Health & Safety

June 7, 2012

What’s going into your tank?

Airman 1st Class Grace Lee
56th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

LUKE AIR FORCE BASE, Ariz. — Are you putting regular or premium foods in your tank? What you put in your stomach may affect not only your energy levels but your overall health.

Similar to how a car’s performance is affected by the type of gas put in it, the human body’s performance can either be increased or decreased depending on what type of food it’s fed.

Now, one may wonder what types of food contribute to fatigue and drowsiness throughout the day.

Examples of foods that aren’t nutrient rich are fried foods, refined sugars and cereals, processed meat, candy and chocolate, and high-fat dairy products, according to Jae Allen, livestrong.com writer.

“Junk food is known as such because its nutritional value is typically outweighed by the dangers it poses to your overall health,” he said.

Foods that are not nutrient rich provide plenty of calories, but what does it do to your body in the short and long terms?

“Combining a diet high in junk foods with a lack of exercise and poor appetite control greatly increases your risk of becoming obese,” Allen said.

The effect of eating foods that provide little to no nutritional value can be devastating to the body, but on the other hand eating foods that are rich in nutrients can improve one’s health.

“Eating clean in the long term can reduce the risk of diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, arthritis and kidney disease,” said Sherri Biringer, 56th Force Support Squadron fitness specialist supervisor. “In the short term you’ll notice the difference in your energy levels, body function, sleep and overall attitude.”

Comparable to a car, fueling your body with nutrient-rich foods may cost a bit more, but according to Biringer it’s worth the cost.

“It may cost more to eat healthy, but in the long run it will save you money on the health costs and drugs to fix the diseases caused by eating badly,” Biringer said.

To decrease the craving for processed foods, Biringer suggests consuming lean meats, vegetables, fruits, nuts and some healthy fats.

“Try it for two months; your body will adapt and the cravings for processed foods will lessen, if not go away altogether,” Biringer said.

Eating healthy can also help maintain weight goals.

“Eating healthy foods will help you maintain a healthy weight,” said Debby Mayne, livestrong.com writer. “If your diet is high in vegetables, fruits, whole grains, lean meats and other proteins, you will reach your ideal weight and be able to maintain it.”

According to Mayne, eating healthier can also improve your mind and help you feel better.

“You will think more clearly, have better muscle tone and get more done so you can have more time to enjoy leisure activities,” she said.

Mayne recommends making positive lifestyle changes to benefit health instead going on ‘diets’ that may set one up for failure.




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(U.S. Air Force photo illustration by Airman 1st Class Jessica H. Smith and Airman Connor J. Marth)

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