in at 1,025 calories (Portion Distortion, Eat Right, NHLBI, NIH, 2015).


Added Sugars. (2009, August). Retrieved from http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/HealthyLiving/HealthyEating/Nutrition/Added-Sugars_UCM_305858_Article.jsp#.WD5pZPkrK70

MyPlate | Choose MyPlate. (2016, January). Retrieved from https://www.choosemyplate.gov/MyPlate

Portion Distortion, Eat Right, NHLBI, NIH. (2015, April 1). Retrieved from https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/educational/wecan/eat-right/portion-distortion.htm