A sandwich, also known as a sandwich, is recognized by American nutritionists as perhaps the most harmful food in the world. And don't say it's always been like this! Over 40 years of observations, the calorie content of a sandwich has increased by 2.5 times, that is, to at least 800 kcal (and this is at least a third of the daily diet). Experts blame it on... a campaign against harmful unsaturated fats. That is, people began to replace unhealthy sausage with a completely healthy turkey or chicken breast, but add it in such chunks that the benefit began to turn into harm.
This problem is no less familiar to Russians: “buters” and burgers have long become the basis of nutrition for office workers and young people. Russian doctors are increasingly talking about a significant rejuvenation of heart and vascular diseases, one of the main causes of which is unhealthy nutrition.
Why low-calorie foods increase calorie intake
Americans' favorite lunch, researchers have called a "heart bomb", consisting of salt, preservatives and sugar. The Wall Street Journal writes about this, citing data from recent scientific papers and public opinion polls. They show that the majority of the population consumes too much salt, sugar and fat. And the main reason for this is the frequent presence of sandwiches in the diet, which every second resident of the United States eats daily. They provide about one-fifth of the daily salt intake and 19% of the daily calories of saturated fat. Sandwiches account for 7% of your daily value of added sugars, the same amount as breakfast cereals and bars.
Doctors remind that an excess of salt in the diet (WHO standard recommendations - a maximum of 6 grams of "white death" per day) leads to an increase in blood pressure, which increases the risk of heart disease and stroke. People also eat about 100 extra calories on sandwich days, according to a federal survey analyzed by researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. By the way, according to Russian doctors, Russians also abuse salt - cardiologists give figures of 10 grams per day per average Russian.
The love for sandwiches among people with acute time pressure is understandable: they are tasty, compact, and convenient to take with you. In addition, they are relatively inexpensive and are found everywhere on the menu of fast food restaurants and cafeterias. “Americans eat a lot without even sitting down to eat. They eat in cars or at desks because sandwiches are easy,” says Erika Kenny, assistant professor of food service at Harvard School of Public Health.
However, scientists acknowledge that sandwiches have not always been so bad for us. They have become less useful and more caloric over the past 40 years, researchers at Tufts University note. This is due to the highly processed grains in bread, as well as (attention!) the promotion of low-calorie nutrition, especially by reducing fat, which began in the 1980s and, according to nutritionists, has led to the consumption of more deli meats sold as low-calorie.
"Sandwiches have come in first place as a source of salt and fat in the diet and second in sugars. And now the anti-fat campaign is largely blamed: low-fat meat products are great for sandwiches, and they flooded advertising space. And what about some low-fat turkey meat in a sandwich can be added a centimeter or more thick - this is a separate issue. Salt mainly comes from processed cheese, and only then from sausage or ham, "says American geneticist Dmitry Prus.
The size of sandwiches and their calorie content have also increased. According to a report from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, a typical turkey sandwich in the 1980s contained about 320 calories. Now, a turkey sandwich contains about 820 calories.
How to make a healthy sandwich
And so today, nutritionists, doctors, and public health officials are trying to convince people to make their sandwiches healthier, believing that even simple changes can improve health.
The sandwich problem starts with the bread, the researchers say. The classic white bread, bun, or French baguette are mostly carbohydrates in the form of highly processed white flour. These carbohydrates are converted into sugars, leading to an increase in blood glucose levels, and then a sharp increase in insulin to compensate. Then the blood glucose level drops, which causes a rapid feeling of hunger. Studies have shown that eating large amounts of highly processed carbohydrates leads to weight gain and diabetes over time.
Therefore, it is better to replace white bread with whole grain bread. Whole grains are high in fiber, which helps regulate the processing of carbohydrates, preventing spikes in blood sugar and keeping you feeling full longer. When choosing bread, pay attention not only to the contents of the label, but also to visible grains and seeds: they indicate less processing and more fiber. Ideally, if the composition of the bread does not contain added sugars. Thinly sliced bread is another way to cut down on the salt and calories in your sandwich.
In addition, scientists strongly recommend abandoning processed meat - sausage, ham, bacon, burger patty contain a lot of salt and preservatives. Each serving of processed meat per day is associated with a 42% increase in the risk of heart disease and a 19% increase in the risk of diabetes, according to studies conducted by Tufts University and published in the journal Circulation in 2010. More recent studies have shown similar results. Eating processed meats has also been linked to an increased risk of certain types of cancer (primarily colorectal).
Instead of processed sandwich meat, opt for fresh chicken breast or fresh turkey. If you love red meat, then a sliced fresh steak or hamburger is healthier than processed roast beef or salami because it lacks the sodium and preservatives found in processed meats. Tuna - canned or fresh - is also the best choice.
Doctors advise to follow the spices - for example, mustard contains a lot of salt, and ketchup - a large amount of sugars. The most surprising thing is that, in comparison with them, the most useful is ... mayonnaise. At the very least, it's made from eggs and vegetable oils, which are high in mono- and polyunsaturated fats associated with a lower risk of heart disease.
Well, fresh vegetables (tomatoes, lettuce, cucumbers, etc.) will never be superfluous in a sandwich - they will provide you with fiber, vitamins and useful trace elements.
In addition, doctors talk about the benefits of peanut butter and jam (!), Especially when combined with whole grain bread. Jam tends to have more nutrients and fiber than jelly. And peanut butter (if it's sugar-free!) contains protein and healthy fats that keep you full.
In general, there are many ways to make your sandwich not only tasty, but also healthy. It just takes a little effort.