Smarter food choices improve overall health

By Carly Stewart
and Samuel Gaulding, 
Staff Reporters |

 

Making healthy eating choices can be challenging. Some Amarillo College students say they believe eating healthy can be too expensive and controversy arises over which foods are the best.

“The most important element to a healthy diet is unprocessed food. Buy things and cook them from scratch,” said Tim Cunningham, an Amarillo dietitian and local health-food storeowner.

Processed foods may be convenient, but convenience can harm your health over time, Cunningham said. Many processed foods contain large amounts of sodium, fats and sugar, which are not healthy to be consuming on a daily basis.

“Processed foods often contain nitrates, phosphates etc. in order to make foods look more attractive,” Cunningham said.

“So for example, an unprocessed turkey, you can’t slice it thin like they do in the grocery store, it falls apart, same thing with roasts, same thing with all meats. That’s something that would be beneficial to avoid.”

Cunningham said it is important to read labels and be aware of product ingredients. Debbie Hall, an Eat Rite sales floor representative, agreed and stressed the importance of choosing organic produce. “Organic produce is different from the produce you often find in the grocery store, because it’s raised in nutrient rich soils, and are not maintained by using any chemicals, so therefore there is more nutrients being put into your body,” she said. “If you can consume as little chemically altered foods as possible, it will significantly improve upon your health.”

Local businesses such as Eat Rite, Natural Grocers and various farmers markets and local growers offer healthy options, as do stores such as Polk Street Nutrition, which distributes Herbalife shakes and other food products. “We help with weight loss and weight gain and specific customers have lost hundreds of pounds from our shake diet,” McKenna Fry, manager of Polk Street Nutrition, said.

“Shakes we offer have 24 grams of protein, less than 90 grams of sugar and no saturated fat,” Brad Siebel, a sales associate at Polk Street Nutrition, said.

Maverick Evans, an AC psychology major, said he think students should try harder to eat healthy. “It’s important to eat healthier to improve the general quality of life in people. I believe eating healthy would result in a decline of unnecessary illnesses plaguing our society,” he said.

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