The standard American Diet (SAD) is dropping people left and right. SAD is so bad for the heart.

If you eat what everyone else eats, why would you have a healthy diet?

Do you KNOW what everyone else eats? Or nearly everyone else? The standard American diet.

This dinner looks healthy, doesn’t it?

Chicken breast
Broccoli florets
Wild rice
Lentil soup
Green salad with ranch dressing
Whole wheat roll

Don’t be fooled by the variety. If this meal was purchased in boxes, cans and bags, it may contain many, if not all, of the most toxic ingredients that are ubiquitous in the American food supply:

Added sugars including high fructose corn syrup
Trans fats
Sodium, potassium benzoate, BHT, BHA (preservatives)
Monosodium glutamate (MSG)
Food dyes and colorings
Nitrates (a carcinogen)

Toxins are everywhere in SAD: the standard American diet.

Even something as simple as Kroger’s bread crumbs are full of high fructose corn syrup, sugar, dough conditioners, trans fat and preservatives.

So if you think that cutting back on commercially baked goods like donuts is all it takes to “eat healthy,” you’re deeply mistaken.

What’s in your salad dressing could be contributing to plaque buildup in your arteries!

Standard American Diet = Disease

Just because 27 million Americans are living with heart disease, doesn’t mean that this killer has to be a part of growing old and can’t be prevented or minimized.

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Centers for Disease Control for the U.S.

• Almost 26 million have diagnosed diabetes, and tens of millions are prediabetic.
• About 31 percent have high blood pressure.
• About 795,000 new stroke cases occur every year.
• Over 65 percent of adults are either overweight or obese.

If that isn’t chilling enough, the American Cancer Society reports that one in three women, and one in two men, will be diagnosed with cancer.

The World Health Organization reports that processed foods (e.g., escalloped potato mix in a box, luncheon meats) are the culprit behind the accelerated levels of chronic disease and obesity worldwide.

According to a New England Journal of Medicine (2006) report of a Harvard study, avoiding white-flour based foods can significantly cut a woman’s risk of heart disease.

Heart disease and other killer diseases are rare among modern-day hunter-gatherers.

When hunter-gatherers adopt the standard American diet, their rate of disease soars and eventually matches those of long-time U.S. residents.

Heart Disease Teams up with the Standard American Diet

Atherosclerosis is arterial plaque buildup. “It starts with small deposits of cholesterol and fat in the artery’s inner wall that elicit an inflammatory response,” says Dr. Jonathan Fialkow, board certified cardiologist and certified by the American Board of Clinical Lipidology, whose experience includes being medical director of EKG, Stress Lab and Cardiac Rehabilitation for Baptist Cardiac and Vascular Institute.

Dr. Fialkow continues, “The inflammation eventually weakens the artery wall, which over time may lead to narrowing or disruption of the artery wall.”

Narrowing does lead to blockage, but “the real danger is when the vessel wall weakens and rips and a blood clot forms to block flow.”

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This silent, stealthy process is decades in the making. “The speed with which it occurs depends on many factors, most notably genetics.”

As the saying goes, Genetics load the gun, but lifestyle habits pull the trigger.

“Certain people will more readily deposit fat and cholesterol in the arteries as a response to diet, activity, stresses and environmental factors than others,” says Dr. Fialkow.

You don’t know which category you fall into, so why play Russian roulette with the standard American diet?

Maybe you are destined to develop life-threatening heart disease late in life rather than earlier, and Dr. Fialkow explains, “You may have taken longer to reach this level of disease because you may have led a relatively healthier lifestyle than others.

“But, over 80 years, the accumulative exposure to dietary stressors led to this disease, which progressed while you were unaware.”

Standard American Diet Foods that Are Marketed As Healthy

Salad dressing. Essentially, name-brand salad dressings are pourable candy!

“Yes, read the labels, and sugars are on the top of the list…or there are several sugars throughout the product making sweeteners the biggest ingredient,” says Carolyn Dean, MD and also naturopathic doctor (ND) and clinical nutritionist; medical director, Nutritional Magnesium Association.

Luncheon/deli meats. Many people think these are redeeming when in chicken or turkey form. Dr. Dean warns, “Processed meats have dye, nitrates, BHT, BHA and MSG.”

They often also contain high fructose corn syrup and are sky-high in sodium. Nitrate-free deli meats are not the solution.

Canned soups. Not only is the sodium content off the charts, but these often contain benzoates and artificial sweeteners. Some brands contain manmade sugars.

Fiber-added cereals. Most cereal is full of white sugar and various forms of syrup. Many contain chemical dyes, preservatives and artificial flavoring.

Many cereals, though marketed as breakfast food, score as bona fide junk food. So if you don’t think you have a junk food diet, take a look at your cereal choices.

Canned vegetables. “Foodstuffs have to be sterilized to be canned so no organisms survive to contaminate the food,” says Dr. Dean.

“Sterilizing means high enough temperatures to kill all the enzymes in the food, meaning you are eating dead food. The body does not thrive or even survive on dead food.”

Whole grain bread. Wait a minute—aren’t whole grains supposed to be healthful? Well, sure—but whole grains mixed with preservatives, dough conditioners and sugar means you’re still picking up a snake.

“The taste, texture and durability of a product all seem to require a handful of chemicals that add up to toxins that our liver and immune system have to deal with,” says Dr. Dean.

Ditching the Standard American Diet Needn’t Mean Obsessing with Food Labels

Once you find an all-natural brand that tastes good, you no longer have to read ingredients! This conversion process is faster than you think.

Furthermore, nearly all commercially baked goods have synthetic chemicals and trans fat; no reading necessary—just outright avoid buying anything in the bakery/bread department of a conventional grocery store!

Is the Standard American Diet Harmful to Thin People?

Dr. Fialkow explains, “One can have what we call ‘metabolic obesity’ which is the dyslipidemia (excess blood fat) of an overweight person without the abdominal weight gain.

“Sometimes these are genetic disorders leading to elevated triglycerides. Generally, if you are gaining weight mostly in the belly, its a carb problem. If you are thin and have abnormal cholesterol particles, then again, it may be due to carb metabolism.”

Carb metabolism?

“Inflammation is a broad process, used best by our bodies as the means to fight infection and foreign substances, such as a splinter in the foot,” says Dr. Fialkow.

“When the cholesterol/fat gets into the artery wall where it doesn’t belong, the body elicits the inflammatory response to fight the foreign substance.”

This goes on for decades as long as the standard American diet is at work. “Part of the inflammatory response is destruction of tissue, and part is deposit of scar-like tissue and calcium to try and stabilize the destroyed tissue,” continues Dr. Fialkow.

“This can be picked up with blood tests like the c-reactive protein (CRP) or with calcium scans that look for the results of inflammation in the arteries in hopes of discovering it long before a heart attack happens or stent is needed, or death.”

By luck of the genetic draw, some people escape the ravages of the standard American diet and live into their 90s with barely a runny nose, much less heart attack or type 2 diabetes.

But there is no test that determines who wins genetic lotteries. Sure, we’re all going to die anyways, but death by standard American diet is an awful way to go.

Dr. Fialkow has been a principal investigator in numerous major clinical trials in the cardiology arena and has analyzed the effectiveness of countless popular diet plans and ways of eating.

Dr. Dean, in practice for 35+ years and author of “The Magnesium Miracle,” is also a naturopath, nutritionist, herbalist, acupuncturist, lecturer and consultant.
Lorra Garrick has been covering medical, fitness and cybersecurity topics for many years, having written thousands of articles for print magazines and websites, including as a ghostwriter. She’s also a former ACE-certified personal trainer.