Eating Healthy in a Time-Starved World
Americans are literally running out of time. Achieving a work-life balance, which is still a luxury for tens of millions of working parents, has been overtaken by an even greater demand: a work-life-nutrition balance. Unfortunately, this increasing demand for nutrition has not been accompanied by a useful strategy that enables people to reclaim time from their harried lives.
The result of this dilemma has been an additional layer of stress applied on top of an already stressful life. This has further highlighted stress as America's top health problem something that was first brought to public attention in the early 1980s, and has since more obvious in the 2 decades since then[i].
Once the link between time mismanagement and stress is made - and it is virtually axiomatic at this point that this link exists[ii] -- a range of adverse health and nutrition consequences often result. The vicious cycle that ensues is harrowing and known to most people through direct experience, or via painfully seeing it manifest in the life of a family member, friend, or colleague.
Stress can -- and often does -- lead to unhealthy eating[iii], which in turn, leads to even more stress because the body is not receiving the essential micronutrients and vitamins that it requires. While this is happening, since poor eating is often associated with undesirable weight gain, another level of psychological stress - this one associated with body image problems - is unleashed.
Although if the cycle ended here this would be enough to solidify this as a major problem, it continues beyond this point and becomes worse.
This psychological stress due to body image problems/weight gain often leads to "emotional eating". It is estimated that 75% of all overeating is the result of emotional eating[iv]. This, in turn, leads to yet more nutritional deficiency, since the emotional eating is typically of unhealthy comfort foods that are rich in saturated fat. This - as can be inferred -- leads to yet more stress, and the cycle continues, unabated, often resulting in malnutrition, obesity, and in more cases than most average people realize, even suicide.
The almost clinical description of this negative cycle in the preceding paragraphs does not remotely capture the indescribable pain and suffering that tens of millions of Americans experience each day due to the collision of stress, lack of time, and poor eating habits. While no description could accurately capture the devastation that this negative loop causes, it is enough in the context of this article to firmly declare that it is a profoundly significant crisis.
No quick-fix solution to a problem of this magnitude is possible, and any attempt for an overnight solution should be met with the most aggressive skepticism. The key to addressing a situation of this immense complexity is to identify the root cause, and then provide remedies that mitigate or in some cases, avoid the negative loop from beginning in the first place.
One of the root causes of this problem has been noted already: a lack of time. If more Americans had more time, or felt that they had more time, the stress associated with not having enough time would not be able to pull them under and into a negative nutrition spiral. Therefore, a solution that works on this level - the level of time - is going to be help solve this problem to some extent.
It is within this awareness that time is of the essence that a number of nutritional supplements have been created. Unfortunately, while many of these supplements take mere seconds to ingest, an array of them are not providing the body's requirement for micronutrients and vitamins.
Furthermore, and quite irresponsibly, many so-called "energy bars" are very high in calories and carbohydrates, and as such can lead to emotional eating and trigger weight gain. It is even more unfortunate than this to observe that the race to market many nutritional supplement products has been more about making money through clever advertising and slogans, than it has been about helping people save time, eat healthy, and avoid potentially life-altering negative stress cycles. This is evidenced by the number of so-called nutritional supplements that are little more than expensive and pretentious candy bars.
However, there are some products that have risen to this ethical challenge - products that have been truly inspired by actual nutritional scientists who see a dire need in society, and have engineered a useful product to help meet that need.
The easiest way to identify such products is to find those that deliver a complete, balanced source of nutrition for time-starved individuals, including: adults, kids, athletes, sedentary individuals, and all those in between. At the same time, these elite products should provide a range of essential nutrients so that, in effect, the nutrition source can be relied upon as a complete meal when time is severely limited.
Solving America's time-starved dilemma is bigger than any one product, or series of products, to solve. However, though the perfect solution to this complex problem remains elusive, it is clear that part of that eventual solution will depend on resolving causes, and not chasing symptoms. Nutritional products that offer scientifically developed meal and supplement solutions will be a major ally in this resolution.
Founded in 2001, Protica, Inc. is a nutritional research firm with offices in Lafayette Hill and Conshohocken, Pennsylvania. Protica manufactures capsulized foods, including Profect, a compact, hypoallergenic, ready-to-drink protein beverage containing zero carbohydrates and zero fat. Information on Protica is available at www.protica.com. You can also learn about Profect at www.profect.com.
[i] Source: "America's #1 Health Problem". Stress.org.
[ii] Source: "Stress Management". WebMD.
[iii] Source: "Nutrition". SVCMC.
[iv] Source: "Are You an Emotional Eater?". About.com.
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