Did you fill up your tank and your stomach at the same stop? “Sure. It’s convenient,” you say. Well, since there are more than 151,000 convenience stores in the U.S. hauling in over $700 BILLION annually, that certainly seems to be the consensus. But grabbing food at spots that specialize in packaged snacks, sweet beverages and sugary desserts is leaving grocery stores in the dust and destroying your health.
According to a study from the University of North Carolina, in 2012, households bought around 34 percent of their food from mass merchandisers, convenience stores and warehouse clubs. Grocery stores, stocked with a wide variety of unpackaged foods and fresh fruit and vegetables that give you a younger RealAge and help prevent diseases from cancer to kidney failure, are losing ground, while North Americans are gaining weight.
The truth is, those pit stops for food aren’t convenient at all! Not if you factor in the added health battles, out-of-pocket medical and insurance costs and lost wages that you’ll face if you don’t get five to nine servings of fresh fruits and vegetables daily, limit your intake of sat fat and eliminate trans fats, simple carbs and added sugars and syrups. The inflammation triggered by a diet high in processed “convenient” foods causes heart disease, cancer, dementia and sexual dysfunction — and that’s just the beginning.
So write up a shopping list, head to the grocery store and prepare home-cooked meals for the family (get them to help!). Good health is always convenient!
Mehmet Oz, M.D. is host of “The Dr. Oz Show,” and Mike Roizen, M.D. is Chief Wellness Officer and Chair of Wellness Institute at Cleveland Clinic. To live your healthiest, visit sharecare.com.